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Archive for December 10th, 2011

Africa Investigates-The spell of the Albino

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

In this episode of Africa Investigates, Tanzanian journalist Richard Mgamba, albino community representative, Isaack Timothy, and Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas set out to discover what lies behind the attacks against albinos.

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Four Years After Kenya’s Post-Election Violence, Impunity Reigns

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

Four years ago, 1,133 Kenyans lost their lives during two months of ethnic and political violence following the December 2007 general elections. Images of chaos and brutality in Kenya’s streets – police firing on unarmed protesters; mobs slaughtering their neighbors – shook the world. When it was all over, following an accord brokered by Kofi Annan that established of a coalition government, Kenya’s leaders promised that people responsible would be brought to justice.

That promise has been repeatedly broken. Earlier this year, Kenya tried to prevent cases against six high-profile suspects from going forward at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is a court of last resort, mandated to step in only when states are unwilling or unable to prosecute genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kenya authorities contended that ICC action was unnecessary because their criminal justice system was capable of handling such cases. That claim does not match the reality.

The post-election violence pitted the supporters of President Mwai Kibaki’s ruling Party of National Unity and the security forces against civilians and armed groups affiliated with Raila Odinga’s then-opposition Orange Democratic Movement. The two parties are now governing in coalition.

Human Rights Watch conducted extensive research in five Kenyan provinces to determine to what extent victims of post-election violence have had access to justice. Our results were best summed up by a Kalenjin elder in Eldoret, the epicenter of the 2007-2008 violence. Asked whether Kenyan politicians had the will to ensure accountability, when many politicians were themselves implicated, he replied, “We are very good at saying we don’t leave a single stone unturned, but we don’t turn a single stone. Maybe we turn pebbles…. Small stones are turned. The big ones, no one dares.”

Eldoret is a case in point. A few people have been convicted for minor crimes, such as stealing, in the context of the post-election violence. But no one has been convicted for the 230 killings in and around Eldoret. And there have been no efforts to identify the politicians who organized and funded the violence.

Countrywide, only two cases have resulted in murder convictions. The national Waki Commission, which conducted preliminary investigations into the violence, identified 405 fatal police shootings – but no police officers have been convicted. Many of the 562 victims of police shootings who survived tried to file complaints, but were turned away.

The Attorney General’s office withdrew some cases with no explanation. The brother of James Kigen, who was killed in Nakuru during violence between Kalenjin ODM supporters and Kisii PNU supporters, told me he tried to pursue justice. “I went [to court] to testify about the post-mortem,” he said. “The rest of the hearings I didn’t hear about, and then … I was astonished to see the accused walking around. I never got an explanation.” A member of the Waki Commission told me that back-room deals between PNU and ODM – which, once the coalition government was in place, seemed to overcome their differences and develop a common interest in impunity – resulted in dozens of such cases being withdrawn.

In other cases, poor investigations resulted in acquittals. One gang-rape victim told me she was able to point out one of her attackers to police. But the judge acquitted him because police never organized a line-up.

Many victims have placed their hopes in the ICC, as “the first institution [Kenyan politicians] have come across that they cannot bribe, kill, or intimidate,” in the words of one Kenyan activist. Our research on the lack of access to justice in Kenya shows the ICC was right to step in, and a decision is expected next month on whether the cases brought against the six high-profile suspects will be sent to trial. But hundreds of other perpetrators of serious crimes continue to enjoy impunity.

Kenyan leaders have repeatedly promised to establish a special tribunal to prosecute the remaining cases, as the Waki Commission recommended. President Kibaki announced a year ago that the government was “fully committed to the establishment of a local tribunal,” but no concrete steps have followed.

The lack of capacity and political will in the Kenyan police and judicial system demonstrates the enduring need for a special judicial mechanism. To ensure that Kenya can finally make good on its promises, our new report, Turning Pebbles”: Evading Accountability for Post-Election Violence in Kenya, recommends establishing a special bench or division within the High Court, along with a special prosecutor and units dedicated to criminal investigations and witness protection, all featuring carefully vetted Kenyan and international personnel. A further specialized unit should investigate crimes by security force members.

Four years after the violence, Kenya’s victims are tired of empty promises. Another election is scheduled for 2012. The government should demonstrate that violence will not be tolerated this time around. Kenya’s leaders need to accept that justice for the post-election violence is a requirement, not an option.

Neela Ghoshal is a Human Rights Watch researcher based in Nairobi.

Source: HUFFINGTON POST

Posted in Kenya | 4 Comments »

A Kenyan and a Nigerian in UK court over phishing scam

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

Two men have appeared in court charged over a £1 million phishing scam that  drained the bank accounts of hundreds of UK students.

Amos Mwangi, 25, of Rochdale Way, Deptford, south London, and Damola  Olatunji, 26, of Hamsterley Avenue, Manchester, were remanded in custody at  Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Scotland Yard said.

They will appear next at Southwark Crown Court on February 17, a spokesman  added.

Both are accused of conspiracy to defraud, and Olatunji is also charged with  possession of an article for use in fraud.

Five other people have been bailed until March pending further inquiries.

Scotland Yard has said a criminal network targeted students on government  loan schemes, luring them into revealing their bank account details which were  then used to withdraw amounts of between £1,000 and £5,000 at a time.

The five bailed include a 25-year-old woman arrested in Manchester, a  49-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man arrested in Stratford, north-east  London, and a 38-year-old man arrested in Bolton, Lancashire.

They were all arrested on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and  Computer Misuse Act and money laundering offences.

A second man, aged 35, was arrested in Bolton early on Friday on suspicion of  the same offences.

Source: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/uk/student-phishing-scam-two-in-court-16089273.html#ixzz1g9kmI3ak

 

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Have you seen her? Kenyan lady who has been in the US for only a month missing

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

Harriet Akiluga

Harriet Akiluga

(Cleveland) – Police are asking for the public’s help in  locating a female missing from the west-side of Cleveland.

Harriet  Akiluga, 18, was reported missing by her mother who last saw her on Thursday,  December 8, 2011. Akiluga was last seen leaving John Marshall High School on  Thursday, December 8, at approximately 4:45 pm.

She is described as a  black female 5’2”, 154 lbs., black hair and brown eyes, wearing a pink hooded  sweatshirt, blue shirt and blue pants. Ms. Akiluga is from Kenya, Africa and has  only been in the United States for a month.

Cleveland Police learned of Ms. Akiluga’s missing status on December 8, when she  did not return home from John Marshal High School, where she has been a student  for two days. Numerous checks with school officials and neighbors as well as  area hospitals have failed to turn up any signs of Ms. Akiluga.

Anyone  with information on the whereabouts of Harriet Akiluga is asked to call the  Cleveland Division Police Second District Detective Bureau by phoning 216.623.5218

Source: http://www.wtam.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=122520&article=9494799#ixzz1g72IFKzH

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Rapist In Harare Tells Judge That Rape Is Not A Serious Offense

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

A HARARE man told a magistrate on Tuesday that rape was not a serious offence before he was sentenced to 11 years for raping a 15-year old girl.

Magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi said that Tedius Jeche (43) had committed a serious offence which deserved a custodial sentence.

“The offence is serious which Parliament saw fit to punish by a long custodial sentence,” he said.

But during mitigation, Jeche said Mr Mutevedzi was unnecessarily making a non-serious offence look serious. “That is a misplaced statement when it comes to rape,” Mr Mutevedzi said before reading out the sentence.

Jeche raped the 15-year-old girl who had gone to his home in search of firewood. He pleaded not guilty to rape charges but was convicted after a full trial. Jeche was slapped with 14 years, but three years were suspended on condition of good behaviour. Prosecutor Ms Sarah Bosha proved that on August 8 this year, the girl went with her brothers to Jeche’s home to buy firewood.

He gave the girl’s brothers a task to shell his maize as payment for firewood, while he took the girl to fetch the firewood on the pretext that he would not leave her behind since her brothers would bully her. While in the bush, Jeche cut down the firewood and bundled them for the girl.

When the girl was about to lift the firewood he began fondling her breasts. Jeche held her hand and walked for a short distance, saying he wanted to check if his wife was back home. When Jeche returned he removed the girl’s undergarments before ordering her to lie down. He raped her once.

The girl’s brothers started looking for her and called out her name leading to Jeche fleeing the scene. He was arrested after a police report was made.

Source: BULAWAYO 24 NEWS

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Fundraiser to settle medical bills for Rachael Musya

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

Rachael Musya

Rachael Musya

YOU ARE KINDLY INVITED

To Join friends and well-wishers during a fundraiser  in aid of Rachael Musya (Mama Faith) hospital bills on Sunday Dec. 18th 2011

Venue: Kenyan American Community Church

771 Elberta Dr. Marietta GA 30066

At 2pm.

For friends who may wish to send their contribution, a bank account has been set up in the Bank of America, Account #  3340 3454 6671 Routing  061000052.

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High rates stoke fears of housing crisis

Posted by Administrator on December 10, 2011

Elizabeth Ngigi, an auditor, took a Sh5 million mortgage two years ago to buy a three-bedroom house in Kahawa Wendani, in the outskirts of Nairobi.

The interest rate for the facility was 10 per cent, which means she was paying a monthly instalment of Sh53,730. She would have paid Sh9,6071,466 at the end of the 15-year mortgage.

Ordinarily, that was affordable for the 27 year-old who earns a net salary of Sh80,000. But now it’s not.

At the end of last month, the bank sent her a note — the fourth since she took the facility — saying it had adjusted the lending rate to 23 per cent, pushing her monthly repayment to Sh99,083.

A quick calculation shows she would have paid Sh17,834,970 — more than triple the amount borrowed, assuming the rates remain at 23 per cent — after 15 years

“I’m left holding on a loan which I can no longer afford. I regret it” Ms Ngigi said.

The steep rise in interest rate has come as a shocker to Kenyans whose spending habits were shaped by years of relatively low cost of borrowing. Each increase of 1 percentage point in rates adds as much as 10 per cent to the total cost of a home, real estate analysts said.

These are the realities facing at least 16,000 Kenyans with mortgages. Rising lending rates have significantly pushed up the cost of mortgage, making it unattractive to both existing and potential customers.

“If the raise is sustained for more than six years, then banks are in for some defaults,” said Mr Kabaki Wamwea, a director at County Developers, a real estate firm putting up houses in Ruaka, Nairobi.

“Mortgages remain a critical option in the real estate sector and no economy can expand home ownership without it. We are seeing the rise in lending rates as a temporal trend.”

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) last week increased its indicative lending rate to 18 per cent, prompting banks to take cue.

Housing Finance, for example, raised its lending rate to 23 per cent for new clients and 16.5 per cent for existing customers, up from 14.5 per cent.

The surge in mortgage rates has mostly affected those who are holding variable and part-fixed rates arrangements. For variable mortgage rates, a bank can adjust the rates as it may determine and repayments are adjusted similarly.

For part-fixed mortgage rates, repayment is at a defined rate for the first 1 to 5 years and may be renewed on expiry.

Most lenders ask for at least 10 per cent of the value of the property — as down payment. Others ask for as much as 5 per cent of the value of the property for mortgage processing, while legal fees and commitment fees gobble up another 7 to 9 percent of the value of the property.

Ms Ngigi paid about Sh1.1 million before the mortgage could be approved.

The first time the bank raised the rate to 13 per cent, she thought that was the worst it could get. This automatically pushed the monthly repayment to Sh63,262 (she would  have paid Sh11,387,179 at the end of the 15 years.)

At this point the cost of the house doubled while its value or  rental income would ordinarily not have risen by that margin.

A further surge in the lending rate to, say, 30 per cent — which market analysts see as just months away should the CBK continue to pursue the high interest regime — would increase the monthly instalment to Sh126,485.

The total amount payable after 15 years will have accumulated to Sh22 million — four and a half times the value of the house when Ms Ngigi first applied for the mortgage.

“We have had to raise our rates. But we don’t want the loans to go bad. We are holding discussions with our clients to see how best we can approach this issue,” said Mr George Laboso, head of mortgages at Family Bank.

The bank has since August given mortgages worth at least Sh1 billion.

“We are telling our customers we are ready to extend the period from, say, 10 years to 15 years to reduce the  burden on them” Mr Laboso said.

But will house prices keep rising to make sense for people like Ms Ngigi to hold on?

At present, demand for housing in urban centres has outstripped supply by at least five times, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). This has led to high house prices, locking out low and middle-income earners from owning homes.

Less cash for investing

But economists and real estate analysts warn that if CBK continues  to raise interest rates to check inflation and stabilise the shilling, Kenyans’ purchasing power will fall, and people will set aside more money for basic goods, transport and school fees.

This would mean there will be less cash for investing in the real estate sector. Developers will have to push the cost of homes down to sell and that is where mortgage holders like Ms Ngigi will be dealt the real blow — the value of the houses they acquired at an inflated cost will start crumbling.

“We are projecting a slowdown in the mortgage business due to the high interest rates,” Mr Laboso said.

A real estate pricing boom has pushed the cost of homes to more than 140 times the annual incomes of most Kenyans, according to a survey of Africa’s housing market in March.

“In the era of high interest rates, the best strategy for potential home owners is to save more to raise a higher deposit of let’s say between 30-40 per cent” said Mr Wamwea, adding: “One can then seek a bank loan for the balance and this would be less painful.”

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/High+rates+stoke+fears+of+housing+crisis+/-/1056/1286944/-/3uhxl5z/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya | 6 Comments »

 
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