Official accused of fraud

19th May 2000 at 01:00

KENYA'S most senior education official has been sacked after being charged with conspiracy to defraud the government of pound;241,000.

Wilfred Kimalat, the permanent secretary in the education ministry, appeared in court this week, charged with evading paying import duty and value-added tax on electronic goods, along with other senior government officials and businessmen.

The fraud police said Kimalat and the co-accused had falsified documents to show that 7,865 cartons of assorted electronic goods belonged to an education-aided project at Kenya Science Teachers College and were therefore not liable for duty or tax. Equipment imported for use in education institutions does not attractimport duty or value-added tax in Kenya.

Richard Leakey, head of the civil service, said Mr Kimalat is suspended from office until the court reaches a verdict. Other high-profile defendants include two high- ranking finace ministry officials.

Kenyans have been demanding tough action against corruption in the ministry. Anti-corruption units have been dispatched to investigate how bursaries meant for students have gone astray.

Many of them were awarded to "ghost students". After the money has been sent to schools, it is then returned to the headquarters and shared between the colluding heads and education officials. Corruption is rife in selection to teacher-training colleges.

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