Kenyan Minister Ruto to Return to Cabinet After Graft Charges Were Dropped

Kenyan lawmaker William Ruto will resume his duties as higher education minister after he was acquitted of corruption charges, a government spokesman said.

“Once you’ve been cleared and there is no other reason why you should be stepping aside, then you automatically resume your office,” Alfred Mutua told reporters in Nairobi, the capital, today. Ruto “will return” to the position within the next few days, Mutua said in an interview.

The minister, who also has been accused by the International Criminal Court of responsibility for crimes against humanity during post-election violence in 2008, was suspended from Cabinet in October pending the conclusion of the graft case.

Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei dismissed the case against Ruto on April 12, K24 television station reported. The charges stemmed from the sale of land in the Ngong Forest Sanctuary to the state-owned Kenyan Pipeline Co., in which Ruto allegedly received an irregular payment.

Ruto, 44, is among six Kenyans accused of responsibility for crimes such as murder and forced displacement during clashes after a disputed December 2007 election that killed 1,500 people.

Two months of fighting abated after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki agreed to share power with then-opposition leader Raila Odinga, who was named prime minister.

The Hague-based court will begin hearings in September to decide whether the suspects, including Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who also serves as deputy prime minister, will stand trial or have the proposed charges dropped.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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