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Archive for April 29th, 2007

Liberia: One of Liberia’s 2005 Presidential Candidates Dying Slowly from “Breast Cancer”

Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2007

From our Africa correspondent

J. Cholo Brooks/Liberia

Rev.,Dr. Margaret Tor-Thompson the Standard Bearer of one of the defeated parties, the Freedom Alliance Party of Liberia (FAPL) and one of the two female candidates who contested during the 2005 general and presidential elections in Liberia is dying slowly from Cancer in the Breast.

During a visit by a our Correspondent at the Caldwell residence of praying man, a relative to the former presidential candidate, family members were seen in tears due to the seriousness of her illness.

One of the relatives who spoke to our Correspndent in Liberia said the condition of the former presidential candidate was horrible, adding, “We don’t know what is happening to our sister.

She is doing everything in bed; even to eat it is very hard for her. Just yesterday she went in coma for nearly five hours. We have to feed her daily through a rubber tube,” a lady only said her name Juah, in tears told our Liberia Correspondent.

When asked why she is not been taken care of by medical authority or a hospital, Juah in a low and slow tone said, “Maggie refused to be taken to the hospital. Saying to us every day God will heal her,” Ms. Juah further said.

During the visit, our Correspondent was prevented to see the sick former presidential candidate by family members, saying her condition was not “worth to see” , several visitors, mainly residents of the area who queued out to pay a visit to the sick lady were seen weeping.

During the 2005 general and presidential elections in Liberia, the FAPL Presidential Candidate, the Rev. Dr. Margaret Tor-Thompson was placed 13th out of the 22 candidates and won 0.9% of the vote.

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Mr Kimunya, What is irrevocable cannot be revoked!

Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2007

Could we be on the verge of cracking the Anglo Leasing case? Over the last two weeks, Members of Parliament have twice discussed the irrevocable promissory notes issued to the fictitious credit providers associated with the 18 or so Anglo Leasing type contracts. And now the Daily Nation reports that the Ministry of Finance has contracted Price Waterhouse Coopers, who over the past few months have been engaged in forensic inquiries into the 18 so called Anglo Leasing type contracts. My instinct, suspicious fellow that I am, is to call this a clever diversion away from the Government’s real problem – that serious people are beginning to ask serious questions about the irrevocable promissory notes issued by the Government of Kenya to the tune of Ksh 56.33 billion, to fictitious credit providers. The PWC contract is in my view a red herring that should worry Kenyans for several reasons.

At the most basic level, it is proposed to pay an external auditor Ksh 96 million more of our tax money to do

what the Controller and Auditor General has already done, as far back as April 2006. Mr. Evan Mwai, now retired, reported to Parliament that he had submitted detailed reports of the 18 individual contracts thus, “as already stated the nature of the subject matter of this Report precludes the publication of detailed Audit Reports on the individual supplier/credit contracts. However, such detailed Reports have been issued to the respective Accounting Officers with copies to the Treasury.” It is therefore clear that the Ministry of Finance has had detailed individual reports since at least April 2006. The question is what has it done with them since then? Is the Price Waterhouse Coopers consultancy a red herring?

It is time for Kenyans to demand that the Minister for Finance, Amos Kimunya, immediately table the detailed audit reports on the 18 contracts by our constitutionally mandated auditor, in Parliament so that an objective decision can be made as to whether or not we need to hire expensive external auditors. I say an objective decision because, in the Anglo Leasing case, the Ministry of Finance is very much a suspect in the loss of Ksh 56.33 billion, which Mr. Mwai identified as far back as 2004 and reported on in 2006. It is not prudent to rely on the accused (the Ministry which was responsible for issuing irrevocable promissory notes worth Ksh 56.33 billion to bogus credit providers) to supply us with an auditor regarding the loss of our tax money.

Another concern is that a PWC report at this stage could further muddy the legal waters. In essence it has been hired to do what the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (Ksh 1 billion per year budget) is meant to have been doing since day one. That is to say, carrying out forensic investigations to establish criminal or corrupt activity in relation to the 18 contracts. With all due respect to PWC, why should we expect that they will not have their report treated as inconsequential and even unlawful by a court system that has challenged KACC’s locus in corruption investigations repeatedly, and with devastating effect? If PWC manages to secure mutual legal assistance in international circles, what does that tell us about the KACC and the Attorney General, Amos Wako? It’s not hard to imagine what will happen once the Government attempts to use the PWC report in court. Ask any street lawyer and they will tell you that under the Constitution, the only lawful auditor is the Controller and Auditor General, whose reports are admissible in court. Can the same be said of PWC’s work, no matter how diligent they may be? Ksh 96 million is a lot of money. PWC should be watch-dogged to ensure that, if they do get this assignment, they tell us more than we already know.

Nevertheless the entry of PWC into the Anglo Leasing equation shines the spotlight directly on the Minister for Finance, Amos Kimunya, who must surely issue a ministerial statement at the first opportunity, else we would suggest that Kenyans petition parliamentarians to adjourn the House to discuss the irrevocable promissory notes as an urgent matter of national importance.

Parliamentary Opportunity:

According to the Hansard of April 17th 2007, Joe Nyagah the MP for Gachoka Constitutency, a former banker, had this to say on the matter: “The Anglo Leasing issue was discussed in this House. The Anglo Leasing issue was implemented by this Government and we lost a lot of money in the process. Later on, some money was returned to this country. But my biggest fear is not what was returned or what happened. That does not bother me! What bothers me is that, we have promissory notes in which the Republic of Kenya said: “On this year, 2010, the month of July 1st, we will pay so much” or, “On this year, 2015, we will pay so much.” That is what bothers me! Our children and grandchildren are going to be left in a very difficult position.”

Paul Muite, MP for Kabete constituency, and a Senior Counsel at the Bar, added to this in response to a point of order by Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache) who claimed that Mr. Nyagah was out of order to say that the Government will be obliged to pay what he called “fraudulent promissory notes.” Mr. Muite’s intervention went thus, “Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just wanted to inform the Hon. J. Nyagah that those were not just promissory notes. They were irrevocable promissory notes. So you cannot even revoke them. Once you negotiate them, even if there was fraud between the original payee and you negotiate them or discount them with a bank, there is an absolute liability in law for the Kenya Government to pay the irrevocable promissory notes.”

One week after that exchange, the irrevocable promissory notes re-emerged in Parliament again when Paul Muite managed to get a response from Finance Minister Amos Kimunya. We set out in full the Daily Nation’s reportage of April 25th 2007 where it states that:

“The Government will pay funds committed to Anglo-Leasing type of contracts after the authenticity of the services provided has been proven. Finance Minister Amos Kimunya also allayed fears that Kenya could be facing a debt amounting to billions of shillings committed to contracts through irrevocable promissory notes. He said the Government had discussed the matter with a House committee and had also moved to court to seek interpretation of the contracts which were entered in regards to Anglo Leasing. Mr. Kimunya also stated that some of the promissory notes were cancelled by the Government which has moved to court to clear the cloud of the scandal. He had been challenged by Paul Muite (Kabete, Safina) to tell the House the status of the promissory notes and the liability that the Government was facing. Mr. Muite warned that the Government was sitting on a huge debt by failing to clarify the issues surrounding the irrevocable promissory notes which were issued to Anglo Leasing and Finance Company. He was contributing to the debate on the supplementary budget in which the minister was asking Parliament to allow him to draw Sh28 billion from the Consolidated Fund to meet its expenditure up to June this year. Parliament, the MP said, was not a rubber stamp. Mr. Muite raised concern over the status of the Banking Act, demanding that the minister tables in Parliament evidence that he had gazetted it. He claimed the minister could be planning to repeal the Act irregularly through the budget as it happened to the Donde Act. He told the Finance minister to reciprocate Parliament’s support by implementing key decisions as approved by the House. Alego Usonga MP Sammy Weya (Narc) urged Kimunya to set up a website in his ministry to enable members of the public to monitor public funds allocation and expenditure.”

We will try and get the Hansard for the day, to ensure that the report is accurate, but it does correspond to previous statements by Mr. Kimunya, for example on television on February 1st 2007.

But it appears to us that a corner is being turned. At last, the Minister for Finance, Amos Kimunya, has been forced to discuss the issue of the irrevocable promissory notes by which, according to the Controller and Auditor-General, the Government is committed to pay Ksh 39.6 billion in the future. We are disappointed that he maintained the following fictions as if they will make the real problem go away, namely that:

  • It is possible to assess the authenticity of phantom projects such as the Forensic Science CID Laboratory which of course does not exist since it was never built, while ignoring the fact that the Controller and Auditor General clearly states that Ksh 4.1 billion worth of irrevocable promissory notes were issued to Anglo Leasing and Finance Limited (non-existent by all accounts) on August 16th 2001. Why is Mr. Kimunya dissembling over a very simple matter? The Attorney General himself gave a legal opinion which stated that the irrevocable promissory notes constituted an unconditional promise to pay as has been demonstrated in our report entitled Illegally Binding.
  • Discussion with a House committee constitutes a serious attempt to save Kenya billions of shillings in unconscionable debt, while dismissing as misplaced any concern over the fate of irrevocable promissory notes signed by Government of Kenya officials and backed by the signature and legal opinion of the Attorney General.
  • The Government has moved to court to seek interpretation of the contracts which were entered in regards to Anglo Leasing. As far as we can tell this is either the imaginings of the Daily Nation’s unnamed parliamentary reporter or a bare-faced lie by the Minister to his parliamentary colleagues. The other alternative is that the Government has moved to court in secret against an unknown entity. If this were so, we would rather have a statement from the Attorney General, the appropriate Minister to tell us about litigation, such as described bellows
  • There actually were credits to the Government of Kenya, when the former Controller and Auditor General very clearly states that he could find no evidence of such credits and worse still, found that at least 7 of the credit suppliers or contractors were not registered in the countries they claimed to come from, if at all.

We hear that, next week, Joe Nyagah will again step up to the crease and ask about these irrevocable promissory notes. Having reviewed his last contribution on the same matter of April 17th 2007, we foresee trouble for the Finance Minister as he attempts to talk his way out of the problematic fact that what is irrevocable cannot be revoked.

Now is the appropriate time for Mr. Kimunya to admit the problem and seek help if need be in identifying who is responsible for losing this country Ksh 56.3 billion shillings through the so called Anglo Leasing type contracts of this and the past regime. At least some are cabinet colleagues.

Lest Mr. Kimunya underestimates the damage he is doing to the country by time-wasting and refusing to call a spade a spade, we direct his attention to the fate of Congo DRC which stands to lose US$ 100 million to vulture funds who buy up sovereign debt like the Anglo Leasing irrevocable promissory notes for a song and then litigate the contractual amount from governments such as Kenya’s. A friend informs us that just yesterday, Jubilee USA, the debt relief campaigners, announced that the U.K. Royal Court of Justice ruled against Zambia in the US$50 Million lawsuit brought against them by the vulture fund, Donegal International. The court ruled that Zambia must pay over $15 million to the vulture fund, almost half of what they would have saved this year after being selected for 100% debt cancellation at 2005 Group of 8 (G8) meetings.

Kenyans must now surely demand that the government, and Parliament, as a matter of urgency deal with the following issues:

1. The Controller and Auditor General’s Report of April 2006 says of 18 Anglo Leasing type contracts: “through the eighteen security related supplier/financier credit contracts/projects, Government has been committed to spending a total of Ksh 56.33 billion. The commitments were in the form of Irrevocable Promissory Notes which were given to the credit providers on the dates the respective credit agreements were signed.” The Controller and Auditor General is speaking about the following purported credit agreements and purported credit providers:

Click to view the report details

2. As the table shows, the Government is now facing litigation and having to spend extraordinary amounts to defend itself in Europe and Nairobi.The litigants believe they have enforceable contractual rights against the Government of Kenya – what does Mr. Kimunya imagine will be the position of whoever now holds the irrevocable promissory notes issued by the Government of Kenya.Sovereign debt issues cannot be handled as informally as the Minister keeps trying to.

3. It will be next to impossible to solve this problem the Kimunya way. We believe that the Government of Kenya has no chance of success in repudiating its obligations unless and until it can demonstrate that it has alerted the world to the Anglo Leasing fraud and its perpetrators having obtained Kenyan sovereign paper. It must demonstrate that it has taken all reasonable steps to arrest and punish the perpetrators of the fraud both before and after the fact – including cover-up actors. It must, in other words take decisive action against its own officials, past and present, who have any hand in illegal dealings related to the contracts listed above.

If the Minister does not act, he imperils Kenya’s creditworthiness and raises the prospect of an embarrassing failure as he floats a Kenya Bond in London for US$75 million. Mr. Kimunya should also come clean and table all the evidence he says he has that we have a legal defence to the claims likely to be brought by those who hold our debt notes. He must provide us with the details of the irrevocable promissory notes and indeed of the 18 separate Anglo Leasing type contracts. This is our challenge to the Minister for Finance.

The challenge we Kenyans face is dealing with impunity granted by the Government of Kenya to people who have cost us Ksh 56.33 billion. We are being condemned to pay what is not our debt in truth, for services we did not receive or were grossly overpriced, to people we do not know. A quick look at the external public debt register which the Government has kept hidden from us tells us how deeply in debt we have been put, by successive governments.

How can we act to save ourselves and our country? We would suggest a robust demand targeted to our Members of Parliament – a last chance some might say. Ksh 56.33 billion is double the amount that Mr. Kimunya is asking Parliament to vote, so that he can keep government ticking over until the budget in June 2007. Imagine also if you may what it could do to improve the health and education standards of our people!

As our representatives, Members of Parliament have the collective obligation to support Mr. Nyagah as he rises next week to hold Mr. Kimunya and the Government of Kenya to account. Should they fail us, we would have no option but to conclude that they are either negligent or complicit in this economic crime against generations of Kenyans.

Act now!

 

Posted to APN by Karuga wa Njuguna, UK

Published by African Press in Norway, apn, africanpress@chello.no

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Kenyans to learn from Ghanaians

Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2007

A delegation of Provincial Commissioners from the office of the President of Kenya arrived in Ghana on Saturday to understudy Ghana’s conflict prevention approaches.

A statement in Accra on Friday signed by Mr Iddrisu A. Siddiq, Public Affairs and Information Officer of the United Nations Development Programme, said Ghana was selected by the United Nations Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (BCPR) as a best practice country.

The delegation will pay a courtesy call on the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama and hold a series of meetings with the Ministry of the Interior, UNDP Resident Representative, National Media Commission and Ghana Journalists Association among other institutions.

Members will also visit Tamale in the Northern region to acquaint themselves with some of the local institutions for building peace in the area and to gain a better appreciation of how Ghana responds to local level conflicts.

The study tour includes familiarizing the group with the communities’ efforts in managing their own disputes and share experiences of community conflict resolution.

The Ghana Journalists Association will share with them their experiences on the role of the media in peace building, the Editors Forum and the Ethics and Disciplinary committees, the statement said.

Source: GNA

Posted to Apn by Karuga wa Njuguna, UK

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Uganda: Uganda’s 1962 constitution evolved from revenge and deceit.

Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2007

By Ham Mukasa
www.hammukasafoundation.com
www.hgmconsult.com

The American constitution was a product of wisdom and statesmanship of its framers over 200 years ago.

Unlike the American constitution, the Uganda independence constitution of 1962 resulted from a process which was marred by intrigues, revenge and deceit whose effects spilled over into the independence period. This meant that Ugandans did not enjoy the lilies of freedom for almost the first 25 years as politicians of every hew plotted and conspired against each other and the successful ones wreaked vengeance on their opponents by detaining them without trial or putting them out completely. In this way, almost every family in the country experienced the effects of bad governance either directly or vicariously through relatives or friends.

To understand our long trudge to independence one has to start with the deportation to Britain on November 30, 1953 of the Kabaka of Buganda, Edward Mutesa following a disagreement with the governor, Sir Andrew Cohen, regarding future constitutional developments. The proposed developments included the introduction of the east African federation along the lines of the one in central Africa. Mutesa’s rustication stirred the country as it was seen as a sign of Britain’s insensitivity to local aspirarations.

A delegation of five which was sent to London by the Buganda lukiko succeeded in convincing both the British government and public of the folly of the governor’s action but the idea of the mighty Britania being defeated by an African potentate was difficult to swallow. This led to an impasse which was only broken by a leading Oxford University africanist, Professor Margerry Pelham who suggested in a letter to the Times of April 11, 1954 that a constitutional expert should be sent to Uganda to work out a new
dispensation.

Pelham’s idea was bought by the British government and as a result, an Australia professor Sir Keith Hancock who was at the time head of the Institute of International Studies was sent to Uganda to chair a committee of 12 which discussed new constitutional proposals. The committee’s report formed the basis of a new Buganda agreement and the constitution of 1955 as well as the return of the Kabaka.

Of interest to the rest of the country was the agreement that the next major stage in constitutional development would be in 1961. This agreement flagged 1961 as the year the country would get at least its self-government. The British government’s plan was to work towards that goal through systematic evolution in the legislative council, the country’s parliament at the time.

However, events conspired to make the journey to that goal rather problematic. At the time three political parties controlled the political scene namely the Uganda National Congress (UNC) the largest party, the Democratic Party and the Progressive Party. Unfortunately, the UNC lost its way in 1957 and splintered into two parties, the new one being the
United Congress Party.

Earlier, all the political parties united to fight a proposal by the Buganda lukiko to distribute 150 square miles among “loyal subjects” and the outcry the campaign raised led to the Kabaka ordering Mengo to drop the idea.

Mengo never forgave the parties and it embarked on a campaign against them accusing them of being anti-Kabaka and persecuted the party leaders in a senseless manner which in the end debilitated the parties in Buganda especially when Mengo convinced the governor that it was the only authority which could discuss Buganda’s affairs.

The result of Mengo’s policies rendered political parties almost irrelevant in our constitutional development.

In his recent book Social Origins of Violence in Uganda, Professor A. B. K. Kasozi tells us that at this time there were four groups of political players in Buganda namely the nationalists, the educated elite, the neo-traditionalists and the catholic elite, a classification which could be replicated countrywide. To these groups could be added the elected members of the legistive council who included such people as Apollo Milton Obote, John Babiha, George Magezi, Cuthbert Obwangor and others.

The future of the country was largely determined by the way these groups interfaced in the run-up to independence. Three developments took place which determined the future of the country and who would rule it in the end. First the neo-traditionalists at Mengo followed an isolationist policy and negotiated directly with the colonial government something which did not go well with the other groups.

Secondly, in order to regain the initiative from Mengo, the nationalists united in the Uganda National Movement which declared a trade boycott. Only DP and Jolly Joe Kiwanuka’s faction of UNC which included Obote kept out of the movement.

The government reacted to the boycott by deporting the movement leaders. In order to fill the gap which was created, the elected members of the legislative Council (Legco) formed themselves into the Uganda Peoples Party which proved to be ineffective and through the efforts of Barbara Saben who was a member of the legco and a fan of Obote, the party joined with Obote’s faction of UNC to form the Uganda Peoples Congress with a declared anti-Buganda stance.

It was now clear that the struggle for the country’s leadership was going to be between the UPC and the DP with the neo-traditionalist playing the leadership role in Buganda, a situation that suggested that any future government would have to be a coalition with all that it portended.

DP’s Ben Kiwanuka refused to compromise with this and although the party won the elections in 1961 which were boycotted in Buganda, the party lost out at the constitutional conference in London in July 1962 at which Obote’s UPC formed an alliance with Mengo in which Mengo agreed to deliver all Buganda’s 21 MPs to UPC.

To achieve the objective of defeating DP out of power, a conspiracy to which the British government must have been a tacit player was conceived to hold another general election just before independence and to have Buganda’s MPs indirectly elected by the Lukiko which would ensure victory for UPC.

Thus, a pseudo-socialist party joined hands with a neo-traditionalist establishment to lead us into independence on the back of a conspiracy. Tragedy was only a few years away.

BY:A Good Muganda With Historical Facts.
Ham G Mukasa
www.hammukasafoundation.com
www.hgmconsult.com

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Norway: Bomb making materials found

Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2007

A total of 70 crates of potential projectiles were confiscated.

PHOTO: Knut Falch / SCANPIX

Explosives found in Blitz raid

Police say radical youth organization Blitz intended to use explosives in connection with the ongoing NATO meeting in Oslo.

Part of the police seizure outside the Blitz house – rocks and low level explosives, firecrackers for ground level detonation.

PHOTO: ASTRID HEXEBERG

Police assembling crates of evidence.

PHOTO: HEIDI ERTZEID

Operation leader Even Jørstad confirmed that police had moved in and raided the Blitz house in downtown Oslo in the first hour of Friday.

“We are in, more than that we are not saying,” Jørstad told Aftenposten.no at 12:50 a.m.

A police press release announced that they had carried out a search on the Blitz headquarters.

“The background for the decision was that the police have reason to believe that there have been plans to use explosives in connection with the NATO meeting of Foreign Ministers in Oslo,” the release said.

“These explosives were produced and stored at the Blitz house. The raid and search was carried out to secure evidence,” police said.

Police field operation leader Thor Langli told Aftenposten.no that they entered through the front door as the house was empty at the time. Langli said the decision was made after Blitz and police clashed in connection with a protest demonstration linked to the NATO meeting in Oslo Thursday and Friday.

“We have found over 70 crates of firecrackers and projectiles in the house,” Langli said. The projectiles were primarily stones and bricks.

By Peter Markovski, Svend Ole Kvilesjø, Heidi Ertzeid and Jonathan Tisdall

Lifted and published by African Press in Norway, apn, Source.aftenpostenENG

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Sweden: The birth of a new website

Posted by African Press International on April 29, 2007

For us in APN, we appreciate when others start sites that will reach out with information. We have noted that Clay, who has started the site is excusing himself for starting the site. He writes that he is not starting the site because he is idle or to compete with other sites.

APN wants to assure Clay that we welcome his site and we enjoy his contributions on our site whenever he has time.

Read Clay’s message below.

By Korir, Chief Editor. 

::::::::::: 

Mr Clay writes:

Dear Baba, Kenyans and friends,

Log in to www.butdoisay.wordpress.com a blog that i have established. This blog welcomes all true stories that have ever happened to our daily lives since childhood or during the old age, many of us have kept good stories until death do part them.

Kindly contribute true stories only, that are either educative, sad or funny. By starting this web does not mean that i am idle and it also does not mean that i am running away from contributing my articles on APN or that i am competing with anyone.

I really appreciate APN for your welcoming of our articles..at least i have made friends like Esther, Baba nani and many more…keep on the good work…butdoisay!!! log in now!!

True story:By clay Onyango, Sweden

Published by African Press in Norway, apn

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