, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – Cabinet Minister William Ruto has been suspended from office.
A statement from the President’s Press Service late on Tuesday said the action was taken following consultations between President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“His Excellency the President has stood aside William Ruto from Office of Minister with immediate effect pending conclusion of the Nairobi Chief Magistrates Case No. 973 of 2004 as allowed by the Nairobi High Court Suit No. 1192/2005 (0S).”
The statement added: “Consequently His Excellency the President has appointed Prof Hellen Sambili to act as Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology in addition to being Minister for East African Community.”
In other changes announced by the Head of State, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru who recently regained her Starehe parliamentary seat in a recent by-election has been reinstated as an Assistant Minister for Housing.
Embakasi MP Ferdinard Waititu has been named an Assistant Minister for Water and Irrigation.
Haroun Mwau has been moved to the Ministry of Trade as an assistant Minister from Transport, while Mwangi Kiunjuri moves from Water as Assistant Minister, to Public Works.
Bomachoge MP Simon Ongari who was elected in a by-election last year has also been appointed an Assistant Minister for Transport.
Mr Ruto’s woes began last Friday when the Constitutional Court ruled that he should stand trial in a Sh96 million fraud case that was instituted against him six years ago.
The minister had challenged the charges, arguing that it was a violation of his fundamental rights but the Constitutional court disagreed.
It was alleged that Mr Ruto fraudulently obtained the Sh96m from a former Kenya Pipeline Company manager in the pretext that he was in a position to sell land to KPC at Ngong Forest.
The court rejected the minister\’s claims that the case was instituted against him in order to finish him politically saying this could not be justified.
The ruling was issued while Mr Ruto was in Japan, but he returned to the country the following day and declared that he would not step aside.
Mr Ruto maintained his innocence claimed that the case and Friday’s ruling were engineered by his political enemies ahead of the 2012 general elections.
It was his contention that the alleged sale was done in 2001 but the case against him was filed four years later which raised questions.
Section 62 of the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act stipulates that a public officer who is charged with corruption or economic crime shall be suspended with half pay with effect from the date of the charge.