Last updateMer, 28 Jan 2015 10am

Kenya: Former minister arrested over land fraud

Nairobi, Kenya - Former Kenyan minister Amos Kimunya has been detained shortly after the state prosecutor declared there was adequate evidence to prosecute him and others over fraud.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko, confirmed on Friday his office had adequate evidence to prosecute Kimunya, an influential figure under former President Mwai Kibaki’s rule, of abuse of office.

Kimunya was appointed minister of various ministries from 2003. He was Minister of Finance; Land; and Trade and left government in 2013 as Transport minister.  He was recently grilled by a parliamentary probe committee over a railway project, which ended acrimoniously.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigated the ownership transfer of a 75-acre piece of land from the state to a firm allegedly owned by Kimunya, near his home town Kipipiri, central Kenya.

“The DPP is satisfied there is adequate evidence and that it is in the public’s interest to prosecute the said persons,” the Prosecutor said in a statement Friday.

Kimunya was arrested after questioning. A spokesperson for the anti-corruption body, said the former minister and two others, were being prepared to face the courts on Monday.

“They (suspects) are still presumed innocent. As such, it would be inappropriate for the DPP to comment on the matter further,” the Prosecutor said.

A former ranking ministry of land official, Lilian Njenga, who served as the Director of Land Adjudication and Junghae Wainaina, an executive in Kimunya’s private firm, would be charged jointly.

Kimunya is suspected of initiating the change of land ownership as minister without getting the approval of the ministry of Agriculture, which set aside the land for a potato seedling project.

A new anti-corruption crackdown targeting current and former top-ranking government officials is underway in Kenya.

The DPP is also investigating the current Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on abuse of office.

Pana 16/03/2014