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Last Updated: Friday, 29 July 2005, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Banned Kenya minister 'to sue UK'
Kenya's transport minister, Chris Murungaru (Copyright: The Daily Nation)
Mr Murungaru is an ally of Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki
A Kenyan government minister banned from travel to the UK has insisted he is not corrupt, and says he may sue the British government for "gross libel".

Transport Minister Chris Murungaru described the travel ban, issued by the British High Commission in Nairobi, as a malicious attempt to undermine him.

Mr Murungaru recently lost Kenya's powerful internal security portfolio after allegations of corruption.

The UK has insisted African nations crack down on corrupt officials.

At a news conference in Nairobi, Mr Murungaru said the British decision to ban him was politically motivated and baseless.

This ban is the most malicious, callous and unwarranted thing that ever happened to me
Chris Murungaru
Kenyan transport minister
"They are loaded with pretentious hints at dark deeds, but which specify nothing," he said.

"I say not in jest but in all sincerity and seriousness, for this ban is the most malicious, callous and unwarranted thing that ever happened to me."

'Diplomatic mystery'

Mr Murungaru insisted that the British evidence to support a travel ban would need to stand up to cross-examination in a courtroom.

"The British must provide tangible evidence of wrongdoing on my part which must be able to withstand legal scrutiny in any court of law because I intend to take the most vigorous legal action to end this hounding by innuendo, gossip and malice," he said.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki
President Kibaki came to power on an anti-corruption platform
"I will vigorously defend my integrity in courts of law in Nairobi and any other appropriate jurisdiction.

"The ban is shrouded in bureaucratic and diplomatic mystery. This is pure scare-mongering and intimidation," he added.

Mr Murungaru accused the now-retired former British High Commissioner to Kenya, Edward Clay, of engineering the ban.

Last year, Mr Clay alleged Mr Murungaru had been involved in questionable deals over major government procurement projects.

The accusations were part of a drive by Mr Clay to expose corruption within the government of President Mwai Kibaki, which he alleged totalled some $200m (114m).

Mr Murungaru is a close ally of Mr Kibaki, who came to power in 2003 pledging to eradicate systematic corruption.


SEE ALSO:
Kenya reshuffle after graft ban
14 Feb 05 |  Africa
Graft divides Kenyan government
10 Feb 05 |  Africa


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