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Kenyan Cultural Ambassador Emmy Kosgei lands in Atlanta for Majuu 2019 Festival

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Social media was abuzz Thursday after word went out that Kenyan celebrated gospel artiste Emmy Kosgei had landed at Atlanta’s  Hartsfied Jackson International Airport for the Atlanta Majuu Cultural festival 2019.

The musician is expected to make several performances at the Cobb Civic Centre in Marietta, Georgia, where this year’s extravaganza will be held.

On arrival, she posted the following message on Instagram:

Yaaay #atlantamajuuculturalExpo 2019 #ATLANTA#GA see you this friday 26th thru sunday the 28th! Celebrating our heritage and diversity#bringingculturealive #fashion #food #music#cobbciviccentre

The event, which  is organised by the Kenyan American Community Church, has been billed as an exceptional expo featuring a myriad Kenyan-African inter-cultures, and will also be graced by Kenya’s ambassador to the United States, Robinson Njeru Githae, among other dignitaries.

It coincides with 20 years anniversary of the Church.

KACC has, through such events in the past, added to the cultural tapestry that shapes the American Society which is increasingly becoming multicultural.

This year’s fete, the biggest since inception, is expected to pull thousands of guests, including other musicians from around the US.

Emmy Kosgei-Madubuko is best known for her 2009 hit song, Taunet Nelel, among many others.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Emmy Kosgei in town as Atlanta Majuu Cultural Expo opens this Friday, runs through Sunday

“We are so excited to have her with us,” said Timothy Ndegwa, the KACC administrative secretary and proprietor of Mykenyanlink, an online platform which seeks to connect Kenyan entrepreneurs around the world. “This will be a weekend to remember as we shall also be having Gospel music stars like Ruth Wamuyu and Naomi Karanja,” he added.

“KACC has been promoting and supporting other Kenya Diaspora communities in celebrating their cultural heritage with great pride and enthusiasm,” wrote the head of the Church, Rev Dr GG Gitahi, on the Festival’s website.

For the last twelve years, the church has, through various cultural events, with great passion nurtured and celebrated cultural diversity that is exhibited in the rich Kenya-African culture.

However, Majuu festival was launched in 2015.

 There will also be – among other activities – traditional dances, children and youth cultural fashion shows, booths and huts showcasing Kenyan diverse ethnic groups’ cultures and traditions.

A poster announcing the 2019 Atlanta Majuu Cultural Festival. FILE PHOTO

“The festival seeks to inform, educate, inspire and entertain those in attendance even as it mesmerizes those who will be experiencing the Kenyan African Culture for the first time,” said Dr Gitahi.”

The event runs through Sunday night after which some of those in attendance will go on a 7 day cruise which will take them to The Bahamas and back.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Amb Githae cautions Kenyans in US against DUI, domestic violence

We have many visitors from Kenya and around the world, said Catherine Njogu one of the event coordinators.

Other events include; Running with the champions, and a golf tournament.

Here is part of the program:

Run With A Kenyan Champion
Venue: Barrett Summitt
Address: 1990 Vaughn Rd NW,
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Date: Saturday, April 27th, 2019
***Volunteers report at 5AM
***Runners report at 6AM
1K Starts at 7:00AM Promptly
5K Starts at 7:30AM Promptly

Golf Tournament
Venue: Creekside Golf & Country Club
Address: 591 Westchester Club Dr
Hiram, GA. 30141
Date: Saturday, April 27th, 2019
Time: 10:00AM-3:00PM

Atlanta Majuu
Venue: Cobb County Civic Center
Address: 548 South Marietta Pkwy SE,
Marietta, GA 30060
Date: Friday 26th, Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th

For a full schedule of this weekend’s events, check the church’s website.

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Diaspora

Dilapidated Kenyan embassy buildings around the world to get Sh700m facelift

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It will cost taxpayers Sh700 million to renovate diplomats’ homes and offices in Washington D.C, London and New York as their poor state force ambassadors to rent premises.

The Treasury, in budget documents before Members of Parliament for review, says it will spend Sh250 million to renovate the high commissioner’s residence in London, Sh250 million (Washington D.C properties) and Sh200 million for New York homes and office.

Foreign Affairs ministry has recently indicated a change of plan from lease of space to property purchase as rental costs for embassies and consulates shoot to billions of shillings annually.

Diplomats in London and New York have been forced to rent homes as residences built by taxpayers fall apart due to neglect, the Auditor-General revealed last year.

Edward Ouko’s audit paints the sorry state of affairs in the country’s foreign missions and singled out the Kenyan embassies in Washington D.C, New York and London—which are the most prestigious diplomatic missions. This has forced the diplomats to rent homes in some of the world’s pricey cities, pushing the missions’ leasing costs to above Sh2 billion.

“No proper justification has been given for leasing residential houses considering that the Government of Kenya has houses for the ambassadors in New York and London except for failure to maintain these properties in habitable conditions,” said Mr Ouko.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Emmy Kosgei in town as Atlanta Majuu Cultural Expo opens this Friday, runs through Sunday

“An expenditure of Sh2.3 billion on lease of properties abroad could have been minimised if there was a clear policy on purchase or construction of government-owned properties for the missions.”

A recent parliamentary report said the building hosting the Kenyan Embassy in Washington D.C has greatly deteriorated. Compared to neighbouring structures, the property stands out as a neglected unit.

SOURCE: Businessdaily.co.ke

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Diaspora

UK singer calls out controversial Kenyan promoter over attempted extortion

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Nairobi musician-cum-promoter Bradley Juma Obomi aka Trap King Chrome is in the news again after UK singer Melesha Katrina O’Garro, known professionally as Lady Leshurr, called him out for trying to extort money from her.

According to Lady Leshurr, Trap King Chrome has been trying to sell her unreleased music video.

Trap King Chrome attracted unwanted attention in 2017 when he was arrested for allegedly pushing his British girlfriend from their sixth floor apartment in Lavington.

The British rapper, who in January incurred the wrath of Kenyans for stating that she may not be visiting Kenya because of the terror attacks, says that Trap King Chrome, who was her promoter in the country, shot a video while in Kenya and that he is trying to extort her or he leaks it.

“The same guy that brought me to Kenya for the Backyard Bass show in February 2019 at the Muze Club in Westlands, Nairobi has been trying to sell my unseen music video for my song Pretty Likkle Ting which I shot during my stay in the country.”

‘LEAKED VIDEO’

READ ALSO:   Why I am taking long to have children: Emmy Kosgei

The 29-year-old rapper is best known for her Queen’s Speech series of freestyles, the fourth of which went viral in 2016 and has a song in which she featured Mr Eazie called Black Madonna.

She further claims that Trap King Chrome must have gained access to the video thanks to his friendship with a music director who was involved during the shoot.

Leshurr says Bradley tried selling her the video for Sh640,000 (£5,000) but she ignored him and that Trap King Chrome has since been trying to leak the music video.

She recounted how she performed alongside Grammy Award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj in Manchester in March saying that before she got on stage she got an email about the yet to be released music video leaking, something that killed her energy.

The tweets also allege that the underground rapper wants to bring two more Grime artistes, Stormzy and J. Hus to Kenya for shows.

source:nairobinews

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Diaspora

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:   VIDEO: Amb Githae cautions Kenyans in US against DUI, domestic violence

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:   Excited fans of Emmy Kosgei celebrate as she lands in Atlanta for 2017 Majuu Cultural Festival

“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:   VIDEO: Emmy Kosgei in town as Atlanta Majuu Cultural Expo opens this Friday, runs through Sunday

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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