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Hong Kong police arrest two Legislative Council members | News

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Police arrested two opposition members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Wednesday in relation to anti-government protests in July last year, with one accused of rioting, the Democratic Party said.

Police confirmed Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting and his colleague Ted Hui were among at least 10 people arrested, but did not provide further details.

Hong Kong-based media said as many as 16 people were detained in the sweep in China’s self-governing territory.

Lam was arrested on suspicion of “rioting” on July 21 last year, when pro-democracy protests erupted across the city, according to his party’s Facebook page.

It was on that day a mob of more than 100 men wielding sticks and poles attacked pro-democracy protesters and bystanders at the train station of Yuen Long district near the mainland border.

Lam ended up in hospital after being wounded in the face as he livestreamed the attack on his Facebook page.

So far, police arrested 44 people believed to have taken part in the mob attack, seven of whom have been charged with rioting. It was unclear what caused police to suspect Lam of rioting on that night.

‘Persecution of dissidents’

Hui, who is a lawyer as well as a member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, was also detained. 

He and Lam were also accused of being involved in a protest on July 6 in the Tuen Mun district, where protesters marched against the “noise pollution” caused by middle-aged women singing and dancing to pop songs in Mandarin, the language spoken in mainland China. Hong Kong people speak mainly Cantonese.

Lam and Hui were elected to the Legislative Council in 2016.

Hong Kong Legislative Council security guards carry Hui, centre, out of the chamber during a scuffle with pro-Beijing lawmakers last May [Jerome Favre/EPA]

In a statement, Amnesty International in Hong Kong said the latest round of arrests under the national security legislation imposed by Beijing on June 30 was “the latest example of how the Hong Kong government is weaponising the law to persecute dissidents”.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement with Britain, the former colonial power, that promised to preserve wide-ranging freedoms in the territory for at least 50 years. 

The protests last year were fuelled by perceptions that Communist-ruled Beijing was undermining those freedoms, an accusation authorities have denied.

They began with peaceful mass marches against a since-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but evolved into a call for greater democracy. Some protests ended in violent clashes between police and protesters.

Critics say the newly imposed national security law has pushed the city onto a more authoritarian path, while its supporters say it will bring stability after a year of unrest.

The law allows for anything China considers to be secessionist, subversive, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces to be punished with up to life in prison.

There have been more protests this year, but they have been more limited than they were in the second half of last year.

Restrictions on crowd sizes because of the coronavirus pandemic have also helped limit demonstrations.

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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