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Akombe detained on suspicion she was fleeing, lacked permit

A top intelligence officer ordered the detention of IEBC commissioner Roselyn Akombe at JKIA on Tuesday night on suspicion she was fleeing the country.

The NIS officer, who is in charge of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, directed Immigration officials to bar Akombe from boarding a plane to the US.

This was after the officer realised Akombe had failed to adhere to travel protocol required of holders of diplomatic passports. As a commissioner of an independent commission and going out for official duties, Akombe was required to travel on her diplomatic passport.

She was also supposed to produce a clearance letter from IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati.

However, Akombe produced an ordinary passport, instead of her diplomatic one, a source at JKIA told the Star. He sought anonymity for fear of reprisal.

This caused suspicion, prompting an NIS officer on duty to ask Immigration officers to demand travel clearance from Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

Akombe was questioned for about an hour. An Immigration officer working at JKIA told the Star that Akombe’s luggage was offloaded from a US-bound plane and she was told to seek travel clearance minutes before 10pm. She travelled yesterday morning, more than 10 hours later.

“They are usually here and monitor travels and arrivals. They appear to be very vigilant and that is why they advised us that Akombe had to produce the travel permit from her boss,” the source said.

“Her luggage had already been loaded, but it had to be offloaded before the plane left.”

The source added, “It wasn’t a big issue, but given that Akombe was travelling for official duty, it was important that she uses the diplomatic passport, which requires clearance protocol.”

The IEBC confirmed the commissioner was travelling to New York for official meeting and was scheduled to return on Sunday.

IEBC communications manager Andrew Limo said JKIA officials were unaware that Akombe is an independent commissioner and demanded clearance.

“Dr Akombe who is travelling to the US for an official meeting was delayed at the JKIA by officials who have since apologised. She returns on Sunday,” the IEBC said in a tweet.

Akombe, who holds Kenyan and US citizenship, is a former UN secretary general’s governance adviser.

She played a key role in the General Election.

Government protocol requires that CSs, PSs, CEOs of state agencies and heads of parastatals should get Kinyua’s clearance before travelling abroad.

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