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THE UK has imposed sanctions on 22 individuals, including Indian businessmen, linked to corruption under a new anti-corruption regime.

The brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta were accused of serious corruption in South Africa.

Individuals across South Africa, South Sudan and Latin America were also targeted with the asset freezes and travel bans, reported the BBC.

This is the first time the UK has imposed sanctions for international corruption.

Under the new regime, 14 Russians involved in a massive tax fraud uncovered by the lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who later died in custody, were also sanctioned, the BBC report added.

The others in the list include Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali – dubbed Al Cardinal – accused of misappropriating state assets in South Sudan and three individuals accused of serious corruption in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab told MPs the UK had an important role to play in combating corruption.

“Corruption has an immensely corrosive effect on the rule of law, on trust in institutions, it slows development, it drains the wealth of poorer nations, it keeps their people trapped in poverty. It poisons the well of democracy around the world,” Raab said.

“Our status as a global financial centre makes us an attractive location for investment… but it also makes us a honey pot, a lightning rod for corrupt actors who seek to launder their dirty money through British banks or through British businesses.”

Raab added that the new sanctions regime, taken partly in tandem with measures in the US, would provide “an additional powerful tool to hold the corrupt to account”.

According to the new regime, individuals “involved in some of the world’s most serious cases of corruption” will no longer be able to channel their money through UK banks or enter the country, a statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said.

Labour has welcomed the announcement, but said law enforcement needed the resources to support investigations, describing the current rate of prosecutions for economic crime as ‘woefully low’.

“If he’s serious about what he’s saying, he needs to put his money where his mouth is. We need to know that this announcement isn’t just a gloss on the surface of a grubby system which underneath signals business as usual,” said shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy.

She also criticised a “tangled network of financial interests and cosy relationships in the heart of government”.

US secretary of state Anthony Blinken said: “Together, along with other allies and partners, we will seek to promote our shared values with similar tools. Corrupt actors, and their facilitators, will not have access to our financial systems.”

According to government figures, more than 2 per cent of global GDP is lost to corruption every year, and corruption increases the cost of doing business for individual companies by as much as 10 per cent. Eastern Eye

Coventry University Group is to open a new overseas hub in Rwanda to support its links in Sub-Saharan Africa and help extend its corporate functions across the world. 

The hub will open in Kigali to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the capital in June. It is part of the university’s plan to develop a sustainable network of multi-faceted overseas offices. The ambition is to have a presence near to its stakeholders in key regions and follows the success of the Singapore and Dubai hubs. 

The aim is to provide organisations and individuals throughout the world with regional access to the growing academic, research and commercial expertise that exists within all areas of the Coventry University Group. 

The Africa Hub will serve as a base for Coventry University Group in the region with the aim of enabling new relationships as well as strengthening established ones. The Africa Hub will promote the university group’s research, globalisation, enterprise and innovation work throughout the region through the development of closer relationships with embassies, government bodies, research institutes, universities and private sector entities.  

The hub will be located in Kigali Heights, a mixed use development situated adjacent to the Kigali Convention Centre. Professor John Latham CBE, Vice-Chancellor, Coventry University Group, said:

“I am delighted by the progress we have made in establishing a representation office to support our work in Sub-Saharan Africa. The hub aligns with the UK International Education Strategy and will respond to the growth opportunity we have identified on the continent. Africa has a growing population largely composed of young people and economies that are among the fastest growing in the world. The Africa Hub will join our successful hubs in Singapore and Dubai to fulfil our strategic objective to be a global university delivering at a global scale.” 

John Uwayezu, Country Director and Market Access Officer for UK Department for International Trade (DIT), British High Commission, Kigali, said: “I am thrilled about this regional hub; this is in line with DIT’s targeted plan of action to increase trade and investment flows between the UK and Rwanda. The hub will accelerate progress in human capital development.  An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest when it comes to economic growth and productivity; I congratulate the Government of Rwanda’s strong commitment to investing in people.”

 

Tehran, April 26, IRNA - President Hassan Rouhani on Monday congratulated United Republic of Tanzania President and nation on the country’s Independence Day.

In a message to the United Republic of Tanzania President Samia Suluhu, Rouhani congratulated her and the people of Tanzania on the country's Independence Day.

The Iranian president expressed hope that the ties and cooperation between Iran and Tanzania would develop further in all areas on mutual interests.

Tanzania, formally known as the United Republic of Tanzania, is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region.

It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; Comoro Islands and the Indian Ocean to the east; Mozambique and Malawi to the south; Zambia to the southwest; and Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania.

Tanzania was governed as the mainland as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged on April 26, 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.IRNA

A protester holds a placard during a demonstration over shortages of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo) 

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger because of a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government.

The delayed release of the drugs shipped to Kenya late last year is due to the government slapping an $847,902 tax on the donation, and the U.S. aid agency having "trust" issues with the graft-tainted Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, activists and officials said. 

Activists on Friday dismissed the government's statement Thursday that it had resolved the issue and distributed the drugs to 31 of Kenya's 47 counties. The government said all counties will have the drugs needed for 1.4 million people within five days.

"We are assuring the nation that no patient is going to miss drugs. We have adequate stocks," Kenya Medical Supplies Authority customer service manager Geoffrey Mwagwi said as he flagged off a consignment. He said those drugs would cover two months.

The U.S. is by far the largest donor for Kenya's response to HIV -- human immunodeficiency virus, which can lead to AIDS.

Kenya's health minister, Mutahi Kagwe, told the Senate's health committee last week that the United States Agency for International Development had released the drug consignment that had been stuck in port. Patients are expected to receive the drugs this week.

He said the agency had proposed using a company called Chemonics International to procure and supply the drugs to Kenyans due to "trust issues" with the national medical supplies body.

Bernard Baridi, chief executive officer of Blast, a network of young people living with the disease, said the drugs would last for just a month.

He said the delay in distribution, in addition to supply constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic, meant that many people living with HIV were getting a week's supply instead of three months.

Many of those who depend on the drugs travel long distances to obtain them and may find it difficult to find transport every week, and if they fail to take them they will develop resistance, Baridi said.

"Adherence to medication is going to be low because of access. ... If we don't get the medication, we are going to lose people," he said.

Baridi said children living with HIV are suffering the most due to the shortage of a drug known as Kaletra, which comes in a syrup form that can be taken more easily. Parents are forced to look for the drug in tablet form, crush it and mix it with water, and it's still bitter for children to ingest.

Baridi urged Kenya's government and the United States Agency for International Development to find a solution on who should distribute the drugs quickly for the sake of the children.

On Thursday, about 200 people living with HIV in Kisumu, Kenya's third-largest city, held a peaceful protest wearing T-shirts reading "My ARV's [antiretroviral] My Life" and carrying posters that read "A sick nation is a dead nation" and "A killer government."

Some 136,000 people live with HIV in Kisumu, or about 13% of the city's population, said local rights activist Boniface Ogutu Akach.

"We cannot keep quiet and watch this population languish just because they can't get a medicine that is lying somewhere, and that is happening because the government wants to tax a donation," he said.

Erick Okioma, who has HIV, said the government's attention has been diverted by the pandemic, which has affected even community perception.

"People fear ... getting covid [more] than HIV," Okioma said, saying local HIV testing and treatment centers were empty.

Protesters hold placards during a demonstration over shortages of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo)
Protesters hold placards during a demonstration over shortages of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo)
Protesters hold placards during a demonstration over shortages of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo)
Protesters hold placards during a demonstration over shortages of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo)
Protesters hold empty containers of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines during a demonstration over shortages of ARVs, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo)
Protesters hold empty containers of anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines during a demonstration over shortages of ARVs, organized by people living with HIV or AIDS, sex-workers, members of the LGBT community, and their supporters, in the port city of Mombasa, Kenya, Thursday, April 22, 2021. Kenyans living with HIV say their lives are in danger due to a shortage of anti-retroviral drugs donated by the United States amid a dispute between the U.S. aid agency and the Kenyan government. (AP Photo) NorthWest Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been mired by allegations of bribery, line cutting and corruption that have left poor and elderly citizens waiting in long queues outside public hospitals even as the country grapples with a third wave of infections and deaths.

Meanwhile, hundreds of well-connected Kenyans are paying anything up to $100 to secretly receive early inoculations, as documented through eyewitness accounts by various Kenyans online and news coverage in Kenyan and international media.

Kenya Receives Over 1M doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

In early March, Kenya procured over 1 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative, a World Health Organization-backed global vaccine distribution effort known as COVAX. The delivery marked the start of a campaign to offer the vaccine free of charge at select public and private hospitals. The rollout was broken down into three phases: healthcare workers and security and immigration officials, citizens over age 58 and adults with certain medical conditions, and other citizens in vulnerable conditions such as those living in informal settlements. The country is set to receive 24 million doses through COVAX. It plans to vaccinate 50 percent of the population by June 2022 through a combination of COVAX vaccines and donations from other countries, reports The Washington Post. 

In a press release, UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman celebrated the arrival of the first vaccines in Kenya. “With the arrival of these vaccines, UNICEF and partners are honouring the promise of the COVAX facility to ensure people from less wealthy countries are not left behind in the global rollout of life-saving vaccines,” she said.

However, this elaborately planned three-phase rollout fell apart as soon as the exercise began because of a last-minute government decision to fast-track phase two in response to the third wave, conflicting politically charged interests, and the state’s failure to consult and inform citizens.

In his article questioning what is going on with Kenya’s COVID-19 vaccine drive, Patrick Gathara, a Nairobi-based writer and award-winning political cartoonist noted:

Politicians loudly and self-servingly argued that they should be given priority to inspire confidence among the population, even though the Ministry of Health was reporting encountering little resistance. Because the state had ignored the need to explain its plan to the population, there was widespread confusion about where and when people were expected to be in line.

Despite government directives prioritizing citizens over the age of 58, Kenyan media reported that businessmen and politicians not in this age group have found a way to get the jab early, exposing the country's rich-poor divide.

Meanwhile, eligible senior citizens and poor Kenyans, who aren't well connected and don't have money to pay a bribe, often wait in line all day starting at 5 a.m., only to be asked to return the following day because the doses are finished, according to The Washington Post.

“They have another door for their friends,” Mary Njoroge, 58, one of the teachers, told The Washington Post. “Without a godfather to help you through this process, what are you supposed to do?”

A similar incident in another government hospital was reported by @_Sativa, a Twitter user based in Nairobi, Kenyan. In a Twitter thread, he recounted the experience of his aunt, a retired teacher in her 60s. While elderly people waited in line, a nurse called out names and young people came to the front to get vaccinated. When his aunt asked what was happening, the nurse gave her a number where she could send money, he said in his Twitter thread.

Following reports of increased enthusiasm from the public for the vaccination campaign, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mutahi Kagwe told the media:

I think somewhere along the line we seem to have developed some confusion that anybody can walk into a vaccination centre and get vaccines. I want to make it very clear, those carrying out vaccination will have to account for every dose that they have used and that dose that they have used must be matched against an eligible person.

The National Nurses Association of Kenya president Alfred Obengo pleaded with Kenyans who are not on the priority list to avoid queuing for the vaccine.

In providing clarity on how the Kenyan government could have avoided this confusion in its rollout plan, Gathara concludes his article by saying:

Much of this could have been avoided if the Kenyan government and its global partners, including the World Health Organization and Western governments, treated Kenyans as partners in the rollout rather than colonial subjects to be brutalised and exploited. Sadly for Kenyans, their colonial state does not know how to act any differently. By Njeri Wangari, Global Voices

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