4 more ministers due in court over graft

January 11, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – Four more Cabinet Ministers may find themselves in court by the end of this month once the Attorney General approves their prosecution.

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission Director Patrick Lumumba disclosed that his agency had completed investigations on the four and several other senior government officials and would be seeking consent to prosecute them.

Speaking during a meeting with youth leaders at his Integrity Centre office on Tuesday, Lumumba said the commission had also commenced investigations against yet another Cabinet Minister said to have squandered money meant for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

"In the next two to three weeks, we will be forwarding five to 10 high voltage files to the Attorney General to seek consent to prosecute several government officials," he said.

When prompted by journalists to reveal the identity of the ministers and other government officials likely to be prosecuted, Mr Lumumba responded by saying he would only reveal their identities once the AG approves the files they forward to him.

"But in the meantime, let\’s restrict ourselves to four as the number of ministers in those files," he said.

"We also received complaints about another minister and we have commenced investigations on the very weighty matter about the misuse of CDF funds. Very, very weighty matters we are talking about here," he said.

He did not reveal the identity of the minister under current investigation.

Mr Lumumba also dismissed as "unnecessary noise" the latest uproar by politicians that the agency was targeting a particular political party or individuals and vowed to carry out his mandate "without fear or favour."

"When you hold an office such as this, you must be prepared to receive criticism both negative and positive and we are prepared to receive all that," he said. "We will continue to discharge our mandate within the law and we will not be intimidated by anyone."

"We will not be directed on how to carry out our mandate by anyone, we are guided by the law and we will uphold it at all times," he said.

And he warned the corrupt officials in government: "If you allow corruption to have a residence in you, we will tackle it in line with the law."

The KACC has lately come under intense heat from a section of ODM politicians who accuse the agency of fighting corruption selectively after their chairman, Tinderet Member of Parliament Henry Kosgey, was charged in court over abuse of office last week.

Civil society organisations and youth leaders who paid Mr Lumumba a courtesy call Tuesday also rushed to the defence of the commission following the allegations of bias and pledged to support it fully.

Mr Kosgey who formerly served at the Industrialisation Minister is among 23 senior government officials the KACC had sought consent to prosecute in the last quarter of 2010.

"We had presented about 23 files to the AG in the last quarter of last year and we got the nod to prosecute most of them. Prosecutions have been commenced across the country and they are going on," Mr Lumumba said.

He told reporters the commission wanted the law amended to bar public officers from holding bank accounts abroad.

"Only individuals serving in foreign missions abroad will be allowed to hold accounts in foreign countries. The document we are working on will ensure public officers do not even open such accounts in the names of their relatives," he added and announced that the commission was on its final stages in investigations relating to the Anglo-Leasing scandal.


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