, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey has now vacated office pending the determination of a corruption case he is facing.
The Tinderet Member of Parliament told journalists at a media conference that he had already written to the President stating his intentions. It is expected that the President will oblige.
Mr Kosgey also said he had opted to surrender to Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission officers, who had been looking for him since late on Monday.
"I have today written to President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Rail Odinga offering to step aside as Minister for Industrialisation to allow for this charges to be fully investigated," Mr Kosgey told journalists at a media conference in his office on Tuesday morning.
The Minister was likely to appear in court later on Tuesday to face corruption charges, relating to the importation of over-age motor vehicles.
An official at the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission which was given consent by the Attorney General Amos Wako to prosecute the Minister said they were preparing to arraign him in court "at any time."
The anti-graft agency said it had lined up eight counts of abuse of office against the minister for allowing the importation of cars above the recommended eight-year limit.
In his defence, the Minister however, told journalists he was innocent and maintained that all his actions were within the law.
"I wish to state that my actions in this matter are above reproach, because I have committed no wrongdoing," he said and added: "It is also important to note that no money, not even a single cent was lost by the government in connection with any of these exemptions."
This, he said, was not a case of misappropriation of funds or corruption in the way that most people understand the term to mean.
The minister is accused of having granted exemptions for the importation of vehicles that are older than eight years as required by law.
"The exemptions that I granted were based on a legal notice which provides me with the powers to give such exemptions," he said.
The Tinderet Member of Parliament told reporters he was ready and prepared to mount a strong defence in court to prove his innocence.
"I look forward to presenting my defence in court and I am confident that I will be vindicated in the fullness of time," he said.
Soon after addressing the press conference, Mr Kosgey was driven to the KACC offices at Integrity Centre to meet with detectives who were preparing to arraign him in court.
"I also wish to notify KACC that I will cooperate with them fully and present myself in court on short notice," he said.
Apart from the latest charges, Mr Kosgey is among six individuals named by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo last year as those bearing the greatest responsibility for the 2008 post-election violence.
Mr Kosgey has equally defended himself against the allegations of crimes against humanity which ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo has levelled against him.
Mr Ocampo has presented Kosgey\’s case alongside those of five other suspects to the pre-trial chamber seeking permission to prosecute them.
Other suspects accused of crimes against humanity over the poll violence include Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, former police commissioner Hussein Ali and Kass FM radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.
The mentioned public officials remain office.