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US Report Reveals Vulnerabilities in Kenya’s Financial Management System Portal

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The shortcomings in Kenya’s financial management system portal have been underscored by the United States. According to a recent report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Kenya’s Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) is deemed vulnerable to various risks, which have been flagged by American firms engaged in or looking to engage in business activities within Kenya.

In the report, USTR highlights concerns raised by US companies regarding Ifmis. These include issues such as inadequate connectivity and technical capabilities in county government offices, disinterest from county government officials, instances of central control shutdowns, and security vulnerabilities that leave the system susceptible to manipulation and hacking, as noted by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Notably, Kenya’s absence as a party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement and its lack of observer status in the WTO Committee on Government Procurement are noted in the review conducted by USTR.

Ifmis was initially designed to establish audit trails for all financial transactions, providing comprehensive details such as user identification, timestamps, computer used, and actions performed, with the aim of combating corruption.

Functioning as a vital technological tool, Ifmis serves as the government’s means of monitoring national finances, spanning from planning and budgeting to procurement, payment, accounting, and reporting. However, it has been embroiled in numerous corruption scandals, both at the national and county government levels, casting doubt on its effectiveness in ensuring accountability.

A prominent case in 2016 involved senior officials from a Ministry of Health agency attempting to embezzle Ksh30 million through Ifmis. This incident shed light on an intricate network of corruption involving government officials and unscrupulous suppliers. Fortunately, the attempted theft was thwarted at the eleventh hour, revealing the extent to which fraudsters, in collaboration with corrupt officials, have siphoned off billions of shillings from state coffers through dubious supplier contracts.

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Kenyan President Ruto Strengthens Tech Ties with the U.S. Amid “Silicon Savannah” Vision

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Ruto’s U.S. Visit Highlights Technological Collaboration and Cybersecurity Efforts

WASHINGTON, May 26 (waryatv.com) – As part of his ambitious plan to transform Kenya into Africa’s leading technology hub, President William Ruto’s recent visit to the United States marks a significant milestone in the deepening partnership between the two nations. Ruto, addressing Harvard Business School students on May 14, declared, “The future is here,” emphasizing Kenya’s burgeoning digital economy and technological aspirations.

Arriving in Atlanta on May 20, Ruto’s state visit underscores the collaboration on technology, cybersecurity, and digital infrastructure between Kenya and the United States. His administration’s goal to create a “Silicon Savannah” is rapidly materializing, making Kenya a pivotal player in Africa’s tech sector, which now employs over a million people and drives substantial economic growth.

Kenya’s Technological Leap

Under Ruto’s leadership, Kenya has made significant strides in digital infrastructure, prioritizing the development of a digital economy as a cornerstone for national growth. “We believe [technology] is where the future jobs are, that is where the future of commerce is going to be transacted,” Ruto affirmed.

Supporting this vision, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, praised Kenya’s digital sector’s potential. Reflecting on her extensive corporate experience, she noted, “If I knew what I know now, I would be thinking how Hewlett Packard could invest much more heavily in Africa, and the destination would be Kenya.”

Strong U.S.-Kenyan Partnership

The United States has played a crucial role in Kenya’s technological advancement. Last November, the two nations held their third Cyber & Digital Dialogue in Nairobi, focusing on creating a “cyber future that is defensible and resilient,” a priority given Nairobi’s 25% surge in cyberattacks last year.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted technology’s transformative power, describing it as an “engine of historic possibility — for our economies, for our democracies, for our people, for our planet.”

Private-Sector Contributions

Encouraged by robust U.S.-Kenyan collaboration, private-sector investments in Kenya have surged. Major U.S. tech firms like Google and Microsoft have established significant operations in Nairobi, employing thousands of Kenyans. Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program, in partnership with Kenya, has trained over 130,000 Kenyans and launched Africa’s first Cybersecurity Training and Experience Center in Nairobi.

These investments not only bolster infrastructure but also foster local talent and innovation, aligning with Ruto’s vision. “The U.S. is a great partner of Kenya,” Ruto told the Harvard students. “It is actually [our] single largest trading partner. It is a relationship we have built over many years.”

Future Prospects

During his visit, Ruto met with business leaders in Atlanta, focusing on expanding investment and business opportunities. His previous visits to the U.S. have included meetings with tech executives, reinforcing the bilateral ties and strengthening Kenya’s position as a key tech hub in Africa.

Ruto’s administration remains committed to fostering a thriving digital ecosystem, leveraging international partnerships to drive innovation and economic prosperity. As Kenya continues to advance its technological capabilities, the collaboration with the United States will play an essential role in realizing the vision of “Silicon Savannah.”

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Trump’s Libertarian Disaster: Heckles, Boos, and Bitter Rejection

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In an unprecedented spectacle, former President Donald Trump faced a storm of boos and heckles at the Libertarian National Convention on Saturday night. This stark contrast to his typically adoring rallies exposed a significant rift between Trump and the Libertarian base, who blame him for his actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and accuse him of undermining their principles of limited government and individual freedom.

Trump’s reception at the Libertarian convention was anything but warm. As he attempted to sway the crowd with criticisms of President Joe Biden, labeling him a “tyrant” and “the worst president in the history of the United States,” the audience responded with cries of “That’s you” and “Donald Trump is a threat to democracy.” The heckling crescendoed with shouts of “Lock him up!” and “You already had four years, you a******.”

This sharp rebuke highlighted the deep-seated animosity many Libertarians feel towards Trump, stemming from his administration’s handling of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and perceived failure to oppose public health restrictions on the unvaccinated.

Libertarians, staunch advocates of individual liberties, see Trump’s rush to develop the vaccine and his insufficient resistance to public health mandates as betrayals of their core values. The convention hall echoed with chants of “End the Fed,” signaling their dissatisfaction not just with Trump but with broader government overreach.

Trump’s attempt to align himself with Libertarian values by joking about his criminal indictments and promising to reduce the life sentence of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht received a mixed response. While there was a fleeting moment of applause, it was drowned out by the overwhelming negative reactions.

The Libertarian rejection of Trump was not merely verbal. The event saw visible protests, with a banner proclaiming “No wannabe dictators!” being dragged away by security. This illustrates the palpable anger and resistance among Libertarians against what they perceive as Trump’s authoritarian tendencies.

Trump’s dismissive remark, “You don’t want to win,” aimed at the Libertarian crowd, underscores the tension between his ambitions and the Libertarian commitment to their principles, even if it means limited electoral success. His attempt to belittle their electoral influence by referring to their historical 3% vote share reveals a fundamental disconnect with the party’s ethos.

The Libertarian Convention was not just a platform for Trump but also a stage for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is gaining traction among voters disillusioned with the two major parties. This highlights a growing trend towards seeking alternatives outside the traditional political duopoly.

The Libertarian rejection of Trump signifies a broader discontent with the current political landscape. With polling showing that most Americans are not in favor of a repeat of the 2020 presidential contest between Biden and Trump, there is a potential surge in support for independent or fringe candidates.

Trump’s encounter with the Libertarian National Convention serves as a stark reminder of the diverse political undercurrents within the United States. His efforts to win over the Libertarians were met with a vociferous and public rebuke, reflecting deep ideological divides and a growing appetite for alternative political voices. As the 2024 election looms, this incident underscores the volatile and unpredictable nature of the current American political climate.

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Teen Kidnapped 26 Years Ago Found in Cellar 100 Metres from Home

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Omar Bin Omran, abducted in Algeria in 1998, discovered near family home after decades-long search

Djelfa, Algeria (Waryatv Web Desk) – Omar Bin Omran, an Algerian man kidnapped 26 years ago, was found in a hay-covered cellar at his neighbor’s house, just 100 meters from his family home. Omran, now 45, was only 19 at the time of his abduction. Authorities discovered him on Sunday in Djelfa state.

A video of his rescue has gone viral, showing Omran with a beard and wearing a sweater, cooped up in the narrow cellar. The cellar was located at a sheep farm owned by his long-time captor. The 61-year-old suspect, a civil servant believed to have lived alone, has been arrested.

Reopened Investigation Leads to Discovery

The Djelfa Attorney General’s Office reported that Omran’s family tipped off investigators after the suspect’s sibling suggested his involvement in a social media post. The National Gendarmerie, Algeria’s law enforcement agency, reopened the missing person case. Investigators found a hay-covered trapdoor in the suspect’s home, which led them to the cellar where Omran was kept.

The suspect attempted to escape but was arrested.

Family’s Unyielding Hope and Tragic Loss

Omran’s family never gave up hope. For almost a month after his disappearance, their dog, close to Omran, lingered at the neighbor’s home. The dog was later found dead, believed to have been poisoned. Omran’s mother passed away in 2013, never knowing her son was so close.

Omran, quoted by the Elkhabar newspaper, said he could see his family from a window in the cellar but couldn’t call out due to a “compelling force” preventing him.

Medical Treatment and Legal Proceedings

Omran was taken to a medical center for treatment. The suspect will be tried for the “heinous crime,” according to the Djelfa Attorney General’s Office.

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Taiwan Reports Surge in Chinese Warplanes and Warships Amid Simulated Attacks

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TAIPEI, May 25 (waryatv.com) – China ends two days of military exercises around Taiwan, simulating attacks and practicing ship boardings. Taiwan condemns the drills as a “blatant provocation” and reports a significant increase in Chinese military activity.

China concluded two days of military exercises around Taiwan, simulating attacks with bombers and practicing ship boardings, actions that Taiwan denounced as blatant provocations. The drills, which took place from Thursday to Friday, saw a notable increase in the presence of Chinese warplanes and warships in the region.

Chinese state television’s military channel announced the end of the exercises late on Friday. The official People’s Liberation Army Daily provided a commentary confirming that the drills lasted for the two days as previously scheduled.

Taiwan’s defense ministry reported a significant surge in Chinese military activity around the island, detailing numerous instances of Chinese aircraft and vessels encroaching on Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and maritime boundaries. Taiwan’s government condemned the exercises, labeling them as aggressive acts meant to intimidate and destabilize the region.

“These provocative actions by China are a blatant attempt to undermine the status quo and escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait,” said a spokesperson for Taiwan’s defense ministry. “We are committed to defending our sovereignty and maintaining peace and stability in the region.”

The exercises came in response to what Beijing described as a need to punish Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te. China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve unification.

During the drills, Chinese bombers set up attack formations in waters east of Taiwan, coordinating with naval vessels to simulate seizure and control of key areas. This display of military capability underscores China’s ongoing pressure campaign against Taiwan, which has included regular incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ and increased naval patrols in the surrounding waters.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen called for international support to counteract China’s military posturing. “The global community must recognize the threat posed by these exercises and stand with Taiwan in upholding democratic values and regional stability,” Tsai stated.

In response to the exercises, Taiwan’s military conducted its own readiness drills, ensuring that defense systems were prepared to respond to any potential threat. Taiwan has also been bolstering its defense capabilities with advanced weaponry and closer military cooperation with allies, particularly the United States.

As tensions in the Taiwan Strait continue to rise, the international community watches closely, concerned about the potential for conflict in one of the world’s most geopolitically sensitive regions. The conclusion of these exercises brings a temporary respite, but the underlying issues and strategic contest between China and Taiwan remain unresolved.

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FBI Forensic Accountant Tracks Misused Taxpayer Funds in Feeding Our Future Trial

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Prosecutors Present Evidence of Lavish Purchases Made with Child Nutrition Program Funds

MINNEAPOLIS, May 24 (waryatv.com) – In the final stages of the Feeding Our Future trial, FBI forensic accountant Lacra Blackwell testified on Friday, detailing how defendants allegedly funneled taxpayer money from child nutrition programs to personal purchases, including vehicles and properties.

Seven defendants from the Twin Cities area face federal charges for allegedly misappropriating $47 million from pandemic-era meal programs. These programs, the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, are operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and managed by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Blackwell’s testimony centered on money laundering charges. She used flowcharts to show how funds from Feeding Our Future and Partners in Nutrition were diverted to defendants’ businesses and personal accounts. One example involved defendant Mohamed Ismail, who allegedly paid off $137,000 of his mortgage using public funds received by his Shakopee restaurant through fraudulent reimbursement claims. The prosecution traced this money from Ismail’s personal account to his mortgage company.

Ismail’s business partner, Said Farah, was also implicated. Farah allegedly purchased four vehicles, including a Tesla and a Porsche, using similar methods in 2021.

Blackwell was the last of 33 prosecution witnesses. Previous testimonies included apartment managers who reported no signs of meal distribution, a former Feeding Our Future employee who admitted to setting up fake meal sites, and numerous investigators and forensic accountants who analyzed extensive financial records.

Jurors have shown high engagement throughout the trial, requesting a copy of the indictment to better track the charges. U.S. District Judge Nancy Brasel praised their attentiveness, noting many jurors took detailed notes.

Defense attorneys argued the defendants ran legitimate businesses that provided real food to children. Andrew Mohring, representing Afrique Hospitality owner Mukhtar Shariff, presented a $38,710 Sysco invoice for apple juice and orange drink purchases. Another defense attorney, Patrick Cotter, showed a $5,400 Sysco invoice for milk.

However, FBI forensic accountant Pauline Roase testified that out of $30 million deposited into Empire Cuisine and Market’s accounts, only $3 million was spent on food, with much of it unsuitable for child nutrition programs, such as coffee.

The trial, which was expected to last six weeks, is now in its final phase. Six alternate jurors will assist the 12 primary jurors in delivering the verdicts.

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Crime

Woman Jailed for Laundering Bitcoin from $6.4 Billion China Fraud in UK

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Wen Jian Sentenced to Nearly Seven Years for Converting Bitcoin into Cash and Property

May 24, 2024 – LONDON (waryatv.com) – A woman accused of laundering bitcoin to hide the proceeds of a massive £5 billion ($6.4 billion) fraud was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison by a London court on Friday.

Prosecutors revealed that Wen Jian converted bitcoin into cash and property to obscure the source of funds allegedly stolen from nearly 130,000 Chinese investors in fraudulent wealth schemes between 2014 and 2017. While Wen was not accused of participating in the initial fraud, she played a crucial role in laundering the money, believing it came from a woman she thought was independently wealthy.

The trial highlighted the complex and sophisticated methods used by Wen to help conceal the illicit gains. This case underscores the ongoing challenges faced by authorities in tackling financial crimes involving cryptocurrencies, which provide a level of anonymity that can complicate traditional investigative methods.

The court’s decision sends a strong message about the consequences of engaging in money laundering activities, especially those involving digital currencies. The nearly seven-year sentence reflects the severity of Wen Jian’s actions in facilitating one of the largest frauds in recent history.

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Zuma Vows to Fight Disqualification from South Africa Election

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 Former President Jacob Zuma Challenges Constitutional Court Ruling Barring Him from Parliament

May 24, 2024 – JOHANNESBURG (waryatv.com) – Former South African President Jacob Zuma announced on Thursday that he will fight for his rights after the country’s top court ruled that he is not eligible to run for parliament in next week’s election.

On Monday, the constitutional court determined that Zuma’s 15-month jail sentence for contempt of court in 2021 disqualifies him from standing in the May 29 vote. According to the constitution, any individual who has been given a prison sentence of 12 months or longer is prohibited from holding a parliamentary seat.

Zuma, who served as president from 2009 to 2018, has been a polarizing figure in South African politics, facing numerous legal challenges and accusations of corruption. His disqualification is the latest chapter in a series of legal battles that have marked his post-presidential career.

In response to the court’s decision, Zuma stated, “I will fight for my rights and challenge this ruling. It is my belief that every citizen has the right to participate in the democratic process, and I will not be silenced.”

Zuma’s supporters have also voiced their outrage, arguing that the ruling is politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from regaining political influence. The African National Congress (ANC), Zuma’s party, has yet to make an official statement regarding his disqualification but is expected to address the issue soon.

The constitutional court’s ruling and Zuma’s subsequent defiance highlight the ongoing tensions within South Africa’s political landscape. As the May 29 election approaches, the country faces heightened political uncertainty and potential legal confrontations.

Zuma’s case underscores the broader issues of legal accountability and the rule of law in South Africa, a nation still grappling with the legacy of apartheid and striving to solidify its democratic institutions. The outcome of his challenge could have significant implications for the political environment and the integrity of the electoral process.

The international community is closely monitoring the situation, recognizing its potential impact on South Africa’s stability and governance. As the election date nears, all eyes will be on the developments surrounding Jacob Zuma and his bid to reclaim a place in the country’s political arena.

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Ukraine’s Naval Drone Magura V5 Inflicts Millions in Damage on Russian Navy

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The Powerful Magura V5 Emerges as a Game-Changer in the Black Sea Conflict

Ukraine’s Magura V5 naval drone has dealt significant damage to the Russian Navy, inflicting over $500 million in losses and showcasing the prowess of Ukrainian defense technology.

May 24, 2024 –  Hargeisa (waryatv.com) Since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has achieved several major victories against the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, largely thanks to a formidable new weapon: the Magura V5 unmanned surface vehicle. The Magura V5, developed by Ukrainian manufacturers, has been pivotal in inflicting millions in damage on the Russian fleet.

During a national telethon, Andriy Yusov, the press representative for the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, highlighted the impact of the Magura V5 naval drone. He emphasized that the skill of its Ukrainian manufacturers has resulted in a unique and highly effective sea weapon.

“They were able to create a unique means of destroying the enemy fleet and not only the fleet but also the weapons and personnel on board at the time of destruction,” Yusov stated.

The effectiveness of the Magura V5 is attributed not only to its design but also to the expertise of its operators and specialists from the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine. Yusov specifically mentioned the contributions of Ukraine’s special unit, Group 13, which has utilized the drone in several successful missions.

The financial toll on Russia has been substantial. “As of today, the aggressor’s Black Sea Fleet has already suffered more than $500 million in losses as a result of the actions of the special units of Defense Intelligence of Ukraine that use Magura V5 drones,” Yusov explained.

The Magura V5, developed by SpecialTechnoExport, is a testament to Ukrainian ingenuity. Measuring 5.5 meters in length and 1.5 meters in width, the drone sits just 1.6 feet above the water and can carry a payload of 705.5 pounds. It boasts a cruising speed of 22 knots and a maximum speed of 42 knots, with a range of 450 nautical miles, making it highly effective for long-range missions.

SpecialTechnoExport described the V5 as “an affordable solution that can be easily launched from any remote location,” adding that its unmanned control reduces the need for human resources during missions, thereby minimizing potential casualties.

The Magura V5 has a record of significant operational victories. In November 2023, it was used to destroy two ships, according to The War Zone. In February 2024, a pack of six Magura V5 drones sank the large landing ship Tsezar Kunikov near Russian territorial waters in Alupka, as reported by Reuters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the drone’s success, stating, “Today, more security in the Black Sea and more motivation for our people were added. This is important… we will clear the Black Sea of Russian terrorist objects.”

The latest victory for the Magura V5 occurred on May 6th, when Group 13 used it to destroy a Russian high-speed boat in Crimea’s Uzka Bay, according to Ukraine’s state-run media outlet Ukrinform. The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (GUR) commented, “As the fear of Ukrainian attacks forces the invaders to redeploy their Black Sea Fleet’s larger ships farther away from the peninsula, combat work continues against the high-speed vessels illegally remaining in the Ukrainian territorial waters of Crimea.”

The Magura V5 continues to be a crucial asset in Ukraine’s defense strategy, demonstrating the significant impact of innovative technology in modern warfare.

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