Kenya’s High Court granted central bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u’s request to block his arrest on corruption allegations in a case related to the tender of security software.
The ruling prevents Ndung’u from being detained by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission or any other Kenyan authority until March 12, when his petition seeking to stop the charges will be heard, Judge David Majanja said today at a hearing in the capital, Nairobi. The date was set to give parties time to prepare their arguments, Majanja said.
Kenya’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on Feb. 11 recommended that Ndung’u be prosecuted over a tender for security software that the commission says led to the loss of more than 400 million shillings ($4.6 million) of public funds. Ndung’u said the next day in an e-mailed response to questions that he didn’t approve or award a tender.
Ndung’u, 54, was appointed as governor of the central bank by former President Mwai Kibaki in 2007 and he is scheduled to step down from his second term next year. Ndung’u didn’t attend today’s hearing. Central bank spokesman Samson Burgei says Ndung’u has been out of the country this week.
Ndung’u may be forced to step aside by law should he be charged with abuse of office, according to Yasin Aila, a spokesman for the anti-graft commission.
Ndung’u heads Kenya’s Monetary Policy Committee, which reviews the benchmark interest rate every two months and is scheduled to meet in the first or second week of March. The deputy governor, a position now held by Haron Sirima, can by Kenyan law take over temporarily in the governor’s absence.
Kenya’s shilling strengthened for the first time in three days, rising 0.1 percent to 86.28 per dollar by 4:58 p.m. in Nairobi, paring its decline this week to 0.3 percent.