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Victims of Bombing of US Embassy in Nairobi Want Compensation

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About 5000 people injured in the 1998 bombing of US embassy in Nairobi are seeking a court order to compel the Attorney-General to pursue compensation from top French bank, BNP Paribas, and Sudan.

“An order directed at the Attorney General to within six months… obtain compensation for victims from Al-Qaeda assets and BNP Paribas S.A., a global financial institution headquartered in Paris,” the petition in the Kenya High Court says.

“File an international jurisdiction case for compensation of all victims and their families against the Republic of Sudan,” the petition adds.

The victims through Katiba Institute have petitioned the High Court for an order directing Kenya to seek compensation from the French bank and Sudan within six months in a suit that could trigger diplomatic tensions.

The compensation relates to al-Qaeda’s 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

They tie their suit to the bank’s admission in a US court of violating economic sanctions against Sudan, which was accused of harbouring al-Qaeda, mostly during the 1990s.

They cited a US court’s finding that without Sudan’s support, al-Qaeda could not have perpetrated the attacks.

Close links between Khartoum and BNP Paribas–which has been accused of operating as the “central bank for the government of Sudan,”—has landed the French lender in trouble, forcing it into U$8.9 billion settlement with US authorities.

Some of the money went to people harmed by Sudan, but excluded victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings on a legal technicality.

In March, it was announced that Sudan had paid U$335m as compensation for victims of past attacks against US targets.

However, the deal – a key condition set by the US for Sudan to be removed from its list of State sponsors of terrorism – only includes punitive damages to families of victims or those injured who are US nationals or US embassy workers.

The majority of the estimated 5,000 people injured in the twin bombings to hit the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998 will not get any money.

Neither will the families of the more than 200 locals who died in the blasts. Each American victim or family of the US embassy attacks will receive U$3m, while locally employed staff will receive U$400,000, the US media reported.

In total, 85 survivors or families of victims will be compensated.

Sudan admitted culpability in the attacks after being accused of giving al-Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden technical and financial support in the 1990s.

Its removal from a US blacklist allows the country to get badly needed debt relief, foreign investment and loans from international financial institutions.

“The petitioners are aggrieved that while the United States of America have pursued compensation from Al-Qaeda assets and BNP Paribas for its citizens, Kenya has been unwilling to purse compensation for the Kenyan victims,” the Kenya victims said in court documents.

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East-Africa

Tanzania Requests For U$571 million From IMF To Fix Economy

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In a marathon to release Tanzania from the grip of unorthodox policies previously ordered by Late leader John Magufuli, the new President Samia Suluhu Hassan has pursued a different direction.

Her government has officially applied for a U$571 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help in tackling economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have submitted the application within the specified time. But I will provide detailed information in the near future,” Finance Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said on Wednesday shortly after a parliamentary session in Dodoma.

On June 10 Nchemba tabled the 2021/22 budget Worth Sh36.3 trillion in Parliament. Nchemba told the House that the requested funds were a low-interest loan aimed at tackling the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, IMF officials in Dar es Salaam and Washington have conditioned Tanzania to provide information on Covid-19 which the government has tightly guarded.

Tanzania government has not published data on Covid-19 infections since May last year.

IMF confirmed about the existence of talks with the government.

“When applying for pandemic-related emergency financing, evidence of the pandemic has to be available to substantiate the claim,” the IMF’s resident representative, Jens Reinke, told media.

The Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, Tanzania’s economy expanded at the rate of 4.8% last year. But this rate was lower than the government’s projection growth rate of 5.5%.

Dr Nchemba told the Parliament last week that, in 2021, the economy is projected to expand by 5.6%.

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Kenya Budget Statement Expected This Afternoon

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Over 59 million Kenyans are anxiously waiting to hear the Budget Statement scheduled for presentation at the National Assembly Thursday Afternoon at about 3PM or (2PM CAT).

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is currently preparing himself to appear in the National Assembly and make his 2021/2022 budget statement.

According to local Pundits that have over the years monitored the Kenyan economy, this is going to be the first time the budget statement will be presented ahead of the 2021 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) which would have traditionally painted a picture of the previous year.

As per procedure, after, reflecting on the state of the Kenyan economy, Yatani will proceed to highlight areas of priority spending in the new financial year which dawns on July 1.

According to insider details, unlike budget days of years past, the 2021 budget statement is all but complete with the exchequer having shares both its final budget estimates and the Finance Bill which carries with it new tax proposals.

An insight into New taxes

In another first in years, the National Treasury has not proposed any new income taxes under the 2021 Finance Bill.

Nevertheless, Kenyans will not be spared from greater taxes as the government strives to meet growing spending plans.

For instance, bread will see its tax status shift from zero rating to exempt effectively raising costs for the basic consumer commodity.

At the same time, the cost of importing motorcycles, popularly termed as bodaboda will shoot up with Treasury proposing the adjustment of excise duty on the imports from a flat Ksh.11, 608.23 to a rate of 15 per cent.

At the same time, jewelry and alternative tobacco products such as nicotine pouches will attract excise duty at the rate of 10 per cent and Ksh.5000 per kilogram respectively.

Punters will also be hit as the 20 per cent excise duty on amounts wagers returns after its temporarily deletion last year.

Besides taxes, other proposals in the Finance Bill seek to empower the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to better collections including a lengthened period to scrutinize tax payer records up to seven years from the current five.

Further, informants on tax matters will see their reward enhanced to a maximum of Ksh.5 million while the KRA will be allowed to contract third parties in the collection of digital services tax.

Both the budget estimates and proposals in the Finance Bill remain under scrutiny by the National Assembly with the house beginning its deliberations on the two key policy statements on Wednesday.

The pair of policies form the basis of the Appropriations Bill and the 2021 Finance Act, both of which will require final assenting by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Kenya To Build 233km Expressway For US$1.4B

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has embarked on yet another ambitious and expensive infrastructure project even just one year towards the conclusion of his final term in office.

His government says that it has given green light to construction of an express highway connecting Nairobi to Mau summit covering almost 233kilometres.

This road will consume a total of US$1482,854,480. According to details, construction kicks off in September 2021 and will last at least 42 months.

The 233-kilometre contract that was awarded to a French consortium made up of Vinci Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, and Vinci Concessions SAS last year will see the road expanded into a four-lane dual carriageway through a Public-Private Partnership model.

The consortium is expected to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the express.

The firm will then recoup its finances using the revenues and income generated by the electronic toll collection system along road over a period of 30 years.

The project will also involve widening of the existing Rironi- Mai Mahiu–Naivasha road to becoming a seven-metre carriageway with two-metre shoulders on both sides, construction of a four-kilometre elevated highway through Nakuru town, and building and improvement of interchanges along the highway.

The Rironi–Nakuru–Mai Mahiu road forms a vital part of the most important transport corridor in Kenya — the Northern Corridor— which originates in Mombasa and terminates in Malaba.

It also serves traffic destined to Narok, South Western Kenya and Northern Tanzania.

Two toll stations are set to be developed along the Nairobi-Mau Summit highway project.

According to Transport Secretary James Macharia, “The project will upgrade the old Nairobi-Nakuru highway that serves the major trade route between Nairobi and Western Kenya.”

President Uhuru last year flew to Paris France where he was hosted by his French counterpart President Emmanuel Macron. It is during this trip that Uhuru courted the French consortium to invest in this ambitious infrastructure project.

Meanwhile, President Uhuru last week boasted that he has outperformed all his predecessors by expanding the country’s economy to a Gross Domestic Product of  Ksh10.3 trillion compared to GDP of Ksh.4.5 trillion accumulated by three previous presidents combined.

According to him, under seven years of his tenure, he had done more than founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the late Daniel Arap Moi and retired President Mwai Kibaki.

“The colonisers left us with a GDP of close to Ksh. 6.4b, the combined administrations of Mzee Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki increased GDP to Ksh.4.5 trillion, in a span of 50 years, but in only 8 years I have; has doubled that, and we are worth 10.3 trillion,” President Uhuru said.

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