Saudi Billionaire Tidbits


Saudi Billionaire Tidbits

Saudi Prince Al-Walid bin Talal feeds rice to a young Kenyan girl on a school feeding programme, funded in part by the Saudi Arabian government.
Today the billionaire Twitter investor is in Senegal, on his first visit for 10 years. He was awarded a medal, and donated $1.3million towards “education and health” programmes.
The Prince recently caused controversy by suing Forbes magazine for questioning and underestimating his wealth, leaving him out of the top 10 on its “rich list”. The case may come to nothing, since it was brought in the UK, where the new libel law revision is intended to prevent opportunistic and pointless suits. Prince bin Talal spends time in the UK, where his company owns the famous Savoy Hotel.

This Week in Corruption – Oxford University Press and World Bank education projects in Africa


Children in a classroom in Kenya. Two Oxford press units have been debarred for bribing government officials to win tenders and contracts for World Bank-financed education projects in East Africa. Photo by: Curt Carnemark / World Bank / CC BY-NC

Oxford University Press has acknowledged the “misconduct” of its two subsidiaries that bribed government officials to win tenders and contracts to supply text books to two World Bank-financed education projects in East Africa, according to a press release.

World Bank debarred Oxford University Press East Africa Ltd. and Oxford University Press Tanzania Tuesday (July 3) following OUP’s acknowledgment. This means both units will not be eligible for World Bank-financed projects for three years. They are also in danger of being blacklisted by other multilateral development banks under a 2010 cross-debarment agreement.

The publishing company, meanwhile, has decided to contribute 2 million pounds ($3.13 million) for teacher training and other education-related programs in sub-Saharan Africa, apart from agreeing to pay the World Bank $500,000 for its subsidiaries’ misdeeds.

The two subsidiaries operate in Kenya, Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda, Reuters reports. Oxford Publishing Ltd., OUP’s publishing arm, has also agreed to pay the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office 1.9 million pounds in relation to the case.

Apart from the payments, OUP will take “disciplinary action” against those involved, according to a press release.

This is not the first time a publishing company has been subjected to debarment by the World Bank. In 2010, the bank also debarred Macmillan Ltd. after the U.K. publishing group admitted to engaging in bribery in an education project funded through the Sudan Multidonor Trust Fund. The World Bank manages the trust fund.

Read more:


Survivors of violence in Kenya seek more than resettlement


Most of those displaced by post-election violence, mainly in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province five years ago, have been resettled, but those whose relatives were killed or who lost their property are seeking justice and further compensation.

With few perpetrators of the violence having been bought to book, “the compensation they need is not only in monetary terms, but also in accessing justice for lost lives,” said Collins Omondi, an official with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

Property worth billions of shillings was destroyed in the post-election violence (file photo)

“Even though most of the IDPs [internally displaced persons] may have gotten some financial support from the government, the money was so little, considered by not only [the] average losses, but [also] the time wasted in displacement.”

Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced at the height of the 2007- early 2008 post-polls violence into squalid camps.

The government provided 10,000 shillings (US$120) in family assistance to 157,908 of the displaced households, with a further 37,843 households receiving 25,000 shillings ($300) to help them rebuild houses burnt down in the violence, Special Programmes Minister Esther Murugi told IRIN.

“But we discovered most of them would not spend the money on reconstructing their houses so we stopped giving the 25,000 shillings,” added Murugi.

Instead, the ministry started constructing houses for those who were ready to return to the areas they had been displaced from, building 17,916 homes. A further 3,000 houses have also been built for IDP families that have been resettled elsewhere, with 1,300 more units under construction.

“If I buy you land and build for you, what else would you want from me? That itself is more than justice enough,” said Murugi.

Appropriate compensation?

For IDPs who previously ran businesses, the land alone is inadequate.

“I am happy that I will get a piece of land, not necessarily for my own, but [as] an inheritance for my grandson. But I wish the government gave me money to restart my business which was burnt down during [the violence],” 80-year-old Elishiba Muthoni, told IRIN, in the Wiyumiririe area of the central Laikipia County.

Muthoni, whose daughter was killed in the turmoil, was a second-hand clothes seller in the Rift Valley town of Kericho. She received 10,000 shillings ($120) from the government yet her business stock was worth at least 150,000 shillings ($1,807).

“The single-track approach of buying agricultural land and resettling IDPs, and sometimes assisting them to build houses is not feasible,” noted a September 2011 report by the UN Development Programme and the UN Office of The High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“The diversity in terms of socioeconomic occupation within the IDP population needs to be acknowledged. Some of these IDPs ran businesses, and have no farming skills whatsoever,” said the report.

Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced into IDP camps Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

According to KNCHR’s Omondi, the government should have evaluated the financial losses incurred by the displaced during the post-election violence and repaid them in full.


The prosecution of the perpetrators of the violence is also key.

“If people who are responsible for the evictions and displacement of persons are not held to account or punished for atrocities they committed such as arson, murder, rape, among other criminal acts, there will be no closure of the issue,” he said.

While four suspects who are said to bear the greatest responsibility for the 2007-2008 poll violence are to be tried by the International Criminal Court, thousands of other perpetrators remain free, making it impossible for some IDPs to return to their areas of displacement.

HRW concerns

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a December 2011 report called for a special judicial mechanism to deal with this issue. It noted that in most cases the police arrested suspects hurriedly, without adequate investigations.

In the Kiambaa church attack at the peak of the violence in which at least 28 people were killed, HRW said that while the court had been told 4,000 people had attacked the church, only four were arrested and charged. “For Kiambaa survivors, the fact that no one has been convicted of the crime is an emblem of injustice,” it said.

HRW also reported on a case in which a suspected rapist was acquitted by a court in the Rift Valley capital, Eldoret, because when the victim first reported the crime she did not give the suspect’s name (she could only recognize him).

“We cannot go back to Nandi [in Rift Valley] because there is no justice. How can we live with people who did this?” asked the father of the rape victim quoted in the HRW report.

IDP resettlement has also been resisted by local communities in some areas, making it difficult for former IDPs to re-establish livelihoods.

Land and reconciliation

Meanwhile, human rights officials are calling for more government action, with civil society groups, such as the Internal Displacement Policy and Advocacy Centre (IDPAC), educating IDPs on the need to seek justice.

They are also urging the government to help IDPs still affected by political violence in 1992, 1997 and 2002, and those displaced in fights over water and pasture in northern Kenya, as well as by foreign militia incursions.

Kenya still has an estimated 250,000 IDPs, according to Nuur Sheekh of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

Reconciliation, as well as addressing the land issue, is also vital.

“The competition for control of land, particularly in the Rift Valley, has been protracted, resulting from mutually exclusive claims based on property rights by migrant groups and assertion of cultural heritage rights by indigenous groups. This has made the Rift Valley the theatre of the most vicious episodes of violence and displacement, particularly since the transition to democracy in the early 1990s,” notes a case study on internal displacement in Kenya.

“The relationship between political affiliation, ethnic identity and land ownership form the basis for contestation, whereby members of ethnic groups associated with rival political opinions are labelled `outsiders’ and violently ejected from their farms,” it said.

IRIN Africa

$4million ransom paid to #Somalia pirates | List of seized vessels

English: somali pirates at large

Image via Wikipedia

Somali pirates have freed the 18-man crew of a Maltese-flagged chemical tanker after the payment of a $4 million ransom, the maritime editor of the Somalia Report said on Monday.

Andrew Mwangura, an authoritative source on piracy, said the crew – three Turks and 15 Georgians – sailed to the Kenyan port of Mombasa in a tugboat after their release last week, while the tanker, the MV Olib G, was abandoned off the Somali coast.

The Greek-owned and -operated chemical tanker was seized in the Gulf of Aden while on its last trip before the scrapyard, according to Mwangura, a former regional maritime official.

The seas off Somalia have been plagued by piracy in recent years as Somali gangs have exploited 20 years of lawlessness in their Horn of Africa country by seizing vessels and demanding huge ransoms for them and their crews.

Kenya’s military says piracy has become less frequent since it sent forces into neighbouring Somalia last October to fight al Shabaab rebels and stationed its navy off its southern coast.

The empty tanker with its 21 crew was seized south of Salalah port in the Gulf of Oman. The 52,455 dwt Marshall Islands-flagged tanker is managed by Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management.
The Olip G merchant vessel was also released this month. It was seized in September 2010 with a crew of 18.

Here are details of ships held by Somali pirates:

  • SOCOTRA 1: Seized on Dec. 25, 2009, in the Gulf of Aden.

The Yemeni-owned ship had six Yemeni crew.

  • ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, 2010. Roll-on roll-off

vessel captured 10 miles from Aden. Crew of 24.

  • CHOIZIL: Seized on Oct. 26, 2010. South African-owned

yacht hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam. One crew member was
rescued by an EU anti-piracy task force but two others were
taken ashore as hostages and have not been heard from since.

  • ALBEDO: Seized on Nov. 26, 2010. Malaysian-owned cargo

vessel taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Mombasa from
UAE. Crew of 23 from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.

  • ORNA: Seized on Dec. 20, 2010. The Panama-flagged bulk

cargo vessel, 27,915 dwt, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was
seized 400 miles northeast of the Seychelles. Somali pirates
rescued 19 crew members of the Orna after their hijacked ship
caught fire last June.

  • LIQUID VELVET: Seized on Oct. 31, 2011. The Marshall

Islands-flagged Greek-owned chemical tanker was sailing from
Suez and heading to India when it was seized in the Gulf of
Aden. The 11,599 dwt, owned by the Greek firm Elmira Tankers,
was carrying 22 people on board.

  • ARIDE: Seized November 2011. The fishing vessel was captured 65 miles west of Mahe. The two Seychelles crew are

being held hostage by Somali pirates.

  • ENRList of seized vesselsICO IEVOLI: Seized on Dec. 27, 2011 .

Ship-owner Marnavi said that the 16,631-tonne chemical tanker had been seized by pirates off the coast of Oman in the Arabian sea. The tanker had 18 people on board including six Italians, five Ukranians and seven Indians. The vessel is carrying a cargo of caustic soda and had left the United Arab Emirates bound for the Mediterranean.

Laaska News


Reuters/Ecoterra International/International

Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds

List/ here


#Google’s Dirty Secret outsourcing the evil…

English: Orthographic projection map of Kenya ...

Google’s Dirty Secret: outsourcing the evil..

A scandal has broken after Google was caught outsourcing a scam operation from Kenya, later moved to India.

Only one company is involved at the moment, Kenyan start-up Mocality, but we should expect there to be many, many more that are either unaware or have not come forward for whatever reason.