AFTER the Kenyan corruption scandal known as Chicken-gate, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has let the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) off the hook– citing lack of evidence- after allegations were made that he was amongst those who received bribes from Smith & Ouzman for procurement of electoral materials. The EACC instead wants 4 people prosecuted over the scam- former IEBC CEO James Oswago, broker Trevy Oyombra, Hamida Kibwana and Kenneth Karani.
THE EACC Chairman is himself in hot water after reports surfaced that allegedly linked him to discredited NYS projects that his office is supposed to investigate. Whether or not the Chairman has any skeletons in his past career is not for me to say, but the broader issue of conflict of interest does matter. If you pick an anti-corruption czar from the corner-suite of a Kenyan private firm, it’s hardly surprising that the person will have had extensive business dealings- personally or professionally- with government departments. That’s just the way things are in a country where the public sector economy dwarfs the private sector. In Kenya it’s a rare firm that’s never sought a government tender/contract. Hopefully lessons are learned the next time a senior anti-corruption official is being recruited (though I’m doubtful).
WITH all this happening, it’s not surprising that 69% of Kenyans don’t believe corruption cases will end in a conviction.
THE Mexican president asked his fellow citizens to ‘forgive’ a corruption scandal that erupted over a year ago.
WAS using a remote-controlled bomb to kill a cornered sniper a lawful use of force by Dallas police? This writer considers the issue from an international law perspective.
TURKEY’S crack-down following an unsuccessful coup intensifies. Thousands have been arrested. This includes 2,000 judges who, at first sight had little to do with the coup itself. This has lead some to speculate that just as the coup plotters had a list of personages to arrest in order to ensure success, President Erdogan’s government may have had a pre-determined list of who to arrest in the event of an unsuccessful coup. It could also be an attempt to intimidate the judiciary and prosecutors to ensure that no acquittals are won when the suspected coup-plotters go on trial. The President is demanding the extradition of his arch-enemy Fetullah Gulen from the US.
Erdogan has vowed to re-introduce the death penalty; though applying it retroactively to the current situation would violate rule of law principles against the retrospective application of newly introduced punishments (in latin, the nulla poena sine lege principle)
THE WORDS “Kanye West” and “wire-tapping” don’t often appear together but apparently the eccentric rapper did just that during a private phone conversation with Taylor Swift about lyrics to the Kanye song ‘Famous’ deemed offensive to Ms. Swift. I wouldn’t even mention such a dull celebrity feud except that Mr. West may be liable to prosecution in California (where he allegedly made the recording) for wire-tapping without consent. The possible penalties are comparatively low $2,500 fine or 1 year in a county jail but the provision also makes evidence collected in violation of the provision inadmissible. So it’s the type of double-edged law that can also discourage a person from collecting incriminating evidence (e.g. of a campaign of phone harassment or stalking) since it’s unlikely that the victim will get the consent of the perpetrator.
Under Californian law the person who wants to wire-tap is a victim of alleged domestic violence, they can get a court order to monitor the perpetrator’s communications. But this is a limited exception. The only other saving grace is that the provision excludes duly executed wire-tapping by police officers from its ambit.
WHILE on the topic of harassment, a UK police force has classified misogyny as a hate-crime. This doesn’t automatically mean a hefty fine or prison sentence for someone caught ‘wolf-whistling’ or ‘cat-calling’. Rather, according to the Nottinghamshire Police, they “…will carry out risk assessments and offer support as we would to any victim of a hate crime.”
ARE racism and a media campaign of xenophobia the real impetus behind recent changes to Germany’s sexual violence laws?
HERE’S an intriguing article on Pakistani honor-killings that explains how the intersection between secular law (barring murder) and religious law (which allows the family of the victim and the perpetrator to intervene and control the reporting and prosecution of honor-killing) creates a loophole through which killers escape justice.
IN an inspiring tale of having your cake and eating it, an American cake-shop owner was sentenced to 27 years in prison for using his business as a front for cocaine distribution and money laundering. The scale of the operation was pretty impressive- for a modest pâtissier- with nearly $70,000 a week in drug money passing through the cake-shop doors and nearly $1 million laundered in Caribbean jurisdictions like Curaçao (as well as through real-estate purchases).
THE American cake-maker had no luck with the justice system but could British fishermen convicted of trafficking £35 million worth of cocaine do better? 4 men in the UK are trying to have their convictions for conspiracy to smuggle drugs with their fishing boat overturned based on claims of new evidence.
THE central bank of Bangladesh has warned local financial institutions to tighten their anti-terrorist financing systems following deadly terrorist attacks in Dhaka.
A SENIOR Singaporean accountant looks at the aftermath of the BAS/1MDB scandal and asks what role accountants should play in spotting money laundering and reporting it.
HERE is an excellent article by a SWIFT official on why de-risking- the process by which multi-national banks are reducing their AML exposure by cutting back correspondence relationships and other partnerships- is disproportionately harming small countries and developing nations as well as hindering the goal of raising global financial inclusivity. He also gives some tips on how banks in such ‘high-risk’ jurisdictions can improve their information reporting systems in line with FATF recommendations in order to limit the potential for losing a valuable correspondence relationship.