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 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 13:56 GMT
Kenya gets anti-graft czar
A policeman stops a minibus driver
Corruption is found at all levels in Kenya

Kenya's three-week-old government pressed on with its anti-corruption crusade on Wednesday by trimming the office of the president and naming an anti-graft czar.

The move coincides with the publication of three bills to set up an anti-corruption commission and enact a law requiring all public servants to declare their wealth.

John Githongo
John Githongo
Age 37
Transparency International-Kenya executive director
Columnist for East African newspaper
Prominent African anti-corruption campaigner
The Central Bank of Kenya is also moving to recover controversial payments made by the past government in the run-up to the general elections.

President Mwai Kibaki, the leader of the victorious National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) in the December polls, promised sweeping changes after ending the 40-year rule of the former ruling party, Kanu.

He has inherited a country burdened with foreign debt, a limping economy and rampant corruption under Mr Moi's 24-year rule.

Ethics

As senior officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) began talks with the new government in Nairobi, President Kibaki announced that he had reduced the number of staff in his office from 48 to 25.

He also appointed the former executive director of Transparency International in Kenya, John Githongo, as the new permanent secretary of governance and ethics in his office.

President Mwai Kibaki
Kibaki was elected on an anti-corruption platform

Mr Githongo, 37, will spearhead the fight against corruption and advise the president on the clean-up campaign.

At the same time, the new Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Kiraitu Murungi, has published three bills in a further attempt to crack down on corruption.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill will create an anti-graft authority to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption in the public and private sectors.

The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Bill will set out the rules under which the authority will work.

The Public Officers Ethics Bill will require all public servants - including cabinet ministers and MPs - to declare their wealth.

Frozen aid

Taking the cue from the new government, the central bank has also frozen, through a high court order, the payment of $1m made to a contractor by the Moi government just four days before the general elections.

The bank has questioned the payment for a project it claims stalled a decade ago.

Just before the elections, there were allegations of financial improprieties levelled at the outgoing government.

Narc leaders alleged that the Kanu government had issued 4.5bn shillings ($56.4m; 35.3m) worth of special bonds paid to contractors with close relationships to senior Kanu members.

In the past, Kenya's failure to pass anti-graft legislation - and Mr Moi's interference with anti-corruption commissions - led to the freezing of international aid.

Almost $1bn in aid remains frozen, awaiting evidence of a genuine change.

Both the IMF and the World Bank have told Kenya's new government that it must pass laws to tackle economic crimes before lending can be resumed.

Kenyans choose a new president

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06 Jan 03 | Africa
03 Jan 03 | Business
08 Jan 03 | Education
13 Jan 03 | Business
13 Jan 03 | Africa
04 Jan 03 | From Our Own Correspondent
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