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Kenya's finance minister resigns over scandal

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  • Kenya's finance minister resigns after being named in a corruption scandal
  • Scandal threatens to damage the nation's fragile new unity government
  • Amos Kimunya embroiled in sale of government-owned Grand Regency Hotel
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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Kenya's finance minister has resigned after being named in a corruption scandal that threatened to damage the nation's fragile new unity government, Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced.

Kenya's finance minister Amos Kimunya has resigned after being named in a corruption scandal.

Kenya's finance minister Amos Kimunya has resigned after being named in a corruption scandal.

Amos Kimunya stepped down Tuesday, only days after he was quoted in local media reports saying that he "would rather die than resign."

Kimunya had been embroiled in a scandal involving the controversial sale of the government-owned Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi, which was reportedly purchased by a business group at a below-market price. Local watchdog groups criticized the sale, calling it secretive.

Kimunya is widely regarded as an ally to President Mwai Kibaki. Kibaki recently entered into a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Odinga after a dispute over December's elections that led to widespread violence.

In the agreement signed in February, Kibaki remained president and Odinga became prime minister, the first time Kenya's government had both positions.

Under the power-sharing agreement the parliament was seated equally with supporters of both men.

Odinga told parliament Tuesday he was "pleased that the minister of finance has deemed it important to step aside."

"This government, as I said a few times last week, will not condone any kind of corruption. I say this on the authority of the government, that from the president to the prime minister, down to the assistant clerks in the government, nobody is indispensable."

An editorial Tuesday in the Kenyan newspaper The East African Standard said the scandal had damaged the already "unhappy marriage" between the factions.

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