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Kenya’s leader replaces finance minister after graft charges

July 24, 2019
Principal Secretary National Treasury Kamau Thugge, left, and Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Kiplagat Rotich appear with other suspects accused of corruption, at the Mililani law court in Nairobi, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Kenya’s finance minister Tuesday denied fraud-related charges over contracts for the construction of two dams in the country’s west. This is the first time a Kenyan finance minister has been charged while in office. Henry Rotich and 14 other officials appeared in court after spending the night in police custody. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Principal Secretary National Treasury Kamau Thugge, left, and Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Kiplagat Rotich appear with other suspects accused of corruption, at the Mililani law court in Nairobi, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Kenya’s finance minister Tuesday denied fraud-related charges over contracts for the construction of two dams in the country’s west. This is the first time a Kenyan finance minister has been charged while in office. Henry Rotich and 14 other officials appeared in court after spending the night in police custody. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya’s president has replaced the finance minister after he was charged with fraud over multi-million-dollar contracts for the construction of two dams in the country’s west.

It is the first time a finance minister in East Africa’s economic hub, which is plagued by widespread corruption, has been charged while in office. Henry Rotich denied the allegations in a court appearance on Tuesday.

A Kenyan government statement on Wednesday said Labor Minister Ukur Yatani Kanacho will take over the finance responsibilities in an acting capacity.

The charges allege that officials conspired to defraud the government in the dams project in Elgeyo Marakwet county, where no construction has started despite billions of shillings being spent.

Several other senior officials who were charged along with Rotich also have been replaced.

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