South Africa – Nigerian allegations are without merit, says MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman

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A man passes an MTN board in Lagos, Nigeria.  Picture:  AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

 MTN board in Lagos, Nigeria. Picture: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI








MTN Nigeria denies that it illegally repatriated $14bn out of Nigeria, as alleged by Nigerian politicians in the country’s senate.

“The allegations made against MTNN are completely unfounded and without any merit,” MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman said in a Sens statement on Wednesday morning.

MTN’s share price on the JSE fell sharply on Tuesday when news of the allegations emerged.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Nigeria’s senate had said it would investigate the claim thoroughly.

However, analysts have questioned the veracity of the claim, saying it seemed unlikely, given Nigeria’s tight exchange controls, that the movement of such a large sum of cash would have gone undetected for so long.

READ THIS: MTN hit by new Nigerian charge

The allegation was that the money had been moved out of Nigeria over a period of four years. Four banks were said to be involved.

This is not the first time MTN has run into trouble in Nigeria. It was fined $5.2bn for failing to deregister SIM cards, which it eventually managed to reduce to $1.7bn.

MTN shares were up 0.45% at R120.31 shortly after the JSE opened on Wednesday, recouping only a fraction of Tuesday’s roughly 3% fall.

South Africa’s MTN denies illegal transfer of $14bn from Nigeria


BUSINESS NEWS | Wed Sep 28, 2016

A customer leaves an MTN shop in Johannesburg, file.  REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
A customer leaves an MTN shop in Johannesburg, file. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
South African telecoms giant MTN on Wednesday denied an allegation that it had illegally repatriated $13.92 billion (10.7 billion pounds) from Nigeria, saying the claim was without merit.

Lawmakers in the upper house of Nigeria’s parliament agreed on Tuesday to investigate the allegation that MTN, Africa’s biggest telecoms company, illegally transferred the money out of the West African country.

“The allegations made against MTN are completely unfounded and without any merit,” MTN Nigeria chief executive Ferdi Moolman said in brief statement.


The allegation threatens to raise tensions between Nigeria and MTN just three months after the South African firm agreed to pay a reduced fine of 330 billion naira in a settlement with Abuja over unregistered SIM cards.

MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria, which accounts for around one third of the company’s revenues. The company had threatened to pull out of Nigeria during the dispute over unregistered SIM cards.

“It’s not a good development but it may stem from the forex crunch in Nigeria. They don’t want forex to leave the country unnecessarily,” said Cobus de Hart, an analyst at NKC African Economics.

“It highlights the fact that the Nigerian central bank wants to maintain a firm grip on the forex market and this will obviously not bode well for investor sentiment,” he said.


(Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Ed Stoddard; Editing by Ed Cropley)

Kenya – Raila’s ODM dream tream for the next election

Star (Kenya)

Raila election “Dream Team” in three-week offensive

Sep. 28, 2016, 5:00 am

ODM party leader Raila Odinga holds hands in solidarity with his ODM deputies Wycliffe Oparanya and Hassan Joho during ODM 10@10 celebrations held at Mama Ngina drive in Mombasa on September 11, 2016. Photo/ JOHN CHESOLI
ODM party leader Raila Odinga holds hands in solidarity with his ODM deputies Wycliffe Oparanya and Hassan Joho during ODM 10@10 celebrations held at Mama Ngina drive in Mombasa on September 11, 2016. Photo/ JOHN CHESOLI

Opposition chief Raila Odinga and his “Dream Team” have stepped up the offensive against Jubilee and pitched the theme of economic exclusion and sabotage of non-supporters.

They also have planned a hectic schedule of activities for the former Prime Minister in his presidential bid.

The ODM squad led by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, known as the “Dream Team”, yesterday said Jubilee’s economic exclusion and sabotage include flooding Kisumu with cheap imports of Chinese fish and moving the Port of Mombasa.

“The port is moving to a different part of the country through a policy that remains not too well disguised. That is economic sabotage … Rice is being imported from Pakistan in exchange for tea exports. That is economic sabotage,” Joho said at Raila’s Nairobi office yesterday.

Expert comment: How to move Kenya towards issue based politics

ODM rising star: Kilifi Woman MP Asha Juma at Empatipat Maasai moran ceremony Photo/File

Joho, known as the ODM “superman”, will spearhead Raila’s 2017 campaign.

At a press conference, Johoaid no regime in independent Kenya has been as “exclusive and divisive” as Jubilee.

“Jubilee has spent the last four years fighting to destroy everything the people want,” he said. Joho said Jubilee is fighting devolution, fighting the Constitution and fighting full disclosure and implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report.

“In the process, they are stealing from the people and making new promises. Corruption has reached levels never seen before, even in our worst years … That is why he [President Uhuru Kenyatta ] doesn’t understand why other people are not eating meat, while he does.”

Joho was accompanied by Junet, Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.

Fiery Raila defender: Suna East MP Junet Mohammed during his home coming party at Migori stadium in July Photo/File

Other members of the Dream Team are Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi and woman MPs Mishi Mboko (Mombasa) and her Kilifi counterpart Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi). Others are ODM chairman John Mbadi and secretary general Agnes Zani.

ODM’s new rallying cry against President Uhuru Kenyatta involves claims of economic exclusion of non-supporters, economic sabotage and mega graft.

“Jubilee does not deserve a second term because of its deliberate policy of economic sabotage. It is impoverishing communities and regions t perceives to be non-supportive,” Joho said.

“Even the new Jubilee Party logo — Uhuru and Ruto holding hands — shows it is about two people and their communities. But even those communities are beginning to realise they are being used for individual gains by the leaders. They are asking questions.”

Dream team: ODM party acting Secretary General Agnes Zani consult during the party’s National Executive meeting at the Orange House on July 14, 2016. Photo/Jack Owuor

Hectic schedule

The Dream Team has postponed Raila’s Eldoret rally on Saturday — instead he will attend a church event there. The region is considered the backyard of DP William Ruto.

“We didn’t want to interrupt Raila’s church function with politics,” ODM director of elections Junet Mohamed told the Star.

Instead, a two-day blitz is planned in Raila’s backyard.

The Eldoret rally could be held on October 8, as the opposition storms the region perceived to be under Jubilee lock and key.

The opposition supremo then will join his troops for a Saturday rally, a mammoth gathering in the lakeside city.

On Sunday, Raila flew to South Africa on undisclosed business after visiting veteran politician and Maasai elder John Keen at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

He was back in time for a two-day charm offensive in Narok on Thursday and Friday as the battle for the Maasai vote intensifies.

Raila will first meet leaders in Kilgoris town on Thursday, then attend a rally there.

He will address another rally in Aitong in Narok West constituency that afternoon. He flies to Narok town the next day.

He will spend Friday in Narok town where he will address grassroots leaders in the morning and address a rally in the afternoon. He will open and office in Dikkir and meet local leaders his spokesman Dennis Onyango said.

During the burial of former Minister William Ole Ntimama on September 14, Raila and Uhuru had an ugly exchange about Ntimama’s political allegiance and those who eat meat, meaning those in power, and those who just salivate, meaning the opposition. That signalled the duel over the Maasai vote.

The opposition promises to make Uhuru a one-term head of state, no mean feat since there hasn’t been a one-term President in independent Kenya.

Just last week, Raila combed villages in Taita Taveta and Kwale for support as he aims to ring-fence the Coast region, long considered an opposition bastion. But Jubilee has made inroads.

But days after his departure, his Cord co-principal and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka headed to the region.

Kalonzo will camp in Mombasa on Saturday and Sunday to popularise his bid for the Cord presidential ticket. He will meet regional Wiper delegates on Saturday and hold a mega rally at the Tononoka Grounds on Sunday.

ODM also plans another three-day jamboree in Nairobi to mark ODM’s 10th anniversary. It’s schedule for October 14, 15 and 16.

A similar colourful event was held in Mombasa two weeks ago, coinciding with the launch of the Jubilee Party on September 10 in Nairobi.

ODM party cahirman John Mbadi. Photo/ Jack Owuor

Yesterday, Nairobi county ODM chairman George Aladwa told the Star the three-day fete would be bigger than the Mombasa bash.

“We will have a delegates conference on the 15th, followed by a meet-the-people tour of Nairobi, capped off with a grand rally,” the former mayor said.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, known to have a formidable war chest, will be at the centre of the Nairobi fete.

Celebrations will continue in ODM controlled counties as Raila sets the stage for a do-or-die rematch with Uhuru.

Raila has been keen to lock out Jubilee from Nyanza, Western and the Coast.

The return to the ODM fold of Funyula MP Paul Otuoma has bolstered his bid to ring-fence Western. Otuoma had relinquished his position as ODM vice chairman and head of national security.

Sources said the ex-Prime Minister is also scheduled to travel to Marsabit although the dates have not been confirmed.

Pastoralist communities are turning into a battleground between Jubilee and Cord and are believed to be the 2017 swing vote.

Sudan says South Sudan’s Machar only there temporarily

Sudan Tribune

September 28, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The presence of South Sudanese rebel leader, Riek Machar in Khartoum is “temporary”, said Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour on Tuesday.

JPEG - 17.7 kb
South Sudan’s former FVP Riek Machar, speaking to visitors at his residence in Khartoum, on 1 September 2016 (courtesy photo of SPLM-IO)

“The hosting of former South Sudanese First Vice President Riek Machar in Sudan is temporary, as he is now admitted to a Khartoum hospital and will leave the country soon,” Ghandour toldAl-Jazeera TV from New York.

“Sudan would not be a bastion to any opposition of any neighbouring country,” he further stressed.

The Sudanese top diplomat was responding to statements by South Sudanese Ambassador to Khartoum who protested against the presence of Machar in the Sudanese capital where the SPLM-IO leadership decided in a three-day meeting to resume armed struggle to overthrow the government of President Salva Kiir.

Machar ’’cannot declare war on the South Sudan’s government from Khartoum,’’ said Ambassador Mayan Dut Wall in statements to Sudan Tribune on Monday evening.

Ghandour further warned against “the simplification of South Sudanese crisis to a personal conflict” between President Salva Kiir and his former first deputy Riek Machar saying it “is not true at all. Reducing the problem to their persons will not lead to any solution.”

On 17 August UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo airlifted the former First Vice President, Riek Machar, from the South Sudan-DRC border to inside the neighbouring country. After what he arrived into the Sudanese capital for treatment.

Machar fled Juba following street battle which started at the palace on 8 July and in his residence on 10 July between his small number of troops and huge number of forces loyal to President Salva Kiir.


Nigeria – N3.2 billion fraud: EFCC re-arraigns ex-Gov. Kalu, 2 others

Premium Times

Orji Uzor-Kalu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former governor of Abia, Orji Kalu, and two others on a 34-count amended charge bordering on fraud.

Mr. Kalu, his company, Slok Nigeria Limited and his former Commissioner for Finance, Jones Udeogo, were re-arraigned before Justice Anwuri Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday.

The defendants’ plea that the court should await the pending appeal by Slok before the Supreme Court failed.

Justice Chikere refused the defendants’ objection to their arraignment and ordered that the charge be read to them.

Mr. Kalu and others were, in the amended charge, accused of diverting about N3.2 billion from the Abia government’s treasury during Mr. Kalu’s tenure as governor.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges and Mr. Chikere allowed them on bail on the terms attached to the bail granted them on April 30, 2008.

They had, eight years earlier been arraigned before Justice Adamu Bello, who is now retired.

The court adjourned the case till Dec. 6 for commencement of trial.(NAN)

Zimbabwe – police fire tear gas at street vendors involved in protest

Zimbabwe Indepedent

POLICE fired teargas at stone-throwing vendors resisting removal from city streets on Tuesday in the latest flare-up of protests against President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year rule.

Army trucks and tankers joined Harare’s regular municipal police in a drive against the hawkers, pursuing them through the streets of the capital while firing teargas and water canons.

The southern African nation’s 80% unemployment rate has left thousands of people surviving by selling fruit and vegetables, mobile phone credit, trinkets and second hand clothes on sidewalks in the city centre.

Such vendors see the city streets as key markets and have over the years refused to be moved from the central business district.

As security officials moved in, some of the vendors fought back, hurling stones and bricks.

“The government has ruined the economy and here they are, trying to interfere with our only means of survival,” said 28-year-old Gilbert Fodya, as he fled from the police.

“I have to run away because I can’t afford to lose the little that I have,” he added, clutching a bundle of belts.

Mugabe, 92, has been confronted with a series of protests in the last few months from a wide range of opponents who say Zimbabwe, once considered one of Africa’s most promising economies, has slipped into irreversible decline under his rule.

He denies this and blames Zimbabwe’s economic problems on Western sanctions.-Reuters

Zambia – Saasa says donors will withhold funds over media suppression

Post (Lusaka)

Donors will withhold funds over media suppression in Zambia – Saasa
By Joan Chirwa   |   Updated: 27 Sep,2016 ,11:44:16   |   606 Views   |   0 Comments[ – ] [ + ]

NO RESPONSIBLE donor will put money in a country like ours which has muzzled independent media, says Professor Oliver Saasa.

Prof Saasa said in an interview that he did not expect enthusiasm from donors to fund Zambia if the independent media was not opened.

“I do not expect much enthusiasm from the likes of the multilaterals and bilaterals if we do not open up the independent media, because they are the ones that make the government accountable; more so in Zambia now, with the electoral outcome where democracy was lost,” Prof Saasa said.

“No responsible donor will put money in a country like ours which has muzzled independent media; it has completely taken away freedom of the press, speech and association.”

He observed that it was difficult to extend aid to Zambia because of governance challenges.

“It is difficult to extend aid in a country like Zambia where you have challenges of governance. Of course you will find countries that don’t mind, so they will always go for the soft targets, but the likes of the IMF, the World Bank…right now we are expecting the IMF to come in,” Prof Saasa said. “The IMF has expectations; many of them are already communicated. They have talked to civil society, government, media, so that they get an idea of what is going on. If you fail to adhere to the expectations of the IMF, the money is not disbursed until you have met certain parameters. In worst cases, you will end up blaming IMF for being nasty to Zambia when in fact they would have done nothing. And there is no such thing as the IMF programme; what we have is a government programme supported by the IMF. And the toughness of the conditions are in line with the transgressions you committed before.”

He said democracy could not thrive based on inaccurate information.

“Democracy cannot thrive if it is based on inaccurate information or insufficient information to make informed decisions. So if you cripple that conduit that provides critical information, which includes the media, a free media…a media that has the ability to analyse issues, then the electorate will have no capacity to demand of their leaders what is appropriate,” Prof Saasa advised.

“Independent media is the most important as opposed to government media, because government media is generally expected to be a mouthpiece of the government. You have to realise that a free media is so important, not only in terms of meeting the expectations of the people but for informing even government to take corrective action. Because there is no decision that can be made that can be considered to be informed if it is based on insufficient information of the various options, and that is where the media comes in.”

He said the independent media must not be expected to toe the line of the party in power.

“The media may be actually not be toeing the line of the party in power. It may actually intend to remove you from power because it is a democracy, they also have their interest. They cannot be neutral and you have to know that that lack of neutrality is what constitutes democracy, because democracy is about contestation. It is not really that you hate those in power,” Prof Saasa said.

He said no one could boast of having a democracy when they had removed an essential part of what constitutes it – an independent press.

“Immediately you start muzzling the press, especially the independent press, you actually completely forgo everything that is supposed to take place in a democracy, you actually deny yourself an opportunity to be able to get information that is so vital to inform your decision making. And that information will only come from the people who are the bosses. They must be allowed to express themselves. Even normal human life, it is impossible to have people with different DNAs to think alike, it is not possible. Even in homes, as husband and wife, where you find they are always agreeing on things, it means that only one is doing the thinking. It is that richness of differences which constitutes democracy,” Prof Saasa said.

“We can’t say we have a democracy when you have removed a very important ingredient, you have removed a very important ingredient that can allow people to make informed decisions, both in terms of the demand by the electorate to their leaders, and also the quality of decisions of those in power.

Now can you get aid with such going on?”

He noted that the opposition had been weakened.

“Because there is no opposition now; immediately UPND shuts up, you look at the others, even those who were vocal, if you listen to them now, their language has changed because everyone is lining their pockets. We are no longer hearing voices of people that used to talk. There will be nobody in the political sphere that will hold the government accountable. In a dispensation like that, opposition, de facto, have to be the likes of the independent press, the unions, civil society, that have to call government to account. Opposition politics is almost as good as dead if you ask me, opposition politics in Zambia and a very important element of democracy is dead,” Prof Saasa said.

He said donors did not support undemocratic states.

“So when it comes to bilateral donors, they will tell you that our system is democratic, the people that give you money, it is taxpayers money by the way where it comes from, they adhere to certain principles. So we will be wrong to extend aid when our masters, the people, demand actually that they do not support undemocratic systems. So governments in Europe, Britain, America, name it, would not in fact abrogate the expectations of the electorate if they deny us aid because for them, government, through the parliament, would allocate a percentage in the budget going to aid. And it comes with very clear conditions that do not support rogue states; do not support terrorist states, do not support undemocratic states, otherwise you will be fattening the pockets of individual politicians,” said Prof Saasa.