Kenya mayor arrested over cemetery scandal

image captionMayor Majiwa is expected to appear in court on Tuesday

Kenya's mayor of Nairobi has been arrested for questioning in connection with a scandal over the sale of land for a graveyard in the capital.

Geoffrey Majiwa is the highest official to be arrested over the alleged scam.

Officials are accused of paying $3.6m (£2.4m) of taxpayers' money for the land, which was worth only 10% as much and did not have a title-deed.

Donors have long criticised Kenya's government for failing to tackle corruption.

'Big fish'

A parliamentary inquiry implicated senior government officers, accusing them of over-valuing the land.

So far, only 14 junior officials at Nairobi's city council are facing charges.

But Mr Majiwa's arrest comes two days after Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) head, Patrick Lumumba, said that having dealt with the "small fish", it was now time for the commission to turn its attention to the "big fish".

The land had been earmarked to replace the Langata cemetery, which is full.

But the rocky land purchased was not even suitable for use as a cemetery, the authorities said.

It is alleged that the land on the outskirts of Nairobi was purchased for 283m Kenyan shillings, when it was worth 24m shillings.

KACC spokesman Nicholas Simani said Mr Majiwa would be charged in court on Tuesday.

The BBC's Ruth Nesoba in Nairobi says the passing of a new constitution in August has made it easier for the authorities to fight corruption.

The constitution stipulates that anyone facing criminal charges should step aside from public office.

Last week, Kenya's Higher Education Minister William Ruto was suspended, after a court ruled he must stand trial over corruption allegations.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.