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Last Updated: Friday, 21 December 2007, 10:25 GMT
UK travel ban for Kenyan minister
Environment Minister David Mwiraria
David Mwiraria was finance minister until he was accused of corruption
A Kenyan minister and close ally of President Mwai Kibaki has been banned from the UK over corruption allegations just six days before general elections.

The British High Commission in Nairobi has told all major airlines not to take Environment Minister David Mwiraria and three others to the UK.

Senior MP Nicholas Biwott, another Kibaki supporter, is also on the list.

The UK denies it is interfering in the election, in which Mr Kibaki faces a strong challenge from Raila Odinga.

The other two banned from even using UK airports are businessmen, Sanjay Kumar Ramniklal and Manoj Ramniklal Panacha Shah.

The four men's UK visas have been cancelled.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua refused to comment on the ban.

"We have issues of national concern to worry about and we are not interested in what one or two countries are doing, there are other countries in the world to look up to."

'Same cloth'

Mr Mwiraria is standing for election to parliament for Mr Kibaki's Party of National Unity.

He resigned from the cabinet after being linked to the Anglo-Leasing scandal in 2006 but was reappointed earlier this year. He has said the allegations against him are false.

In 2005, former Security Minister Chris Murungaru was subjected to a similar travel ban by the UK.

Mr Biwott was one of Kenya's most powerful men under former President Daniel arap Moi.

Mr Kibaki defeated the Kanu party of Mr Biwott and Mr Moi in 2002, pledging to end corruption, but now both men support his re-election bid.

Last week, Justice Minister Martha Karua warned the former colonial power not to interfere in Kenyan politics, after Baroness Shriti Vadera, UK under secretary for international development, said there was little hope that this month's Kenyan elections would lead to corruption being tackled.

"The incumbents and the opposition are mostly cut from the same cloth," the baroness told the House of Lords.

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