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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 July, 2004, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Kenya corruption claims condemned
Sir Edward Clay
Sir Edward Clay has been asked to "name names"
The Kenyan authorities have demanded that the British representative in Nairobi substantiate allegations of government corruption.

Foreign Minister Chirau Mwakwere had said high commissioner Sir Edward Clay should produce his evidence by noon local time (0900 GMT) on Thursday.

In a stinging attack, Mr Clay accused unnamed corrupt ministers and officials of behaving "like gluttons".

He has not responded to the deadline and Kenya has not taken any action.

Speaking to business leaders in Nairobi, Mr Clay said ministers could hardly expect those in the outside world not to care when they were "vomiting on the shoes" of donors.

Corruption had cost Kenya some $188m since President Mwai Kibaki took office in 2002, he added.

'Unsubstantiated allegations'

Mr Clay was later summoned by Mr Mwakwere to "give facts and figures and to name names".

During a 30-minute private meeting, the foreign minister said Kenya was disappointed by the high commissioner's remarks and angry that he had not followed diplomatic channels.

Anti bribes poster

"We are disappointed, disappointed that Sir Edward Clay has failed to substantiate on the allegations that he made. He has refused to give us facts and figures," Mr Mwakwere told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"Let him substantiate first, after that maybe it will be for me to apologise to him, in which case I won't mind, maybe it will be for him to apologise not just to me but to the nation, to the government to the people of Kenya and to the world."

Mr Mwakwere warned that if Mr Clay refused to substantiate his allegations, he would be "not only letting down the British government but also himself".

Aid withheld

Mr Clay suggested that aid suspended under former president Daniel arap Moi because of worries about corruption, then reinstated, could be withheld again.

A government official should have acceptable evidence if making such statements
Miklos Nomad, Gyor, Hungary

He said he realised that corruption would not end overnight with the change of government, but "we hoped it would not be rammed in our faces".

"They may expect we shall not see, or notice, or will forgive them a bit of gluttony because they profess to like Oxfam lunches."

The $188m would pay for 15,000 new classrooms - half the number the education ministry says it needs, the UK envoy said.

Among Mr Clay's other charges:

  • A list of ministers and senior civil servants who were not corrupt would "fit on a postcard, or possibly a postage stamp"
  • Attempts had been made to "kneecap" the body set up to fight corruption
  • A contract worth more than $125m had been awarded to a company "incapable of commissioning a garden shed and discovered never to have delivered anything more than drawings more or less on the back of an envelope, and hot air".

MPs close to Mr Kibaki have accused foreign envoys of interfering in Kenya's affairs by criticising the government.

Lands, Settlement and Housing Minister Amos Kimunya said that people should focus on the government's efforts to fight the corruption it had inherited.

While Planning and National Development Minister Anyang' Nyong'o said: "One thing is certain, that I know the number of clean, well meaning ministers and civil servants can be written in an encyclopaedia, and not on the back of a stamp of a postcard."

Corruption watchdog Transparency International says that police corruption has fallen since Mr Kibaki took over in December 2002.

Mr Clay also said he hoped Kenya would have had a new constitution by now - Mr Kibaki had promised to introduce one within 100 days of taking office and the issue has divided his ruling coalition.

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