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US official urges patience on Kenya graft cases

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A top US law enforcement urged frustrated Kenyans on Thursday to “be a little bit patient” concerning the outcome of corruption cases.

“Anti-corruption investigations are particularly complex,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Heather Merritt said in a press briefing.

“They tend to involve multiple jurisdictions because often corrupt officials are able to move assets amongst various jurisdictions both within your country and internationally,” Ms Merritt added.

She was speaking in response to a reporter’s question about the paucity of corruption convictions in Kenya.

Ms Merritt, who heads the State Department’s bureau of international narcotics and law enforcement, also cited US efforts to strengthen Kenya’s police service and to develop programmes intended to curb impunity.

She noted that she had co-chaired discussions on security and democracy as part of the recent US-Kenya Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in Washington.

The US pledged in that forum to provide “technical and operational assistance” to the internal affairs unit of the Kenya police service as well as to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority.

Ms Merritt emphasised that corruption can most effectively be addressed through strong national institutions that enforce accountability.

“It is all about stopping impunity,” she said. “It’s about society’s demanding accountability, but most of all it’s about developing strong independent institutions that are able to combat corruption across the criminal justice sector.”

The US official rejected arguments that corruption can be eliminated by increasing low salaries paid to law-enforcement personnel in poor countries.

“Adequate salaries are not enough,” Ms Merritt declared. “Even in countries where officials are very well paid, there are sometimes people who fall prey unfortunately to corruption and so we have got to do everything we can to strengthen institutions.”

She pointed to the example of the corruption scandal that shook the world football authority known as Fifa a few years ago.

“It’s not because (former Fifa head) Sepp Blatter was underpaid,” Ms Merritt said. “It’s not because the Fifa commissioners around the world were underpaid that they were susceptible to bribes… They made a decision to engage in corruption.”

The Fifa scandals were exposed because “there were institutions that were able to do investigations to hold accountable those who were involved,” Ms Merritt noted.

She also sounded an alarm about “burgeoning illicit markets” in Africa.

“Wildlife poaching and trafficking represents an escalating international security and conservation crisis,” Ms Merritt warned. “What we are seeing now in many of your countries is coordinated slaughter which was commissioned by armed and organized criminal syndicates.”

source:nation.co.ke

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Tecra Muigai: Court to rule on suspect’s bond

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A court in Lamu has rejected an application to continue holding in detention Omar Lali, the boyfriend of Keroche Breweries heiress Tecra Muigai who died after a fall.
This follows the expiry of the 21 days pre-trial detention of Mr Lali on Tuesday.

On May 4 this year, Lamu Principal Magistrate Allan Temba allowed d the police to detain Mr Lali for 21 days at the Lamu Police Station to enable them conduct comprehensive investigations into the suspected murder of Ms Muigai.

The case was to be mentioned on Tuesday, May 26, for the investigator to submit a report and the court to issue further directions.

The court session was held via video link.

EXTENSION

When appearing on the live court session on Tuesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) applied for an extension of the detention of Mr Lali by another week.

The argument was that the DCI wanted Mr Lali to go with them to the crime scenes, including Jaha House in Shella, Lamu where Ms Muigai sustained the serious head injuries after she allegedly fell on the stairs and later died as she received treatment at a Nairobi hospital.

This particular visit would be the fourth one as the investigators had already taken the suspect to the scene three other times.

DECLINED

But while delivering the court’s decision, Mr Temba refused to extend the pre-trial detention on various grounds.

First, the police had already visited the crime scene with Mr Lali three times and the suspect fully cooperated. The investigators already took evidence from the scene and that it will be excessive to keep Mr Lali in the station cell just so that the police revisit the scene of crime.

Secondly, the granted 21 days that have elapsed were more than sufficient but no conclusive evidence had been found to enable the DPP make a decision on what offence to charge or not to charge the suspect with.

Thirdly, the court argued that the pending phone extraction is not a process that requires Mr Lali to be in custody further.

The fourth ground was that the pending toxicology analysis does not require Mr Lali to be further detained as Ms Muigai’s samples have already been taken and are being analysed independent of the suspect.

COMMUNITY TIES

The court also stated that Mr Lali has strong community ties and has a family.

It also argued that the police concurred that Mr Lali is not an immediate danger to the local community and the community itself has not posed any danger to the suspect and, therefore, giving bond will not pose a security risk.

“Lali has no capacity to interfere with witnesses as he actually doesn’t know who they are. The court will therefore fix the bond terms on Wednesday at 2.30pm once Lali proves by documents his fixed abode,” said Mr Temba.

KEROCHE DIRECTOR

Until her death on May 2 this year, Ms Muigai was the Strategy and Innovations Directors at Keroche Breweries.

The last-born daughter of the Keroche Breweries Chairman Joseph Karanja and CEO Tabitha Karanja was living with Mr Lali at the private house in Shella, Lamu when the accident happened.

Mr Lali was arrested on May 3, just a day after Ms Muiagi’s death, and he has been in police custody as detectives continued with investigations into her death.

A post-mortem conducted by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor two weeks ago revealed that she died as a result of trauma to the left side of her face after she fell.

She was buried on May 16 in a private ceremony in Naivasha.

By Nation.co.ke

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What killed popular benga musician

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Popular Kikuyu musician Jimmy Wayuni Githinji is dead. The benga artiste died on Tuesday night in a road accident in Githurai along the Thika Superhighway, Nairobi.

Ruiru OCPD Phineas Ringera said that the musician’s vehicle reportedly rammed into a lorry as he was driving to the city.

ROAD ACCIDENT

“The driver rammed into a lorry at around 10pm while driving to Nairobi. He was immediately rushed to St Joseph Hospital in Githurai 45 where he passed on,” said the OCPD.

Githinji’s body was taken to Kenyatta University Funeral Home.

The wreckage of benga artiste Jimmy Wayuni Githinji's car at the scene of the road accident. PHOTO | COURTESY
The wreckage of benga artiste Jimmy Wayuni Githinji’s car at the scene of the road accident. PHOTO | COURTESY

Popularly known by the stage name Jimmy Wa Yuni, benga maestro was known for several popular hit songs, particularly on Kikuyu vernacular radio and TV stations.

But the deceased musician was unpopular with many women for his seemingly sexist lyrics that portrayed them in negative light.

CONTROVERSIAL SONGS

One such song Airitu a Ruiru (Ruiru girls) angered many women because in it the singer accused women from Ruiru of being terrible lovers capable of killing a husband by eating him up.

Many of those who sent messages of condolence hailed him as a legend, wishing his family strength during this trying period.

By Nairobi News

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History as UoN conducts virtual exams amid Covid-19 pandemic – VIDEO

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The University of Nairobi on Tuesday become the first Kenyan learning institution to conduct the country’s first ever end of semester examinations online owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first examination saw 26 students pursuing a Master of Arts in Environmental Law and eight taking Master of Arts in Environmental Policy sit a four-hour exam.

ONLINE EXAMS

The university shifted to online examinations in order to provide students with options to complete their studies at a time when face-to-face exams are impossible to be held because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to the university’s communications team, Centre for Advanced studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP) Director, Dr Collins Odote said:

“We used Google platforms to administer our exams-first we invited our students to Google Classroom so that we are able to see all of them and then we used Google Meet to monitor or invigilate the process.”

According to the University, the successful online examinations process followed intense weeks of teaching and learning also conducted virtually via Google Suite, Zoom and Webex among other eLearning platforms.

UoN Vice Chancellor Prof Stephen Kiama said that over 5500 virtual classes had already taken place and were still going on.

E-LEARNING

He said that the mechanisms had been put in place to ensure the quality of the online exams is not compromised in anyway.

“As a world class university all our examination guidelines and procedures have been benchmarked against the global best practice and we shall continue to ensure that they are reliable, consistent and of integrity,” said Prof Kiama.

As part of the quality assurance process the university organized a series of training sessions in mid-March for faculty and administrative staff on eLearning in an effort to ensure students continued to receive high quality education while staying safe from the coronavirus pandemic.

The learning institution added that, in a bid to bridge digital divide and ensure that no one is left out, the university negotiated deals with network provider Telkom to provide free data bundles for faculty and students.

“However for students with poor internet connection, the UoN continues to provide them with playback lecture videos and courseware packages,” the university said.

Prof Kiama has also acknowledged that students with special needs and other disadvantaged groups may face difficulties in undertaking online exams but said their issues shall be addressed individually as they arise.

By Nairobi News

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