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Suspended Kenyan Minister to Appear in Court Tuesday

  • Peter Clottey

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

The executive director of Kenyans for Democracy and Justice, a political pressure group said most Kenyans are demanding the removal from cabinet all ministers accused of fraud.

This comes as suspended higher education minister William Ruto is scheduled to appear in Court Tuesday over graft charges.

Okia Omtata said if the coalition government heeds the call of Kenyans, Prime Minister Raila Odinga could be affected since he is also accused of graft.

“There is supposed to be a mention of the case later today. And during mention, usually, all the accused persons are supposed to avail themselves before the court. So, it is expected that Mr. Ruto and others charged before the magistrate court in 2004 with defrauding Kenya Pipeline Company of more than 272 million Kenyan Shillings in a sale of a plot…,” he said.

Last week, Higher Education Minister Ruto was suspended from cabinet just days after a constitutional court ruled he would face criminal fraud charges.

The education minister and four others face fraud charges over the sale of a piece of land in Ngong forest to the Kenya Pipeline Company, Ltd for a total of Sh272 million ($3,374,689.57).

But Mr. Ruto’s supporters have rejected the charges, claiming they are politically motivated to thwart his presidential ambitions.

According Section 62 of Kenya’s Anti-corruption and Economic Crimes Act, “a public officer who is charged with corruption or economic crime shall be suspended at half pay with effect from the date of the charge.”

Executive director Omtata said there should not be any form of what he described as selective justice in Kenya.

“Mr. Ruto’s case is one among 15 cases that I know of. The 15 cabinet ministers (have cases in court) including the prime minister who, if the law is applied equally, should (be made) to step aside until those cases are determined. And so you can’t dismiss Mr. Ruto’s claim that he is a victim of selective justice…because he has fallen out with some people,” Omtata said.