A woman has told court how a foreigner allegedly duped her into a fake marriage just to get Kenyan citizenship.
The woman named PM told High Court judge Asenath Ongeri she did not realise the respondent named CE was not interested in a long term union.
The two married on June 21, 2013, but CE is said to have disappeared days later. It later emerged CE only wanted to use her to secure legal status to work in Kenya.
PM had filed a case seeking divorce from the foreigner.
“The respondent was subsequently deported by the Government of Kenya and the petitioner does not know his whereabouts,” the court heard.
It also emerged the two did not consummate their marriage.
PM, who testified in the undefended case, said she had not seen or communicated with her husband since he was deported.
She also admitted the man was unlawfully living in Kenya by the time they entered the “fraudulent marriage”.
Theirs was a civil marriage contracted at the Attorney General’s office. Here, a couple is required to fill an intention to marry form. After 21 days, they are expected to bring an affidavit commissioned by the registrar of marriages.
If their application is approved, the couple books a date for their marriage after paying a fee.
The law dictates that the marriage must take place within three months from the day a 21-day notice is issued.
On the marriage date, both parties have to go to the registrar’s office with two witnesses. There they take their vows and are granted a marriage certificate.
For a Kenyan to marry a foreigner, the outsider is also required to submit a copy of their passport and its original, a copy and original birth certificate and another certificate showing they are free to marry.
If the foreigner is widowed, they must produce death certificates. If divorced, a court’s decree is required.
PM told court she met CE through a friend.
“He left soon after we celebrated our marriage. I later learnt he had been repatriated,” she testified.
Court records do not show the kind of work the man was doing. He does not also seem to have disclosed to PM his country of origin.
Justice Ongeri allowed the divorce, observing that the marriage was not between two people in love. Instead, she said, it was a union for benefits. “I find that in the current case, the petitioner did not freely enter into the marriage with the respondent as it emerged the man wanted to use the marriage to obtain a work permit,” the judge said.
The judge also found that PM was justified to seek divorce from her absent husband as they did not consummate their marriage.
The Marriage Act requires either party to seek divorce within a year of marriage if the parties do not get intimate.
“The petitioner also said the marriage was not consummated as the respondent left immediately after the marriage was celebrated. She has never seen him since that time. I find that the marriage has not been consummated since it was celebrated and since this petition was filed in court. The marriage between the petitioner and the respondent is hereby nullified,” Ongeri ruled.