What next after collapse of ex-CS case? Job?
Kenya’s former finance minister Henry Rotich has been acquitted of fraud charges, marking the latest high-profile corruption case to collapse or be dismissed under the administration of President William Ruto.
A magistrate court said Thursday state prosecutors had failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove the charges against Rotich and eight other officials implicated in the so-called Arror and Kimwarer dams’ scandal.
The nine were among the more than 20 officials initially investigated over the alleged loss of millions of dollars in payments reportedly made to, among others, the Italian construction company CMC Di Ravena for the construction of two dams whose works stalled at little more than bush clearing. Both the former minister and the Italian company denied any wrongdoing.
Read:Kenya allocates $247m for dams despite audit queries
Rotich’s dramatic arrest in 2019 significantly marked the first time a serving minister was put in custody on corruption charges and was seen as the government of then President Uhuru Kenyatta laying down a marker in the war against corruption.
But it also illustrated the dysfunction in the previous administration, with then Deputy President Ruto and his political allies springing up to Rotich’s defence.
Ruto, who was leading a rebel faction of then ruling Jubilee party, seized on the case to advance the narrative that Kenyatta was weaponising the war on corruption against his political opponents.
He accused the state investigative, prosecution, anti-corruption and revenue agencies of targeting his political allies.
However, as president, Ruto has found himself facing the same accusations of selective prosecution he levelled against his predecessor.
Read:NGUGI: Grand thievery must never be forgiven, it sets a risky precedent
A number of high-profile corruption cases that were withdrawn from the courts or ended in acquittals in quick succession within the first three months of his being sworn into office on September 12, 2022 also triggered speculation about possible political pressure on the investigative and prosecution agencies.
The president has sought to absolve himself from blame, saying he hasn’t made any calls to the investigative and prosecution agencies to influence the outcome of a case.
But his subsequent appointment of the same individuals to senior positions in State agencies soon after their cases collapsing or being acquitted continues to raise eyebrows.
Is Rotich next in the re-appointment pipeline?