News / Africa

Return to Cabinet Possible for Kenyan ICC Suspect William Ruto

Kenya's former Education Minister William Ruto, center left, Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, center, and Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, center right, wave to thousands of people during a prayer rally at Uhuru Park, Kenya, April 11,
Kenya's former Education Minister William Ruto, center left, Kenya's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, center, and Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, center right, wave to thousands of people during a prayer rally at Uhuru Park, Kenya, April 11,
TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Onyiego

International Criminal Court suspect William Ruto has been cleared of fraud charges in Kenya’s courts, paving the way for his return to the cabinet.

After nearly seven years of legal battles, suspended Kenyan Higher Education Minister Ruto has been cleared of fraud charges. Ruto faced trial for his alleged involvement in the illegal sale of land in the protected Ngong Forest to the Kenya Pipeline Corporation for an estimated $3.4 million. Ruto was accused of receiving more than half a million dollars in the illicit deal.   

In a ruling late Tuesday, Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei dismissed the case, finding the evidence insufficient to indict the Kenyan politician and his co-defendants. As the chairman of the Law Society of Kenya, Apollo Mboya, explains, though, the ruling did not address the innocence or guilt of Ruto.

"The magistrate was of the view that it was not enough evidence to put them on their defense," said Mboya. "It doesn’t mean that he did not do it, but the evidence as presented did not warrant him to be put on his defense."

Mboya told VOA that while appeal was possible, it was not common or likely in a situation such as Ruto’s. Charges were first brought against Ruto in June of 2004. Shortly after, he challenged their validity in Kenya’s Constitutional Court. The challenge was not heard until October of last year, when the court’s judges ordered Ruto to stand trial. The politician was suspended from his post as higher education minister by President Mwai Kibaki, a move mandated by Kenya’s Economic Crimes Act.

With the charges against him dropped, the former minister is now legally cleared to retake his post. But while Kenya’s laws mandate the removal of ministers facing fraud charges, Mboya explained that they do not require his reappointment.

"It is not mandatory that he has to go back because it is at the discretion of the principals. Depending on the way the politics play out, it might be another point of contention," said Mboya.

Ruto is a member of the Orange Democratic Movement, the party of Prime Minister Raila Odinga. While the two were once close allies, they have become estranged over the past year.

The split first occurred when Ruto was demoted by the prime minister from his former post at the Ministry of Agriculture for his opposition to Kenya’s proposed constitution, approved last August. Public disagreements quickly morphed into open hostility once Ruto was named as a suspect in the ICC investigation into Kenya’s 2007-2008 post election violence.

The Kenyan government, especially those members loyal to President Mwai Kibaki, were quick to denounce the ICC process and demand local trials. While his position has since softened, Odinga initially refused to withdraw his support for the Hague.

With Odinga legally required to weigh in on Ruto’s reappointment, it appears unlikely the embattled politician will resume his former post.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid