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Live Election results 2013


Kenyan parliament clears cbank governor in shilling row
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2012 @ 15:28:36 CST by kwpnews


NAIROBI,(Reuters) - A majority of Kenyan lawmakers voted on Wednesday to clear the central bank governor Njuguna Ndung'u of any responsibility over the local currency's plunge to a historic low late last year.

A report by a parliamentary committee had demanded that Ndung'u steps aside from his post and be investigated over the shilling's tumble to a record low of 107 per dollar on Oct. 11.

The committee said in its report that the governor failed to react in a timely fashion to address the shilling's decline, causing panic in the market and leading to speculation and the hoarding of foreign exchange in east Africa's biggest economy.

After a fiery debate during three consecutive parliamentary sessions, the MPs were asked to vote on an amendment proposed by a lawmaker to remove Ndung'u's name from the report, and absolve him of any blame for the currency crisis.

The vote went to a second round conducted through a secret ballot after a first round, conducted through acclamation appeared indecisive.

"It (Ndung'u's name) has been removed by 46 votes against 37," deputy speaker, Farah Maalim said, announcing the result.

Aspects of the report and other recommendations not touching on Ndung'u are still expected to be debated, and possibly adopted, but the governor is safe following the removal of his name from the report, officials at parliament said.

Had the proposal been adopted by parliament, President Mwai Kibaki would then have had to consider whether to set up a tribunal, and if one was formed Ndung'u might have had to step aside to allow the investigation to take place.

This could have affected the shilling, which has since its plunge strengthened more than 20 percent after the central bank raised its key lending rate to 18 percent by December from 7 percent in September.

At the 1300 GMT markets close, commercial banks quoted the local currency at 82.70/90 per dollar, stronger than Tuesday's close of 82.95/83.15 a day after the central bank held its benchmark interest rate steady.

MPs criticised the governor for keeping the central bank's discount window rate, charged to banks borrowing from the regulator as a last resort, below the interbank and Treasury bill rates, encouraging commercial banks to borrow from the window as the shilling tumbled.

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