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Kenya Diaspora Convention 2019 set to take place in New Jersey, USA

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BY DAVID OCHWANG’I

Greetings! We invite you to the 2019 Diaspora Convention at Hilton Hotel & Resorts, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. This is an annual tradition where we meet as the Diaspora Community to advance our common interests primarily economic advancement, investments, political participation and representation. The Conference theme this year is “Diaspora Expandiing Partnerships for a Brighter Future.

We have also scheduled prominent Kenyan and American business & political leaders to speak, engage with each other, gain potential clients and potential development partners and establish long-term business and professional partnerships for growth at the Convention and so we believe this will be a high profile and unique event that your participation will be of great value to you and us as a community.

Topics up for discussion include business and investment opportunities of mutual interest including Governance, Banking, Healthcare, Tourism, Africa Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), Real Estate, public infrastructure, Women and Youth and Diaspora representation.

Date And Time

Fri, Sep 27, 2019, 8:00 AM –

Sat, Sep 28, 2019, 11:00 PM EDT

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Location

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

650 Terrace Ave

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

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Africa

Feds: Nigerian scammer arrested in $50M scheme that targeted Chicago companies

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A man from Nigeria has been arrested after being accused of running a $50 million scheme that targeted Chicago companies.

Olalekan Jacob Ponle allegedly got an unnamed Chicago-based company to wire transfer more than $15 million. Another local company lost $2.3 million, but investigators believe the scheme is worth more than $50 million.

Sources pointed WGN Investigates to his Instagram feed which looks like a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Here’s how prosecutors said the alleged scheme worked.

Either he or his co-conspirators were able to gain access to company’s email accounts through a phishing attack.

In one of the Chicago cases, they allegedly sent an email that appeared to be from the company’s Chief Accounting Officer to another employee ordering the a transfer.

The criminal complaint says “The fraudulent email was almost identical to a prior, legitimate email” right down to the name on the bank account. But the account “number” was different.

Federal agents said Ponle’s scheme spanned at least 9 months last year.

During that time, one of his Instagram posts read: “Money don’t make a man, a man makes money.”

Ponle is a Nigerian national and was taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates. UAE expelled him and federal agents brought Ponle to Chicago Thursday night for an initial court appearance Friday morning.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan woman who came to Atlanta for medical attention passes away, family appeals for financial help

A detention hearing is schedule for late next week.

By WGN

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Africa

Kenya ‘raring to go’ on free trade deal with US, Uhuru says

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Kenya’s negotiations with the US on an unprecedented two-way trade deal are on schedule to begin on July 7 despite difficulties posed by the coro-navirus pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday.

“Our team is raring to go,” he assured an online forum sponsored by the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa.Kenya is aiming to create “sustainable jobs for our people” through what would be the first bilateral free-trade agreement between a sub-Saharan country and the nation with the world’s biggest economy, the President added.

The US also has much to gain from concluding such an arrangement, Mr Kenyatta suggested.Kenya is part of a continent that “requires everything from toothbrushes to machine tooling,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta also sought to allay concerns that a bilateral deal with the US could undermine the African Con-tinental Free Trade Area that is due to be implemented at the start of 2021.The Africa-wide initiative is “very important to us,” the President said, noting that Kenya has worked hard to ensure its success.

He suggested that a Kenya-US bilateral pact can complement the continental trade agreement and could serve as a model to be replicated by other individual countries.

“If we are successful in these negotiations, Kenya can act as a lead or guide,” the President said. “We will be the guinea pig so that many other African countries can follow suit.”

READ ALSO:   Kenyan-born journalist honoured in US for exemplary reporting

But Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, who also spoke at Friday’s forum, said the US has paid more attention to the possibility of a bilateral deal with Kenya than to the multilateral Africa trade agreement that will soon come into force.

While hailing the significance of a US-Kenya trade deal, Mr Akufo-Addo lamented that “the emphasis of America on exploring opportunities on the continent has not been quite as intense as some of us would have wished.”

Florizelle Liser, chief executive of the Corporate Council on Africa, said in an interview following the forum that the US has in fact worked to facilitate the Africa-wide trade agreement.A bilateral deal with Kenya is not an impediment to Africa’s efforts to forge a multilateral free-trade grouping, she added. The US side “understands that Kenya is part of the EAC,” Ms Liser said.

“They’re already looking at ways they can pull in other East African countries.”It could take as long as two years to conclude a Kenya-US trade deal, she added.

President Kenyatta noted in his remarks to the forum that Kenya was especially keen to start bilateral negoti-ations with the US because the existing multilateral preferential trade package known as Agoa is due to expire in 2025.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan MP wanted by US authorities for escaping jail term over tax evasion

But President Akufo-Addo is not prepared to acquiesce to that projected termination date for Agoa. African countries that have benefited from Agoa should “look at the possibility of extending it,” he said.

Ms Liser, whose 27-year-old association includes most US companies operating in Africa, pointed out that it is up to the US Congress to decide whether Agoa’s scheduled expiration in five years will actually come to pass.The still-spreading pandemic is in-tensifying Africa’s need for increased trade and investment, the Kenyan and Ghanaian heads of state agreed.

Kenya managed to save many lives through swift implementation of virus-containment measures, Mr Kenyatta noted.

But, he acknowledged, those moves led to a sharp economic contraction and widespread loss of livelihoods.President Akufo-Addo pointed out that Ghana has recorded one of the lowest virus-related death rates in the world.His country has counted 15,473 cases of coronavirus, resulting in 95 deaths.Kenya has reported only about one-third as many cases but has seen 135 lives lost to the pandemic.

At the same time, Kenya Airways (KQ), grounded for the past three months by the coronavirus pandemic, will resume domestic flights in “the next couple of days,” President Kenyatta said.

The return to in-country service will coincide with the lifting of Kenya’s lockdown on travel between counties, Mr Kenyatta noted.The government will soon set a date for KQ to resume flying internationally, the President added.

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“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we are back in the skies,” Mr Kenyatta said.“We’re eager to open up, but we have to make sure we all stay safe.”

The President’s announcement came on the same day that KQ chief executive Allan Kilavuka revealed that the airline has lost an estimated $100 million so far this year due to the pandemic and related lockdowns.Losses could approach $500 million by the end of 2020, Mr Kilavuka added.KQ had been struggling financially long before the coronavirus emerged.

It lost about $122 million in 2019, compared to $71 million the previous year.

By Sunday Nation.

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Africa

Somali ‘incapable’ of removing Shabaab – US

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Somalia’s army remains “incapable” of ousting Al-Shabaab from its strongholds, enabling the insurgents to exercise continued control over large parts of the country, the US State Department said on Wednesday.

As another indication of failure to stifle Shabaab militants after 13 years of counterinsurgency warfare, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group last year carried out more than 1,000 attacks inside Somalia and in northern Kenya, the State Department noted in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2019.

The Somalia section of the annual global survey estimates that Al-Shabaab has between 7,000 and 9,000 members.

FUNDING

The group funds its actions through “illegal charcoal production and exports, taxation of local populations and businesses, and by means of remittances and other money transfers from the Somali diaspora,” the report adds.

The State Department does not offer an estimate of the size of Shabaab’s war chest.

Targeted operations carried out by Somali military units trained and equipped by the United States are said to stand as exceptions to the national army’s ineffectiveness.

But the report makes no mention of the intensified campaign of air attacks launched by the US Africa Command (Africom) against Al-Shabaab targets.

Africom carried out 63 such strikes last year, compared to 47 in 2018 and 35 in 2017.

READ ALSO:   Excitement as two young Kenyans get Visas to come study in US through 'Airlift Program'

SECURITY REFORMS

Somali officials “failed to implement vital national security reforms and pass legislation that could help enhance the government’s capacity to secure and govern effectively at all levels,” the report observes.

But it finds that the federal government “remained a willing partner to US efforts to improve the quality of policing entities throughout the country.”

The Kenyan government is also described as a “willing US partner” in investigating, prosecuting and responding to terrorist attacks.

However, the report notes that Kenyan security forces were reported to have engaged in human rights violations in their counter-terrorism operations. Alleged abuses included extra-judicial killings, disappearances and torture.

DUSITD2 ATTACK

But the Kenyan police and army are lauded for their response to the January 2019 DusitD2 Hotel attack. Their performance on that occasion was “in line with international standards for protection of human rights in response to terrorist threats and attacks,” the report says.

Kenya’s prosecution of suspected terrorists exhibits both progress and shortcomings, the US finds.

“Terrorism case trials often proceeded slowly and inefficiently,” the report states, noting that the three remaining defendants in the 2013 Westgate Mall attack were still on trial at the end of 2019.

“Significant victories” achieved last year included the reinstatement of convictions and 15-year sentences of two Iranians involved in a disrupted bomb plot in 2012.

READ ALSO:   Kenyans among 78 people arrested in 'ICE' raids in US this week

Also last year, a Kenyan court found three of four defendants guilty of the 2015 Garissa University massacre.

By Nation.co.ke

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