July 3, 2008 / 8:42 AM / in 10 years

FACTBOX-Kenyan Finance Minister Amos Kimunya

July 3 (Reuters) - A Kenyan government report into the controversial sale of a luxury hotel has recommended that Finance Minister Amos Kimunya step down over the deal.

That followed a no-confidence vote in him by parliament.

Kimunya denies wrongdoing.

Following are key facts about him.

* Kimunya was elected member of parliament for the central Kipipiri constituency in 2002 and appointed lands minister the following year. He moved to the finance ministry in February 2006 and was reappointed after the 2007 presidential election.

* Kimunya is in a similar situation to his predecessor, David Mwiraria, who resigned after implication in a fictitious passport printing scam known as Anglo-Leasing. Some $200 million was skimmed through bogus procurement contracts and then mysteriously returned to the treasury.

* Kimunya has been credited for maintaining the economic growth that Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy, has enjoyed since President Mwai Kibaki took power in late 2002. But the bloody crisis after a Dec. 27 vote has hampered that, at a time when world fuel and food prices are at record highs.

    * A former club captain at the prestigious Muthaiga Golf Club, once a favourite haunt for Kibaki, Kimunya is viewed by many as part of the president’s inner circle of politicians from the dominant Kikuyu ethnic community.

    * He has presided over Kenya’s ongoing privatisation programme like the sale of 51 percent in the state landline monopoly Telkom Kenya to France Telecom FTE.PA. He also directed the country’s biggest share offering in mobile phone firm Safaricom (SCOM.NR).

    * Many Kenyans praised him for his populist-leaning ‘08/‘09 budget proposals last month, which were aimed at rebuilding the nation after the election crisis. He is also credited with maintaining fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability.

    * The 46-year-old accountant is seen as easily approachable by media and members of Kenya’s corporate world. (Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Bryson Hull)

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