Kenyan minister denies graft charges

2011-01-04 19:51

kalahari.com

Nairobi - A Kenyan government minister pleaded not guilty to a dozen counts of abuse of office on Tuesday, hours after resigning to allow for an investigation into a scam involving imports of untaxed vehicles.

Former industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey was released on bail by Nairobi's High Court.

In addition to the corruption charges, Kosgey was named by the International Criminal Court last month as one of six suspected masterminds behind Kenya's deadly post election violence in 2007/08.

His resignation, the second high profile cabinet minister to quit in three months, was a sign that the fight against endemic corruption in east Africa's largest economy is intensifying.

Prosecutors told the court heaving with reporters and other cabinet ministers, that the 12 charges carry a maximum of 10 years in jail, if convicted.

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

"I wish to state that my actions in this matter are above reproach. I have committed no wrongs," Kosgey, the chairperson of Prime Minister Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, told a news conference before his court appearance.

"It is also important to note that no money was lost by the government in connection with these exemptions. It is not a case of misappropriation," he said.

Unfairly targeted

Political observers said the rising number of ministerial scalps could force President Mwai Kibaki to reshuffle his fragile coalition government.

Former foreign minister Moses Wetangula, a close ally of Kibaki, stepped down under pressure from parliament in October over allegations of corruption in the purchase of land for Kenyan embassies abroad.

Higher Education Minister William Ruto was also suspended in October after the High Court ruled he should stand trial for fraud over a land deal.

Ruto, also from ODM, is another official on the ICC list of suspects in the post-election upheaval.

The ODM's parliamentary chief whip, Jakoyo Midiwo, said his party had been unfairly targeted by the commission.

"We will not accept KACC being used to fight political wars. We want to see surgery on both sides," Midiwo told reporters.

The KACC said in October it was investigating four cabinet ministers - likely toÿ have included Kosgey - and political analysts said the reinvigorated anti-corruption battle was shaking the foundations of the coalition government.

"There is a lot of pressure for a reshuffle," said Mwalimu Mati, head of the anti-corruption watchdog Mars Group Kenya.

Mati said there were signs of a growing political will to tackle the vice which the KACC says costs east Africa's largest economy an estimated 30%-40% of gross domestic product.

Weak laws have hampered the KACC's anti-corruption battle, analysts say, but Kenya's new constitution will give it the power to arrest and prosecute suspects.

"Parliament needs to fast track the Ethics and Anti-graft law... to make KACC fully independent. This has been the main issue that has handicapped KACC," said Teresa Omondi, deputy director of Transparency International Kenya.

No Kenyan minister has ever been convicted of corruption, a pervasive problem in east Africa's biggest economy.

Read more on:    mwai kibaki  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 2 White 16GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Two cameras for FaceTime and HD video recording. The dual-core...

From R5727.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.