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Tentative Deal Reached for Kavanaugh Accuser to Testify – World –




After a brief call late Saturday, the woman’s lawyers and aides to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, planned to talk again Sunday morning to continue the halting negotiations over the conditions of the testimony, according to three people familiar with the call.

 Aides to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top Democrat, were also involved.

But in a possible setback for the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, Republicans on the committee received a statement Saturday that seemed to eliminate any chance of corroboration of Blasey’s account by anyone who attended the high school party where she says she was assaulted.

A woman named Leland Keyser — who is believed to have been identified by Blasey as one of the five people at the party — told the committee through a lawyer that she “does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.” Two men said to have been at the party, Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth, have also told the committee that they have no recollection of the events.

Still, even without corroboration, any testimony by Blasey would set up a potentially explosive showdown, and it could greatly complicate matters for Kavanaugh, who just last week — before Blasey came forward with her account of the assault — seemed destined for confirmation to the Supreme Court.

While the negotiations over Blasey’s testimony seemed to gain momentum, they could still falter over the details, which include who will question her. But in tentatively agreeing to a Thursday hearing, Republicans made a significant concession that suggested they were working to ensure that the session occurred after several days of uncertainty.

If no final deal is made, Grassley will be left to decide on Sunday whether to move ahead with a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination that is scheduled for Monday, or give Blasey more time. Kavanaugh, who has vigorously denied the allegations, has repeatedly expressed his desire to testify.

Grassley had set 2:30 p.m. Saturday as a final deadline for Blasey to agree or decline to appear. In a letter to the committee sent to meet that deadline, lawyers for Blasey, 51, a research psychologist in Northern California, said they were hopeful that an agreement could be reached on the details.

Blasey “accepts the committee’s request to provide her firsthand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week,” they wrote. The lawyers called details of Grassley’s earlier proposal, including a Wednesday hearing date, “fundamentally inconsistent with the committee’s promise of a fair, impartial investigation into her allegations.”

The tentative deal reached hours later came as White House officials and Republicans on Capitol Hill were growing increasingly frustrated at what they said was a ploy to delay the Monday vote. After the Judiciary Committee revealed Keyser’s statement, the White House swung into the offensive against Blasey.

“One week ago, Dr. Christine Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others,” said Kerri Kupec, a White House spokeswoman. “Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party.”

A lawyer for Blasey, Debra Katz, said in a statement that it was “unremarkable that Ms. Keyser does not remember attending a specific gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her.”

Democrats praised Blasey and said they hoped the agreement would hold together. “She is a profile in courage,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who is on the committee and was briefed on the back-and-forth. “She has come so far in meeting truly outrageously arbitrary and unfair demands simply to speak her truth to power and to the American people.”

The tentative agreement was the latest turn in an on-again, off-again negotiation that began cordially with Blasey voicing an openness to testifying but quickly turned acrimonious. There have been several sticking points, including who would question her at a hearing — Republicans want to hire an outside counsel; Blasey would prefer to be questioned by senators — and how many news media cameras would be present. The lawyers have also asked for the committee to subpoena testimony from Judge, who Blasey has said witnessed the assault.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said he has enough votes to confirm Kavanaugh, but with at least two Republicans in the Senate undecided and with the party holding only a 51-49 majority, it is hardly assured. It is increasingly unlikely that Kavanaugh will have the support of even a single Senate Democrat.

Privately, Republican senators were working to resolve differences among themselves about how to proceed. Some favored cutting off negotiations over the hearing and moving swiftly to a vote, while others pushed to accommodate Blasey’s wishes.

One of those who has favored accommodation, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said on Twitter on Saturday afternoon that he saw progress. “This is good,” he wrote.

Among the many considerations, according to one official close to the discussions, was how Republican voters would react to any move to push past the allegations. President Donald Trump suggested at a rally on Friday night that he believes that the public, including many women, want to “fight for” Kavanaugh.


After breaking his silence about Blasey on Friday and questioning her allegations, the president on Saturday stayed mum about her, heeding the advice of aides who have warned him repeatedly against appearing to attack her.

Blasey’s accusations, coming just days before the Judiciary Committee was initially set to vote on Kavanaugh, have rocked official Washington, evoking memories of the 1991 confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas, who was accused of sexual harassment by law professor Anita Hill. They have further energized Democrats, and women particularly, in a midterm election in which Republicans are struggling to court the female vote.

Over the past week, Blasey has become a cultural touchstone for women around the country in the era of the #MeToo movement. A hashtag, #IBelieveChristine, has sprung up on Twitter, and survivors of sexual assault are set to rally in New York on Monday. A Facebook post promoting the rally said that “New York City stands with Dr. Blasey Ford and all sexual assault survivors.” Groups of law students and women were expected to travel to Washington this week in a show of support for Blasey. Others have rallied in support of Kavanaugh.

Blasey has said that a drunken Kavanaugh assaulted her during a small party in suburban Washington when they were both in high school. As Judge watched, she said, he pushed her onto a bed, jumped on top of her, groped her, covered her mouth, and tried to remove her clothing. Blasey was able to leave the room when the friend jumped atop both of them, she said.

Officials said Kavanaugh, who spent much of this past week at the White House preparing for a hearing, was well rehearsed and ready to appear on Capitol Hill if senators opted to go forward with a session. At mock hearings last week, according to a White House official, he practiced fielding specific questions about the accusations and deflecting broad inquiries about his social life, such as his general drinking habits.

The intense attention on Blasey’s accusation continued to reverberate on Capitol Hill on Saturday in unexpected ways. One of Grassley’s communications advisers, who had joined the Judiciary Committee temporarily to help shape messaging around Kavanaugh’s confirmation, stepped down from his position after NBC News raised questions about an accusation that he sexually harassed a co-worker in a previous political job.

The adviser, Garrett Ventry, said the sexual harassment claim against him was false. A spokesman for the committee, Taylor Foy, noted the denial of wrongdoing but said Ventry had decided to step aside “to avoid causing any distraction from the work of the committee.”

Before joining Grassley’s staff, Ventry worked for CRC Public Relations, a Virginia-based firm whose conservative clients include the Federalist Society and other groups backing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. A spokesman for CRC said that Ventry had been on a leave of absence and that the firm had accepted his resignation Saturday.

Michael Bromwich, a prominent Washington lawyer, joined Blasey’s legal team Friday. After doing so, he resigned from his law firm, Robbins Russell, amid objections within the firm about his work, including potential public appearances on Blasey’s behalf.

Bromwich, a former inspector general of the Justice Department, is also at the center of another leading story line in Washington: He represents Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director, who was fired this year and witnessed many of the most sensitive episodes of the bureau’s Russia investigation.

“Because objections have been raised within the partnership to my doing so while employed by the firm, I am resigning from the firm, effective immediately,” Bromwich wrote in a letter to the firm’s staff, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Nicholas Fandos, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Julie Hirschfeld Davis © 2018 The New York Times



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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