NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan parliamentary committee has asked that a cabinet minister and the central bank governor be removed from office and be investigated over the loss of money it says was lost in a currency printing deal.
The powerful parliamentary committee, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), also wants the country's anti-corruption watchdog to investigate the two government officials and take legal action to recover the lost money from them.
The group, which monitors government spending, said in a report presented to the country's national assembly it also wants parliament to approve a resolution that the two are unfit to hold public office in east Africa's biggest economy.
The report was presented to parliament on Wednesday and could be debated and voted on by the assembly within weeks.
Ndung'u faced a similar test earlier this year when the same group demanded he step aside from his post over how he handled the local currency's plunge to a historic low late last year. He was however cleared of responsibility after a majority of Kenyan lawmakers voted in his favour.
Chaired by fiery legislator Boni Khalwale, the PAC has for months been conducting public hearings to investigate the currency printing contracts between the Central Bank of Kenya and London-listed De La Rue PLC.
The PAC concluded that Amos Kimunya, a former finance minister and now transport minister, and central banker Njuguna Ndung'u should step aside from their posts and be probed over the loss of over 1.8 billion shillings in the currency printing deal.
The PAC concluded that while holding the finance brief, Kimunya terminated a long-term contract for the printing of banknotes, opting for four short-term contracts that cost the taxpayer much more.
"The Committee is therefore satisfied that the taxpayer lost Kshs.1,830,909,616.00 being the price difference between the interim orders and the cancelled contract," it said in a report.
Neither Kimunya nor Ndung'u could be reached for comment.
If the PAC's proposals are approved by parliament, President Mwai Kibaki would then have to consider whether to drop Kimunya from his cabinet.
Ndung'u, who enjoys security of tenure, can only be removed permanently after such a recommendation after an investigation by a tribunal.