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Kenya urged to take fraud fight `to the top'

CORRUPTION IS still rife in Kenya and President Mwai Kibaki needs to suspend top government officials if the government's fight against fraud is to remain credible, the British ambassador said yesterday.

Several cases of high-level corruption have been revealed in parliament and newspapers since President Kibaki took office in December 2002, pledging that fighting the vice is his top priority. Only senior or middle-level civil servants have been shown the door. No minister who has been investigated for alleged corruption has been prosecuted or forced to leave the government.

Ambassador Edward Clay said yesterday that investigations "will be hampered if the top people in those departments are in the way ... It is sufficient to reach a political judgment on whether the public interest requires them to stand aside and let the investigators get on without their being in the way."

The Vice-President of Kenya, Moody Awori, said: "We will continue to fight corruption, but sometimes I get a little confused because we are using a legal system we were taught from the West. It taught this, that you are innocent until proven guilty."

But Mr Clay said: "If the herdsman hears a commotion among his animals and finds a leopard has entered the boma (homestead), he will first eject the leopard before seeing what damage it has done." (AP)