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Monday News Muse 30 May 2016

CORRUPTION

The Brazilian anti-corruption minister has been accused- irony of ironies- of interfering in the Petrobras anti-corruption investigation. He subsequently stepped down.

The Ukrainian Party of Regions- the party of former President Victor Yanukovych- apparently spent tens of millions of dollars on political bribes, coyly labelling them in spreadsheets as ‘investments in politics’.

The new president of the Philippines, who I previously mocked for his tough-guy persona, claims he will crack down on corruption- all I can say is #hearditallbefore. Every new political leader nowadays claims to be cracking down on graft- from Nigeria to Madagascar to Brazil– few follow through.

CRIMINAL LAW

Is Ethiopia trying to sanitise its harsh anti-terror laws– often used against bloggers and journalists- by changing the terminology to ‘computer crimes’?

Simone Gbagbo- wife to former President (and current ICC defendant) Laurent Gbagbo- goes on trial in the Ivory Coast for crimes against humanity and other serious crimes.

SENTENCING

In a landmark case, former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre, was convicted by a Senegalese court of crimes against humanity, torture and rape committed during his reign of terror in his country. Though he was acquitted of the war crimes charges owing to lack of evidence, this is a signal move by an African country to show that impunity does not necessarily cross borders. It also shows, in contrast to the Kenyan government’s approach to international justice, that a fair outcome in international justice involves giving due importance to the victims and not treating them as an afterthought in a campaign to free the suspects.

The ‘swimming pool’ in which Habre’s security services tortured his opponents. Courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

MONEY LAUNDERING

Money Laundering and gold smuggling have been blamed for a currency shortage in Zimbabwe. Lacking a national currency, Zimbabweans use US dollars and to a lesser extent Euros and South African rand. It’s not surprising that an enterprising launderer would prefer to store his/her ill-gotten gains in hard currency (that can be spent on the street in any case) rather than risk re-introducing the money into the formal financial system- e.g. bank accounts or forex dealers- and triggering all sorts of red flags.

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