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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 09:44 GMT
Kenya corruption 'threatening UK'
Kim Howells
Mr Howells said corruption weakened border controls
Corruption in Kenya is increasing the UK's exposure to drug trafficking and terrorism, Foreign Office minister Kim Howells has warned.

The East African nation's "porous" borders meant groups such as al-Qaeda see it as being "wide open", he added.

Kenya was also being targeted by drug cartels, bringing in heroin and cocaine which ended up in Britain, Mr Howells said during an official visit.

Kenyan ministers deny that corruption is making the country a "soft touch".

'People can be bought'

Mr Howells, who visited the capital Nairobi and the port of Mombasa, said: "People can be bought, right from the person who works at the docks in Mombasa up to the government."

He added: "This weakness has been recognised by drug-traffickers and probably by terrorists too."

Several drug seizures in the UK this year have come via Kenya.

BBC east African correspondent Karen Allen said Mr Howells' remarks had been among the most candid by a British minister since a new Kenyan government took over four years ago promising to reverse decades of corruption.

Kenyan ministers deny the country is an easy target for drug traffickers, citing Africa's largest cocaine haul - 1.1 tonnes seized two years ago - as proof that the situation is improving.

Drugs sackings at Kenya airline
19 Apr 02 |  Africa
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17 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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