Kenyan minister quits, decries unsubstantiated graft allegations

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 21, 2015 10:37 AM

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's minister for devolution and planning, Anne Waiguru, said on Saturday she had resigned on medical advice, adding unsubstantiated allegations linking her to corruption in her ministry had taken a toll on her health.

"I have therefore, following my doctor's advice, requested the president to relieve me of the responsibilities of the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning and should he find it fit, to accord me lighter duties as he shall deem appropriate," she said in a statement.

Waiguru said she had revealed attempts by some officials to steal funds from the National Youth Service - which falls under the devolution ministry - and that this had triggered personal attacks on her and her family.

"There have been frenzied but organized attacks on my character, with sustained but unsupported allegations of corruption," Waiguru said in a statement, without identifying her accusers.

"A diabolical machinery has been applied incessantly by misinformed and mischievous parties to intimidate, harass and discredit both my professional and personal integrity."

On Wednesday, two high-ranking officials at the devolution ministry were charged in court with trying to block another senior official from informing the police about a plot to steal 695 million shillings ($6.8 million).

Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti, the most senior official after Waiguru, and Nelson Githinji, the director general of the National Youth Service, were charged with "tampering with public officers". Both pleaded not guilty.

Corruption in Kenya is seen as a major obstacle to business and law enforcement, discouraging investment and hindering efforts to crack down on those behind a spate of Islamist militant attacks. It is also cited as a reason for lack of or poor provision of public services.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's government has been under pressure to tackle corruption, which he made a priority on taking office in 2013.

Observers say graft has increased with the advent of newly-created government units, known as counties.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Mark Potter)