Fifth Kenyan minister temporarily quits over graft probe

NAIROBI: A fifth Kenyan minister has temporarily stepped down over a probe by the country’s anti-corruption commission, leaving the cabinet without more than a quarter of its members, the presidency announced Sunday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had earlier asked those named in a confidential report by the east African nation’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to step aside while its work continues.

The probe is expected to continue for about 60 days and the allegations involved have not yet been made public.

“Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has stepped aside to allow for ongoing investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive,” a presidency statement said.

Four ministers out of a total of 18 had already on Saturday announced they were temporarily quitting due to the report.

They included Agriculture Minister Felix Koskei; Michael Kamau, transport and infrastructure minister; Davis Chirchir, energy and petroleum minister; and Samuel Kazungu Kambi, who held the labour portfolio.

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

Earlier this month, a court charged seven former officials including an ex-minister in connection with a multi-million dollar corruption scam involving bogus state contracts.

Known as the “Anglo-Leasing scandal”, after a British firm that was hired at hugely inflated costs to provide a new passport printing system, the overall money involved has been estimated to be at least $640 million (580 million euros).