Paul Ngei, 81, a leader in Kenya's independence movement who became a cabinet minister and then lost his high position after the country's high court declared him bankrupt, died Aug. 15 at a hospital in Nairobi. No cause of death was provided, but he had lost both of his legs because of diabetes.

Along with Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, Mr. Ngei was one of the "Kapenguria Six," who served prison terms in colonial days as leaders of the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonialists. The others were Bildad Kaggia, Kungu Karumba, Fred Kubai and Achieng Oneko.

The six were arrested Oct. 22, 1952, on suspicion of being the leaders of the Mau Mau secret society, whose violent revolt against British colonial rule, though eventually defeated, helped force Britain to give independence to Kenya.

They were convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for managing the Mau Mau, which had been banned by the colonial government, and were released in 1961.

The day they were arrested, Oct. 22, is a national holiday, named after Kenyatta, to commemorate Kenyan independence heroes who had been imprisoned or detained by the colonial government.

Mr. Ngei won a seat in parliament after he was freed and served for 27 years as a cabinet minister in both Kenyatta's and former president Daniel arap Moi's administrations.

During his career, Mr. Ngei held the cabinet posts in charge of marketing, housing and social services, environment and lands and settlement. He was forced to leave his parliamentary seat and cabinet post in 1991, after the high court declared him bankrupt.

Of the Kapenguria Six, Kenyatta, Karumba and Kubai died before Mr. Ngei. Oneko retired from active politics in 1997, and Kaggia is in frail health.

Paul Ngei was imprisoned in colonial days as a leader of the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonialists.