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Ramaphosa’s son paid by scandal company, South Africa media

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Andile Ramaphosa. Photo Credit: The South African

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s son Andile admitted on Wednesday he was paid $140,000 by a company facing extensive corruption allegations, an admission that could embarrass his father ahead of polls.

President Ramaphosa has sought, ahead of elections on May 8, to de-toxify the ruling African National Congress, which has been embroiled in numerous graft scandals since coming to power in 1994.

“It was a severe oversight on our part,” Andile told the News24 site of a $16,000 (14,200-euro) -per-month deal his company signed with the Bosasa group in December 2017.

Bosasa, which is now African Global Operations, was a conglomerate involved in bidding for and running lucrative government contracts.

Several suspects including the company’s former chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi appeared at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court Wednesday over the alleged theft of $120 million from contracts with the prisons service.

The case was postponed to July.

“It is clear now with the benefit of hindsight that our due diligence was insufficient in retrospect of my father’s role going into the presidency,” Andile Ramaphosa told News24.

His company, Blue Crane Capital, was contracted to provide advice on more than 20 public and private sector contracts in Uganda and Kenya.

There is no suggestion Andile Ramaphosa or his company were involved in the alleged corruption at the centre of the ongoing criminal case.

President Ramaphosa’s office on Wednesday said the media reports were conflating “a number of separate issues” and that the president stood ready to testify at an ongoing judidicary inquiry into state corruption.

“The President has once again reiterated his commitment to appear before the commission,” his office said in a 600-word long statement.  

Agrizzi, the former Bosasa executive, has made sweeping corruption allegations against government officials including ministers who served during former president Jacob Zuma’s time in office.

He told a judicial commission probing government graft that Bosasa made monthly payments of about $2,200 to the Jacob Zuma foundation.

The money, hidden in a luxury bag, was received through foundation president Dudu Myeni, Agrizzi alleged.

Zuma resigned on February 14, 2018 after multiple corruption scandals.  He is fighting 16 charges of fraud, corruption, and racketeering related to a 1990s arms deal struck when he was deputy president. He denies any wrongdoing.

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Central Africa News

Measles is a bigger threat in DR Congo than Ebola – NGO

Last year, cases more than doubled to almost 350,000 from 2017, according to the World Health Organization

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Measles has killed 2,758 people in DR Congo since January, more than the Ebola epidemic in a year, medical NGO Doctors Without Borders said, and called Saturday for a “massive mobilisation of funds.”

The disease, preventable with a vaccine, has infected over 145,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo between January and early August, it said in a statement.

“Since July, the epidemic has worsened, with a rise in new cases reported in several provinces,” said the NGO that goes by its French acronym MSF.

“Only $2.5 million has been raised out of the $8.9 million required for the Health Cluster response plan  — in stark contrast with the Ebola epidemic in the east of the country, which attracts multiple organisations and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding,” it added.

MSF tweeted that without a “massive mobilisation of funds and response organisations, the current measles outbreak in #DRCongo could get even worse.”

The NGO said it has vaccinated 474,860 children between the ages of six months and five years since the beginning of the year and provided care to more than 27,000 measles patients.

In the country’s east, Ebola has claimed more than 1,900 lives since erupting last August.

Measles is a highly-contagious diseased caused by a virus that attacks mainly children. The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhoea, and severe respiratory infections.

Last year, cases more than doubled to almost 350,000 from 2017, according to the World Health Organization, amid a rise in “anti-vaxxer” sentiment in some countries that can afford the vaccine, and lagging resources for the preventative measure in poor nations.

DR Congo declared a measles epidemic in June.

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Two UN personnel killed in Benghazi by car bomb

Two members of the UN mission were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb.

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Two UN personnel killed in Benghazi by car bomb
Libyan firefighters extinguish a fire at the site of a car bomb attack in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi on August 10, 2019. - "Two members of the UN mission, one them a foreigner, were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb" in a shopping area of the Al-Hawari district, the official said. (Photo by - / AFP)

A car bombing in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi killed two United Nations staff on Saturday, a security official said.

“Two members of the UN mission were killed and at least eight others wounded including a child, by a car bomb” in a shopping area of the Al-Hawari district, the official said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened as a UN convoy was passing through the area.

Benghazi, Libya’s second city and the cradle of the 2011 uprising that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was hit by years of violence targeting diplomatic offices and security forces after his fall.

An attack on the US consulate on September 11, 2012, killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

In 2017, military strongman Khalifa Haftar drove hardline Islamists and jihadists out of Benghazi after a three-year battle.

Haftar, who backs an eastern-based administration that opposes the Tripoli-based unity government, went on to seize Derna, the last city in eastern Libya outside his control.

But bombings and kidnappings have continued.

A May 2018 attack left seven people dead and last month, a car bombing at the funeral of an ex-army commander killed at least four people and wounded more than 30 others.

A Libyan lawmaker is also feared to have been abducted by an armed group in the eastern city, the UN and lawmakers said in July.

Haftar controls most of eastern Libya, and early this year he ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army to purge the south of what he called “terrorist groups and criminals”. 

On the heels of that campaign, his LNA launched in April an offensive to take the Libyan capital from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord. 

The LNA on Saturday announced a truce around Tripoli for the three-day Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, after the unity government conditionally accepted a ceasefire called for by the UN.

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Central Africa News

76 people survive shipwreck in DR Congo

The motorised boat was carrying around 100 passengers when it capsized on the lake, near the eastern city of Bukavu.

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DR Congo boat accident claims 11 lives, dozens missing

76 people have survived a shipwreck on Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a regional official said Saturday. However, more than a dozen people are feared to have drowned in the same incident.

The motorised boat was carrying around 100 passengers when it capsized on the lake, near the eastern city of Bukavu. 

“We have already registered 76 survivors,” said Swedi Basila, the regional transport minister for South Kivu province, adding that up to 20 people were still missing.

“No body has been found until now,” he told AFP.

The vessel had been on its way to the island of Idjwi when it hit a large rock and capsized, Basila said.

River transport is one of the most used in DR Congo with its numerous waterways. Boat mishaps are common, typically caused by overloading of passengers and cargo.

Tolls are often high because there are no life jackets and many Congolese do not know how to swim.

In April, at least 167 people were killed in two accidents, prompting President Felix Tshisekedi to make it mandatory for boat passengers to have life jackets. 

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