Kenyan minister resigns over graft accusations

The departure from office of Henry Kosgey is the second cabinet minister to quit in three months.

Kenyan minister resigns over graft accusations

Kenya's industrialisation minister said he had resigned on Tuesday after its anti-graft commission called for him to be arrested and charged over a scam involving the import of untaxed second-hand vehicles.

The departure from office of Henry Kosgey is the second cabinet minister to quit in three months.

Kosgey was also named by the International Criminal Court last month as one of six suspected masterminds of the ethnic bloodletting that killed about 1,300 people and stunted economic growth after a disputed election in December in 2007.

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) alleges that Kosgey granted exemptions for the importation of hundreds of cars older than the eight-year legal limit and waived taxes for them.. He has denied wrongdoing.

"I have today written to ... the president and ... prime minister offering to step aside as the minister for industrialisation to allow for these charges to be fully investigated," Kosgey told a news conference.

"I wish to state that my actions in this matter are above reproach. I have committed no wrongs."

Kosgey's foreign affairs counterpart, Moses Wetangula, stepped down under pressure from parliament in October over allegations of corruption in the purchase of land for Kenyan embassies abroad.

Sources at the KACC said Kosgey later handed himself in to the watchdog's Integrity Centre headquarters in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, accompanied by his lawyers.

KACC boss Patrick Lumumba, who has promised to fight graft at the highest levels, said on Monday he had received a letter from the attorney general advising the KACC to charge the minister. Lumumba said Kosgey could be arrested within 24 hours.

"What is important is that the attorney general and the KACC are cracking down on the 'big fish'. It is a sign that Kenya is changing and this gives impetus to good governance," Harun Ndubi, executive director of Haki Focus, a public policy and governance organisation, told Reuters.

No minister has ever been convicted of corruption in Kenya, where the scourge has spread over many years from politicians to civil servants, private business and ordinary Kenyans who part with small sums of money for favours in government offices.



Reuters

Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2011, 12:05
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