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Kenya’s Finance Minister Says He's Innocent of Graft Charges

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki is expected to chair a cabinet meeting Thursday to address calls for the resignation of the finance minister over corruption allegations. This comes after Kenya's parliament unanimously passed a vote of no confidence Wednesday in Finance Minister Amos Kimunya. Kimunya denies any involvement in the alleged corruption charges against him. Kimunya reportedly came under intense criticism after overseeing the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi, which was condemned as a corrupt deal. From Kenya's capital, Nairobi Finance Minister Kimunya tells VOA reporter Peter Clottey that the truth will set him free in Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

"It's a surprising move after all the accolades that were showered on me just for me reading the budget and what we've been doing. I'm still digesting the matter, but what is more important for me is that I would want the Kenyan people to listen to what their leaders had to say, and digest it and make up their minds to see whether there was any substance in the allegations leveled against me, and after that they will know the kinds of leaders they have," Kimunya pointed out.

He described as unjustified the vote of no confidence by his fellow parliamentarians.

"I would want my friends around the world, professional colleagues who know me, and who know my stance on governance, on integrity, and all the issues that I stand for to actually go through the list of the issues that the members (of parliament) talked about, and make their mind and judge me based on a clear standing of whether it is true or false," he said.

Kimunya said he has done nothing wrong and claims he is sure he would be vindicated when the truth comes out in Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

"The truth will set us free, and I have always stood for the truth and that is why I am not particularly popular. I stand for the truth, I stand for integrity, I stand for no people taking short cut and you don't get popular with that kind of stand," Kimunya noted.

He described as unfortunate the charges leveled against him after the controversial sale of the Regency Hotel.

"You see, if by recovering the Grand Regency Hotel that has taken 15 years and selling it to recover the money that was taken away from central bank, if that is in bad taste then we are in trouble as a nation. I expected people to say thank you very much for recovering what had been looted from us. But obviously some people have lost out in terms of the wheeling and dealing they have been doing in terms of continuing milking the central bank, and you don't get popular with that kind of move. But I am very proud of what I have done," he said.

Kimunya said he still stands by the truth despite the allegations of corruption being leveled against him.

"In terms of many allegations of corruption, the truth will eventually come out, and it would become very clear pretty soon who is telling lies and who is telling the truth," Kimunya pointed out.

He expressed as unfortunate the vote of no confidence in him passed by his colleagues in parliament.

"In terms of the vote of confidence, it depends on who is making the judgment and the capacity of the people making the judgment. If they are using emotions or if they are using facts, but I'm very proud of what I have been doing, and I will continue doing what I have to do for this country, and I would not be discouraged in terms of the values that I stand for, and fight for integrity and fight for better governance," he said.