- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

KENYA

Top officials charged in graft scandal

NAIROBI — Kenya yesterday announced charges of corruption and abuse of office against six persons, including former top treasury officials and a former chief spy, relating to the theft of millions of dollars in part of the country’s largest corruption scandal.

Among those charged were Eric Kotut, the former governor of the Central Bank of Kenya; his deputy, Eliphaz Riungu; Wilfred Koinange, former treasury permanent secretary; James Kanyotu, former intelligence chief; and Kamlesh Pattni, a businessman.

Attorney General Amos Wako said the suspects would be charged with conspiracy “to defraud” and “to commit a felony” in the payment of $81 million in 1993, when the East African nation’s economy was nearly grounded.

They are among a group of 20 men who were accused of participating in the so-called “Goldenberg Affair” in which state coffers were raided of at least $573.6 million through manipulation of a credit plan for fake exports of gold and diamonds.

CHAD

Government foils rebel coup plot

N’DJAMENA — Chad’s government said yesterday it had foiled a coup attempt against President Idriss Deby by some members of the army.

Information Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said two senior officers had been arrested while other plotters had fled toward the east.

A Chadian rebel group fighting to overthrow Mr. Deby said earlier it had tried to start a coup against him from within the armed forces but the plot had been betrayed.

In N’Djamena, government soldiers blocked off the main southern route out of the capital, preventing traffic from heading toward Cameroon.

BENIN

Ex-banker wins first-round vote

COTONOU — Yayi Boni, former head of West African Development Bank, yesterday emerged as winner in the first round of the March 5 presidential election in Benin, according to final results published by the constitutional court.

Mr. Boni led with 35.64 percent of the vote, followed by former legislative leader Adrien Houngbedji. Lehady Soglo, candidate of the Benin Renaissance Party, which used to be the country’s main opposition party, came in the fourth position.

Mr. Boni, a newcomer in Benin’s political scene, will have to face a runoff vote because no candidate received 50 percent of the vote.

Weekly notes …

Zimbabwe has freed an opposition member of parliament and four others after the state withdrew charges related to an arms find linked to a plot to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, their attorneys said yesterday. Those freed included Movement for Democratic Change legislator Giles Mutseyekwa and a police officer. Two others charged in the same case were still detained. … An outbreak of cholera has left 11 persons dead and more than 250 ill in the Angolan capital of Luanda. Health Minister Sebastiao Veloso said the epidemic, first detected Feb. 13, will take months to bring under control.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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