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Real Madrid turn their eyes on on-form Rashford




Real Madrid turn their eyes on on-form Rashford

Manchester United have moved to increase striker Marcus Rashford’s wages to a staggering £10million a year! Although his contract runs until 2020, Spanish giants Real Madrid have shown interest in signing the 21-year-old striker. My contacts have told me that both Marcus and his agents were interested and prepared to listen to Real. The young striker has now hit six goals in eight league games and will wait until the summer before making any decisions. In the meantime defender Eric Bailly has been assured by manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer that his future is definitely at Old Trafford following interest from both Arsenal and Paris St-Germain. The Ivory Coast defender has started only one league game since his red card against Bournemouth in December. Bailly cost United £30m just over two years ago and started in last Sunday’s 1-0 win at Leicester and Solskjaer is considering teaming him up with Victor Lindelhof to handle Kylian Mbappe’s speed in Tuesday’s Champion’s League match against PSG.

Vardy and Puel not getting along

After just four home wins, Leicester manager Claude Puel is under fire from club owners and fans. Now it appears he has fallen out with main striker Jamie Vardy. After a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Manchester United Puel was talking to and praising some of the United players and in particular Paul Pogba. Word is that Jamie took exception to that and mouthed some fierce criticism towards his boss. Relations between Vardy and Puel have been strained since October when the manager demoted the striker to the sub’s bench although he declared himself fully fit. Vardy’s wife, Reality TV star Rebekah Vardy, took to social media’s Twitter and said: “Genuinely waste of time him (Vardy) playing under Puel. He was non-existent. He’s been like this for the vast majority of Puel’s time here. Surely no coincidence.” Vardy has scored only seven Premier League goals this season and blames Puel’s possession-based tactics whereas he excels when the ball is passed up to him on a counter-attack. Puel has also made the mistake of criticising his forwards in public by blaming them for the United defeat. He said: “It was a shame because in good situations to shoot or cross we didn’t take our responsibility.” Claude should remember that Jose Mourinho his players in public and look what happened to him.

Hodgson wakes up with a stronger team

When Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson went to bed on Thursday last week, Michy Batshuayi was a Chelsea player. When Hodgson woke in the morning the Belgian was a Palace player. The Chelsea loanee quickly settled in, just a few miles down the road from Stamford Bridge, after meeting Hodgson at 4pm on Friday and he took to the field for Palace after climbing off the bench. Immediately he set up the goal that saw the end of Fulham in this relegation battle. Hodgson might just have found the link to bring his team to life and give Wilfried Zaha the inspiration and opportunities he has been searching for all season. Palace are now seven points above the drop zone but I am afraid Fulham have it all to do and I cannot see them surviving.

Huge money for Liverpool tickets

I can only laugh that some people thought Liverpool were already Premier League title winners because they were a few points ahead of Manchester City. How things can change in a week with City back in first place. A Spanish football agency offered tickets to Liverpool’s final game of the season, against Wolves, for a huge $15,000. The ticket agency advertised them as a way to join in the title winning celebration party during and after the final game. Liverpool’s other two end of season games against Chelsea and Huddersfield were also being offered at big increases on the normal gate price. The problem is that now Liverpool’s current mediocre run of form means they are behind their rivals on goal difference, anything can happen and if Manchester City further improve after their midweek win against Everton and start winning regularly, the fans who bought those expensively priced celebration tickets will not get their money back!

Son is loved by his manager, team and fans

I made the journey up to Newcastle to watch the Geordie team take on Tottenham. You are probably used to watching football in hot conditions but I can tell you that across the Newcastle pitch, there is a giant arch and I watched as big chunks of frozen ice melted and fell onto the pitch. The ice didn’t stop battery powered striker Heung-min Son, the man Spurs rely on in Harry Kane’s current absence. And Son never disappoints. As his manager Mauricio Pochettino said: “He works hard. He never gives up and he tries, tries, tries.” The remarkable Korean is a firm favourite with Spurs’ fans and he rattled in his ninth goal in his last 10 games! Pochettino added: “He is now a complete player and we are very happy with his performances.” Pochettino even compared his quality of movement to the great Lionel Messi — praise indeed for this very likeable young man. Son is being tipped as the Premier League’s Player of the year.


Rafa gets his man

Several years ago, thousands of long suffering Newcastle fans went to St James’ Park on a warm sunny afternoon. The year was 2005 and there they welcomed £16million record signing Michael Owen. It was a similar story a few years earlier when the Geordie fans could not believe their luck as the club signed the best striker in the league Alan Shearer for a world record £15million. By today’s big money standards, that is now peanuts but Shearer proved to be a brilliant investment as he consistently headed the league tables as top goalscorer. Last week, there was not a big fanfare welcome but there probably should have been, as American MLS star and Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron arrived at Tyneside. Many American pundits say Almiron is the best player, and the most expensive, to ever come out of the American league. He is undoubtedly skillful and provides pace and goals. However, he also has to adjust to the quality of Premier League opponents. Manager Rafa Benitez believes he will and made Almiron his top target and much despised club owner Mike Ashley came up with the cash. It could be the move that keeps Rafa at Newcastle for another season and that was Ashley’s motivation to bring the new player in. Benitez told Ashley to sign him or he would leave. Ashley does not like to be dictated to but he caved in and this coming summer Benitez will seek further additions to his squad.

Gomez out for longer

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a new worry over his defence problems. Liverpool told me this week that centre-back Joe Gomez might need surgery on the hairline leg fracture he suffered against Burnley earlier in the season. Joe has had several setbacks which has stopped the healing process. Joe’s bone is not knitting together properly. It was hoped that complete rest would solve the problem but this hasn’t worked. Liverpool face Bayern Munich on February 19 in the first leg of the Champion’s League and Gomez will definitely not be available.

Guardiola set for last minute title race

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes the Premier League title will be decided on the last game of the season or the one before. He believes the title race is so close it could even be decided on goal difference. Guardiola is used to winning league titles by big margins having done so with City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona with a points margin of nine over the second placed club. City have a tough game against Chelsea tomorrow which plays into the hands of Tottenham and even Manchester United who are getting ever closer to the top four.

Everton manager safe for now

Everton manager Marco Silva is under considerable pressure following their 3-1 loss to Wolves and 2-0 loss to Manchester City which gave the Toffees the very unimpressive stats of eight defeats in 13 matches, winning only three since November. After the Wolves game, fans held a protest calling for the manager to be sacked and had booed throughout the match. This caused the club owner, Farhad Moshiri to publicly support Silva and he said: “In this business you have to hold your nerve.” Everton have sacked Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce in the last three years and they do not want to part with another manager unless it is unavoidable. Everton are keen on promoting young academy players and Silva has bought into that philosophy which is why the owners like him so much. He is carrying out their wishes. That is why Everton were not active in the transfer market in January. Marco has not endeared himself to Idrissa Gana Gueye. The Senegalese is distraught as his proposed transfer to glamour club Paris St-Germain was blocked by Silva and it finally fell apart. Gueye was devastated and he is still sulking. However, Silva is confident he will bounce back to top form after recovering from a small but niggling current injury. Silva said: “I know him well and we are talking about a top professional player with a strong character. Of course it was a good opportunity but it was also a fantastic opportunity for him to start with us also and it is important for us to go forward and build a strong squad.”

And finally…Life in the clouds

I had to laugh when someone pointed out to me that if the incredible 38-year-old Peter Crouch of Burnley stood on the shoulders of Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard when the two played against each other at the weekend, they would be taller than an African giraffe. Crouch is 6ft 7in while Vestergaard is 6ft 6in!



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




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 –




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


“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.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




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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