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Rwandan musician sentenced to 10 years for anti-govt plot

Kigali, Saturday. 

A Rwandan court on Friday sentenced popular musician Kizito Mihigo to 10 years in prison for conspiracy against the government of strongman President Paul Kagame.

Mihigo was also found guilty of “forming a criminal group” and “conspiracy to commit murder”, but judge Claire Bukuba threw out charges of complicity in a terrorist act.

Mihigo, 35, who pleaded guilty to the charges, is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Prosecutors said he was “in charge of mobilising the youth” for the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition party in exile, as well as the FDLR, Rwandan Hutu rebels who include the perpetrators of the genocide in their ranks and who are based in the forests of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mihigo’s lawyers, who said prosecutors had little hard evidence, had pressured him to plead not guilty.

He was tried alongside journalist Cassien Ntamuhanga, demobilised soldier Jean Paul Dukuzumuremyi and Agnes Niyibizi, who was accused but found innocent of having been an RNC treasurer.

Ntamuhanga was sentenced to 25 years in jail, Dukuzumuremyi was sentenced to 30 years. Both have denied all charges. Niyibizi was acquitted on all charges.

Police said the men planned attacks in revenge for the assassination of a former spy chief and fierce critic of Kagame, Patrick Karegeya, who lived in exile in South Africa and who was found strangled to death in a Johannesburg luxury hotel on New Year’s Day.

The arrest of the four in April, came as Rwanda held commemorations to mark the 20th anniversary of the genocide, the murder of 800,000 people, most of them ethnic Tutsis, at the hands of Hutu extremists.

But it also came amid mounting criticism of Kagame and accusations his government is cracking down on those who speak out.


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UK court jails Simon Harris for 17 years for abusing Kenyan street boys

A Briton has been jailed for 17 years after he was found guilty of sexually abusing Kenyan street children after luring them into his house in Gilgil, Nakuru County.

Simon Harris was found guilty of eight counts indecent and sexual assault by Birmingham Crown Court in the United Kingdom.

He was found guilty if molesting the boys between 1996 and 2013 when he was the head of VAE charity organisation, which placed volunteers in Kenyan schools.

According to BBC, Harris was also convicted for four counts of possessing indecent images of children.

In his judgment, Judge Phillip Parker described Harris as "a significant risk" to young boys and his Kenyan victims had been left "used, degraded, and humiliated".

"The mental scars will almost certainly never heal," Judge Parker said.

BBC stated that the case is one of the first of its kind using legislation that allows British citizens to be tried for sex offences committed abroad if it is also an offence in that country.

Source: Daily Nation Kenya.

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MP Chenge locks horns with Ethics Secretariat

The Ethics Secretariat was yesterday forced to postpone the questioning of Bariadi West Member of Parliament, Andrew Chenge after he submitted a High Court stop order explicitly barring any and all authority from discussing any matter concerning the Tegeta Escrow account scandal.

MP Chenge was summoned by the ethics body after he was implicated in the Tegeta Escrow account scam and is accused of pocketing sums in excess of 1.6bn/- from Mkombozi bank.

Briefing journalists yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Ethics Secretariat Judge, Hamisi Msumi said that they were forced to postpone the questioning session after a heated debate between Chenge’s lawyer and the body’s lawyer over the right to discuss the matter.

“We have been blocked by the High Court order…we are forced to postpone the exercise,” he conceded.

On his side, a visibly disturbed Bariadi West MP, Andrew Chenge called on the secretariat to adhere to the High Court order. 

“The ethics secretariat should not continue with its business because I have officially submitted the stop order…this process will continue after the permission is granted by the court,” Chenge insisted.

In his comments, the Ethics Secretariat Lawyer, Hassan Mayunga maintained that the body has all the rights to question Chenge because the stop order does not interfere with their duties.

He explained that according to section 132 of the Constitution, there will be a body responsible for investigating all civil servants and to monitor their conducts.

“This body is free, there is no institution that can bar it from performing its duties,” he said adding that their role is to investigate the conducts of civil servants and not scandals or rather, they are investigating Chenge as a public servant and investigating the Tegeta Escrow account.

Reading Chenge’s charge sheet, Mayunga said that being the Attorney General, Chenge facilitated illegal selling of 35 per cent of shares from the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) to VIP Engineering and Marketing knowing it is against the procurement law.

He said that Chenge took advantage of his position to ensure the shares are sold all the while knowing that it was against the law and public servant’s ethics.

The scam has already seeing several high ranking official take the fall including the Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo.

Other officials include Former Attorney General Fredrick Werema who resigned together with  the Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development Minister, Prof Anna Tibaijuka while Energy and Minerals Permanent Secretary Eliakim Maswi was suspended pending investigations on his role in the matter.  

Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) and Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) jointly owned the account following a tussle over capacity charges between the two in local and international courts.


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