Former Kenya minister to be tried for graft -court

by Reuters
Friday, 29 July 2011 10:25 GMT


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NAIROBI, July 29 (Reuters) - Kenya&${esc.hash}39;s High Court on Friday ruled that a former minister should face trial in a case in which he is charged with abuse of office over illegal car imports.

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) accuse the former industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey of giving exemptions for the importation of more than a hundred cars older than the eight-year legal limit and waiving taxes on them.

Kosgey, who resigned over the accusations to allow for investigations, has denied the charges.

He is among four ministers to either step down or be suspended since 2010 due to graft accusations.

"I find the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubts to enable the accused to be put on his defence," anti-corruption magistrate Elijah Obaga said.

Kosgey, also chairman of Prime Minister Raila Odinga&${esc.hash}39;s Orange Democratic Movement party, will next appear in court on Aug. 11.

No senior government official has been convicted of corruption charges yet. In April, former Cabinet Minister William Ruto was acquitted of corruption charges over the sale of forest land.

Kosgey and Ruto are also among six high-profile Kenyan suspects named by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for being behind the country&${esc.hash}39;s 2007-08 post-election violence in which more than 1,200 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The six are expected to appear at the Hague in September for confirmation hearings of their charges.

Corruption has tarnished the image of east Africa&${esc.hash}39;s biggest economy. According to KACC, Kenya loses up to 40 percent of its gross domestic product to graft annually. (Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Editing by George Obulutsa)

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