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Dusit manager who died helping save lives

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Bernadette Konjalo’s 10-year career in the hotel industry was tragically ended by terrorists during the  attack at 14 Riverside Drive that left 21 people dead.

Ms Konjalo, the revenue manager at DusitD2 Hotel, died while helping colleagues and guests to safety after the first gunshots rent the air.

Her cousin Camillus narrated how on hearing the news of the attack from the media, alongside her sister they tried calling her but her mobile phones were switched off.

They proceeded to the scene but could not get any information on whether she was among those who escaped or those trapped inside the hotel.

“We stayed there just waiting until 2am when some of her friends who had followed two ambulances to Chiromo Mortuary came back and asked us to accompany them as they had seen what looked like her body.

“We went to the mortuary and since some of her friends were still there, they showed us the body they thought was hers but we were in denial until we saw a birth mark,” he said.

Colleagues recounted how after the first blast, Ms Konjalo tried to inquire what was going on. They then heard gunshots and she sprang into action, directing people to exit the hotel for safety.

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

The attackers advanced towards the hotel’s entrance where she was standing guiding people and she quickly retreated inside with a group of colleagues.

But the attackers saw them and opened fire at them.

Ms Konjalo had previously worked at Tribe Hotel for six years before moving to DusitD2 Hotel in March 2014 where she started as an assistant front office manager and rose to become a director of revenue.

The last born in a family of four who was fondly referred to as Titi, she was outgoing and was paying school fees for some members of her extended family as well as supporting her nuclear family financially.

Her friends who had nicknamed her as B eulogised her, writing tributes that further demonstrated her character.

A friend Georges Nato wrote on social media; “Bernadette Konjalo you are one tough mama! As others ran for safety you encouraged them and showed them the way from behind like a True leader!!! I shed tears for you as my hero my dear friend, your bravery is greatly admired!!! You sacrificed your life for others, your story will be told for generations to come, you will not be forgotten!”

Mercy Shiks said: “The cruel Dusit hotel attack took…her…so sad…my former classmate & bed mate!! Rip Bernadette Konjalo.”

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

Wakesho Mwashigadi commented: “Spoke to you on Monday morning little did I know that I was saying goodbye to you mrembo. Been calling you Jana in vain. Shine on your way beautiful.”

Livie Manjeri wrote: “Rest in peace Queen B. Heaven just gained an angel.”

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Canadian agency warns about Visa fraudsters

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Kenyans are losing up to Sh2.15 million per person to well organised fraudsters selling fake Visa’s to Canada and non-existent job offers to Kenyan job-seekers, an international agency that processes the travel documents, warned on Monday.

The scheme has been targeting not only low income households seeking greener pastures abroad but the very wealthy, the agency warned in a statement.

The scammers net about Sh150 million from conning about 150 people, in about two or three months.

Beaver Immigration Consulting said the scams have left a trail of devastation among the hundreds of the affected.

Mr Nicholas Avramis a regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant with Beaver Immigration Consulting said the agency is now “frustrated” from the mounting incidents of fraud under the scheme.

“I am very frustrated as I continue to get calls from people that have been scammed. This is a global problem with Canadian immigration in general. It is prevalent in India and China, but now the fraudsters are moving into the African region to rip people off,” said Mr Avramis.

According to him, the scam works in two main ways.

“The first is where the fraudster promises to obtain a visa to enter Canada and work. Essentially, an open work permit. This, does not exist for people outside of Canada,” he explained.

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

In another the scammers claim that they can find the victim a job, by securing a letter of employment from a Canadian company.

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Mumbi Girls matron of 33 years found dead, hanging in her sitting room

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Mumbi Girls High School in Murang’a County where the body of the institution's was found in her house on May 21, 2019. It is suspected that she committed suicide. PHOTO | NDUNG'U GACHANE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A matron at Mumbi Girls High School in Murang’a County has been found dead in a case of suspected suicide.

Murang’a County Police Commander Josephat Kinyua told the Nation that the matron’s body was discovered Tuesday morning in her house in the living quarters situated within the school compound.

He said they have launched investigations to establish the cause of death of the 56-yaer-old woman.

“The principal of the school informed the police that they have discovered the body of the school matron identified as Joyce Mwinzi and we have sent officers to the school to collect the body and to start investigations,” Mr Kinyua said.

The body was found hanging in her sitting room on Tuesday morning by the school’s groundsman and a librarian after her husband called them asking about her whereabouts.

According to the school’s principal, Esther Njeri Wambugu, the matron did not report to work on Monday as it was her off day and was supposed to visit her husband in Gatanga Sub-County.

When she failed to show up at their home, her husband called the school’s workers who decided to check on her, only to find her body dangling in the sitting room.

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

Ms Wambugu said the matron had worked at the school for 33 years and that she never showed any signs of depression or related illness.

“She has worked in the school for 33 years in different departments and had been giving wise counsel to the girls. I last saw her on Saturday during the school’s prize giving ceremony and she looked jovial and even completed her work as assigned,” the worried principal said.

She added that the matron attended students on Sunday night at 10pm who complained of stomach ache, saying that was her last encounter with the students.

The matron’s husband also worked as a cook at the school but retired at the beginning of this year.

The county police boss lamented over the increased cases of suicides in Murang’a and pleaded with locals to seek better ways of solving their issues instead of committing suicide.

There was tension at the school on Tuesday mid-morning as police officers visited the scene to pick her body.

source:nation.co.ke

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Kenyans wire back Sh1trn in offshore bank accounts

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Wealthy Kenyans have wired back an estimated Sh1 trillion from offshore accounts in the past three years, taking advantage of a tax amnesty offered by the Treasury.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) in a response to Business Daily queries said the amount was repatriated by some 16,000 applicants who took advantage of the amnesty window during which they were not required to declare the source of their wealth or even account for previous years’ tax arrears.

The amnesty, which was announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich in 2016, is set to close next month.

“We have received over 16,000 applicants with the amount repatriated so far at Sh1,014,058,103,551. The incentive was meant to encourage Kenyans to repatriate their wealth back to the country for purposes of development,” said KRA in a statement.

The amount wired back is more than one third of Kenya’s annual Budget.

Wealthy Kenyans have traditionally stashed wealth abroad to either escape the taxman’s scrutiny or to spread their risks by investing in the more politically and economically stable Western democracies.

A report by an American think tank, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), last year revealed that Kenya’s super-rich were holding more than Sh5 trillion in offshore tax havens across the world.

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

Another international report released in 2007 detailed how a corrupt network in the Moi administration looted at least Sh130 billion and stashed it abroad, including in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The report by risk advisers Kroll and Associates was commissioned by the then President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.

The 110-page report published online detailed how people close to Mr Moi set up shell companies, fronts and secret trusts to siphon away Kenyan taxpayers’ money, which they stashed in banks, real estate and companies in an estimated 30 countries around the world.

With the return into the country of the over Sh1 trillion, the owners of the cash have effectively ‘cleaned’ their wealth and evaded any questions on the source of the money or any tax liabilities that may have been due in the years before they made the declaration.

The colossal amount has, however, not made a visible impact in the economy, raising questions on where the cash has been kept.

Kenyan laws have a narrow scope on taxation of wealth earned abroad, but the amnesty offered a golden opportunity for those who had stashed cash offshore to bring it back without scrutiny.

Deloitte East Africa Tax Partner Fred Omondi said in an interview yesterday that most tax audit firms had not received any significant enquiries from Kenyans willing to repatriate wealth back home.

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

“We haven’t seen a lot of uptake of this amnesty given that most income earned abroad is not subject to taxation in Kenya. Until the money is invested here and taxable income generated, there is no tax revenue to expect,” said Mr Omondi.

Mr Rotich, who yesterday did not respond to our queries on the impact that the Sh1 trillion has had on the economy, at the time of the announcement said the amnesty would make the environment more conducive for those willing to reinvest back home.

“Mr Speaker, taxpayers who take up this amnesty shall have all principal taxes, interests and penalties for the year of income, 2016 and the prior year’s automatically remitted in total. In addition, the government shall not follow up on the sources of such income and assets declared,” said the Treasury CS in his 2016 annual Budget Speech.

The incentive has since been extended twice to allow more uptake after potential applicants failed to take advantage fearing they would be subjected to provisions of Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Mr Rotich last year amended the law to exempt them from the requirement to declare the source of their wealth to the Financial Reporting Centre. He urged taxpayers to take advantage of the amnesty and “clean up their records with KRA”.

READ ALSO:   Cellulant mourns six colleagues killed in Dusit attack

KRA then issued guidelines on the repatriation and signed certificates for those who successfully applied for the repatriation during the period. The tax forgiveness applied only to those who declared income from their wealth abroad, including homes, for the period up to December 2018.

They were expected to file their returns with KRA.

Audit firm Ernst and Young, in its analysis of the amnesty in March 2016, warned that the process was prone to abuse.

“The amnesty should be undertaken with precaution as there is the potential for abuse with respect to money laundering under the pretext of repatriating assets,” the firm wrote a day after KRA held a stakeholders meeting to get feedback on the guidelines provided for the amnesty.

Delloite’s Fred Omondi also said the amnesty could have been used by those seeking to clean their funds before taking them back to the offshore havens with the needed legitimacy granted through the repatriation.

source:businessdaily

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