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Corruption Trial Opens In Nairobi - 2004-02-09

The trial of the first of several Kenyan appeals judges facing corruption charges has opened in Nairobi.

Appeals Judge Philip Waki is the first of eight judges who are to appear before a special tribunal set up late last year to try them on allegations of corruption and misconduct within Kenya's judiciary.

Mr. Waki, who was appointed to the high court in 1995, faces seven counts of corruption. Among other things, he is accused of dealing with the family of the late drug baron Ibrahim Akasha whose case he was handling at the High Court in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Mr. Waki is one of 23 appeals and high court judges who were named in a government probe of the judiciary last year.

The judges were removed from office and given the option either to retire with full benefits or be tried for corruption. Most chose to retire.

The report from last year's investigation found that 152 of Kenya's 300 judges accepted bribes from criminal defendants and engaged in other corrupt practices.

The investigation is part of President Mwai Kibaki's campaign to stamp out corruption.