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Kenya police fire tear gas at COVID-19 corruption protesters

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Demonstrators run from teargas fired by police at a protest against alleged corruption, including the theft of supplies for the fight against the coronavirus, at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, Kenya

Kenyan authorities have arrested protesters who allege equipment to fight COVID-19 is being mismanaged. Police used tear gas to disperse the activists at a park in central Nairobi.
 
Kenyans, led by local activists, took to the streets of Nairobi Friday. Wanjeri Nderu, one of the protest organizers, said police should be investigating those who stole public money.

“We are demanding for the arrest of the people who are known thieves, who are known to have stolen COVID-19 [equipment], but they are still free. The police, instead of coming to tear gas us, they should be in the offices investigating, making sure these people are taken to court and jailed. We cannot live in a country where we are ruled by impunity, and we have a system that does not care for the people of this nation,” Nderu said.
 
Before the protest began, police lobbed tear gas canisters at demonstrators and arrested at least five people. Kenyan media report police said the protest was illegal, and the protesters’ action went against health ministry protocol to contain the virus. Nderu said she is not happy with the police.
 
“We do not need to seek permission from the police for them to allow us to congregate and what they have decided to do is to disperse us using tear gas. We organized ourselves into four groups; one was here, the other group was in town, even the groups in Jevanjee have been tear-gassed, the group at archives has been teargassed; we cannot work with the police like this. The police cannot make us [their] enemy,” Nderu said.
 
Last week, the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency Board suspended three top officials, including chief executive officer Jonah Manjari, as a result of an investigation. The country’s anti-corruption agency is probing a $7.7 million procurement of COVID-19 medical supplies, and preliminary results show officials flouted the process.
 
Political commentator Michael Agwada says corruption in an environment of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic can bring political instability.
 
“The worst that can happen, you can see more infections taking place as a result of these protests we are seeing here. But again, the worst that also can happen is we could see more protests that will make the government unstable. It’s a time when the government has to sit down and be very open to the public and say this is what is happening. People have asked very relevant questions as to donations from Jack Ma, where are they? And now we are hearing some of them were taken to Tanzania, and some of them were brought to Kenya. That in itself is enough to infuriate the public that you are arresting for having no mask,” Agwada said.
 
KEMSA is part of the ministry of Health and provides procurement, warehousing, and distribution services for medical materials for agencies like USAID and the Global Fund. Those organizations have raised questions about how the money meant for the public was used, and asked for an audit of KEMSA.
 
In May, Kenya received $50 million from the World Bank to help respond to the global pandemic threat.   





Source – observer.ug

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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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