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Biden calls for immediate repeal of Uganda’s anti-gay law
“The enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of universal human rights,” the president said, while suggesting possible sanctions. Activists hold placards protesting Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill. President Joe Biden condemned Uganda’s anti-gay law on Monday, calling for its immediate repeal and the possibility of implementing sanctions. “The enactment of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a tragic violation of universal human rights — one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country,” Biden said in a statement. On Monday, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda signed a tough anti-gay bill into law that orders the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as same-sex relations involving HIV-positive people, children or other vulnerable people. Same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda. “This shameful Act is the latest development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda,” Biden said. Biden said he had directed the National Security Council to evaluate the implications of the law on all aspects of U.S. engagement with Uganda, including the ability to safely deliver services under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other forms of assistance and investments. “And we are considering additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption,” Biden said. The legislation signed on Monday in Uganda adds to many anti-LGBTQ laws that have been enacted on the African continent, where only 22 of 54 nations allow homosexuality. Under the Trump administration, a global campaign was launched to end the criminalization of homosexuality in multiple nations. The push to end laws that outlaw homosexuality abroad stood in contrast with the Trump administration’s mixed record on gay rights in the United States. The Trump administration banned transgender people from the U.S. military and cut funding for HIV and AIDS research. On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the new Uganda “horrific and wrong.” “Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination,” Cruz said on Twitter. “ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse.” –
Ethiopia topples Uganda, Tanzania for Kenya investments abroad
Safaricom PLC CEO Peter Ndegwa during a past event. Several Kenyan firms including giant telecommunications company Safaricom have ventured in the Ethiopian market. Ethiopia has toppled Tanzania and Uganda as the leading destination of Kenya’s investment abroad, buoyed by the expansion of local firms in the giant neighbouring market. Fresh data shows that Kenya’s direct investment in Ethiopia hit Sh60.2billion in 2021—surpassing Tanzania and Uganda’s Sh51.5billion and Sh56.3billion, respectively. Direct investment abroad-also referred to as outward direct investment— is a category of cross-border investment associated with a resident in one economy having control or a significant degree of influence on the management of an enterprise that is resident in another economy. As well as the equity that gives rise to control or influence, direct investment also includes investment associated with that relationship, including investment in indirectly influenced or controlled enterprises, investment in fellow enterprises, debt (except selected debt), and reverse investment. The newly released Economic Survey 2023 shows that although Tanzania was the leading destination for Kenya’s investment abroad at the start of 2015, the table has since tilted in favour of Addis Ababa. Also Read: Fresh relief for defaulters in KRA aircraft, land, cars seizure law “Tanzania was the leading destination for the country’s investment abroad at the start of 2015 the review period, with investments declining in 2018, but later recovering to reach Sh51.5 billion in 2021” the survey said. “Kenya’s direct investment in Uganda reached its peak at Sh56.3billion in 2019, while investments in Ethiopia reached Sh60.2billion in 2021” it added. Several Kenyan firms including giant telecommunications company Safaricom have ventured in the Ethiopian market where it operates under the subsidiary Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia private limited company (STE). Safaricom Ethiopia’s phased launch commenced in August 2022 in the city of Dire Dawa and will spread to 24 other cities, including Addis Ababa in the months that follow. The new operation has ambitions of achieving gross margins of 40 percent in 10 years. The target is backed by heavy investments that the subsidiary will make in hiring staff and building infrastructure to acquire customers in the country with a population of more than 100 million. The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Safaricom is the major shareholder of the subsidiary whose other owners are Vodacom Group, Sumitomo Corporation, and CDC Group. Kenyan lenders, including KCB Bank, have expressed interest in entering the Ethiopian market. A delegation of senior executives from KCB Bank visited the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) in Addis Ababa in October last year where they held talks with Ethiopian government officials. The visit by the KCB team came a month after Ethiopia’s Council of Ministers passed a landmark decision to open up the country’s banking sector to foreign investors. The Economic Survey further shows that Kenya’s overall direct investments abroad generally exhibited an upward trend over the review period with a value of Sh239.6billion as at the end of 2021 compared to Sh93.5billion as at the end of 2015 with the exception of 2020 where the stock of outward…
Government owes £90,000 for every household as borrowing soars
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt cites the pandemic and the energy crisis as reasons for high borrowing The Government now owes a record £90,000 for every household in the UK after borrowing soared again in March to lift total public debt to more than £2.5 trillion. Latest official data shows that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was forced to borrow another £21.5 billion in the month — the second highest total on record for March — just to keep the wheels of Government turning. Government spending rose by almost a fifth in the month as ministers handed out billions in support for families suffering with sky-high energy bills following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The figures came as separate data from market analysts Kantar showed food inflation easing slightly from a record 17.5 per cent to 17.3 per cent in the four weeks to April 16, the 10th month in a row it has been in double digits. Alison Ring, director of public sector and taxation at the accounting industry body ICAEW, said: “Today’s data for the financial year to March 2023 emphasises just how weak a state the public finances are in, with debt now approaching an eye-watering £90,000 per household. The UK is still running big fiscal deficits, with a provisional shortfall between receipts and spending of £139 billion in 2022/23, while public debt over the past three financial years has grown by £715 billion or almost 40 per cent to £2.53 trillion. “The UK Government’s financial position remains precarious, with high debt and limited headroom against its fiscal rules that reduce our resilience to future economic shocks. An ageing population, underperforming public services and a worsening global security situation are all putting pressure on Government spending, even as taxes rise. “What is most concerning is weak public investment after the Government constrained spending to meet its short-term fiscal objectives, for example in scaling back HS2. “Unfortunately, this will restrict economic growth in the medium and long term, and will also delay much-needed investment in the quality and cost-efficiency of public services.” Mr Hunt said: “These numbers reflect the inevitable consequences of borrowing eye-watering sums to help families and businesses through a pandemic and Putin’s energy crisis. “We were right to do so because we have managed to keep unemployment at a near-record low and provided the average family more than £3,000 in cost of living support this year and last. “We stepped up to support the British economy in the face of two global shocks, but we cannot borrow forever. We now have a clear plan to get debt falling.” The figures from the Office for National Statistics also reveal how the Chancellor raked in £40 billion more in income tax and national insurance as stealth taxes hit millions of workers. Financial firm Hargreaves Lansdown said receipts from PAYE Income Tax and NIC1 (National Insurance) for April 2022 to March 2023 hit £378.2 billion, £40.2 billion higher than in the same period a year earlier. Helen Morrissey, head of retirement analysis…
Jane Marriott exits as UK names new High Commissioner to Kenya
Outgoing British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott (left) and Neil Wigan. The UK government has announced the exit of Jane Marriott as British High Commissioner to Kenya and appointed Neil Wigan to succeed her effective July 2023. While welcoming the changes, Ms Marriott said that she will miss Kenya after serving here for four years, and hinted at assuming another role in July. Before coming to Kenya, she served as Director of International Counter Terrorism and Ambassador to Yemen. Ms Marriott has been involved in several initiatives in the country since she took over, including fighting FGM and taking part in a programme to mitigate drought in some parts of Kenya. Coming from Israel Mr Wigan has been serving as the UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv, Israel, a position that he has been holding since 2019. Before that, he was the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FDO) Director in Africa from 2015 to 2018. He also served as the Ambassador to Mogadishu from 2013 to 2015. He said he was happy to be returning to Kenya. –
US state votes to ban TikTok for first time – but how would Montana’s law work?
The state had already banned the app on government devices but this extends the prohibition to personal phones. The state House voted 54-43 to pass the bill – which goes further than prohibitions in place in nearly half the states and the US federal government that prohibit the video-sharing app on government devices. The measure now goes to Republican Governor Greg Gianforte for his consideration. The bill, known as SB-419, cites a number of concerns about the app, including alleged surveillance from the Chinese government and encouragement of “dangerous activities” among young users, such as “throwing objects at moving automobiles” or “lighting a mirror on fire and then attempting to extinguish it using only one’s body parts”. The legislation makes it illegal for app stores to offer TikTok, however it does not prevent those who already have the app from using it. Violations of the bill could carry a penalty of up to $10,000 (£8,000), which would be enforced by Montana’s Department of Justice. Montana already bans the app on state-owned devices. TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement: “We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach.” The bill’s supporters “have admitted that they have no feasible plan for operationalising this attempt to censor American voices and that the bill’s constitutionality will be decided by the courts”, Ms Oberwetter said. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been under intense scrutiny over concerns it could hand over user data to the Chinese government or push pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation on the platform. Leaders at the FBI, CIA and numerous lawmakers of both parties have raised those concerns but have not presented any evidence that it has happened. Supporters of a ban point to two Chinese laws that compel companies in the country to cooperate with the government on state intelligence work. TikTok has said its servers containing information on US users are in Texas. –
How the wealthy avert vicious property feuds
From left: Mwai Kibaki, Charles Njonjo, Naushad Merali and Chris Kirubi Business mogul Naushad Merali decreed anyone disputing his Will would get $1 (Sh145) from his vast estate. Tycoon Chris Kirubi first wrote his Will aged 55 years so his decisions won’t be contested on age. He died at 80. Retired President Mwai Kibaki and former Attorney-General Charles Njonjo declared children-in-law were not beneficiaries. This is designed to restrict the number of beneficiaries to the close-knit family, and potentially limit conflict. These are the measures the wealthy and prominent Kenyans have resorted to in a bid to avert fighting over their billion-shilling empires in death. Worry about succession — and the threat to family businesses — is among concerns for Kenyan billionaires, according to the latest Knight Frank Wealth Report 2022. The transfer of wealth to the next generation is a key moment of vulnerability for these tycoons as poorly managed successions can lead to rapid wealth depletion, observes the report, citing the frequent disputes in Kenya. Read: Chris Kirubi: The mover and shaker who had Midas touch This explains the keen attention to succession by these tycoons who are among the few prominent individuals whose families did not implode in a scramble for property following their departures. Heirs of wealthy and eminent persons such as politicians, businessmen and top civil servants are known for court battles following the death of the patriarchs, and matriarchs, in some instances, but these are among the few families that avoided property feuds. A review of successful cases in court involving prominent persons show apart from the disputes over division of the wealth, the feuds are also being fuelled by “outsiders” and children born out of wedlock claiming a stake in the estates. Multibillion-shilling estate For instance, the beneficiaries and dependants of the late President Kibaki are yet to receive their share of the multibillion-shilling estate not because of wrangles within the family but a dispute lodged by two people claiming to have been sired by him. They want recognition and a share of the wealth. He died on April 22, last year, aged 90. Major fallouts in wealth succession involve identification of the dependants of the departed person and their entitlements, beneficiaries of the estate and validity of the Will, if any. “At the succession court, it is all about dividing the properties of the departed to his/her dependants and beneficiaries. The first duty of the court is to identify the beneficiaries and net estate available for distribution. Dispute starts on identification of the beneficiaries,” explains lawyer Adrian Kamotho Njenga. It is at the point of identifying beneficiaries that claims such as one or some children were not biologically sired by the property owner emerge. For widows, questions on legality of their marriage to the dead man crop up. Former wives also emerge claiming a share of the estate. Among the big shots whose estates were not marked by disputes is Mr Merali, who died in July 2021, Mr Kirubi in June 2021 and…
Barge to house 500 male migrants off Dorset coast, says government
About 500 adult male migrants will be housed in a barge on the Dorset coast “in the coming months”, the government has confirmed. The plans have been criticised by local groups, refugee charities and Conservative MP Richard Drax, who said “every action’s being looked at”, including a legal case. The vessel, which is currently in Italy, will be “significantly cheaper than hotels”, says the Home Office. The three-storey barge called Bibby Stockholm will be located at Portland Port off the coastal town of Weymouth, and used to house single men while they wait for their asylum claims to be processed. It will operate for at least 18 months. As well as providing basic and functional accommodation, healthcare and catering, the berthed vessel will have security on board to minimise disruption to local communities, says the Home Office. The boat, with 222 rooms, has been refurbished since it was criticised as an “oppressive environment” when the Dutch government used it for asylum seekers. Bibby Marine, which owns the barge and will lease it to the government, said there was a laundry and a canteen on board – and all the rooms have a window, bed, desk, storage and en-suite. It said the boat “has comfortably housed workers from various industries including construction, marine and the armed forces over the years”. Housing migrants in hotels costs more than £6m a day, says the Home Office, with more than 51,000 people in nearly 400 hotels across the UK. Refugee groups have called the plan “completely inadequate”, while councillors from the local area – which is popular with tourists – have opposed the proposals. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said they would save taxpayer money and reduce pressure on hotels, adding: “It’s part of our broader plan to stop the boats.” “It can’t be right” that the country is spending so much on housing migrants in hotels, the PM told reporters in Peterborough. Just under 4,000 people have arrived on the south coast so far this year after crossing the Channel in small boats. On Wednesday evening 41 migrants in two boats were taken back to France after getting into difficulty in the Channel. Several other boats made it half way across and those on board were taken to Dover by the Border Force. The use of the Bibby Stockholm will mark the first time that migrants are housed in a berthed vessel in the UK. The Home Office said it was in discussion with other ports and further vessels would be announced “in due course”. Charities and local councillors have opposed the plans, with the Refugee Council saying the barge will be “completely inadequate” to house “vulnerable people”. “A floating barge does not provide what they need nor the respect, dignity and support they deserve,” said chief executive Enver Solomon. Amnesty International called for the plans to be abandoned, and said use of the barge to house migrants was a “ministerial cruelty”. Dorset Council said it had “serious reservations” about the suitability of Portland…
Genesis Market: Popular cybercrime website shut down by police
One of the world’s biggest criminal marketplaces used by online fraudsters to buy passwords has been closed down in a global law enforcement crackdown. Genesis Market sold login details, IP addresses and other data that made up victims’ “digital fingerprints”. Often costing less than $1, the personal information let fraudsters log into bank and shopping accounts. Law enforcement agencies around the world were part of the co-ordinated raids, including the UK. During a series of raids, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) arrested 24 people who are suspected users of the site. They include two men aged 34 and 36 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, who are being held on suspicion of fraud and computer misuse. Law enforcement agencies from 17 countries were involved in the raids, which began at dawn on Tuesday. The operation was led by the FBI in the US and the Dutch National Police, working alongside the NCA in the UK, the Australian Federal Police, and countries across Europe. On Wednesday, anyone logging onto the Genesis website saw a message which read: “Operation Cookie Monster. This website has been seized.” Genesis Market had 80 million sets of credentials and digital fingerprints up for sale, with the NCA calling it “an enormous enabler of fraud”. “For too long criminals have stolen credentials from innocent members of the public,” Robert Jones, director general of the National Economic Crime Centre at the NCA, said. “We now want criminals to be afraid that we have their credentials, and they should be,” he added. Dutch police have launched a portal on their website, where the public can check whether their data has been compromised. It was a one-stop shop for login data that enabled online fraud. Users could buy login information, including passwords, and other pieces of a victim’s “digital fingerprint”, such as their browser history, cookies, autofill form data, IP address and location. This allowed fraudsters to log in to bank, email and shopping accounts, re-direct deliveries and even change passwords without raising suspicion. Login information on sale included passwords for Facebook, PayPal, Netflix, Amazon, eBay, Uber and Airbnb accounts. Criminals buying the information were even notified by Genesis if the passwords changed. Genesis provided its customers with a purpose-built browser which would use the stolen data to mimic the victim’s computer so it looked as if they were accessing their account using their usual device in their usual location. So the access did not trigger any security alerts. “It was a very sophisticated website, very easy to use, with a wiki [website that can be modified or contributed to by users] telling you how to use it, and accessible on the open web and the dark web,” Mr Jones said. “So you didn’t need to be a sophisticated cyber actor to get into this. You just needed to be able to use a search engine, and then you could start committing crime.” Depending on how much data was available, a victim’s information would sell for less than $1, or for hundreds of…
Kenya Airways posts worst-ever loss
A Kenya Airways plane at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport The national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has reported a Sh38.26 billion net loss for the full year to December, the worst-ever in its decade-long loss-making streak. KQ reported a 141.77 percent drop in losses from Sh15.8 billion posted in 2021, surpassing the Sh36.2 billion loss the airline booked in 2020 when global aviation operations were grounded during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline’s management has blamed increased fuel costs, foreign exchange losses caused by the weakening of the Kenyan currency and a Sh18 billion one-off loss incurred when the government took over a dollar-denominated facility. “Net financing costs increased by Sh23 billion because of a one-off transaction that was taken during the year pertaining to the takeover of a USD-denominated loan by the Kenyan government, which basically converts the loan from US dollars to Kenyan shillings,” said KQ’s chief finance officer Hellen Mathuka. The airline also stated that it incurred a loss of Sh5.7 billion due to foreign exchange vulnerabilities as the Kenyan shilling depreciated against the US dollar. KQ Managing Director, Allan Kilavuka, however, remains bullish that operations of the airline have already taken an upward trend in the first quarter of 2023, promising that the airline could report a profit next year. “Without the significant impact of fuel price increase, we are a profitable business,” Mr Kilavuka said. While the airline’s revenues increased by 66 percent (Sh46.5 billion) to Sh116.7 billion in 2022, total operating costs also went up by 58.9 percent, to Sh122.4 billion. The airline carried 3.7 million passengers last year, growing from the 2.2 million travellers in 2021, while its cargo operations also grew from hauling 63,726 tonnes in 2021 to 65,955 tonnes. The airline in January issued a profit warning, signifying that its net earnings would fall by at least 25 percent, blaming the expected negative performance on forex losses from hedging on its US dollar-denominated debt that was last year taken over by the government. In February, Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo told Parliament that the Exim Bank of the US issued a default notice to Kenya over delayed servicing of a Sh57.8 billion loan, revealing the airline’s continued financial turmoil, which has caused it to rely on State bailouts. But the government, with a 48.9 percent stake, has expressed its discontent with continued support, slashing planned capital injection from Sh30 billion to Sh20 billion in the current financial year through the supplementary budget I of 2022/23. This is now the 10th year that KQ has consecutively made losses. It last reported a profit in 2012 of Sh1.6 billion. –
Bank of England raises interest rates for 11th time to 4.25%
Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, attends the Bank of England Monetary Policy Report Press Conference, at the Bank of England, London, Britain, February 2, 2023.The Bank of England (BoE) has raised the UK interest rates by 0.25 basis points to 4.25% to combat double-digit inflation. This is the 11th time in a row, in less than 18 months, that the central bank has increased rates, making borrowing costs higher despite the cost of living crisis that has hit UK households. It lifts UK interest rates to their highest since October 2008, early in the financial crisis, when Bank Rate was 4.5%. It also comes after inflation took a surprise leap to 10.4% in February. Inflation hit a 41-year high at 11.1% in October. The monetary policy committee voted 7-2 in favour of a 25bps increase, with two members preferring to maintain at 4%. Seven members (governor Andrew Bailey, plus Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, Jonathan Haskel, Catherine Mann, Huw Pill and Dave Ramsden) voted in favour of raising Bank Rate by a quarter-point, to 4.25%. But two members, Swati Dhingra and Silvana Tenreyro, voted against the proposition, preferring to maintain Bank Rate at 4%. Nathaniel Casey, investment strategist at wealth manager Evelyn Partners, said: “The split in voting is indicative of the tricky state of affairs confronting the MPC and other central banks, with committee members having to weigh the fragility of the global banking sector against the need to bring inflation back to target. “The recent turmoil in the banking sector, which began with collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) nearly a fortnight ago, has reminded central banks that things can break when monetary policy is rapidly tightened. Although contagion risks from the tech bank crisis and Credit Suisse look to have receded for the time being, the BoE will need to tread carefully if it decides to further tighten monetary policy from here. The Bank recently acknowledged that ‘more sharp moves in asset prices could expose weakness in parts of Britain’s financial system’ in a letter to lawmakers.” This increase will have an immediate impact on some borrowers and savers. High-street banks use the Bank’s base rate to work out the interest rates it offers to customers. “Those on a tracker mortgage will see an immediate impact on monthly repayments, and those on a variable rate could also see their costs rise. Mortgage owners on a fixed-term deal will not be affected for the duration of their deal, however they will likely be stung with much higher rates when the time comes to renew. “Homeowners struggling with payments should speak to their lenders, which are required to offer support, such as temporarily reducing payments or extending the mortgage term. Discussing your options with your lender will not affect your credit rating. “Higher rates will also have an impact on renters, as buy-to-let landlords will likely pass on increased costs to their tenants. If you are unsure about how you will be able to make monthly repayments,…
Amazon to axe another 9,000 jobs globally
Amazon has said it will cut another 9,000 jobs across its global business in “the next few weeks”. Andy Jassy, chief executive of the technology giant, told staff that the move will reduce jobs in its web services, advertising, PXT solutions division and its Twitch livestreaming arm. The cuts come on top of 18,000 job cuts the business had already announced in January. Amazon also revealed separate plans to shut three UK warehouses and seven delivery stations in January, affecting more than 1,200 further jobs. On Monday, Mr Jassy said in a letter to workers: “As we’ve just concluded the second phase of our operating plan this past week, I’m writing to share that we intend to eliminate about 9,000 more positions in the next few weeks – mostly in AWS, PXT, Advertising, and Twitch. “This was a difficult decision, but one that we think is best for the company long term. “To those ultimately impacted by these reductions, I want to thank you for the work you have done on behalf of customers and the company. “It’s never easy to say goodbye to our teammates, and you will be missed.” Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting. The Telegraph Chief executive Andy Jassy announced the redundancies in a company-wide note to employees on Monday, saying: “I’m writing to share that we intend to eliminate about 9,000 more positions in the next few weeks.” Cuts will fall on the company’s computer hosting division, Amazon Web Services, its HR and technology, advertising departments, and its Twitch game streaming website. Amazon cut 18,000 roles in January, including 1,200 UK redundancies. The company made a record loss of $2.7bn (£1.69bn) for the final three months of 2023.
Traders pay heavy fines for theft of public money
The latest to pay a heavy fine is Wilfred Munyoru Weru, the former finance and administration director at the defunct Discount Securities Ltd. A number of people trading with the government have in recent months been hit with heavy fines for stealing public funds. Others have had their wealth forfeited to the government after being found to have acquired it illegally. The latest is Wilfred Munyoru Weru, the former finance and administration director at the defunct Discount Securities Ltd. Weru has been condemned to a Sh900 million fine over theft of Sh1.2 billion from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in 2008. The ruling came just weeks after Quorandum Ltd director, Mukuria Kamau, was fined Sh900 million for stealing Sh180 million from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) in 2015. In another recent ruling, Eveline Awino Ogutu – trading as Nyangume Enterprises – and Bob Kephas Otieno were ordered to compensate the Homa Bay County Assembly Sh26,272,460. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) told the court that Ogutu and Otieno were a couple and that the money was fraudulently acquired between August 2016 and February 2017 as no goods or services were rendered to the assembly. Weru was convicted after the NSSF lost money through payment to Discount Securities Ltd – a stock brokerage firm – for goods not supplied. Tonga Investments Ltd The offence, the EACC said, was committed between May 1, 2006 and October 15, 2008. According to the prosecution, Weru acquired part of the money while trading as Topend Investments and Tonga Investments Ltd. He was convicted in January 2022 to a cumulative sentence of 12 years and a Sh900,762,248 fine for economic crimes. The High Court threw out his application for review of the sentences last week. Weru had complained that the sentences “were harsh and excessive, considering the circumstances of the case”. He had been charged with conspiracy to defraud and ordered to pay a Sh1 million fine or two years in prison for default. Weru was also found guilty of fraudulently acquiring public property and directed to pay Sh1 million as fine or three years imprisonment. He was told to pay two times the Sh1,201,143,372 loss occasioned to NSSF. The loss was multiplied by two and then divided equally between the three people convicted on that count. It means he will pay Sh800,762,248 or serve nine years in prison for every charge. Weru was convicted alongside former executive director of Discount Securities Ltd David Murungu Githaiga, former investment manager Isaac Nyakundi Nyamongo and former NSSF investment manager Francis Moturi Zuriels. Weru’s attempts to have the sentences quashed hit a snag when the High Court dismissed his review application. According to Weru, the trial magistrate did not state when the sentences would begin, thus making them unlawful. He added that the lower court ignored the 2016 guidelines by directing that the sentences to run consecutively even though the offences arose from one transaction. But Justice Esther Maina said the sentences given by the magistrate were in…
Suella Braverman tours a building site on the outskirts of Kigali – Stefan Rousseau Suella Braverman was so impressed by the decor of the Rwanda homes being built for migrants deported from the UK that she joked she wanted the name of their interior designer. On a two day visit to Rwanda, the Home Secretary was shown round the first houses already built for the migrants on an estate in Kigali that is designed to house a mix of asylum seekers flown from the UK and local Rwandans. The two and three bedroomed homes – costing between £14,000 and more than £30,000 – are part of a 2,500-house “town” costing nearly £100 million for 15,000 people, of which a portion are to be earmarked for migrants deported from the UK. Britain and Rwanda have claimed the African state has capacity to take tens of thousands of migrants. Even though the deportation plan has been suspended pending the outcome of legal action in the UK appeal court, ministers remain confident it will go ahead. The houses provide families with off street car parking, fibre optic broadband, front and back gardens, an eco-design that also combats humidity and gases rising from the ground and decor that would not look out of place in a British town house. Viewing the wooden panelled interior of one two-bedroomed home with its beige velvet sofa and floral pink scatter cushions, Mrs Braverman said: “These houses are really beautiful, high quality, welcoming and I quite like your interior designer. I need some advice myself.” She added: “I am really impressed by the quality of the housing you are creating…what is impressive is the pace of your roll out. It takes two weeks to construct a house with a team of 10 people.” The houses on the Riverside estate in Kigali will accommodate asylum seekers deported from the UK three to six months after arrival in Rwanda and once they have been processed at hostels and hotels. The joint agreement under which the UK has paid Rwanda £140 million to take migrants removed from the UK is being used to help cover the costs of land purchase, infrastructure such as roads and services. The estate is due to be completed by June 2023. Some £20 million of the £140 million has been earmarked to pay for subsistence and job training for the migrants. Once they achieve refugee status, they could be handed the title deed of the house or live in them rent free until they get a job. One of the houses that could be used for migrants deported from the UK – Stefan Rousseau One of the houses that could be used for migrants deported from the UK – Stefan Rousseau A private developer, Hassan Hassan, a British national who owns property company ADHI ltd, has won the contract to build the houses in partnership with the Rwandan Government. He said a quarter had already been sold off to private buyers but he was in discussions with the…
Sex, fraud and super bike: Puzzling life of Briton who died in Diani with Kenyan lover
Adam James Stagg, 36, and Jackline Kendy The two, Adam James Stagg, 36, and 21-year-old Jackline Kendy were reported to be riding a Suzuki sport motorcycle when the accident occurred. It was supposed to be a routine ride on a quad bike through the scenic coast of Diani in Kwale County. But what started out as a leisure ride ended in tragedy when Briton Adam James Stagg and a Kenyan woman, Jackline Kendi, died in a crash. A police report said the bike hit a speed bump on Diani’s Beach Road at high speed, causing the rider to lose control and veer off the road, before crashing into a concrete wall. Mr Stagg was pronounced dead at the scene. But as investigations got underway, the authorities soon discovered that this was no ordinary person. He had been one of the most wanted fugitives in the UK, having been previously arrested in the Philippines. How had he managed to start a new life in Kenya, far away from the prying eyes of the authorities? And why had he chosen Diani, of all places? As the authorities delved deeper into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death, they began to uncover a web of lies and deceit that stretched years back. In 2016, he was among the most wanted fugitives in the UK, investigations by Saturday Nation have revealed. According to UK media and intelligence reports, Mr Stagg was 2016 listed alongside nine others as the most wanted frauds in the UK. Adam James Stagg, who died in a road accident in Diani, Kwale County, last week. Adam James Stagg, who died in a road accident in Diani, Kwale County, last week. Pool He was accused of committing fraud between October 2013 and June 2014. The list was drawn up by City of London Police and the National Crime Agency as part of a new crackdown on fraud. It is believed he set up a string of companies trading from the Philippines offering customers in the UK deals on watches costing upwards of £100 (Sh13,913). His victims, alleged to be 140, reported they never received a watch and some claimed they were threatened when they tried to find out why. A year later, Stagg would be arrested in the Philippines where he went to seek refuge. While there, he was reported to be enjoying a life of luxury fully aware he was wanted by authorities for allegedly conning victims out of a total of £20,000 for luxury watches that were never delivered. Unclear after arrest It was not clear what happened after his arrest in the Philippines in 2017 or when he jetted into the country. These are some of the gaps that detectives would be seeking to unravel. In an email response, the United Kingdom National Crime Agency said: “We can’t provide updates on the status of wanted individuals when they’re wanted by a police force. From open source information, it appears he was previously on a most wanted list, but wanted by Avon &…
Mi Vida business Dinner Event in Canary Wharf, London
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Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump and the in-fighting at Fox News
A $1.6bn defamation lawsuit against Fox News has pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of the powerful conservative cable network in the days after the 2020 US presidential election. Dominion Voting Systems, a voting-machine manufacturer, alleges that Fox knowingly aired false allegations that their devices helped Joe Biden and the Democrats “steal” the election. To make their case, the company has called dozens of Fox executives and journalists to testify in depositions and subpoenaed thousands of pages of their text messages and emails. They show the often heated, and sometimes profane, conversations that took place behind closed doors as Fox News, from chairman Rupert Murdoch on down, grappled with Donald Trump’s ultimately futile attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. They mocked ‘increasingly mad’ Donald Trump Fox News has had a complicated relationship with Mr Trump over the years. He clashed with the network regularly during the early days of his 2016 presidential bid, but once he won the White House the network’s coverage was largely positive – particularly on its evening opinion shows hosted by Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others. In the days after his 2020 presidential defeat, however, it’s emerged that many Fox executives and presenters disparaged him. Mr Murdoch, the Fox News chairman, wrote in an email that the then-US president – and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani – were going “increasingly mad” after election day. Mr Carlson, host of the network’s top-rated programme, said he hated Mr Trump “passionately” and that his presidency had been a disaster. He predicted that soon his show would be able to ignore the soon-to-be former president. He also mocked the former president’s business enterprises. “All of them fail,” he said in a text to his show’s producer. It’s the kind of view echoed by Mr Trump’s critics – many who have frequently been the target of Mr Carlson’s ire on his evening programme. The former president is known to take slights personally and unlikely to forget. It means the love-hate relationship Mr Trump has with Fox News may be veering back toward hate just as the 2024 presidential campaign heats up. Murdoch doubted election claims from start While Fox News presenters were giving Mr Trump and his supporters a platform to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election results, behind the scenes many on the network were dismissing the validity of the allegations and lamenting how the network covered the story. In November, Mr Murdoch told New York Post editor Col Allan that half of what Mr Trump was saying after the election was both untrue and damaging. It was a view echoed by others in the network, including some of the prominent evening opinion hosts who have been publicly outspoken in their support of Mr Trump. Mr Hannity, for instance, said in a deposition he did not believe the election claims by Trump legal adviser Sidney Powell “for one second”. Mr Carlson, in a text message to fellow Fox evening hosts, wrote that her claim that Dominion…
Samia Suluhu mocks East African country ‘without forex reserve to last a week’
Presidents Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), Yoweri Museveni Museveni (Uganda) and William Ruto (Kenya) Presidents Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Yoweri Museveni Museveni (Uganda), Felix Tshisekedi (DRC) William Ruto (Kenya) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda). Tanzania President Samia Suluhu has said her country has the best-performing economy in East Africa. Speaking on International Women’s Day, Ms Suluhu told Tanzanians to appreciate the state of their economy which was better compared to her neighbouring countries. She cited an example of an unnamed country that she said does not have forex reserves to last a week. She said the unnamed country has been seeking the help of Tanzania with the dollar to import petroleum products. “Let no one lie to you (Tanzanians),” she said. “We are at a better place compared to our neighbours. Their dollar reserves cannot last a week, our reserves can push us for four months. They are here begging us for guarantees so that they can buy fuel.” The head of state said she, however, did not help the needy country because she feigned a dollar problem in Tanzania. Ms Suluhu’s comments come weeks after Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof. Njuguna Ndun’gu urged Kenyans to brace themselves for tougher times in 2023. Her comments come days after The Citizen reported that commercial banks in Kenya had run out of dollars and had resorted to borrowing from Tanzania. The report added that the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has directed commercial banks to ration dollars following a shortage of the currency and the race to protect reserves. Scavenging for dollars “We are now scavenging for dollars. Only half of every six banks we call daily for dollars will have something for us. Three of the banks will ask us to check later,” a top executive of a manufacturing firm who sought anonymity for fear of reprisals from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), was quoted by the paper saying. “What is available at banks is between $5,000 and $10,000. One will be fortunate to get $20,000 and extremely lucky to get $50,000 from a single bank. This is crazy for a business that requires $1 million monthly for supplies and we are getting each dollar at Sh137,” the executive added. Meanwhile, the Kenyan shilling has considerably depreciated in recent times. Although it remains among the strongest currencies in the region, the shilling has depreciated by almost 10 percent to the dollar in the past month and is currently trading at Sh130. The Kenyan shilling has also depreciated compared to the Uganda and Tanzania shillings, which have traditionally been weaker currencies. This comes as President Ruto struggles to tame the surging cost of living with prices of maize flour and fuel at an all-time high amid pressure from the opposition. President Ruto has blamed the opposition for the poor economy. –
Thorny issue of tax residency for Kenyan expatriates and diaspora
The Kenyan tax laws that govern the taxation of individuals are based on residency status. The Kenyan tax laws that govern the taxation of individuals are based on residency status. A resident is an individual who has a permanent home in Kenya and was present in the country for any period in a particular year of income. The law was recently amended to define a permanent home. However, this has not addressed the concerns that have previously been raised. Kenyans working abroad for extended periods have had a challenge determining their tax residency status. The law also defines a permanent home as a place where an individual resides or is available to that individual for residential purposes in Kenya or where in the opinion of the commissioner, the individual’s personal or economic interests are closest. This gives the commissioner leeway in interpreting a permanent home and may base it on many factors. For instance, an individual with any home available to them, ancestral or any family property to which they may have unrestricted access, could be considered to have a permanent home in Kenya. Let us take the example of Sara. Sara is a Kenyan national based in country X. She started working in country X in 2019 and has been there ever since. She has relatives in Kenya and occasionally travels back to Kenya to spend her holidays with them. She does not own or rent a home in Kenya. In 2022, she visited Kenya for the holidays for a short duration and stayed with one of her relatives. Sara is working on filing her 2022 Kenyan tax return. Will she be considered to have a permanent home in Kenya and a resident for tax purposes in Kenya in 2022? A person who has a permanent home in Kenya and visits the country even for a day in a tax year would be considered a resident for tax purposes and would be taxed on all the employment income they earn from any part of the world. This means that they would be required to report all the employment income earned in a year irrespective of where they earned it from when filing their Kenyan tax returns for the year. International best practice alludes that the concept of home may be taken to mean any form of a home such as a house or an apartment belonging to or rented by an individual. It may also include a furnished room. The taxman may consider issuing clarifications if a Kenyan who has an ancestral home or relatives in Kenya and occasionally visits them, would be considered to have a permanent home in Kenya if they have unrestricted access to the family home. The second clarification is if the rule on the permanent home applies to expatriate employees relocating to Kenya for short-term assignments. Should they be considered tax residents from the onset of their assignments since they would be expected to rent a home in Kenya from the start of their…
80 percent of pharmacists at hospitals not qualified
A drug shop in Nyandarua County. It costs more to hire a specialist but patients are also charged more at these hospitals. A new survey has shown that 80 per cent of individuals charged with the responsibility of dispensing drugs at Level Four hospitals are not trained, pharmacists. The survey also reveals that drugs in 70 per cent of Level Five hospitals are dispensed by people who are licensed but not qualified to do so. The survey was conducted by the Young Pharmacists Group (YPG). Its findings were released last week. The YPG team went through data from different hospitals. The survey was carried out at 535 Level Four and 80 Level Five hospitals listed on the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council website. It reveals that eight out of 10 Level Four hospitals are non-compliant. Of the 535 hospitals surveyed, some 424 are non-compliant, and only 50 follow the required standards. It also says 71 per cent of Level Five hospitals are not manned by qualified superintendent pharmacists. Nairobi County has the highest number of such hospitals at 19.4 per cent, Kiambu (seven per cent), Nakuru and Kisumu (4.3 per cent), Kajiado and Mombasa (four per cent), Wajir (3.4 per cent), Machakos (2.4 per cent) and Nandi at 1.3 per cent. Of the 80 Level Five hospitals, 56 do not comply, five do not have records while three are operating on expired licences. A superintendent pharmacist is in charge of a pharmacy, including its professional and clinical management. He or she manages the administration of the sale and supply of medicines. They should be licensed by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB). Superintendent pharmacists are responsible for guiding hospitals on drug-related issues, including reviewing patient files and guiding senior consultants on therapy. The superintendent can decline to administer drugs if he or she deems the medicines not appropriate or valuable for the indicated treatment. However, most hospitals do not have a qualified superintendent pharmacist. They hire pharmacy technicians instead. The absence of the superintendent pharmacist puts the lives of those purchasing drugs at risk as there is no professional input. While pharmacy technicians are skilled, the law prohibits them from performing tasks meant for pharmacists. A study in the US found that pharmacy technicians showed the need to be regulated. “Given the complexity of prescriptions and their lack of formal training, pharmacy technicians are placed in a situation where serious mistakes could occur,” said a recommendation to the Virginia General Assembly in 1998. Hospitals in Kenya ignore regulations by allowing pharmacy technicians to do a job that does not fit their bill. “At most hospitals, the right professional for the role is not the one whose licence was used. Without professional input, patients are at risk,” said Dr Cohen Andove, the chairperson of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya and lead author of the survey. The absence of pharmacists at Level Four, Five and Six hospitals also undermines the quality of care to patients. It increases the risk of medication…
Gov’t Returns Goods Worth Ksh.50 Million Seized From China Square, Says Products Not Fake
Kenya government returns goods worth Ksh.50 million seized from China Square, says products not fake. The Authority said that a probe into the source of goods revealed that the products were produced and distributed by the international brand owner, Finder Merchandise who was also the complainant. The Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) has allayed fears that the Ksh. 50 million worth of goods seized last week from China Square along Thika Road were counterfeit. In a statement by ACA’s CEO Robi Mbugua Njoroge on Thursday, the Authority said that a probe into the source of the goods revealed that the products were produced and distributed by the international brand owner, Finder Merchandise. ACA has thus surrendered back the goods which were confiscated on February 16th 2023. –

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