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Nairobi Mayor Arrested in Cemetery Scandal


A handful of anti-corruption demonstrators hold a chain during a protest in downtown Nairobi, 17 Feb 2010 (file photo)

A handful of anti-corruption demonstrators hold a chain during a protest in downtown Nairobi, 17 Feb 2010 (file photo)

The mayor of Nairobi has been arrested on corruption charges involving the purchase of land for a cemetery. Officials from the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission took Mayor Geophrey Majiwa into custody on Monday.

The commission says Majiwa and other 13 officials conspired to steal about $3.5 million from the Ministry of Local Government through a fraudulent land deal. The officials are accused of vastly inflating the price for the 50-hectare plot, then splitting the proceeds after the land was purchased.

The land in Nairobi's Mavoko township was intended for a new cemetery to replace another graveyard that is full.

Mayor Majiwa is expected to appear in court Tuesday. Kenyan media organizations say he has denied involvement in the case.

Kenya continues to be plagued by widespread corruption, despite repeated government vows to crack down on the practice. Last year, the anti-corruption group Transparency International ranked Kenya 146th out of 180 countries in its annual corruption perceptions index.

President Mwai Kibaki suspended the higher education minister, William Ruto, last week after the nation's high court said Ruto should stand trial for fraud.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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