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UK to repatriate Sh450m stolen by two of Kenya’s richest men

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The United Kingdom has agreed to repatriate back to Kenya, millions of dollars of public funds allegedly stolen by two of the country’s richest men, following a landmark agreement signed in London on Monday.

The repatriation deal which Kenya struck with Jersey, a self-governing Island in the English Channel, will see the return of the sum of Sh450m allegedly stolen by Samuel Gichuru, a one time boss of Kenya’s power company and former Finance Minister, Chris Okemo

They duo allegedly siphoned the money through taking kickbacks from multinationals which they stashed in a company registered in the Island.

This arrangement, known as the Framework for the Return of Assets from Corruption and Crime to Kenya (Fracck), gives the Jersey authorities licence to unfreeze money they believe was stolen and send it back before those accused of stealing it go on trial.

The Kenyan corruption web was uncovered after Gichuru had a messy divorce from his wife, Salome Njeri, in 2006; not satisfied with the settlement she got from her estranged husband, Njeri made a report to the police alleging that some of her husband’s assets were being hidden in offshore accounts in Jersey.

The revelation led to a nine-year investigation by the Jersey authorities across 12 jurisdictions and in 2011, the duo were indicted and charged to court.

The were accused of committing economic crimes including cutting deals with a Finnish firm to construct a power station in Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, and taking millions of pounds in kickbacks from British, Norwegian and German engineering firms, as well as a US communications giant.

The Jersey authorities issued arrest warrants for both men and have been waiting for their extradition from Kenya ever since, while a Jersey-registered company, Windward Trading Limited, accused of laundering money for the two men, pleaded guilty to four counts of money laundering in a Jersey court.

The court ruled that the company, whose ultimate owner was revealed to be Gichuru, should be return more than $4.9m (£3.6m) to the Kenyan government.

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African leaders want more efforts to promote regional industrilisation

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Leaders across the continent of Africa at a recent meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey have called for a doubling of efforts to promote industrialization in the region.

The call came during an Extraordinary Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in the Central African country.

Some of the leaders present were, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The leaders noted sectors critical to industrialisation like agriculture, agro-industry, health, education, infrastructure, and especially energy, and urged increased private sector participation in the space.

The summit later held a discussion on trade with a focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Africa is the world’s least industrialized, the continent commemorates Africa Industrialization Day every November.

The African Development Bank Group, in its November 2022 index posits that industrialisation is central to Africa’s development prospects. With its young labour force, abundant natural resources, and fast-growing internal markets. Africa has the potential to become the next global frontier for industrial development.

 

 

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Ivory Coast aims regional shipping hub, completes $953 million container terminal

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West African country, Ivory Coast is making waves at becoming a regional shipping hub as it has completed construction of a second container terminal at its main port in Abidjan.

The project, financed by China’s Eximbank by 85% and 15% by the Ivorian state costs about 596 billion CFA francs ($953 million).

The new container terminal, called Cote d’Ivoire Terminal (CIT), started operations on Nov. 1 but was officially unveiled at a press conference on Friday. It is able to receive large ships from Asia, Europe, and America that previously had to land goods in South Africa, transferring them to smaller ships to reach West Africa.

The technical director of the terminal Andre N’Doli, remarked “we are no longer a second port. We are becoming a hub,”

“In addition to national traffic, we will handle traffic from other ports that cannot accommodate large vessels,” he told reporters.

According to official data, there has been growth in recent years in the country’s maritime sector. Ivory Coast shipped goods worth USD 12,717 million in 2019, an -8.5% dip as compared to the previous year.

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