Kenyan minister quits for health reason amid graft crackdown

November 22, 2015, 7:18am

By AFP, News24. Photo: iStock

Nairobi - A top Kenyan minister resigned Saturday for health reasons amid a government crackdown on public corruption.

It follows intense public pressure after a parliamentary inquiry into the devolution ministry, where officials are alleged to have massively inflated government purchases, including claiming to have bought simple pens for $85 each.

Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru, who denies any wrongdoing, said she was stepping down for health reasons but admitted there had been problems in her ministry.

"I will be the first to admit mistakes were made, some officers, abused the discretion granted to them and the trust placed on them," Waiguru said, who took the post in May 2013.

Last week, Kenya's biggest donors issued a fierce rebuke to rampant corruption in the east African nation, warning it weakened economic growth and security and threatening to impose travel bans.

In a rare joint show of force, a dozen ambassadors from key donor nations, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Japan warned that corruption was "undermining Kenya's future."

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday however said it had been "an important week for the fight against graft" in Kenya.

"This week alone 72 individuals including a principal secretary and five managing directors were arraigned in court on corruption related offences," Kenyatta's office said in a statement.

"This brings to a total of 352 high profile personalities charged in court for corruption or abuse of office in the last six months alone."

Kenya, which is placed near the bottom of Transparency International's annual corruption index, coming in 145th out of 174, has long been blighted by graft.