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Kenya to join Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee

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By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Kenya is set to join Rwanda as the second East African Country to be formally admitted to the grouping of African countries that helps determine continental projects.

The admission into the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) which had been scheduled for Saturday was pushed to July when the African Union holds its next General Assembly.

The inclusion of the two countries is part of reforms to make the AU’s implementing agency, The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) look more continental and independent of donor influence from outside of Africa.

The HSGOC is a key leadership team of Nepad created in 2010. It is now chaired by Senegalese President Macky Sall and its duties include providing the agenda for Nepad such as setting priorities to be acted on. 

The committee also includes leaders from Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and South Africa as well as 14 others.

On Saturday, officials said they had postponed the meeting of the committee which had also scheduled an inaugural address on integration by ODM leader Raila Odinga, who is the AU High Representative for Infrastructure and Development.

They said they will wait for key legal documents to be ready before officially admitting 13 other countries scattered across Africa’s regional blocs.

Nepad’s Chief Executive Ibrahim Mayaki said his agency is changing tack to work with regional blocs in a bid to end suspicions it was a project of the West on the continent.

In adopting a new name, African Union Development Agency (AUDA), he said, will also have a new mandate to make it easier for it to play catch-up with the issues on the continent.

“One of the diagnosis of President Kagame’s reform document is the necessity to accelerate the implementations of decisions related to development,” Dr Mayaki told reporters in Addis Ababa in a press conference which was also streamed live. He was referring to the Rwandan President’s work to reform the African Union.

“The decision to change the institutional structure is informed by the transitions through which Africa going; the demographics, technological, human development, governance, which are going at a very accelerated phase.

“Our decisions need to match these accelerated transitions,” he said.

Nepad was created by Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt to help deal with challenges of underdevelopment, poverty, political instability and improve relations between African states.

The agency has cited the estimated 12 million women benefiting from agriculture, 16,000km of inter-state roads and 3,000km of power transmission lines as well as up to 17 countries connected via fibre optics as key achievements.

But critics charge it was too donor-dependent and lack independence to work on projects beneficial to Africa, especially since foreign aid has not brought the benefits intended.

Under the new arrangement, AUDA will be fully funded from the African Union budget and will be required file quarterly reports on performance.

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AUDA will also mobilise funding for key integration projects like highways or railways but will mostly be through regional blocs as opposed to independent sourcing. It will also second more staff to its regional offices, away from its head offices in Johannesburg.

A briefing on the change in structure also shows the membership of the Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) has been increased from 20 to 33 and will also include representation from regional blocs such as the East African Community, the Southern Africa Development Community and the Economic Community of West African States.

The HSGC, created in 2010, is now chaired by Senegalese President Macky Sall and its duties include providing the agenda for Nepad including setting priorities to be acted on. 

But even as it changes tack, critics may still notice that it will be funded by an African Union budget which is still sourced from donors; despite current efforts to reform and seek domestic financial support.

In Addis Ababa, the AU Summit will be focusing on refugee problem; coming at a time when about 20 million Africans are displaced by conflict and at least three countries on the continent hosting the largest refugee population in the world; according to figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Nepad was supposed to address the causes of refugee problem, political instability, and at least help the AU ‘silence’ guns by 2020.

Ahead of the Summit, Mr Odinga though had called on African countries to take advantage of the improving “peace dividend” to focus on infrastructure.

Mr Odinga had been scheduled to vouch for liberal air transport under the AU’s Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), as his initial pet project.

SAATM was signed on by more than half of the AU’s members last year in January, hoping to finally liberalise the skies and make air transport easier on the continent.

But even after 27 countries accepted the treaty, just 14 ratified further documents to start implementing it.

In fact, heads of states agreed on a formula for regulations but were still negotiating ways of solving disputes should they arise.

Africa’s air transport has been cited as expensive owing to steep tariffs, poor safety, undeveloped facilities and generally lack of connectivity, according to one bulletin by IATA, the global association of commercial airliners.

Yet air transport is cited as one of the areas that could help raise continental trade from the paltry 14 per cent. The AU member also signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90 percent of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. Kenya ratified but the continent still waits for bigger guns like Egypt and Nigeria to ratify.

When it appointed Mr Odinga last October, the AU said it will bank on his political contacts across the continent to help its “drive to expedite the integration of the continent through infrastructure, in order to promote economic growth and sustainable development.”



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Monitor water pumps remotely via your phone

Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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