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Archive for December 6th, 2010

Wife’s ‘cut’ drives man to suicide bid

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

A man who tried to commit suicide after learning that his wife had secretly undergone female circumcision without his consent has been arrested.

Mr Josiah Kirui, the assistant chief for Kapolecho sub location in Trans Mara East District said the 20-year-old man jumped into a dam moments after learning that his wife was among five women who had been circumcised earlier in the week.

Villagers dragged him out of the water and handed him over to the police.

The young man and his spouse are said to have been Form Three students at a school in Chepalungu District before they customarily tied the knot early last month after the girl reportedly became pregnant.

More than 100 women, some of them married, were circumcised in the region in the past two weeks. Among them was a mother of five and her daughter.

Trans Mara East District Commissioner Albert Mwilitza said despite a government ban on female circumcision, the practice was still rife in the area.

He warned those still performing or undergoing the rite that they did so at their own peril as the law would take its course if they were caught.

He said female circumcision in the district had resulted in a high dropout rate among schoolgirls.

The district commissioner said parents who withdrew their daughters from school and forcibly circumcised them and then marrying them off would be dealt with sternly.

Source: Daily Nation

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Cable leaks prompt US envoy shuffle

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

Photos | AFP The WikiLeaks homepage has released hundreds of leaked diplomatic cables showing what US diplomats think of the political leaders in their respective stations. The sites founder, Mr Julian Assange, has been receiving death threats, while the website hopped around the globe trying to evade efforts to shut it down.

Photos | AFP The WikiLeaks homepage has released hundreds of leaked diplomatic cables showing what US diplomats think of the political leaders in their respective stations. The sites founder, Mr Julian Assange, has been receiving death threats, while the website hopped around the globe trying to evade efforts to shut it down.

The US will effect sweeping changes in its embassies around the world — including Nairobi — following the leaking of its diplomatic cables by whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

The transfers will target desk officers, military personnel and intelligence operatives whose work has been laid bare by WikiLeaks.

According to The Independent, the Obama administration was on Monday facing a crisis in its diplomatic service, amid growing evidence that the ongoing publication of the supposedly-confidential communiqués will make normal work difficult, if not dangerous, for important State Department employees across the world.

There are 1,821 cables from the US embassy in Nairobi covering the period 1996 to February this year and whose content has been described as “unpleasant” and “explosive”.

None of the Nairobi cables has been released yet. The cables contain analyses of key issues and personalities in countries to which the diplomats are accredited.

A mere 1,100 of the roughly 250,000 secret documents obtained by WikiLeaks have been published, leading to fears that the revelations will continue for months to come.

“In the short run, we’re almost out of business,” a senior US diplomat told the Reuters news agency, saying it could take five years to rebuild trust.

“It is really, really bad. I cannot exaggerate it. In all honesty, nobody wants to talk to us… Some people still have to, particularly (in) government but … they are already asking us things like, ‘Are you going to write about this?’” The Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department are reported to be identifying which members of staff have been outed.

Among those whose private thoughts have been embarrassingly revealed is Gene Cretz, the US ambassador to Libya, who wrote to Washington in 2009 noting that the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi never travels without his “voluptuous blonde” Ukranian nurse.

America’s envoy to the United Nations has also been criticised following the revelation that Hillary Clinton instructed them to procure credit card passwords and other data from foreign diplomats and top UN officials, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The difficulty regarding the future of America’s diplomatic service is the fact that the authors of many of the most important emails in the WikiLeaks tranche are among their most-experienced senior staff, and will therefore be tough, if not impossible, to replace.

None of the countries that were affected by the WikiLeaks cables had requested the withdrawal of any American diplomatic staff.

“That’s another part of the tragedy of this,” a senior US national-security official told The Daily Beast website, which on Monday detailed the extent of the crisis on the ground and claimed that the reassignment of affected diplomats had already been planned and would take place in the coming months.

“We’re going to have to pull out some of our best people — the diplomats who best represented the United States and were the most thoughtful in their analysis — because they dared to report back the truth about the nations in which they serve.”

Source: Daily Nation

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Doctor claims scholarship founders tried to have her passport cancelled

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

A KENYAN doctor has accused the organisers of a €250,000 scholarship of trying to cancel her passport after she “vanished” mid-way through the nine-year programme.

Dr Irene Mwangi, 33, claimed that she got a text message telling her that the founders of the O’Halpin Linders scholarship had asked the Kenyan ambassador to revoke her passport after she reneged on the programme. But the ambassador refused to act without consulting Dr Mwangi first.

The claims — denied by the scholarship’s founders — emerged during a Medical Council inquiry into Dr Mwangi, who faces charges of professional misconduct.

Dr Eamann Breatnach, a consultant radiologist, accused Dr Mwangi of a “disgraceful” and “dishonourable” act of betrayal by failing to fulfil the scholarship. In one of the more unusual cases to come before the council’s fitness to practise committee, Dr Breatnach told how he co-founded the programme with wealthy businessman Joseph Linders to help doctors in developing countries to improve their skills. Dr Mwangi was the scholarship’s first student.

She was required to complete four years’ radiology training at the Royal College of Surgeons, followed by a five-year post in the Mater Hospital in Nairobi.

After a farewell lunch in Dublin in July 2008, she was due to start her five-year post in Nairobi but she never showed up for the job.

She emailed the hospital in Nairobi on August 11 to say that she would not be taking up the post.

Dr Breatnach claimed that “for six to seven weeks” he didn’t know where Dr Mwangi was and thought she was missing.

Out of concern for her welfare, he and Mr Linders met the Kenyan ambassador. The introduction was arranged by Maurice Manning, the head of the Irish Human Rights Organisation.

Dr Mwangi disagreed. She claimed that after the meeting, the ambassador contacted her mother in Kenya. Her lawyers produced a text message from her mother urging her to “please urgently talk to Kenyan ambassador in Ireland” because people were asking to have her passport cancelled.

The scholarship had a total value of €250,000 including free tuition, a free apartment provided by Joseph Linders, an allowance of €1,200 a month, a laptop, books and foreign travel to conferences in Washington and Europe.

But Dr Mwangi said she was not treated with respect. She was concerned that colleagues earned salaries ranging from upwards of €64,000 a year while she was on an allowance of €1,200 to €1,400 a month for doing the same work. She was also concerned about the five-year post in Nairobi, because she still didn’t have a contract at the time she was due to start. She claimed she was afraid to tell Dr Breatnach in advance that she did not intend to take up the post in Nairobi.

Dr Breatnach said Dr Mwangi’s “behaviour” could have brought the whole scholarship down very easily. Dr Mwangi watched the proceedings by video link from San Diego, where she now works.

– MAEVE SHEEHAN

Sunday Independent

Source: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/doctor-claims-scholarship-founders-tried-to-have-her-passport-cancelled-2448807.html

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Kenyan born Asylum boss and Kenyan tycoon planned to buy airline

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

Mabel Mark (born in Kakamega with maiden name Lusanji Muruli) and Joshua Kulei former Personal assistant to former President Daniel Arap Moi planned to buy an airline in Kenya.

Mabel Mark (born in Kakamega with maiden name Lusanji Muruli) and Joshua Kulei former Personal assistant to former President Daniel Arap Moi planned to buy an airline in Kenya.

 

SHE was the boss of an asylum seeker housing firm which received £18 million in taxpayer funding before being forced into liquidation because of unpaid debts.

He was the African billionaire who had gone from prison warder to be a leading figure in the Kenyan Government.

Now the extraordinary links between Mabel Mark (born in Kakamega with maiden name Lusanji Muruli) and Joshua Kulei can be revealed for the first time.

They include details of how Mrs Mark and her asylum firm, Kimberley Group Housing Group (KGHL), received £1 million from the wealthy Kenyan – to help buy an AIRLINE in Africa.

The money was transferred in a series of payments into her personal and company accounts, with £125,000 later used as the deposit on a Cessna.

But the airline, called Mabel Air, never got off the ground while Mrs Mark’s asylum housing company is now in liquidation.

She claims her £10 million-plus assets have also been frozen as part of an ongoing investigation by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

Home Office reports claim investigators discovered KGHL was unable to meet its trading liabilities, owed considerable sums to sub-contractors and utilities suppliers and had no proper systems in place to manage liabilities.

The firm was also accused of failing to maintain proper records and there was said to be ‘‘substantial intermingling of personal and corporate assets and monies without regard to the claims of corporate creditors.”

But Mrs Mark, 48, denied doing anything wrong in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Mercury. ‘‘I have nothing to hide,” she said.

‘‘I’ve had accountants and bank managers look at all my accounts and not a single one of them complained about how they were being run.

‘‘The police are not investigating me. They found nothing.’’

Mabel Mark was a national success story in her native Kenya.

The former teacher came to the UK in the mid-1990s and in 2003 launched KGHL, providing accommodation for 1,200 asylum seekers across the country, including at houses in Coventry and Nottingham.

For the first three years profit was modest. But the firm hit the jackpot after winning a Home Office contract to house asylum seekers and unaccompanied children who had entered the country.

In total, KGHL received £6.1 million a year between May 2006 and January 2009 – when the company lost its contract following a UKBA probe.

The firm was placed in compulsory liquidation by the Inland Revenue in June last year over an unpaid £45,000 tax bill.

Mrs Mark enjoyed a meteoric rise from a primary school teacher in her Kenyan homeland to a wealthy businesswoman after setting up KGHL in Wembley, London.

At one point she boasted her company owned 60 houses across the UK, as well as 10 apartments in Florida and acres of land on both sides of the Atlantic.

Her personal wealth was such that she eventually looked to set up her own Kenyan airline with Joshua Kulei.

The billionaire began his working life as a prison warder. But he went on to become a powerful aide to controversial Kenyan ex-president, Daniel Arap Moi.

Kulei is permanently banned from travelling to the USA, a move explained last year by the US ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger.

He said: “Joshua Kulei is connected to an awful lot of people in high office. That is why we added him to the list of those permanently ineligible to enter the US.

‘‘We know Joshua Kulei is not in government but he is highly connected.’’

Kulei is currently facing historical fraud charges in Kenya, along with several others. He denies all the allegations.

Mrs Mark says she began looking at launching Mabel Air as uncertainty grew about her Government contracts.

She told the Sunday Mercury: ‘‘When I saw the injustice of the Home Office and the way they were treating me, I thought: ‘What am I going to do’?

‘‘I went to Kenya and found someone and they agreed to work with me. That gentleman’s name was Joshua Kulei.

‘‘I had met him a number of times in the last 10 years. He was interested in airlines but could not get an air licence.

‘‘He gave me £1 million. It went through the British banks and he transferred money from his bank in Nairobi.’’

When asked how much money was paid by Mr Kulei into the KGHL company account, she said: ‘‘£200,000. The other money he had given me earlier, sometimes it came into my personal account.

‘‘We agreed everything should be done here (in the UK) as I could not always be going to Africa for meetings.’’

Mrs Mark later paid £125,000 from her personal account for a deposit on the Cessna Caravan. She said: ‘‘Everything I ever did was clean and I always sought advice.

‘‘But we never got the airplane and the airline is not running. It was never set up in the end.

‘‘I have lost millions of pounds, I have lost money on my properties. I have got depression and ulcers, and I don’t move from the house.’’

The businesswoman says her legal team is now looking at counter-suing the Home Office for the loss of her asylum seeker contract.

She also claimed she and her company had been targeted by Government surveillance operations.

‘‘I was bugged, my phones were bugged and I was being followed,’’ Mrs Mark said.

‘‘Now I have lost everything, everything I’ve ever worked for.’’

A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: ‘‘The contract with Kimberley Group for the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers was terminated in January 2009 because the company was deemed to be insolvent and could not provide the services we had contracted with them.

“The UK Border Agency investigation was concluded and information was passed to the Metropolitan Police to consider whether any further action was appropriate. The Metropolitan Police decided not to proceed any further.

“The company is now in liquidation and the UK Border Agency is liaising with the appointed liquidator to recover its losses.”

Source: http://www.sundaymercury.net/news/midlands-news/2010/12/05/asylum-boss-and-kenyan-tycoon-planned-to-buy-airline-n-66331-27768383/

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Sh25m prize student to stay in college

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

Correspondent | NATION Jonathan Okello with his Aunt Catherine Okello (left), mother Peninah Okello (second right) and auntie Paris Oweggi after he was presented with the Sh25 million cheque on Monday at Safaricom House in Nairobi

Correspondent | NATION Jonathan Okello with his Aunt Catherine Okello (left), mother Peninah Okello (second right) and auntie Paris Oweggi after he was presented with the Sh25 million cheque on Monday at Safaricom House in Nairobi

Jonathan Okello’s world was collapsing around his feet just nine months ago.

The 21-year-old had to interrupt his studies at a Romanian University when his visa expired and he was ordered to return to Kawangware slums, the place he calls home.

Normally, student visas are renewed without sending people back to their home country, but in what he saw as a case bad luck, he just had to return.

“They refused to renew my visa and told me to return to my home country to do it,” Mr Okello says.

To make matters worse, on his return to Kenya the Embassy of Romania declined to renew his visa, delaying his return.

The frustrations went on until last Friday when he received a life changing phone call telling him he had won Sh25 million in the Masonko na Safaricom Consumer Promotion.

After nine months of disappointments with the travel papers the first born in a family of two was almost giving up on getting back to his studies.

Distressed, his mother, whom he describes as religious, consoled him, telling him there must be a reason for that to happen.

At first he thought the hidden purpose of delay was to save him from the ravages of the European winter which peaks in December. But his pious mother might have sensed something bigger and as it turned out, there were million of reasons for staying at home.

It seems it was just fate that led this hotel management student to win the largest single cash prize yet in Kenya. But to him and his family they attribute the changed fortunes to God.

“After the phone call, I went ahead to break the news to my mother. She was in our church preparing for the following day’s sermon. We are Seventh-Day Adventist” he said.

Now he does not question why the Romanian Embassy kept on denying him the visa. He just says it was for a reason that he was around at the time of the promotion, kept his phone on and used it.

Nine lucky subscribers scooped the weekly Sh5 million while another 74 landed the Sh1 million daily prize, but Mr Okello took home the coveted Sh25 million.

“From what we have gone through, I know they are happy,” he says when asked how his family reacted to his win.

Mr Okello’s mother comes from an extended family of 11 and he has a surprise in store for all.

“Although we’ve been having such celebrations every year, this year was meant to be different with no such party,” he says.

Without being too extravagant, his first spend will be to host the family during this year Christmas celebrations.

And then, he says, it will be back to normal. Luckily, for him, the prize money came with free personal finance advice.

“I have to complete my studies because that is important to me. I could either go back to Romania or get another good school, but I have to go back to class,” he says.

He says he will not let the new millionaire status divert him from his plans, bearing in mind the attention it earns him. Between Friday and Monday his facebook friends have multiplied to hit the 4,000 limit.

Source: Daily Nation

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Lawyers for ‘wanted’ police chiefs fail to acquire Visas to the Hague

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

By CYRUS OMBATI

Lawyers representing security chiefs who served during the post election violence period, claim they have been denied visas to travel to The Hague to represent their clients.

The lawyers now want the Kenyan case that the International Criminal Court is investigating be moved to a friendlier country where access is easy and fast.

They told journalists in Nairobi they had since December 1 been trying to get visas to The Hague through the Dutch embassy in the city in vain.

“We applied for the visas in urgency hopping the case will be considered but the officials at the embassy said they had to consult the ICC and Dutch government before granting us the same. This is unnecessary frustrations,” said the lawyers.

Lawyers Ken Ogeto, Evans Monari, Gerishom Otachi and Caroline Gichuri who represent the ten PPOs and PCs addressed the briefing.

Monari said they based the urgency for issuance of the visas on an application they had made at the court in regard to the case that it is investigating in Kenya and touching on their clients.

ICC is investigating Crimes Against Humanity in the country, which were committed in the post election violence period and as stipulated under the Rome Statute.

Monari said they are being frustrated and hampered in seeking justice for their clients, who he expressed fears may be among the wanted six.

An official at the Dutch embassy said there are procedures, which must be followed for one to obtain a visa to travel and denied the denial was deliberate.

Monari insisted their clients are ready and willing to cooperate with the Court in its investigations even as he complained of unfairness in the whole process.

The Hague

The Hague

The lawyers have already filed an application at The Hague to among others seek an order staying any decision on a possible application by the Office of the Prosecutor for the issuance of indictments in relation to the 2007-2008 violence until such a time that the applicants are in a position to record statements and same are provided to the prosecutor.

They emailed their application to The Hague after they failed to get the visas on Friday and the case has been received at the Registrar’s office.

On Monday, the lawyers were busy at the ICC court that sits in Nairobi arguing for former Central PPO Philip Ndwiga who has been summoned for grilling.

Ndwiga had been summoned alongside his former colleagues but ignored the summons on grounds that he is no longer in government.

But in a twist of events, the ICC court sent him fresh summons and a set of questions they intend to ask him beginning this Monday.

The summons require Ndwiga to appear before the team which works under Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal

The lawyers want the grilling, which begins this Monday to be suspended until the three judges at The Hague give ruling on their application.

The security chiefs had asked the Court to also stop the grilling process because they were being forced to give evidence contrary to the standing rules.

The ICC detectives are trying to tie loose the loose ends on its upcoming cases against those deemed to hold higher responsibility for the post poll killings.

The detectives have summoned the ten security chiefs for grilling as part of their investigations.

Those named in the application that was made at The Hague are Ernest Mwinyi, Kingori Mwangi, Hassan Noor, Grace Kaindi, Njue Njagi, James Waweru, Paul Olando, Japter Rugut and Joseph Ashmala.

It was addressed to Pre-Trial Chamber II Judges Ekaterina Trendafilova (presiding Judge), Hans-Peter Kaul and Cuno Tarfusser who are handling the Kenyan case.

Loui Moreno-Ocampo is expected to appear before the Chamber in two weeks time to seek the indictment of the suspects.

Their move came after Justice Rawal rejected the security chiefs’ application requesting to be provided with questions they are to be asked by the ICC team beginning Tuesday.

In a ruling dated November 25, Justice Rawal rejected an application by the security chiefs requesting to be provided with questions they are to be asked by The Hague in relation to post-election violence.

Justice Rawal held that the witnesses intended to give evidence are compelled to appear before her, but could refuse to give answers, which could incriminate them.

The Justice Rawal ruling was based on submissions made by the security chiefs’ lawyers dated November 15, when Moreno-Ocampo objected a request by the counsel to supply in advance specific details and questions.

“A single answer or set of answers may appear innocent and harmless but when placed in perspective of the totality of facts and circumstances, may turn out to be grossly incriminating,” they said.

 Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000024094&cid=4&ttl=Lawyers%20for%20’wanted’%20police%20chiefs%20fail%20to%20acquire%20Visas%20to%20the%20Hague

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Ugandan wins Sh5m Tusker Project Fame award

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

Davis Hillary Ntare from Kampala performs during the Tusker Project Fame show on November 7, 2010. On Sunday, Davis emerged winner of the reality show. Photo/ELVIS OGINA

Davis Hillary Ntare from Kampala performs during the Tusker Project Fame show on November 7, 2010. On Sunday, Davis emerged winner of the reality show. Photo/ELVIS OGINA

Uganda’s Davis Ntare on Sunday emerged the winner of Tusker Project Fame reality show to walk away with Sh5 million.

Kenyans Stephen Nyabwa and Amileena Mwenesi secure third and fourth place respectively.

Tanzania’s Peter Msechu claimed second place.

A total of 18 contestants were in the running to be the fourth winner in the reality show but only 15 of them made it into the academy.

They include Kenya’s Stephen Nyabwa, Prudence Kibaya, Juvenalia Ochieng’ and Amileena Mwenesi.

Uganda was represented by Davis Ntare, Rachel Namubiru and Thomas Madooba, while Rwanda had Elizabeth Gaga, Gilbert Gabiro and Atete Gaëlle.

Aneth Kushaba, Leah Mwambogela and Peter Msechu represented Tanzania.

Southern Sudan managed to get Kuonck Deng and Paleki Obur in, who were both excited for their country to be recognised and involved in this year’s reality show.

During the eight weeks at the academy, the contestants were coached on how to improve their music careers including voice, instrument, dance and performing skills.

Source: Daily Nation

SOME CLIPS OF THE TUSKER FAME PROJECT COMPETION

Davies the winner performs with another contestant-Gaga

The boys of the competiotion perform a WestLife song

The girls of Tusker Project fame perform “Don’t let go”

Posted in Kenya: Entertainment | 2 Comments »

Hundreds arrested in police swoop

Posted by Administrator on December 6, 2010

Police have arrested three hundred and forty six foreigners in a major crackdown on illegal immigrants in Nairobi.

The suspects were picked up Sunday night after failing to produce national identity cards or passports and any documents validating their stay in Kenya.

The joint administration and regular police operation begun at about 10:30 pm and continued until about 1:30 am.

The operation targeted Pangani, Eastleigh and South ‘C’ estates, where foreigners prefer to stay because of less scrutiny and fewer police operations.

“A massive operation was mounted in Pangani, Eastleigh and South C areas and a total of 346 aliens who are in Kenya without proper documents were arrested and will appear before court today (Tuesday),” Nairobi PPO Mr Anthony Kibuchi said.

All of the arrested persons were found to be in Kenya without documents.

Three truckloads and four Landcruisers of heavily armed police officers systematically cordoned off sections of Eastleigh during the operation.

Most of the houses searched were in Garissa Lodge area of Eastleigh although some houses in Pangani were also searched.

Those arrested were scheduled to appear in court and charged with being in the country illegally.

Source: Daily Nation

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