Kenyan police arrest finance minister Henry Rotich on corruption charges with CMC di Ravenna
Kenya’s finance minister Henry Rotich was arrested this morning on corruption charges, along with the director of Italian construction firm CMC di Ravenna.
Authorities have never arrested a sitting Kenyan minister for corruption.
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The charges emerged after Kenyan police investigated the misuse of funds in the building of two dams.
CMC Di Ravenna was overseeing the project. Police also arrested the firm’s director, Italian Paolo Porcelli, along with 26 others including Rotich’s number two.
Rotich took out a newspaper advertisement in March to deny any wrongdoing. CMC Di Ravenna has also denied any knowledge of the crime.
Prosecutors have levelled eight charges at Rotich, ranging from conspiring to defraud to financial misconduct.
The minister faces no choice but to resign immediately, said director of public prosecutions Noodin Haji.
“They broke the law on public finance management under the guise of carrying out legitimate commercial transactions, colossal amounts were unjustifiably and illegally paid out through a well choreographed scheme by government officers in collusion with private individuals and institutions,” Haji said.
The Kenyan treasury only budgeted 46bn Kenyan shillings (£358m) for the dams, he said, but it borrowed 63bn shillings.
Furthermore, the sum was “payable on a timely basis without regard to a performance or works,” he added.
Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto personally requested the government appoint Rotich.
Hundreds of senior government officials and business people are already facing various charges related to corruption. These include the chairman of government body the National Land Commission, the managing director of the state-owned Kenya Railways Corporation, the deputy chief justice, the CEO of national energy company Kenya Power and the head of state-owned Kenya Pipeline Company.
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None of the cases has resulted in a successful prosecution.
CMC di Ravenna was not immediately available for comment.
Main image: Getty