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Archive for February 7th, 2012

A Kenyan Man in Kansas Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for Filling False Tax Returns

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

A Topeka tax return preparer from Kenya has been sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for filing false federal income tax returns, U.S. Attorney for Kansas Barry Grissom said Tuesday.

John Karundo Mukundi, 33, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of making false claims and 12 counts of wire fraud. In his plea, he admitted he obtained tax preparation software from Tax Wise and used it to submit fraudulent tax returns electronically to the Internal Revenue Service.

Mukundi used the tax returns to obtain advance payments of refunds through refund anticipation loans and refund transfers from banks.

He used the names and Social Security numbers of real people who weren’t aware that he was using their identities to file false income tax returns.

Mukundi was ordered to pay more than $209,000 in restitution.

Source: http://cjonline.com/news/2012-02-07/topekan-sentenced-false-tax-returns

Related story: http://habarizanyumbani.jambonewspot.com/2011/04/06/fraudulent-topeka-tax-preparer-indicted-for-flee-attempt/


Posted in Diaspora News | 19 Comments »

Girls expelled for alleged lesbianism

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

Twelve students of Moi Kadzodzo Girls Secondary School in Kilifi have been sent home on allegations of engaging in lesbianism. The form two, three and four students, were sent home by the principal on receiving information of their abnormal behaviour from the rest of the student’s body. But as NTV’s Brenda Wanga reports, the incident is not an isolated one and remains a growing concern for stakeholders in the education sector.

Posted in Kenya | 5 Comments »

Wedding bells go silent

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

”]A forlorn Charles Ikama holds on to memories of his bride-to-be who died in a road accident a week before their wedding [Photos: Wambui Ndung’u/Standard]Last Saturday was supposed to find Rosemary Muthoni and Charles Ikama in their hotel honeymoon suite. But that day found Ikama by his fiancee’s graveside.

Muthoni died in a road accident on Friday January 27, just a week before the wedding, and was buried last Friday.

After months of preparations for their big day and the sleepless nights that came along, Charles Ikama and Muthoni were happy that the involving activities were coming to an end that week.

Muthoni, 22, decided to pick her wedding dress and a few other items from Nairobi on a Friday, just a week before the wedding, and visit her sister who had given birth at Kenyatta National Hospital.

After visiting her sister, Muthoni made a telephone call to her fiancÈ at 5.30pm telling him that she had just left the hospital and was heading for her uncle’s house in Nairobi’s Mwiki Estate where she was staying for the night.

Crushing down

At 7:30pm Muthoni had not yet called him; it was unusual for her not to tell him she had arrived home but two hours later and no call from her, he assumed she must be home and decided to call her instead.

With that call, his world came crushing around him. On the other end of the line, a woman was wailing.

He didn’t recognise her.

“I told her I wanted to speak to Muthoni but she told me that I could not speak to her at that moment. It did not make sense to me. In the background I could hear commotion and more wailing,” says Ikama.

Being alone in what would have been their new home in Githunguri, Ikama walked down to a neighbour’s house seeking company to calm himself as he was shaking like a leaf. It was while at the neighbour’s that he received the heart shattering call from his fiancÈe’s uncle.

“He told me that Muthoni had passed on and that they were taking her to the mortuary. All I could ask is why they were taking her to the mortuary … I didn’t understand. I later came to my senses and called him back telling him not to book her in before I saw her,” he said.

Shattering call

In Nyeri her parents and family received the same heart shattering call. All they knew was that they were going to walk their daughter down the aisle to meet her groom the following Saturday, on February 4, and it took a while to comprehend that their daughter had actually died.

Muthoni, who was working as a computer tutor at Pinnacle College in Nyeri, was so organised that she wanted to plan her life quite quickly. A week before her big day, everything was almost ready and invitation cards had been sent out. The church announcements had already been done and a venue set.

Because she didn’t want to do things in the last minute, Muthoni had gone to Nairobi to collect the last of her wedding supplies, among them her wedding gown.

At 7pm, the matatu she had boarded stopped at a Mwiki Estate stage for her and three others to alight — a male passenger, Muthoni and her cousin.

The man was the first to step out while Muthoni was next. And that is when it happened. As she stepped out and one foot on the ground and the other still in the car, the tout signalled the driver to drive away.

Muthoni fell and the matatu drove over her, crushing her ribs and head.

People started screaming at the driver, asking him to stop while Muthoni’s cousin, who was still in the matatu, wanted to know why she had been taken beyond her drop-off point.

Soon, a crowd gathered around Muthoni but it was too late, she had died on the spot.

And that is where Ikama found her that night. “It was heartbreaking, sudden, an uncertain and extremely painful moment for me,” he told The Standard in an interview.

Just like Ikama, Muthoni’s parents, friends and siblings are yet to come to terms with her tragic death saying that all they pray for is strength to carry on.

“It is a very difficult and painful moment for our family,” says her father, David Mwangi, tears welling up in his eyes.

Her brother, Peter Karite, and sister, Catherine Nduta, remember Muthoni as a person with a big heart, whom they will miss terribly.

With a distant look in his eyes, Ikama recalls the last moments he spent with his fiancÈe, whom he had dated for two years, with nostalgia.

“The last thing I told her was that I had a beautiful surprise for her and she would love it. I was referring to the house we would move into after our wedding, she was never to see it. I only pray to God to give me strength to move on from this point.”

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000051679&cid=4&&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Posted in Kenya | 12 Comments »

Keiskamma – A Story of Love

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

Like many other communities in rural Africa the tiny hamlet of Hamburg, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape is fighting a life and death battle – its population has been decimated by HIV/Aids. Now the women there are struggling to keep the community alive through the disciplined use of anti-retro virals (ARVS). Backed by the Keiskamma art project, a small HIV/Aids programme was begun in 2004. Today the Keiskamma Aids treatment programme continues to treat poor patients who cannot access the government programmes.

Posted in Africa | Comments Off on Keiskamma – A Story of Love

Kenyan man charged with assault in a New York nursing home

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

Patrols responded to Skyview Nursing Home to standby last Wednesday as an employee was suspended.

After interviewing staff, police said they determined that Erich Omondi, 35, of Hood Place in Cortlandt Manor, assaulted two other staff members when he pushed them over a food cart.

Police said the two other employees reported substantial neck, back and shoulder pain, but declined medical attention on scene.

Omondi was charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault and was released on $400 cash bail. He is due in court on Wednesday.

Source: CROTON-ON-HUSON Police Blotter

Posted in Diaspora News | 8 Comments »

Georgia man appeals against his conviction for killing a Kenyan man in 2008

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

MARIETTA — The Georgia Supreme Court will hear two Cobb County murder cases today.

In the first, Kevin Martin is appealing his conviction in the 2008 New Year’s Eve death of Peter Mwangi. Martin was convicted of stabbing Mwangi to death in a fight stemming from a disagreement over an open door. In the trial, jurors were allowed to see portions of a videotaped interrogation in which he invoked his right to an attorney and said “Oh, God, have mercy upon my soul” upon learning of Mwangi’s death.

Martin was convicted of felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime and sentenced to life plus five years in prison.

Martin will argue that his attorney, Jimmy Berry, provided ineffective defense in not preventing the interrogation video to be shown, thus hurting his defense.

In another case, Jesus Guerrero Manzano will be appealing his murder conviction in his wife’s death for a second time.

Police discovered Claudia Rodriguez, 25, dead of a gunshot wound to her head on Nov. 5, 2003, in the couple’s home. Manzano said he was cleaning his gun when he put it against her head and pulled the trigger, thinking it was unloaded. Prosecutors argued that he shot her while she was sleeping, basing their argument on contact wounds found during her autopsy.

In February 2005, a jury convicted him of felony murder, but acquitted him on a charge of malice murder. That conviction was overturned in 2007 because the judge did not tell the jury they could consider convicting him of involuntary manslaughter. In a second trial in 2009, a jury found Manzano guilty of felony murder with aggravated assault as the underlying felony. Manzano was sentenced to life in prison.

For a felony murder conviction, the victim must be killed as a result of a felony. Manzano’s attorney will be arguing that the evidence in the second trial does not support an aggravated assault conviction, eliminating the underlying felony and thus the felony murder charge.

Source: The Marietta Daily Journal – Supreme Court will hear Cobb murder cases

Posted in Diaspora News | 5 Comments »

Kenyan Immigration barred from deporting Indian

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

THE Immigration ministry has been stopped from deporting a scratch card printing expert working at a new factory in Thika. Last week at the High Court, Justice Mohammed Warsame barred the principal immigration officer from cancelling the work permit of Devaraj Malarmesai Bagavan. It was issued in April 2011 to allow him to work as production manager for Sintel Security Print Solutions Limited.

Until Sintel started its Thika factory, the only scratch card plant in East Africa was operated by Ellams Products. The scratch card business is large, with telecom companies spending an estimated $100 million (Sh8.4 billion) annually on airtime cards for eastern and central Africa. Bagavan, who was a top scratch card printing expert in India, worked for Ellams from 2003 to 2007.

In his affidavit, Bagavan claimed immigration officers colluded with Ellams to take him to the airport without notice and put him on a plane after he fell out with senior management. Sintel head-hunted Bagavan, along with three other experts, in 2010 to help set up a new factory in Thika. Sintel managing director Bipin Vora convinced Bagavan to return to Kenya and work for his firm, saying the new constitution protects people from abuse of law. The Thika factory started operations in September 2011.

According to Bagavan’s affidavit, a mobile operator gave Sintel an order for 11 million scratch cards in October. “They were very pleased with the quality of the Sintel product and the market acceptance was very good. That led to discussions ongoing currently with the mobile operator for a long-term contract for supply of scratch cards which would reduce the cost to the customer by nearly 40 per cent of the prices charged by Ellams,” said Bagavan.

However, on January 17, this year, immigration officer DN Wambilianga cancelled Bagavan’s work permit without warning. No reason was given. On January 16, Bagavan’s lawyer Aurelio Rebelo wrote to Ellams MD Nayan Patel saying, “You are well aware this company has the capacity to break your monopoly of the production of scratch cards…Your hand can readily be detected in the current manoeuvres.”

In the court documents, Vora stated that he checked with the Immigration Department before employing Bagavan. “There was no negative report in his file. The last correspondence according to the immigration offices was from Ellams who informed Immigration that Bagavan had left the country in June 2007. They enclosed an air ticket and informed immigration that they did not require his services,” stated Vora. “When we wanted to recruit a production manager, our attention was drawn to Bagavan.

He had worked in Kenya for more than 10 years and had dealt with such machines, both at Paper Converters where he worked for six years from 1996 to 2002, and then for three-and-a-half years with Ellams. I telephoned Bagavan to join us as production manager and he turned down the offer due to the unpleasant experience he had with Ellams,” said Vora. “I persisted and assured him of the safety of his family and himself. I invited him for an interview in Nairobi and sent him a business class return ticket to travel to Nairobi on November 26. I assured him that he would not be harassed or mistreated when he comes to Nairobi.”

According to his affidavit, Bagavan was employed by Ellams  between 2003 and 2007 when they organised to him locked up and put on a flight to India. The documents state that Bagavan had asked to leave the company after getting a better offer elsewhere. In a court affidavit, Bagavan claims that in 2007 Ellams senior management took his passport, then called him to a meeting on June 8, 2007. From there he was taken to the airport where he was locked in a cell before being put on an Air India flight to Mumbai. He claimed he lost many personal belongings in the process.

Source: The Star

Posted in Kenya | 1 Comment »

Texas Latino Youth Unite To Aid Undocumented Students

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

An organization of young immigrants here is seeking to educate and organize undocumented students in Texas and the country in general so that they know their rights and the opportunities that are open to them.

The San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement is made up mostly of university students whose immigration status in the United States is irregular, given that most of them were brought to this country illegally by their parents when they were children.

According to SAIYM’s Claudia Sanchez, who attends the University of Texas at San Antonio, the undocumented immigrants who are currently pursuing university studies have lived the majority of their lives in the United States and have their family in this country.

Our American Dream: Top Brain Surgeon Was Once Migrant Farm Worker

“They consider themselves to be U.S. citizens and they deserve the opportunity to give back to this country the many things they’ve been given and contribute to the economy, and to continue contributing to their community as they’re currently doing,” Sanchez said.

“Many of them have shown that they have goals, that they want to carry out many projects and because of the fact that they do not have their documents in order their dreams have been halted,” added the student, who two years ago participated in a 39-day hunger strike.

One of the aims of SAIYM is to convince lawmakers of the importance of the DREAM Act, the initiative that would allow students who entered the country as children to legalize their status.

Although Texas since 2005 has permitted undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public universities, Sanchez believes that in this election year the rhetoric attacking this and other benefits will intensify.

Our American Dream: From Homeless Immigrant to Houston’s Celebrated Chef

“Besides, on the national level, the candidate leading in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, has already said that he’s not going to support the DREAM Act,” Sanchez said.

“We’re not going to allow them to attack the Latino community or young people. Despite the fact that many Hispanics cannot vote, they can denounce the politicians who’re contending for a public post so that there are reactions,” she added.

William Wise, a student and also a SAIYM leader, said it is irresponsible not to demand a rapid solution to the situation of the thousands of university students who have graduated or will graduate in the coming months and will not be able to pursue their professions because of their immigration status.

“Therefore, it’s important for undocumented people to be those who start to complain, who stand up, so that the public knows what is happening in the country, so they don’t discriminate and take the initiative to seek methods that help the students,” Wise said.

SAIYM and five other organizations have formed the Texas Dream Alliance, which gathers institutions that are fighting for the rights of undocumented students.

Source: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/community/2012/02/07/texas-latino-youth-unite-to-aid-undocumented-students/#ixzz1lieB0skm

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Texas’ “Limited Term” Driver’s Licenses Draw Concerns

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s classification of licenses for some legal residents as “limited term” documents is drawing criticism from some who claim the department is going against stated policy.

The documents in question are being issued to some after proving they are in the country legally when applying for driver’s licenses or state identification cards. The label “limited term” is at the top of the applicant’s license. The DPS states on its website that it issues such licenses upon “verification of temporary lawful presence in the U.S.” and that the licenses expire “when the period of lawful presence expires.”

But critics say that isn’t consistent with a policy stating that all licenses and ID cards should be in the same format.

In 2008, the DPS enacted a policy requiring proof of legal status before receiving state-issued licenses. It was challenged in courts after plaintiffs said the department acted without legislative authority. Part of the lawsuit argued that issuing a different license to noncitizens — a vertical document that read “temporary visitor” across the top in bold lettering — was discriminatory.

“We had stories about people that weren’t able to get credit, they weren’t able to get a bank account, weren’t able to or had problems registering for school, at the university,” said David Hinojosa, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In June, MALDEF successfully argued for an injunction against the DPS policy, alleging it acted outside its scope of authority.

That proof-of-legal-status requirement, however, was granted in 2011 when the policy was added as an amendment to a fiscal matters bill passed during the special session that ended in June. Even U.S. citizens who had not done so previously must prove their legal status when they renew their licenses.

The amendment stated, however, that licenses “must be in the same format, have the same appearance and orientation; and contain the same type of information.” Some interpreted that to mean that DPS would stop issuing a different license to noncitizens.

When asked to explain the difference between the phrases “temporary visitor” and “limited term,” Tom Vinger, the department’s assistant chief of public affairs, said he could not get the information to The Texas Tribune by deadline.

MALDEF says it has been prompted to submit an open-records request to the department after hearing complaints that the DPS is issuing the licenses with the “limited term” designation in red lettering.

“It’s our understanding that the law, as it was written, did not allow them to change the appearance of the licenses,” Hinojosa said. “But there might be some wording that could be ambiguous.”

Hinojosa is also questioning whether some DPS offices are interpreting the rules differently, or whether there are some “rogue” officials in the department that are continuing the practice despite the language in the bill.

“I don’t know if their attorneys actually know, that’s one of the things that we have to investigate,” he said.

Expiration dates have also been an issue. The amendment authorizes the DPS to determine expiration dates for noncitizens based on when an immigration document expires. If the immigration document does not have an expiration date, the department may issue an ID or license that expires annually.

Karla Reséndiz, a University of Texas graduate who was recently granted permanent residency status, also called a green card, said her current license expires when her green card does, two years from now. But Ricardo, a Dallas legal resident who asked his last name not be used, said his expiration date was moved up after a review of more than one document. He is in Texas legally with an H1B visa, a specialty document for certain professionals, which he said must be renewed every three years. But his expiration date was based on his I-94 document, an arrival and departure record that a legal immigrant must fill out when leaving or returning to the U.S., which, Ricardo said, expires sooner.

When asked what form the DPS uses to determine an expiration date and why, Vinger referred to the department’s Temporary Visitor Issuance Guide. (The guide states that applicants with an H1B visa will be an issued an expiration date consistent with their I-94, but it gives no explanation as to why that is the case.)

Asked why an H1B holder’s expiration date on that document could differ from that on an I-94 form, Rick Pauza, a public affairs specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said several factors could affect the duration of an I-94 form.

“An officer must take into account the totality of the information, entry documentation presented and specific circumstances with an applicant for admission to the U.S. and process the person accordingly,” he said.

Source: http://www.texastribune.org/immigration-in-texas/immigration/limited-term-drivers-licenses-stirring-controversy/

Posted in Immigration | 5 Comments »

Uhuru Closes Gap on Raila in Polls

Posted by Administrator on February 7, 2012

UHURU Kenyatta is continuing to close the gap on Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the opinion polls. Yesterday Ipsos-Synovate released a poll showing that 31 per cent of Kenyans would vote for him in the presidential election, compared to 24 per cent for Uhuru, 10 per cent for Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and 6 per cent for William Ruto. This was a slight fall for Raila from his rating of 32 per cent in December and a slight jump for Uhuru from 22 per cent.

The gap between Uhuru and Raila is now just 7 per cent, the lowest it has been since March 2010 when the gap was 32 per cent. In October 2010 the gap between Raila and Uhuru reached a high of 34 per cent but has since steadily declined as Project Uhuru built up his credibility as a presidential candidate.

Conversely Raila appears to have suffered from the internal ODM dispute with William Ruto and the loss of support in the Rift Valley. Raila’s ratings on the Ipsos-Synovate polls have fallen from a high of 48 per cent in October 2010, to 42 per cent in December 2010, 38 per cent in March 2011, and to 32 per cent in July 2011. In October 2011, Raila improved to briefly 34 per cent before falling again.

Uhuru climbed from a negligible 8 per cent in March 2010, to 14 per cent in October 2010, and 18 per cent by March 2011 as he emerged as the main presidential alternative to Raila. He then peaked at 24 per cent in October 2011 before dipping slightly and coming back. “The findings of this recent survey indicate that the ICC has had little impact on the presidential ratings as indicated in the trended analysis,” Ipsos-Synovate boss Maggie Ireri said.

On January 23 the ICC confirmed charges of crimes against humanity charges against Uhuru for his role in the post-election violence. Three voters have already moved to court to try and block Uhuru and his co-accused William Ruto from running for president on grounds of integrity.

Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Uhuru’s co-accused at the ICC, has dropped in the Synovate ratings from 10 per cent last December to 6 per cent. Conversely, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who fell behind Ruto last December has improved from 9 per cent to 10 per cent today.

Musyoka is now the third most preferred presidential aspirant after Raila and Uhuru.

Martha Karua, Narc Kenya’s torch bearer, has stagnated at 4 per cent in the last three polls.

Peter Kenneth is at 2 per cent along with Eugene Wamalwa while George Saitoti and Musalia Mudavadi are on 1 per cent.

On a positive note, 69 per cent believe the next elections will be violence-free with the highest proppertion being cfrom the Coast (81 per cent) and the lowest from Central (44 per cent) and Rift Valley (52 per cent). Ipsos-Synovate project manager in charge of opinion polling Victor Rateng told the Star that they had polled about whether Uhuru and Ruto should run for presidency despite the ICC’s confirmation of charges. “We had factored these questions and in fact we do have the results but in the light of the recent High Court gag order against public discussion of the subject matter we are unable to release them,” Rateng said.

A Strategic Research survey last week found that 61 per cent of Kenyans believed that Uhuru and Ruto should be allowed to stand. High Court judge Isaac Lenaola on the same day barred public debate on the eligibility of the two to run for presidency following the filing of a court case on the matter. The Kenya Editors Guild, Media Council of Kenya and Kituo Cha Sheria have however opposed the order.

However Ipsos-Synovate did find that 80 per cent of Kenyans supported the decision of Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura and then Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta to resign their posts. Another 62 per cent believed that Uhuru should now resign as Deputy Prime Minister. The Strategic Research poll last week found that 58 per cent believed that Uhuru should be allowed to continue as Deputy Prime Minister. The Strategic Research poll found a larger gap of 16 per cent between Raila and Uhuru, with 37 per cent supporting Raila for president and 21 oer cent Uhuru.

The Ipsos-Synovate countrywide survey was conducted between January 27 and February 1 with 1,523 adult respondents. The sample size was distributed across the various provinces according to their population size. The margin of error attributed to sampling and other random effects of the poll’s sample size was given as plus or minus 2.5 per cent margin at 95 per cent confidence level.

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/national/national/61303-uhuru-closes-gap-on-raila

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