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Graft costs Kenya's health, education $48 million: minister

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Corrupt officials in Kenya's education and health ministries stole up to 4.2 billion shillings ($47.67 million) from 2005 to 2009 and names have been given to the police, Kenya's finance minister said Monday.

East Africa's biggest economy loses up to 40 percent of its gross domestic product to graft annually, according to the country's top graft-buster, the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission.

Uhuru Kenyatta said over 2.27 billion shillings were lost over a period of four fiscal years (2005-2009) in the education ministry, roughly equivalent to 1 percent of education finances, while 1.65 billion shilling were embezzled in the ministry of health between 2007 and 2008.

"The audit report together with the names of individuals...who were involved in the suspected fraud have been forwarded to the police for immediate further action."

Kenya slipped down the rankings of Transparency International's 2010 corruption perceptions index, falling to 154 out of 178 countries.

Kenyatta also said investigations into graft allegations concerning the Arid Lands Resource Management Project were underway.

(Reporting by Kevin Mwanza; Editing by Richard Lough)