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PS on the spot in Sh40m assets loss

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Richard Lesiyampe
Former Environment principal secretary Richard Lesiyampe. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Former Environment principal secretary Richard Lesiyampe is on the spot over the loss of a government vehicle and supply of tree seedlings worth Sh40 million.

Dr Lesiyampe’s official vehicle registration number GK A152Q valued at Sh5.46 million was reported lost at Mlolongo in Machakos County under unclear circumstances in August 2013.

Dr Lesiyampe, who is on suspension following prosecution over the maize scandal, has also been dragged into the loss of tree seedlings worth Sh34,925,500. Auditor-General Edward Ouko had questioned the loss of the government vehicle which at the time had been assigned a civilian number plate, KAY 953F.

Ali Noor Ismail, Principal Secretary in the ministry, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Dr Lesiyampe’s son and his driver were on the vehicle which was said to have been stolen. “The matter is still under investigation by the Kenya Police Service. The ministry has been making efforts to address this matter and ultimately resolve it conclusively,” Mr Ismail said during scrutiny of the Ministry of Environment books of accounts by PAC. The team, chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, questioned Mr Ismail when he said that the matter was reported at Kileleshwa Police Station.

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“How can someone be carjacked in Mlolongo, perhaps induced to sleep, and trace his way to Kileleshwa Police Station to report the incident?” Kuria Kimani, MP for Molo, asked.

Mr Ismail said the driver was carjacked on Denis Pritt Road in Nairobi while Dr Lesiyampe’s son made a similar report to Mlolongo Police Station.

Mr Wandayi sought to know the action taken against the officer who lost the government vehicle six years ago. “We relied on his account and that of the transport officer. What would we do if a driver said he had been carjacked? It’s the police to give us the outcome of the investigation.

“We also cannot take administrative action against the driver because he moved with the PS to another ministry,” Mr Ismail said. Mr Wandayi directed the PS to furnish the committee with the latest status of police investigations, including action taken against the officer.

The committee also questioned procurement and supply of tree seedlings worth Sh34,925,500 to various destinations whose existence the auditor could not verify.

Mr Ismail said the ministry contracted various companies to supply the seedlings.

He agreed with Mr Ouko’s findings that delivery notes were not signed and the seedlings were not verified as received.

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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