(GIN) -- Some $7 million in U.S. aid to primary schools in Kenya has been suspended, pending an investigation into fraud claims, according to the U.S. ambassador.
The US move comes a month after the UK government pulled out of the project when $1 million in donated funds to the Education Ministry were reported missing.
Kenya is ranked as East Africa's most corrupt country by the group Transparency International.
"Those culpable for the fraud should not merely be sacked; they should be prosecuted and put behind bars," said U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Kenya.
Kenya introduced free primary education in 2003 - and schools were quickly swamped as more than one million children enrolled who had never been to school before.
Unicef says the primary school population jumped from 5.9 million in 2002 to 7.6 million in 2005. Most of the funding for primary education comes from government coffers.