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US Criticizes Kenyan President Over Anti-Graft Chief Reappointment

By VOA News
03 September 2009

The United States has joined critics condemning Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's reappointment of the head of the country's anti-corruption agency without seeking parliamentary approval.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said Thursday that Mr. Kibaki's decision raises "profoundly troubling questions," given the agency's poor record over the past five years.

President Kibaki on Monday reappointed Justice Aaron Ringera as the director of Kenya's Anti-Corruption Commission for another five-year term, without consulting lawmakers or the organization's advisory board.

Kenya's lawmakers have called the reappointment illegal and have announced steps to pressure the government into revoking the reappointment. On Wednesday, deputies voted to dismiss a procedural motion by the government to send the House on a six-week recess.

Critics say Ringera has failed to change the culture of corruption in the country.

No senior officials have been convicted of corruption since the agency was formed in 2003. Ringera has defended the lack of convictions by saying he does not have the powers to prosecute those accused of corruption.

The chairman of the parliamentary legal committee, Abdikadir Mohammed, said he plans to introduce an amendment to the appropriation bill, which would withhold the Anti-Corruption Commission's budgetary allocations for the next fiscal year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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