Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

A former Kenyan tourism minister has been arrested and taken to court over corruption allegations.

Najib Balala, and other ex-officials, are accused of inflating the cost of a project to build a tourism college.

In court, he denied the charge of abuse of office relating to an irregular payment worth $21m (£17m), the Nation newspaper reports.

He is the first former minister to be arrested since William Ruto was elected president last year.

Mr Ruto came to office vowing to fight corruption, which has long been seen as a problem in the country.

Mr Balala served as tourism minister for 12 years in three successive governments, stepping down in 2022 as President Uhuru Kenyatta left office.

He appeared in court in the coastal town of Malindi alongside a former permanent secretary at the ministry of tourism, Leah Gwiyo.

She also denied the charge, the Nation reports.

They were both released on a cash bail of $6,400.

They are accused of using private consultants in 2010, against cabinet advice, in the project to build the tourism college in Kilifi county. The consultants are accused of artificially inflating the cost of their services.

Other suspects are expected to appear in court on 28 December.

By Joy

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