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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 February 2006, 10:06 GMT
'Corruption reshuffle' in Kenya
Kenyan Vice-President Moody Awori
Moody Awori is one of four ministers allegedly linked to Anglo Leasing
Kenya's president has reshuffled his cabinet after three ministers resigned, following corruption allegations.

Pressure continues on other officials to resign, including Vice-President Moody Awori, who kept his job. All have stated their innocence.

Kenya's Justice Minister Martha Karua has defended the way government is dealing with the crisis which followed a damning report on corruption.

The World Bank has praised the three resignations as unprecedented.

President Kibaki has promoted his lands minister, Amos Kimunya, to the post of finance minister, filling the vacancy created when the former Finance Minister David Mwiraria resigned two weeks ago.

The two other cabinet positions that were vacated by resignations, energy and education, will be incorporated into the briefs of other ministers. There are no new government appointments.

Ms Karua said donors should let Kenyans deal with investigations at their own pace.

"This is the first time we are seeing people in government taking responsibility and this is in line with good governance," Ms Karua told the BBC's Network Africa.

The World Bank, which has delayed major loans over graft concerns, welcomed the developments as a high point in the anti-corruption struggle.

"It is a very important landmark and the government needs to be commended for going that far and it should be encouraged to go as far as it needs to go," World Bank country director Colin Bruce told Reuters news agency.

Scandals

The BBC's Adam Mynott in Nairobi says the corruption scandals are continuing to reverberate around Kenyan politics and civil society.

John Githongo
Mr Githongo's report has cost three ministers their jobs so far

On Tuesday, more than 80 Kenyan MPs urged President Mwai Kibaki to sack his vice president over alleged links to a corruption scandal.

Mr Awori was one of two high-profile figures named in a report by former anti-corruption chief John Githongo, in connection with what has become known as the Anglo Leasing affair.

The other top official singled out in the report, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, resigned on Monday.

The MPs demanding Mr Awori's sacking have threatened to stage mass demonstrations later this week unless parliament is recalled to discuss the allegations.

Parliament has been in recess since December.

Separate scandal

Earlier on Tuesday, Kenyan police ordered 20 senior politicians and officials not to leave the country until investigations were concluded.

They are implicated in a second scandal, the so-called "Goldenberg" affair, in which millions of dollars were paid for non-existent exports of gold and diamonds.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki during the swearing in ceremony
President Kibaki has urged Kenyans to be patient
President Mwai Kibaki was elected in 2002 on a pledge to fight the corruption which had characterised the previous administration of Daniel arap Moi, who was in power during the Goldenberg affair.

The other minister who resigned on Monday, George Saitoti, who quit as education minister, was implicated in the Goldenberg affair and was among those ordered to surrender his passport.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the head of Kenya's human rights commission, Maini Kiai, said that ministerial resignations were not evidence of a real clampdown on corruption.

"I think it is very important that this country and the people of this country maintain sustained pressure on the office of the attorney general to ensure we have credible and effective prosecutions," he said.

Mr Githongo has accused the president of doing nothing over the Anglo Leasing scam, which involved hundreds of millions of dollars of government contracts being awarded to a phantom firm.

An official government report on the Goldenberg affair was handed to Mr Kibaki last week, who has urged Kenyans to be patient while the investigations continue.


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