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Archive for September 1st, 2010

‘Brain haemorrhage’ SMS causes panic in Kenya

Posted by Administrator on September 1, 2010

(AFP)

NAIROBI — Kenya’s telecommunications regulator on Wednesday told mobile phone users to ignore swirling rumours that receiving calls from some numbers appearing in red can cause brain haemorrhage.

A text message sent around since late Tuesday and seen by AFP said 27 people had died after they picked up calls from numbers listed in the SMS.

“Please inform all your friends and relatives soon, it’s urgent,” read the text.

But the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) said the message should be dismissed.

“Upon analysis of the messages, the commission has established the warnings are a hoax generated by unscrupulous people bent on causing fear and despondency among members of the public,” a statement said.

“In addition, the alleged haemorrhage due to high frequency has no technical basis whatsoever.”

The CEO of Kenya’s largest mobile phone company Michael Joseph said the text message was “a popular urban myth that has been perpetuated, especially in some Asian markets.”

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Kenyans in the Diaspora assured of benefits of the new law

Posted by Administrator on September 1, 2010

President Mwai Kibaki has assured Kenyans in the diaspora that the recently promulgated new constitution will enable them enjoy the rights and privileges provided both in their country of birth and their respective countries of residence through the dual citizenship provision.

Speaking Wednesday when he met Kenyans resident in Swaziland at his Royal Villa presidential suite, President Kibaki emphasized that the new constitution will open up many opportunities that Kenyans both in the country and in the diaspora have never had before.

In this regard, President Kibaki urged the Kenyans resident in Swaziland and in other countries to play their part effectively in developing their motherland, especially now that dual citizenship is allowed by the new constitution.

“Dual citizenship is good because it will enable Kenyans in the diaspora to enjoy the benefits of their country of residence while at the same time make their contribution in the development of their country of birth,” President Kibaki said.

On temporary vehicle importation bottlenecks at the Kenyan inland ports of entry, President Kibaki assured Kenyans resident in Swaziland that his Government, through the Ministry of Trade, would address individual cases on their merit.

The President pointed out that while it was the Government’s policy to facilitate easy movement of Kenyans and their goods within the COMESA and the East African Community regions, the move should not be left to abuse as doing so would deny the Government the much needed revenue.

“We do not want small issues to hinder our people from enjoying the benefits of regional integration but at the same time we have to ensure that unscrupulous people do not abuse those privileges,” President Kibaki said.

On identity cards issuance to Kenyans resident in Swaziland and South Africa, the Kenyan High Commissioner to South Africa, who is also accredited to Swaziland, Amb. Tom Amolo said his office has forwarded a request to the Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration of Persons to facilitate the issuance of identity cards to Kenyans who come of age in South Africa and neighbouring southern countries without having to travel all the way back home for the same services.

In this connection, Amb. Amolo said the issue of Kenya national identity cards issuance at the Kenyan High Commission in South Africa to Kenyans living in countries served by his office would be addressed, as the same was done in 1995.

Speaking during the meeting, Kenyans resident in Swaziland, through their chairman Mr. Haroun Wambua, commended President Kibaki and all Kenyans for the historic promulgation of the new constitution.

Mr. Wambua noted that the benefits enshrined in the new constitution will impart positively on all Kenyans regardless of their country of residence.

The meeting was also attended by the newly appointed Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere who assured the Kenyan business community in the diaspora that his ministry will work towards creating a conducive environment for doing business to enable them extend their business activities to their motherland.

Meanwhile, President Kibaki Tuesday night joined other COMESA Heads of State and Government attending the 14th COMESA summit at a colourful state banquet hosted in their honour by King Mswati III at the Royal Swazi Hotel in Ezulwini, Swaziland.

 Source: KBC

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Kenyan who scammed states gets 3 years

Posted by Administrator on September 1, 2010

Angella-Chegge-Kraszeski who was jailed for three years for her part in a scam to defraud three states

Angella-Chegge-Kraszeski who was jailed for three years for her part in a scam to defraud three states

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  

A Kenyan woman who did most of the legwork in an international scam that targeted $3.34 million from several state governments, including West Virginia, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to three years in prison.

In December, Angella Chegge-Kraszeski, 34, of Raleigh, N.C., pleaded guilty to money laundering as part of a scheme that rerouted a $919,916 payment from West Virginia intended for a legitimate vendor in March 2009.

With the help of five other Kenyan nationals living in Minnesota, Chegge-Kraszeski wired more than $772,000 to bank accounts in Kenya. Authorities caught on to the scam before other money could be diverted to offshore accounts.

Following instructions from as-yet unidentified handlers in Kenya, Chegge-Kraszeski set up dummy corporations and bank accounts with names very similar to real vendors for state governments.

She then mailed paperwork supplied by her handlers to the governments, asking them to stop sending checks to the real vendors, and make electronic deposits directly into the fake bank accounts.

“It is fair to say that you were the face of the conspiracy in the United States, at least so far as it was successful,” U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. told her.

Chegge-Kraszeski had faced a prison term more than twice as long for her role in the scheme, but Copenhaver took her cooperation with investigators into consideration.

Without information provided by Chegge-Kraszeski, her five co-conspirators in Minnesota could not have been prosecuted, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Robinson.

The ringleaders in Kenya put Chegge-Kraszeski in touch with Robert Otiso, 36, of Elk River, Minn., whom she only knew as “Robe,” after banks in North Carolina wouldn’t let her open dummy accounts with only a fake South African passport under the name Christina Ann Clay.

Otiso recruited Michael “Mikie” Ochenge, 33, of Lakeville, Minn., who in turn recruited Paramena Shikenda, who knew someone who worked at a local bank, which would make it easier to set up the accounts and wire money to Kenya without attracting suspicion.

Ochenge also involved Collins K. Masese, 21, of St. Paul, Minn., and Albert E. Gunga, 31, of Chanhassen, Minn., to help him launder $70,000 in cashiers checks that represented payment for his involvement.

Within the last two weeks, Copenhaver has sentenced Otiso, Shikanda and Ochenge to 72, 46 and 48 months in prison, respectively. Masese and Gunga received short sentences, which they have effectively served with the time they have already spent in custody.

All of the defendants, including Chegge-Kraszeski, face likely deportation once they have served their prison terms.

Chegge-Kraszeski’s attorney, U.S. Public Defender Mary Lou Newberger, said that her client’s most lasting punishment will be the effect of her deportation on her family.

Her 15-year-old son had been approved for a visa, which has since been revoked, and her husband will remain in North Carolina.

“In a very practical sense, it means the end of her marriage. These are very real consequences,” she said.

In a brief statement to the court, Chegge-Kraszeski wept as she apologized to the court and to the state of West Virginia.

“This was my first time ever being in West Virginia, and these are the circumstances,” she said. “I have brought so much shame, so much shame.”

Chegge-Kraszeski has been in custody since May 2009, leaving roughly 20 months left on her sentence.

The convictions represented a multi-agency effort that included investigators from the U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations.

“Today represents justice for our state’s taxpayers. Money taken from the public treasury is money not available for schools, roads, or senior services. That’s why this case is one of my top priorities,” U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a prepared statement.

“This defendant’s sentencing represents a major milestone in the case. But we are not finished. We will continue to pursue more of the criminals who helped defraud the state.”

Other officials praised the joint effort.

“As demonstrated in this case, joint law enforcement is vital to thoroughly investigating fraud schemes in multiple jurisdictions,” added W.B. Fluharty, Supervisory Postal Inspector for West Virginia.

“The United States Postal Inspection Service is committed to continued collaboration between our federal and state partners to vigorously investigate these crimes.”

“Sadly, the honest taxpayer is harmed when fraud such as this is committed,” said Timothy Marsh, of the IRS’s criminal division, Pittsburgh Field Office.

“The prosecution of these subjects should serve as a strong warning that tough punishment awaits someone who may decide to embark on a similar fraudulent journey. I commend the investigative team for bringing this investigation to a successful completion.”

Source: http://wvgazette.com/News/201008310533

Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | 2 Comments »

 
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