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Liberia’s President Boakai orders audit of central bank, other agencies 

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As part of his attempts to combat corruption, President Joseph Boakai of Liberia has ordered an audit of three important government agencies, including the central bank.

Boakai who recently won the election to lead the West African country on a platform of fighting corruption and enhancing living conditions, defeated his predecessor George Weah in the elections held in November.

The president issued a statement stating that Boakai has requested that the national security agency, executive protection service, and central bank be audited by Liberia’s General Auditing Commission.

The investigation will focus on the years 2018–2023, and it will submit its results in a three-month period.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2023 in Africa reveals a range of outcomes, with notable improvements in a few nations. Nonetheless, the majority of African nations saw a state of stagnation, which preserved the region’s continuously subpar performance and preserved the average regional score of 33 out of 100.

According to Transparency International’s 2023 CPI, out of 180 countries, Liberia is ranked 145th least corrupt. From 2005 to 2023, Liberia’s corruption rank averaged 114.67; it peaked at 150.00 in 2007 and fell to a record low of 75.00 in 2012.

According to the statement, it is “the beginning of a holistic audit of government ministries and agencies” in keeping with Boakai’s pledge to combat corruption and guarantee openness.

The central bank did not respond to questions about confirmation.

Weah suspended three government officials in August 2022 after the US imposed sanctions on them due to what the US claimed was their continued involvement in public corruption.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Ghannouchi begins hunger strike

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Embattled Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, who has been a political prisoner since April, has begun a hunger strike in support of other opposition activists who are fasting in protest and calling for their immediate release.

Ghannouchi had threatened to go on a hunger strike in September, and a group of opposition lawyers representing him confirmed the strike had finally begun on Monday.

The 82-year  the leader of the main opposition group Ennahda and a ferocious opponent of President Kais Saied, was imprisoned last year on allegations of inciting violence against law enforcement and scheming to undermine national security.

In a different case earlier this month, a judge found him guilty of taking outside funding and sentenced him to three years in prison.

The lawyers said in a statement that “While he is fighting the ’empty stomach’ battle, Ghannouchi calls on Tunisians to adhere to a democratic Tunisia that includes everyone on the basis of freedom … and the independence of the judiciary.”

An indefinite hunger strike was launched this week by six opposition leaders who were detained during a crackdown last year in protest of their detention without charge or trial and in demand of their prompt release. The jailed leaders, Jawher Ben Mbarak, Rida Belhaj, Abdelhamid Jalasi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Issam Chabbi, and Khayam Turki, were taken into custody on charges of allegedly arranging an attack on state security.

President Saied has been adamant about suppressing dissenting opinions in the nation ever since taking office. In 2023, over 20 political figures were detained, including Ghannouchi, on suspicion of trying to compromise national security.

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