Why EACC ordered PS for foreign affairs to block travel of Trade and Industry CS aide appointed as a commercial attache to Dubai

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The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has ordered the principal secretary for foreign affairs Macharia Kamau to block travel of a personal aide of trade and industry secretary Betty Maina allegedly on account of ‘malpractice’ in his appointment.

Mr Lawrence Lelei who had been posted to Dubai works as personal aide to Ms Maina.

“The commission received allegations touching on the integrity and transparency of the selection of nominees for posting as trade attaches to foreign missions abroad by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development. As you are aware, the commission is investigating the allegations”, wrote EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak on October 21, 2021.

“Preliminary investigations have established that there were some malpractices in the selection of nominees which included mischievous inclusion and removal of names of officers proposed to represent the country as trade attaches

“To this end and considering the public interest, the Commission directs that the posting and travel plans of Mr Lawrence Lelei be suspended with immediate effect until investigations are concluded and you are duly advised. Be guided accordingly”, he concluded.

Effectively, the letter means both the trade CS Ms Maina and PS Johnson Weru are under investigation.

It is particularly telling that the EACC singled out the personal aide of the CS without blocking other persons.

It is unclear how commercial attaches are appointed as the process is never competitive and is shrouded in mystery.

Efforts to reach Ms Maina for a comment were unsuccessful as she did not respond to Cofek message Friday evening.

The lucrative positions of commercial attaches have remained at the centre of power struggles and frosty relations between the ministries of trade and foreign affairs for a long time.

At one time then trade CS Adan Mohammed and foreign affairs counterpart then, Amina Mohammed tussle came to the public domain on which office should appoint and control commercial attaches. Foreign affairs lost the battle to trade.

Some of the functions of commercial attaches include educating and advising exporters on trade regulations and practices in other countries; expansion and diversification of exports; organizing for trade fairs and exhibitions of local goods in foreign markets and expansion and diversification of foreign markets.


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