Kenya’s attorney general Amos Wako said he planned to take legal action against the United States because the reasons it gave for revoking his visa were defamatory.
The United States confirmed last week it had issued Wako, who has been Kenya’s top government lawyer since 1991, with a travel ban because he was considered an obstacle to the fight against corruption in east Africa’s biggest economy.
“In view of the reasons given, which are clearly defamatory, it is my intention to seek legal advice with a view of instituting legal proceedings in the United States of America.
“I want to take the war there, in the United States of America,” he told a news conference
Ending a culture of impunity in a country where corruption is almost endemic is seen by international donors has a crucial step towards avoiding a repeat of last year’s post-election violence at the next presidential election in 2012.
Wako has been criticised for failing to prosecute the perpetrators of the post-election violence that killed at least 1300 people, and for not nailing the architects of several audacious corruption scams worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Wako said the letter he had received revoking his visa accused him of “corrupt actions which have adversely affected the national interests of the United States of America”.
Wako defended his record, saying he had consistently been a driver for reform within government, even during difficult times, and that the US decision had been made in “bad faith”.
One of the most infamous graft cases is the “Anglo Leasing” scam in which Kenyan state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded to non-existent firms.
The scam involved payments of government money to shadowy foreign companies for services ranging from forgery-proof passports to naval ships and forensic laboratories which never materialised.
Kenya asked Britain’s Serious Fraud Office to investigate some of the fictitious contracts but it ended the probe because Kenya failed to provide evidence.
In February, the head of Kenya’s anti-graft body accused the high court of blocking its efforts to fight corruption by ordering a halt to the Anglo Leasing investigation.
Wako also blamed the United States for hindering the Anglo Leasing investigation by failing to secure the cooperation of potentially key witnesses who are American citizens.
“This is already a case of double standards where the bigger and more competent brother is demanding more from the younger brother, than he the bigger brother can deliver,” Wako said.