1 October 2006

Kenya: Minister - No Sacred Cows in War On Graft

Nairobi — The war of words between Justice minister Mrs Martha Karua and Lang'ata MP Mr Raila Odinga over planned investigations on corruption has intensified.

Karua on Saturday told the MP that there would be no sacred cows in the fight against graft. The minister was reacting to Raila's warning on Friday that she should keep off him and the entire Odinga family over the investigation on the Kisumu molasses plant.

She was speaking at Thumaita East Secondary School in her Gichugu constituency during the Prize Giving Day. Karua asked Raila to wait and defend himself before the investigators.

"I would like to remind Raila that I Martha Karua as the Justice minister I have nothing to do with him, the Odinga family or any other person under investigation," she said. She made it clear that no amount of intimidation from Raila, or any other person mentioned, will deter the Government's efforts to bring to justice those who were involved in corruption.

She urged the ODM-Kenya leader to carry his own cross over any economic crime he may have committed. "Why would he like other people named in the Ndung'u Report investigated and not him? There is no sacred cow in this fight and Raila should know this," Karua said.

She declared that she had nothing to do with the Ndung'u Report, which has implicated Spectre International, a company associated with the Odinga family, with corruption.

"I did not write the Ndung'u Report. It was written by independent investigators," she said.

Raila was quoted as asking the minister to stop witch-hunting the Odinga family. He termed her investigations into the molasses affair "absolute nonsense".

The minister said that those making "noise" over the ongoing investigations will not deter the Government's efforts to crack down on the corrupt.

"Those with nothing to hide will go scot-free while those with questions to answer in the name of Kenyan citizens will answer," the minister added.

The Minister for Health, Mrs Charity Ngilu, was the chief guest during the function. She defended the Government from critics, saying it had made tremendous economic progress that is benefiting Kenyans.

"I am asking Kenyans to shun empty rhetoric and politics being waged by the critics of this Government," she said.

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