Kenya Embassy warning to its nationals in the US

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Kenya university graduates at a commencement ceremony. Photo: Courtesy of Business Daily Africa

The Kenya Embassy in Washington this morning issued a reminder to its nationals living in the United States about the impending expiration of a one month amnesty extended for those in the diaspora by that country’s Higher Education Loans Board. The amnesty expires in four days, the release said.

HELB, as it is known, is a state corporation that finances higher education in Kenya. In September, HELB announced that it is in pursuit of 74,500 that have defaulted on their loans amounting to US$88 million.

Some of the defaulters, who tend to be highly educated, have since left the country for other opportunities in places such as the United States.

HELB CEO, Charles Ringera, said as part of the amnesty, the Kenyan diaspora in the United States can have 80% of the penalty waived. Mr. Ringera said it was important that HELB ramp up loan repayments so it can finance more students for higher education.

Kenyans in the diaspora failing to service their HELB loans have the following consequences awaiting them:

1.) Their names will be forwarded to the Kenya Credit Reference Bureau (CRB)

If one’s name ends up on the CRB as a result of a HELB loan default, they will not be able to

2.) Access Kenya bank loans

3.) Apply for Kenya government jobs or contracts.

4.) Cannot run for political office

One will need to get a clearance certificate from HELB in order to have their name removed as a defaulter and access the benefits mentioned above.

Anyone in the Kenyan diaspora with an outstanding loan that is not being serviced should visit www.helb.co.ke.

Click on Loan Repayment. Fill out the form and email it to recovery@helb.co.ke

About Tom Gitaa

Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, President and Publisher of Mshale. As the founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation. Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dishnetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. Tom also served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. He retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on half marathons.

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Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, President and Publisher of Mshale. As the founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation. Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dishnetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. Tom also served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. He retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on half marathons.