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Iran’s Khamenei accuses US of trying to stoke protests | News

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Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the United States of trying to stir anti-government protests by imposing sanctions that he said are aimed at bankrupting the country.

Iran’s rulers have tried to prevent a revival of anti-government unrest that has shaken the country in recent years, which began with protests over economic hardship but turned political, with demonstrators demanding top officials step down. Authorities have said street protests will be dealt with “decisively”.

“Their [The US] short-term goal was to make our people so fed up and tired that they would stand up against the (ruling) system,” Khamenei said in a televised speech on Friday marking the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

“Their long-term aim is to bankrupt the country, the state, in other words to make the economy collapse.”

In addition to the US sanctions, Iran’s economy has been hit by a fall in oil prices, as well as the coronavirus crisis. Iran has one of the highest death tolls in the Middle East from the pandemic.

Negotiations ruled out

Relations between Tehran and Washington have deteriorated since 2018 when US President Donald Trump abandoned Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers, under which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most international sanctions.

The Trump administration has said it is willing to talk to Iran “with no preconditions”, but that the US will continue its campaign of pressure against the nation.

Khamenei called the US Iran’s “main enemy” and urged Iranians to resist US pressure. He ruled out negotiations with Washington saying Trump would use talks for propaganda as he did with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“At the negotiating table, America wants us to abandon our nuclear industry altogether, reduce our defence capabilities and relinquish our regional influence,” he said.

Since pulling out of the nuclear deal, Washington has reimposed sanctions that have sharply lowered Tehran’s oil exports and imposed sanctions on its access to the international banking system. It has pressured allies and rivals alike to fall in line as well.

“This has caused the country’s economy to be naturally less reliant on oil,” Khamenei said, casting the development in a positive light.

Iran later responded to the US’s withdrawal from the deal by slowly abandoning nearly every aspect of the agreement, though it still allows UN inspectors access to its nuclear sites.

‘Maximum pressure’

The US has been pursuing a “maximum pressure” policy aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate a broader deal that further limits its nuclear work, ends its missile programme and its support for proxy forces in a regional power struggle with US-backed Gulf countries.

“There is no doubt that sanctions are a crime,” Khamenei said.

“But the smart Iranian has made the best use of this attack, this animosity and benefited … by using sanctions as a means to increase national self-reliance.”

Khamenei said Western “think-tanks admit that the maximum pressure (policy) of sanctions and US force has not succeeded”.

He also accused European partners to the nuclear deal of “having done nothing” to provide Iran with the economic benefits of the accord and said their barter system designed to bypass US sanctions was a “useless plaything”.

The system, called Instex, is meant to function as a clearinghouse and allow European companies to deliver medical supplies to Iran without being exposed to sanctions.

The United Kingdom, France and Germany announced they had carried out the first transaction through the mechanism in late June, more than a year and a half after it was established.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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