Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Kenyan officials step down amid probe into graft

Reuters, NAIROBI

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives before addressing the nation’s parliament on Friday in Nairobi.

Photo: AFP

Four Kenyan ministers vacated their posts on Saturday to pave the way for investigations into corruption allegations, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office said, days after he asked those named in a confidential report to do so.

Manoah Esipisu, Kenyatta’s spokesman, said Kenyan Cabinet secretary for energy and petroleum Davis Chirchir, Kenyan Cabinet secretary for transport and infrastructure Michael Kamau and Kenyan labour and social services minister Kazungu Kambi complied with the president’s request.

Cabinet secretary for agriculture and fisheries Felix Koskei had earlier in the day vacated his post, but said he expected to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Other Cabinet ministers are to temporarily handle the workload of the five, Esipisu said.

On Thursday, without naming names, Kenyatta said any officials adversely mentioned in the confidential Kenyan Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission report that he handed to parliament should step aside — regardless of seniority — pending investigation.

“Clearly, the president has drawn the line on corruption and expects all state and public officers to abide by Executive Order No. 6, in which he gives express directives in regard to the intolerance for this vice in government,” the spokesman told reporters.

Esipisu added that others who had left their posts included Kenyan Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, four principal secretaries, the chief of staff at the Kenyan Deputy President’s Office and the investment secretary at the Kenyan National Treasury.

Eight chief executives of state-run corporations and the Kenyan National Social Security Fund also stepped aside.

“The president reaffirms that there are no sacred cows and that this is just the beginning of an unwavering war against corruption,” Esipisu said.

Koskei said he had never been summoned by the state-run watchdog, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, to be questioned on any involvement in graft, and would visit the body’s offices today with his lawyers to start clearing his name.

Kenyatta made the fight against graft a priority on taking office in 2013, but critics say he has failed to sweep out corrupt officials in a nation where corruption is seen as a major obstacle to business, law enforcement and provision of public services.

Parliament is yet to disclose the report’s details.

“As the president told parliament, it is not his place to determine the guilt or otherwise of the state or public officers named in the ... report, but that the time has come to send a strong signal to the country,” Esipisu said.

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