Monday News Muse 18 April 2016


The Machakos Governor has been temporarily rescued from arrest by the Court of Appeal. In a long running saga, the EACC recommended his prosecution, the Governor challenged this in court- and lost. The Director of Public Prosecutions then directed that a warrant of arrest against him be issued. The Governor appealed, and has now obtained orders stopping his arrest until the case is heard by the Court of Appeal. Let’s await the score on the next round of this bout.

An audit has shown that nearly Ksh.1 Billion could be missing from the Department of Lands.

A Bahamaian MP believes that the island nation learnt corruption from ‘the dammed Americans’.

The NYPD corruption scandal that I’ve been following for a while just took a salacious turn- after motorcycle escorts at funerals, we know hear that there was a role-playing hooker and a private jet involved.


Another day another journalist in lock-up for annoying the Kenya government. Kenya’s law enforcement are following Indian police in dusting off 19th century criminal libel laws for the 21st century.

Cybercrime: did the bitcoin cryptocurrency enable the development of tough-to-trace ransomware?

Three suspected gangsters shot dead in a police operation. One other suspect escaped.







China’s Supreme Court and Prosecutor’s offices have issued a joint ‘explanantion’ that broadens liability of public officers for bribery. An officer who is aware that a family member has received a bribe and who fails to report this is now presumed to be complicit in the bribery offence.

The UN General Assembly is discussing drug policy, criminalisation, rehabilitation and drug money laundering.


A 69 year old UK man was sentenced to life imprisonment for beheading his long-time partner. That’s not even the most shocking part of that story- he flushed her head down the toilet. Horrible though the death is, you can’t help wondering how he managed to flush that toilet. Then you find out after reading the article and you wish you hadn’t wondered.

While on the subject of domestic violence, a UK mother already serving a 7 year sentence for manslaughter for killing her young daughter was handed a life sentence (with minimum custody period of 13 years) after confessing to murdering her baby son.

In an earlier case, the same judge in the baby-killing case had jailed a fellow judge, Constance Briscoe, for perverting the course of justice after she lied in witness statements she provided in support of a politician charged with a driving offence. The jailed judge was disbarred last week- meaning she can’t practice as a lawyer.

And the bad news for learned friends doesn’t stop there. A young UK lawyer will serve a 3 year (40 month) sentence for conspiracy to supply 1kg of cocaine. The irony was that he was planning to set up a specialist criminal law practice. The conviction basically ends his legal career.

Now a matter that crosses corruption with sentencing: China’s Supreme Court and Prosecutor’s office (the Supreme People’s Procurator) have clarified that you need to embezzle or engage in bribery amounting to $3 million in value to receive the death penalty. In addition, the consequences of the crime must also be ‘extremely vile’ for the prescription of a gun-shot to the head to be given.

courtesy rfa.org

This raises the thresholds so as to take into account inflation and the rising incomes in China. The criminal law on corruption is itself vague on when the death penalty is available- referring only to cases where an ‘extremely huge amount’ of money is involved. This vagueness is deliberate since it allows the Supreme Court (and the Prosecutor’s office) to then regularly update the threshold for death penalty offences to prevent rigidity. But such flexibility- in other countries- would probably breach criminal law principles of fair warning to defendants and using clear and certain language in drafting criminal laws.

Now to politics and crime: did Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act worsen the US mass incarceration problem or did it help bring down violent crime to a 30 year low? Hillary Clinton is having to defend this part of her husband’s legacy. Criminal statisticians have long pondered which factors have led to the drop in the US (and Western world in general) crime rate over the last two decades.

The US Supreme Court has held in Welch v US that an earlier Supreme Court decision that declared raised sentences in a federal law targetting repeat offenders unconstitutional could be applied retroactively. This means that thousands of repeat offenders may be eligible for release. The issue of who gets the benefit of new Supreme Court decisions on sentencing may also come into play when the Kenyan Supreme Court decides the future of the death penalty in Kenya.


After the Bangladesh Bank heist that I discussed here and here, the Phillipines Central Bank is reviewing its anti-money laundering rules to prevent a repeat. Top on the list are reducing deposit secrecy that allowed the stolen money to be quickly dispersed throughout many accounts. The Bank also wants to act to prevent a shadow banking sector springing up as it tightens oversight and regulation of the financial sector.

The trial of an American District Attorney for 19 counts of money laundering and fraud offences begins.