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Pakistan sanctions Taliban ‘to avoid global finance blacklist’ | Pakistan News

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Pakistan has issued sweeping financial sanctions against Afghanistan’s Taliban, just as the rebel group is in the middle of a United States-led peace process in the neighbouring country.

The orders, which were made public late on Friday, identified dozens of individuals, including the Taliban’s chief peace negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and several members of the Haqqani family, including Sirajuddin, the current head of the Haqqani Network and deputy head of the Taliban.

The list of sanctioned groups included others besides the Taliban and was in keeping with a five-year-old United Nations resolution sanctioning the Afghan group and freezing their assets.

The orders were issued as part of Pakistan’s efforts to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors money laundering and tracks “terrorist” groups’ activities, according to security officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

However, in a statement on Friday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman said it issued the sanctions order on August 18 according to “information contained in the list entry of UN designated individuals and entities”.

“These lists contain names of individuals and entities designated under the two sanction regimes established pursuant to the UN Security Council resolutions,” it said, denying any new sanctions were imposed, as were reported in “sections of media”.

Last year, the Paris-based FATF put Islamabad on a grey list. Until now, only Iran and North Korea are blacklisted, which severely restricts a country’s international borrowing capabilities.

Pakistan is trying to get off the grey list, said the officials.

What will it take to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan? | Talk to Al Jazeera

There was no immediate response from the Taliban, but many of the group’s leaders are known to own businesses and property in Pakistan.

Many Taliban leaders, including those heading the much-feared Haqqani Network, have lived in Pakistan since the 1980s, when they were part of the Afghan “mujahideen” (resistance fighters) and allies of the US to end the 10-year invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union. That conflict ended in February 1989.

Pakistan has denied giving sanctuary to the Taliban following their removal in 2001 by the US-led coalition but Washington and Kabul have routinely accused Islamabad of giving them a safe haven.

Still, it was Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban that Washington eventually sought to exploit to move its peace negotiations with the armed group forward.

The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban on February 29 this year, which is intended to end Washington’s nearly 20 years of military engagement in Afghanistan, and has been touted as the nation’s best hope for peace after more than four decades of war.

But even as Washington has already begun withdrawing its soldiers, efforts to get talks started between Kabul’s political leadership and the Taliban have been stymied by delays in a prisoner release programme.

The two sides are to release prisoners: 5,000 by the government and 1,000 by the Taliban, as a goodwill gesture ahead of the talks. Both sides blame the other for the delays.

Pressuring the Taliban?

The timing of Pakistan’s decision to issue the orders implementing the restrictive sanctions could also be seen as a move to pressure the Taliban into a quick start to the intra-Afghan negotiations.

Kabul has defied a traditional jirga (council) order to release the last Taliban prisoners it is holding, saying it wants 22 Afghan commandos being held by the armed group freed first.

As well as the Taliban, the orders also target al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group affiliate which has carried out deadly attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

They also take aim at outlawed Pakistani groups such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), thousands of whom are believed by the UN to be hiding in remote regions of Afghanistan.

The TTP has declared war on Pakistan, carrying out one of the worst attacks in the country in 2014, killing 145 children and their teachers at an army public school in northwest Pakistan.

The orders also target outlawed anti-India groups considered to be allied with Pakistan’s security services.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



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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