Kenya minister investigated over illegal car imports


Kenya’s industrialisation minister was questioned over the suspect import of hundreds of cars, becoming the latest official to be investigated in the government’s renewed fight against graft.

Kenyan law bars cars that are more than eight years old from being imported into the country.

While the minister can exempt some cars from the rule — intended to prevent the price of legal imports being undercut — the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) alleges Henry Kosgey misused used his powers by allowing in hundreds of such cars, reports Reuters.
“The minister recorded a statement regarding the importation of vehicles which had exceeded eight years. We will continue with our investigation and forward the file to the attorney general,” KACC spokesman Nicholas Simani said.
“The investigation is on the minister himself, and his role in the matter as the minister in charge of that docket. He needs to explain how it came about that he authorised the importation of hundreds of cars which should not be in Kenya.”

The minister could not be reached for comment.

Kosgey is the latest in a string of high-profile officials to be investigated over corruption accusations in the past weeks — a sign President Mwai Kibaki’s government is stepping up its long-promised war against a vice that has blighted east Africa’s biggest economy for decades.

Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula and his permanent secretary stepped aside after a parliamentary committee recommended they quit and be investigated for authorising payment for new embassies at inflated prices. Suspended higher education minister William Ruto and the mayor of Nairobi, Geophrey Majiwa, have both been charged with fraud over two unrelated land scandals.

On Friday, KACC’s director Patrick Lumumba said he was investigating four other cabinet ministers and had asked foreign governments including Switzerland to help trace money that may have been stolen.