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14 foreign nationals deported as SportPesa’s offices raided

Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has signed a deportation order for 14 foreign nationals allegedly involved in illegal gambling in the country.

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The majority of those arrested are employees of sports betting operator SportPesa and are mainly from Eastern Europe.

They were arrested in three different offices in Nairobi and will be deported to their respective countries for the offences, which include illegal gambling activity as well as operating without legal work permits.

The announcement comes after SportPesa’s offices were earlier this week raided by multiple government agencies and police, who were seeking documents related to the company’s recently relaunched online betting operations.

SportPesa is currently involved in a court case, attempting to stop the Government from halting its operations in Kenya.

Earlier this month, Matiang’i reinforced the Government’s zero-tolerance policy on non-compliant betting and gaming firms, saying: “We will not go back on the decision that we have made as a government. And Kenyans can rest assured, absolutely on this matter.”

SportPesa was among 19 operators to have their licences suspended in 2019 following a back-tax dispute with the Kenya Revenue Authority.

But the brand returned to the market in October 2020 under Milestone Games Limited, a new company that was granted a licence by Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB). That licence has since been revoked.

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