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Fri, 11 May 2012 12:52 - Updated Fri, 11 May 2012 12:52

Kenya approves new anti-corruption chief

Kenya

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   NAIROBI - Kenya's parliament approved the appointment of a new anti-graft chief on Thursday, after months of the position being vacant, amid fresh claims of corruption in government.

Lawyer Mumo Matemu will head the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which has had no leader since it replaced the disbanded Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) last September.

Lawmakers voted to accept Matemu and his two deputies after they were nominated by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga last December.

The anti-corruption body was in danger of losing many investigators and other workers because it had no boss to renew staff contracts that were about to expire.

Matemu's appointment came amid a corruption scandal involving the state medical insurance fund. Earlier this week, the chairman of a powerful parliament committee demanded Medical Services Minister Anyang' Nyong'o resign over payments by the fund to "phantom" hospitals. Nyong'o has denied any wrongdoing.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission replaced the KACC under a new constitution enacted in 2010.