Kenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich was arrested on Monday on suspicion of financial misconduct related to the construction of two dams, an unprecedented detention of a sitting minister for corruption in a country notorious for graft. Charges against Rotich, announced on Monday, stem from a police investigation into the misuse of funds in a dam project overseen by the Italian construction company CMC Di Ravenna. Rotich denied any wrongdoing in a large newspaper advertisement in March. The company has previously denied any wrongdoing. Rotich and his co-accused face eight charges, ranging from conspiring to defraud and financial misconduct, Noordin Haji, the director of public prosecutions, said. The minister and other officials will have to resign immediately, he said. Rotich was arrested shortly after the charges were announced, George Kinoti, the head of the police Directorate of Criminal Investigations, told Reuters in a text message. Suspects must be produced in court within 24 hours of an arrest. The minister will be charged along with 27 other people, including Italian Paolo Porcelli, the director of CMC di Ravenna; and Rotich’s number two at the ministry, Kamau Thugge, the principal secretary. “They broke the law on public finance management under the guise of carrying out legitimate commercial transactions, colossal amounts were unjustifiably and illegally paid out through a well choreographed scheme by government officers in collusion with private individuals and institutions,” Haji told a news conference. The two dams were budgeted to cost 46 billion shillings ($446 million), he said, but the treasury…
“I would not be celebrating arrests. We need to see people in jail and we need to see what has been stolen recovered,” said Samuel Kimeu, the head of Kenya’s chapter of Transparency International.
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