Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria’s delegation to Qatar has raised eyebrows.
In the list sent to the Qatari embassy, the CS asked that the passports of all 30 officials be processed in readiness for travel today (27th February 2023).
In the delegation, the names of two foreigners believed to be shady businessmen appear.
Oleg Vodchits and Aleksandr Zingman were once arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo on suspicion of engaging in illegal business.
The two Belarus nationals were arrested in March 2021 and questioned by the Congolese police to clarify the nature of their business meetings in Lubumbashi.
The duo co-own a company called afTrade and are believed to have met former DRC president Joseph Kabila; a thing that irked the Felix Tshisekedi regime.
It took the intervention of Belarus and Zimbabwe to get the two released.
However, there’s something sinister about them.
In 2020, Zingman threatened to sue the Zambian investigative newspaper “Digger News” for publishing photos of his 2016 meeting with former Zambian president Edgar Lungu at the Zambian embassy in Moscow.
The photo captured Lungu in the presence of the leaders of the Zambian armed forces, then permanent secretary of defense Sturdy Mwale and the commander of the Zambian Air Force, David Muma.
According to the same newspaper, Zingman also mediated a meeting between then President Lungu and Alexander Mikheev, president of Rosoboronexport, the Russian state-owned arms exporting company.
The businessman is known for being close to Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and has been photographed many times with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In the past, some press inquiries cited him as being involved in alleged arms deals in Zambia and Zimbabwe, which he has always denied.
In July 2017, Zambia bought five jets Sukhoi from Russia.
Zingman holds dual US and Belarusian citizenship.
In the 2020 arrest, the Belarusian govt only confirmed the arrest of an Italian citizen Paolo Persico.
Mr Persico was arrested with the duo.
The arrests of the others were hushed, but the media got wind and revealed the whole story.
Their charges in DRC included arms trafficking, but the duo in Moses Kuria’s entourage, were released sooner. The Italian spent nearly two weeks in jail.
Why is Moses Kuria and by extension, the Kenyan Govt associating with known arms dealers?
Is the military contract that involved Rashid Echesa back on the table?
The big number of officials doesn’t signify good work, even as we learnt from the late Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli. Hasn’t this govt said it is broke?