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Kenya’s Government Launches Anti-Graft Investigation

FILE-In this file photo taken Thursday, July 8, 2010 Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula is seen during an interview with The Associated Press in Nairobi, Kenya. Wetangula quit his Cabinet post on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010 to allow investigatio

The director of Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Authority told VOA his organization has begun investigating several high ranking officials, including cabinet ministers in the current administration, who have been accused of committing graft.

PLO Lumumba, a constitutional law expert, also called upon Kenyans to get involved in the graft fight to weed out what he said was the endemic corruption in the East African nation.

“The fight against corruption is something that must be taken seriously, and I think it is now unanimously recognized that institutional reform is necessary. And, indeed, in the context of the new constitution, dispensation is already provided that, within six months of the coming into force of the constitution, the current holder of the office of the chief justice would have to vacate office,” said Lumumba.

“I agree with the sentiment of the U.S. ambassador that institutional reform is critical to the long-term health of the nation, so that the nation can turn the corner.”

Kenya's suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto is accused of graft (file photo)
Kenya's suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto is accused of graft (file photo)

Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reported that U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger has called for sweeping changes to Kenya's justice system.

Speaking at a development forum Monday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Ranneberger called for the east African nation to replace its top judge and lawyer.

Lumumba said the U.S. envoy’s call is in accordance with Kenya’s newly installed constitution.

“One of the things we have to recognize is that the country will not realize its potential unless the fight against corruption is given the kind of prominence that it deserves because, if we have an environment which is riddled with corruption, no investor will come to Kenya.”

Ranneberger said the ouster of Attorney General Amos Wako and Justice Evan Gicheru is an important step in eradicating what he called a “culture of impunity.”

The U.S. diplomat said ensuring political stability and good governance is critical for Kenya to attract foreign investment.

Ambassador Ranneberger has been an outspoken critic of Kenya's rampant corruption. As part of Kenya's transition to its new constitution, the country must install a new chief justice by February. The attorney general must also be replaced by August.