Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki has announced the resignation of two senior cabinet members implicated in corruption scandals. Speaking on state television earlier today, Mr. Kibaki said his energy and education ministers have stepped down so full investigations of the scandals can proceed.
The energy minister, Kiraitu Murungi, is accused of taking part in the so-called Anglo Leasing scandal, in which senior officials allegedly used a fake company to win huge government contracts. The education minister, George Satioti, is accused of being part of the so-called Goldenberg affair, an even bigger financial scandal dating to the early 1990s.
Announcement of the resignations came on the heels of two corruption-related developments over the weekend. A group of Kenyan parliamentarians traveled to London and interviewed exiled former anti-corruption investigator, John Githongo. Also over the weekend, the report by the commission investigating the Goldenberg corruption scandal was published on orders of President Kibaki, who received the commission’s findings on February 3rd.
Joseph Odindo is a senior editor for Kenya’s leading newspaper, the Daily Nation. He told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje the newly published report doesn’t shed much new information. He says, “It simply makes it possible for Kenyans to understand the roles individuals played in the Goldenberg scandal and how the whole scheme was executed.” Odindo says, “Much of the information has been in the public domain during the inquiry and published in newspapers.”
The Daily Nation editor says the published report does not formally implicate former president Arap Moi. He says it does reference Mr. Moi a few times – with commission members saying the former president “should have known about certain decisions made by his ministers.” Odindo says as the looting affected the economy in a serious way, the judges say Mr. Moi “could not have failed to know what was happening to the economy, and that this was linked to Goldenberg.”
Joseph Odindo says the challenge now before Kenyan officials is “to take convincing action on the Goldenberg report and on the whole Anglo Leasing affair.” He says, “Dealing with these issues has a political cost, as some of the people involved in the Goldenberg affair are an integral part of the Kibaki administration.” This, he says, “multiplies President Kibaki’s difficulties.”