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Ex-Burkina Faso minister, Dabilgou bags 11-year jail term for corruption

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A former Minister of Transport in Burkina Faso has been sentenced to eleven years in prison. Seven of the charges were for “embezzlement of public funds”, “illicit enrichment” and “money laundering.”

Vincent Dabilgou served under the presidency of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré from 2018 to 2022 before the administration was ousted in January 2022. He was found guilty of embezzling public funds, including 1.12 billion FCFA (about 1.7 million euros), money laundering, and “concealed financing” of his political party, the New Time for Democracy (NTD).

According to the ruling, a fine of 3.3 billion FCFA (4.7 million euros) will also be imposed, while his party’s activities were also suspended.

Two former colleagues of Mr. Dabilgou at the Ministry of Transport received prison sentences ranging from six to eleven years, as well as heavy fines.

He was also declared ineligible for five years and his assets were confiscated, in the amount of the funds embezzled, to the treasury.

Burkina Faso is considered one of the least economically developed countries in the world with a GDP per capita of only US$1,900.

The endemic nature of corruption in the country has been cited as a ground for its recent military coups, with two separate coups under twelve months. However,  international surveys on corruption show that corruption in Burkina Faso remains widespread as the country ranks 78 out of 180 countries in the 2018 Corruption Perception Index.

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The Kenyan effect? Nigerian lawmakers agree to cut salary by 50%

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Following continued outcry against the high cost of governance amid humongous benefits accruing to public office holders in the face of soaring cost of living in Nigeria, the lower chamber of the country’s legislature— the House of Representatives— has agreed to donate 50% of its salaries for a period of six months.

 

 

The position comes after a motion of urgent importance for “An appeal to the proponents of the proposed nationwide protest, to maintain peace, eschew violence and open windows for meaningful engagements with the governments at all levels in order to address their issues” was raised by a lawmaker on Thursday.

 

 

There have been reports of an upcoming statewide mass demonstration by youths to show their unhappiness with the country’s hardships, which include high living costs, food scarcity, unemployment, and other issues.A viral poster on social media announced a nationwide demonstration on August 1 about the country’s hardships.

 

 

A similar kind of protest recently broke in Kenya, forcing the government to reverse a controversial tax bill, and announcing major cuts in public offices and office runnings. But the protest wasn’t without violence and vandalism. Nigeria like Kenya can be a susceptible the same protest approach with the hunting memories of the 2020 #EndSARS protest fresh.

 

While recognizing that Nigerians had the constitutional right to seek better living conditions, the Ogun legislator encouraged the youngsters to give the government a chance to solve the nation’s concerns.

 

Isiaka said, “The citizens of Nigeria have the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and protest to address their grievances but the House is pleading for reason, understanding, and unity in the face of adversity.

 

“This honorable House appeals to the proponents of the proposed nationwide protest in Nigeria to consider a different path, a path of patience, dialogue, and collaboration, prioritise peace and open channels for meaningful engagements with the government at all levels.

 

“We urge all stakeholders to uphold the principles of democracy, respect human rights, and uphold the rule of law in their actions and engagements

 

 

The Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, presided over the session and gave members the opportunity to contribute to the motion. When it was time for the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, to speak, he amended the prayers by pleading with his colleagues to sacrifice 50% of their salaries to support the government’s intervention efforts to address the situation.

 

“This government is doing its best, but one year is not enough to address the challenges of this country. I want to plead with our colleagues to sacrifice 50 per cent for a period of six months.

 

 

“Our salary is N600,000 a month. I want to plead that we let go of 50 per cent of our salary for a period of six months,” Kalu said.

 

 

According to the International Monetary Fund, the general government expenditure consists of total expense and the net acquisition of nonfinancial assets. Despite its growing economic challenge and the uncharitable tag of been “poverty capital” of the world, Nigeria’s public office holders are part of the best paid across the world.

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Kenya’s Ruto sacks cabinet amidst protests in major win for protesters

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In response to pressure from widespread protests that have produced the greatest crisis of his two-year government, Kenyan President William Ruto dismissed his entire cabinet on Thursday, with the exception of the foreign minister.

After beginning peacefully, the youth-led demonstrations against the proposed tax increases descended into violence, resulting in at least 39 deaths during altercations with the police last month. A few protestors briefly invaded the parliament before Ruto decided against the new levies.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in a televised address to the nation, adding that he would announce additional measures later.

In addition, he fired the attorney general but claimed that this had no bearing on the deputy president’s position.

Kenyans had been requesting significant cabinet changes, seasoned anti-corruption activist John Githongo told Reuters.

“Let us see what happens now if the new ministers deal with big issues around corruption and just the arrogance and excess of his administration and the fact that a lot of Kenyans died during the demonstrations,” he said.

“Hopefully this should temporarily calm things.”

Ruto finds himself torn between a beleaguered populace reeling from the rising expense of living and lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressuring him to reduce deficits. He suggested borrowing more money and cutting spending in approximately equal proportions last week to close the nearly $2.7 billion budget deficit left by the removal of the tax rises.

Although the government has no outstanding debt, many claim that Kenya is likely to miss its IMF targets as a result of the tax rollback. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, the estimated budget deficit is currently 4.6% of GDP.

Dismissing so many cabinet members, according to Ojango Omondi, a community organizer from the Social Justice Centers Working Group in Nairobi, was a “move towards justice,” but activists would want to see who Ruto chooses to replace them.

“It’s one thing to dismiss, the second is to ensure that the people that will be chosen in the cabinet are accountable to the constitution and the rule of law,” Omondi said.

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