Kenya cbank chief to face charges over abuse of office-officials

by Reuters
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:53 GMT

In this 2008 file photo, Kenya's Central Bank Governor Njuguna Ndung'u speaks to Reuters during an interview at his office in Nairobi REUTERS/ Antony Njuguna

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NAIROBI, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Kenya's chief prosecutor has ordered an anti-graft agency to charge the central bank governor over abuse of office, a move that would force him to step aside at a time of turbulence in emerging markets, officials and newspapers said on Tuesday.

Governor Njuguna Ndung'u issued no immediate comment but a senior central bank source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the accusations against the governor were false and said the newspapers had misrepresented the facts.

"I have looked at the file and returned it to the EACC (Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission) with the directive to charge," the director of public prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, told the Daily Nation.

Such a step would create uncertainty in east Africa's biggest economy at a time when many emerging markets are being buffeted by the U.S. plan to reduce stimulus spending, although Kenya and its currency have so far felt little impact.

The prosecutor's media office confirmed the comment and also confirmed other details in the Daily Nation and its sister paper Business Daily that said the case related to the award of a 1.2 billion shilling ($14 million) tender for installing security software at the central bank.

A spokesman at the anti-graft commission said the EACC was aware of the prosecutor's note to charge the governor and that he would be summoned before being taken to court. The governor should be charged within 24 hours of being summoned by the EACC, the spokesman added.

It was not immediately clear when the governor would be summoned.

Ndung'u, who took the job in 2007, previously weathered a political storm in 2012 after parliament tried to oust him over currency turmoil in 2011 when the shilling was devalued and inflation soared. ($1 = 86.1250 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Edmund Blair)

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