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Saturday, July 21st, 2018

 

Consider any offer for ‘help’ a scam, Communications Authority says

By ERIC WAINAINA  
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More than 7.9 million cases of cybercrime were detected between January and March this year, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

CA advises mobile phone users to be cautious while responding to calls or emails asking for Personal Identifiable Information (PII) which fraudsters use to steal from them.

PII refers to any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as mobile money PIN, ID card number, bank account number, password and SIM card PIN.

Before sharing PII, mobile phone users should first verify the authenticity of the caller through the official customer care contacts of the service provider.

Also, one should delete requests sent to them for financial information or password whenever they are asked since chances are very high that it is a scam.

Mobile phone users should also reject offers of help since legitimate companies do not contact people to provide help. If you have not specifically requested assistance, consider any offer to ‘help’ a scam.

CYBER SECURITY MATTERS

CA Director-General Francis Wangusi said many complaints of theft of cash from phone subscribers’ accounts had been recorded by the authority’s National Kenya Computer Incident Response Coordination Centre, the point of contact on cyber-security matters.

For the illegal SIM card swap fraud to happen, the fraudsters usually make calls pretending to be employees of a mobile network operator.

They ask the unsuspecting mobile subscribers to share their Personal Identifiable Information, which they use to swap the SIM cards, and the SIM of the genuine holder is automatically blocked.

With the replaced card, they gain access to all the SIM services including mobile money transfer, mobile and internet banking, voice calls, SMSs and data services.

Mobile banking, which is operated using SIM cards, has become a popular mode of transaction due to its convenience.

The Nation last week carried the story of Mr Stanley Wanjiku, a Kiambu MCA who lost Sh1.9 million from his two bank accounts and mobile wallet after his SIM card was swapped while he was on an official foreign trip last month.

LOSING MONEY

The story generated a lot of discussion on this latest crime on social media. On Twitter, @Tush _Karimba said his mother’s bank account was emptied after her SIM card was swapped.

Ms Hadiyya Qelhatat through @hqelhatat said her father was a victim last year when the fraudsters borrowed Sh6,800 from KCB m-pesa, Sh2,000 from M-shwari, and Sh800 from Tala.

Many other Kenyans have also complained of losing money in a similar way.

The fraudsters, according to an alleged confession by a university student which has been widely shared, randomly pick mobile phone numbers and call them purporting to be the service provider’s customer care attendants.

They deceive their targets that their SIM cards had been registered twice or their lines had issues that need rectification. Those who fall into their trap are lured into giving out their details.


Gacheche Wa Miano: Unsung liberation hero

By Muchemi Wachira
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In August 1988, a lawyer stormed the chambers of the Karatina Senior Resident Magistrate, Kiarie Waweru Kiarie, grabbed the judicial officer by his collar and dragged him into the adjacent open court.

He then started punching him as litigants watched in horror.

Mr Kiarie had the lawyer arrested, arraigned before him on a contempt of court charge and jailed for one month.

That lawyer was Gacheche wa Miano, a former political detainee who died last week. He was not new to such controversies. In 1986, he was in a group of University of Nairobi law students arrested in a crackdown on members of the dissident movement Mwakenya.

They were pressing for the release of one of their colleagues, Mwandawiro Mghanga. Mghanga, a student leader who became MP for Wundanyi, had been jailed for five years for being in possession of “Pambana”, a document distributed by Mwakenya that was considered seditious by the Kanu dictatorship.

Miano was first incarcerated in the infamous Nyayo House for 70 days and, when he refused to reveal his association with Mwakenya, he was detained.

Others detained with him were Wanyiri Kihoro and Mirugi Kariuki, both lawyers who served as MPs in the Narc era.

Prof Katama Mkangi and Ngotho Kariuki, their lecturers, were also in the group.

The detainees had lodged a petition in court over the torture meted out on them by security agents. Their lawyer, Gibson Kamau Kuria, was also detained.

Seen from this background, Miano’s altercation with the magistrate did not surprise those who knew him.

He had accused the judicial officer of disrespect. Mr Kiarie, he alleged, insulted him in the presence of his clients. The High Court quashed his conviction after he successfully filed an application seeking to have the magistrate barred from presiding over cases that were before him where he was appearing as the counsel.

LIBERATION

Miano was another unsung hero of the country’s second liberation who sacrificed most of his youth fighting for democracy and good governance.

Surprisingly, his death was known only to close family members who attended his funeral.

“I am not aware about his death,” Mr Mghanga, who said he recruited Miano into Mwakenya, said earlier last week.

Mr Kihoro, the former Nyeri Town MP, learned about Miano’s death from an obituary in the Saturday Nation.

A radical thinker since his primary school days, Miano spoke his mind. A former schoolmate at Tumutumu Primary School remembers him as a genius.

“He was always absent from class but no one would beat him to the first position in exams,” says James Gatama, a political activist. Despite his truancy, he said, the school could not expel him because it needed him to improve its mean score in the national examination. He was one of the top candidates in Kenya and joined Alliance High.

But despite high scores in the Form Four exam, the school declined to admit him in its A-level class. He eventually joined Kirangari High School, where he was the top student in the A-level exam.

Miano was freed from detention after three years. The “dissident’’ tag that hung around his neck meant he could not be employed anywhere in Kenya. In any case, he had been expelled from the university and had not graduated.

He retreated to his rural home in Ngunguru, Mathira West, and established himself as a farmer.

He became active in the PCEA church, where he was elected a youth leader. At the time, the Rev Dr Timothy Njoya had been transferred from Nairobi’s St Andrew’s Church to Tumu Tumu Parish, where Miano was a worshipper.

As the youth leader, he worked closely with Rev Njoya, who assisted him to enrol as a theology student at Limuru’s St Paul’s Theological College, now St Paul’s University.

But always the non-conformist, Miano fell out with the leadership of the church and could not complete his studies.

“He was very intelligent, a good mobiliser and he helped me a lot in organising my crusades,’’ Rev Njoya told the Nation.

“Miano was not only brilliant, he was also a socialist who understood where our country was heading to,” he recalled as he expressed shock at the news of his death. Miano used the church crusades to educate worshippers on the need to free the country from Kanu’s despotism.


Kenya Power faces Sh196 million suit for cancelling poles tender

By WANJOHI GITHAE
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The woes facing Kenya Power seem to be far from over after a company sued it for nearly Sh200 million in compensation following the cancellation of a Sh410 million tender to supply 29,500 wooden poles.

Inter Tropical Timber Trading Company Ltd says Kenya Power illegally cancelled the tender after its managers were influenced by shadowy people for selfish reasons.

The company was awarded the tender on June 11, 2012 and it proceeded to take loans in four local banks with an aim of meeting the contractual obligations spelt out in the tender.

The poles were to be supplied to Ukunda and Voi, but in July 2013 the company was asked to change the delivery to Nyeri which it did.

The company said it received an email from Kenya Power asking it to suspend supply for what was termed as “over supply” and a communication was promised on when to resume deliveries.

CONTRACT EXPIRED

“Inter Tropical Timber Trading Company received with utter shock a letter dated January 24, 2017 purporting to indicate that its contract with Kenya Power had since expired and that all its active Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) under the said contract had been cancelled and no more deliveries will be accepted,” reads the court documents filed at High Court’s Commercial and Tax Division in Nairobi.

The company director Geoffrey Kariuki, in his witness statement, says the letter indicated that the reasons for the cancellation was that it was yet to supply 12,865 poles.

However, in the same letter Kenya Power admits the delay in supply was caused by the parastatal for stating there was congestion in its receiving centres, says Mr Kariuki.

The company now says Kenya Power senior managers tried to, informally, use delay tactics in explaining the real reasons for cancellation of the tender in a bid to ensure the case was not challenged in court.

UNDUE INFLUENCE

“Inter Tropical Timber Trading Company Ltd has reliably learnt that the aforesaid actions were caused by undue influence and interference with Kenya Power operations by cartel individuals being the officials of a self-serving entity by the name Kenya Wood Preservers Association (KWPA),” says Mr Kariuki.

The court documents state that the association has infiltrated Kenya Power’s procurement department where they “unlawfully and illegally dictate which suppliers are to be allocated which tender, at what price and for which regions to supply the poles”.

The company now seeks a compensation of Sh57.9 million for lost profits for poles not delivered and Sh138 million for the unserviced loan facilities.

Kenya Power is yet to file its reply for the suit that was lodged in court on July 13.


Chinese and Kenyan workers at Madaraka Express build bridges

By ELVIS ONDIEKI
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The widely circulated photo showing uniformed Kenyans lying down before a Chinese man inside the standard gauge railway premises is not depicting a punishment scene, but an exercise session, a senior official said on Saturday.

Mr Harrison Kinyanjui, an assistant manager for passenger services at Madaraka Express, said the photographed men were doing press-ups as part of a drill at the Syokimau station.

“You cannot be told to lie down and then you are caned. A father of someone? And then men, 20-plus men, people’s fathers, you lie down to be caned? People with beards, how? Don’t you think that is pure exaggeration?” he asked.

Every employee who handles train operations, he added, has to undergo drills for at least four months to ensure they are fit for work.

“You cannot be train crew and yet you’re not maintaining your body shape,” Mr Kinyanjui said.

“You have to do these drills and everything to ensure that if it is tidying up the luggage rack, you are fit, your body is not strained. It gives us an advantage to work softly and smoothly,” he added.

He also admitted that smoking among the Chinese staff in-charge of railway operations is a problem Kenyans are dealing with because, “This thing is their culture; it is not that they intend to offend”.

“In the trains, they are now adapting into looking for other ways to relax other than smoking. We could be demanding a lot that may put the culture away from them; but we are harmonising,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

He is one of the individuals who spoke with the Sunday Nation on Saturday as part of the China Road and Bridge Corporation’s fightback against media reports about unfair practises against Kenyan staff.

Other Kenyans who discussed the situation are Ms Mary Mwihaki, who works in the human resources office and Mr Robert Ng’eno, one of the team leaders in the cargo transport department.

Adding his voice in the rebuttal was Mr Dai Yunjie, the deputy general manager of the standard gauge railway operations, who explained that the concept of strict adherence to time is one of the cultural differences between Kenyans and the Chinese that are yet to be aligned fully.

During the interviews, it emerged that the recent media reports about a difficult working environment had led to a shake-up of various operations of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Ms Mwihaki said that besides administrators holding meetings with staff, management changes had been done.

“There have been changes in some departments; like you’ll find some departments where the managers or supervisors were changed or reshuffled,” she said.

Mr Dai added that the corporation had singled out 22 “detailed measures” that it will take, adding that they had been submitted to the Kenya Railways Corporation.

“The company is planning to carry out activities themed on integration of Kenyan and Chinese employees,” he said.

On Sunday, Madaraka Express staff and their Chinese bosses will have a retreat at Ngong Hills, in a trip Mr Kinyanjui said was an outing “just to ensure that we get to understand each other”.

“Both sides have to bend. We have to bend on our part and they have to bend so that we can harmonise,” he said.

SHOCKING PRACTICES

In recent media reports, some of the shocking practices exposed included the underworking of Kenyan staff, where highly qualified personnel have been assigned minor roles.

The Kenyan staff who spoke with the Sunday Nation said the disgruntlement may have come out of the fact that at the time when Kenyans are hired by SGR, they are considered to be in one level, because they are given jobs after qualifying from the Railway Training Institute.

“When you are joining us, we are not looking at what you came with. We take what you came with from Railway Training Institute,” said Ms Mwihaki.

“Nobody had done it as a degree. There is no railway training here in Kenya, so everybody began equal. As we progressed, the company has its own system of promotion, whereby they check your performance,” added Mr Kinjanjui. Mr Dai said the disgruntlement among some staff has made the train operator to consider a way of promoting Kenyans.

MANAGEMENT LEVEL

“In the future, the company is planning to gradually promote Kenyan employees from more professions to high or middle-level management and core positions,” he said.

“The railway operation has strict requirements on the technical business ability and safety awareness of the technical employees. According to the requirements and qualifications, the key positions must be trained in the training period of one to three years,” he added.

Kenyans working with the SGR had also complained of operational difficulties because there were notices and operational items written in Chinese.

Mr Dai admitted that not all material had been translated.

“The translation from Chinese to English is being continuously carried out since the inauguration of the railway. Because of the quantity and difficulty of translating professional documents, it still needs a while to finish all the translation,” he said.

“The company is planning to invest more manpower and time on the translation and finish it at the end of 2018.”

Complaints about non-issuance of payslips were also listed by Kenyan staff, and Ms Mwihaki said changes are being done to shift from manual issuance of payslips.

“The company will implement a payroll system to allow staff access their payslips on email from wherever they are,” she said.

The report about mistreatment of Kenyan staff had drawn widespread fury, with National Assembly summoning, among others, Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina and Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to shed light on the matter.

Mr Macharia, while appearing before the assembly’s committee on Transport on Tuesday, painted a rosy picture of the operations, and he admitted that it is only until 2027 that Chinese workers will leave. The staff who spoke on Saturday did not paint a very rosy picture, admitting that they could do with a little ironing of teething issues.

“We have a few challenges here and there but, as a department, we are trying our best. Because this railway is a new thing altogether, we have the Chinese with the knowledge and skills they have to transfer to us,” said Mr Ng’eno, the team leader in the cargo department. He added that to fight the language barrier, officials like him use the WeChat app that instantly translates messages.

They were, however, categorical that no one has ever been punished by flogging, saying there was a detailed disciplinary mechanism listed in staff contracts. Mr Dai expounded on the “cultural differences” cited in a newspaper advertisement on Wednesday as one of the reasons behind the misunderstanding.

“For Chinese staff, it has become a habit to use their spare time to beautify the environment of the station. However, due to Sino-Africa cultures differences, local staff think that this is something outside the scope of work,” he said.


Farming key to realisation of Vision 2030

Statistics show that over 80 per cent of the food consumed in Kenya is produced by small scale farmers. Allocation of sufficient funds to farming is a sure way of boosting the sector securing Vision 2030.

Agriculture being a devolved function, the people must insist that county administrations allocate sufficient funds to the sector.

It defeats logic when county administrations spend allocated funds in duplicating functions that the central government is already doing, such as road construction.

Of course, the predilection to these is corruption through the procurement processes and kick-backs.

EXTENSION SERVICES

Decades of under-investment in small holder agricultural research, extension services, road infrastructure, financial services, and climate change has left farmers in a precarious existence.

Decline in agricultural production per capita in the small farm holder context creates a cycle of poverty and leads to environmental degradation as a result of the need to encroach on forest land.

Poor use of soil exposes it to erosion, fertiliser poisoning and other effects that are difficult to reverse.

LAND TITLES

Long dead agricultural extension services should be revived.

Unfortunately, existing policies do not support farming through accessible input credit, secure property rights such as in provision of land titles, agricultural extension services, a good road network and good markets.

Livestock farming, for example, is so neglected that many regions experience protein deficiency, drought and insecurity.

Onyiego Felix, Kisii.


After swish-and-go payments, the next big thing is the electric car

By GERRY LOUGHRAN
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The first time I saw it I had to blink hard: A supermarket customer with a small pile of goods waved her card across the checkout gizmo, declined a receipt and walked out.

That was my initial experience of contactless technology, where you present your debit card for any sum under £30 and the amount is automatically deducted from your bank account. No entering a pin code, just swish and go.

That was about a year ago. Now I do it myself! And so, it seems, does nearly everybody else.

WRIST WATCHES

Last year the number of payments by debit cards across the UK overtook the number of cash payments for the first time, and the growing popularity of contactless payments was a big driver behind the change.

Researchers found that 63 per cent of all British people now use contactless payments. Younger people are the most widespread users but even among those over 65, more than half made tap-and-go payments last year.

The choice of how we pay for goods is widening all the time. Barclaycard has started embedding contactless chips into wrist watches, while other everyday products are being considered for the innovative technology.

STERLING NOTES

Alison Sagar of PayPal UK said, “Payments are constantly evolving and we will see more changes in the next five years than we have seen in the last 50.”

However, it is unlikely that Britain will ever be a cash-free society, as some have predicted. The organisation UK Finance said that over the next decade, sterling notes and coins are expected to be the most frequently used payment method after debit cards.

Some oldies resolutely refuse to use cards, mobile phones or computers, but every day brings evidence of the irresistible march of technology.

CHARGING POINT

A survey of house sales has just found that one of the biggest barriers to selling a home is if it is in a broadband black spot.

And here’s another thing: The day is coming when all new homes in England will be fitted with an electric car charging point.

It’s all down to cleaning up the air we breathe. The government wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent of 1990 levels over the next three decades and conventional petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2040.

All automobiles will be electric (or possibly hydrogen-operated) and the thinking is that a charging point in every home or garage will facilitate the change.

It is a criminal offence in Britain to force anyone into marriage and parents found guilty of such an offence involving their children can go to prison for seven years.

As many as 80 per cent of such marriages, frequently involving schoolgirls, take place abroad during the summer holidays.

To forestall this, teachers at the Co-operative Academy in Leeds are urging female pupils to hide a tablespoon in their underwear and thus trigger metal detectors at airports. This will allow them to raise the alarm privately with security staff.

Ms Harinder Kaur, from the school, said, “In the six-week holiday, families have the chance to go abroad and get their child married and come back.” The spoon trick, she said, “can save lives”.

Vicki Rutter bought an expensive £120 ring for her cousin’s 21st birthday and popped it inside a helium balloon as a surprise method of delivery.

Unfortunately, she took her eyes off the balloon “for thirty seconds” as she opened her house door, and balloon and ring floated off into the sky above Edenbridge, Kent.

Mrs Rutter set out in chase. “I was knocking on people’s doors during England’s World Cup match,” she said, but she had no luck.

She later bought a replacement gift, which she placed safely in her cousin’s hands.

The pains of getting old…

In the cemetery just before the burial, the undertaker asked the widow, “How old was your husband?” “Ninety eight, two years older than me,” she replied “So you’re 96,” the undertaker commented. “Yes,” said the widow, “hardly worth going home, is it?”

An elderly woman had two stipulations in her will — she wanted to be cremated and she wanted her ashes scattered over the local supermarket. Why the supermarket? the lawyer asked. “Then I’ll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week.”

The following headlines saw the light of day in newspapers or magazines:

Bugs flying around with wings are flying bugs.

Meeting on open meetings is closed.

Parents keep kids home to protest school closure.

19 remain dead in morgue shooting spree.

Miracle cure kills fifth patient.

Study shows frequent sex enhances pregnancy chances.

Homicide victims rarely talk to police.


Why electricity has become a security issue

By PHILIP OCHIENG
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Even as the most “developed” sections of the human world approach another century of “development”, “security” apparently remains the number one preoccupation of every government.

Even in societies that claim to be “highly developed”, “security” remains the leading concern and the top expenditure of the individuals and groups who wield political power.

Yet it poses at least one extremely important question that never seems to catch the attention of any member of humanity’s most powerful governments.

Indeed, security would not be a badly placed governmental preoccupation if those concerned with governance were able to define “security” in a manner that favours the most ordinary human beings and satisfies equitably all members of each human society.

Yet, in a world like humanity’s, which is increasingly desperately endangered by humanity itself, that would be an excellent preoccupation only if, by the concept of “security”, the human world’s leadership meant something other than the personal or group safety of the individuals who wield political, police and military power over each nation.

RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP

Where — I ask you — is the otherwise highly vocal religious leadership whenever the question of security passes from the needs of the ruling groups to the needs of every Tom, Dick and Harriet?

In other words, to the mind of the keen observer, the security problem poses an ineluctable question: Exactly whose security? Moreover, what security? Bodily or mental or both? Individual or collective or both? As we know from practically every one of our world’s governments — especially from the great powers — “security” is always nothing but a military or police question.

Security never seems to have anything to do with the bodily and mental safety and wellbeing of ordinary human beings. As an idea, the question of security is never posed in terms of the general bodily, mental and collective safety of human beings. Indeed, security is never anything more than the collective safety of those who wield power.

Yet it should be self-evident to anybody with a sprinkle brain that, objectively speaking, any ruling group would be a hundred times more secure if most of the biological and mental needs of the mass over which the group rules were continually satisfied.

MENTAL NEEDS

It is only by satisfying the bodily and mental needs of all members of a species as restless as humanity that you can appease such a species.

But because of the human world’s deliberate and self-serving limitation of the definition of security as a concept, it never occurs to those in power and other levels of human leadership that, whenever the concept of security is so circumscribed, it might help only the cause of those in power.

That is why, as a rule, the human leadership the whole world over invokes “security” without ever attempting to define it comprehensively.

Yet, especially concerning the Third World states, “security” cannot conceptually be confined to the interests of those who wield political power. The spate of political coups d’eat in the Third World makes that clear enough.

ELECTRIC POWER

Electric power is becoming increasingly a sector in which the government of an underdeveloped country must pay the keenest attention.

Why? Because, after the human hand, electricity is today the most important factor in the maintenance and improvement of all of the bodily and social needs of every human society.

In other words, the problems raised by electricity shortages can always be politicised. Most probably, our Government is keenly aware of the importance of electric power to a country’s governance and security. The question is: Why does our Government seem increasingly unmindful of security in the production and supply of electricity throughout this good republic of ours?


Why handshake needed protection from 2022

By MIKE OLIEWO
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On March 9, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga executed the now famous handshake at the doorsteps of Harambee House in Nairobi.

That occasion signified different things to many people. It is still incomprehensible to many more.

What is perhaps most striking about it was the recent revelation by Mr Odinga that the handshake was crafted to exclude the contentious politics, and the political players of the 2022 presidential contest.

If that is the true position, and we have no reason to doubt it so far, then the handshake was a well thought-out development that requires serious support from across the board.

First, from a political perspective, it is crucial to appreciate our antagonistic politics that had seriously polarised the country after the tumultuous elections of 2017.

Kenya had emerged from one of the most divisive elections ever. It was clear that the political climate was polluted beyond belief.

POLITICAL EXCLUSION
There was a pervasive sense of social, economic and political exclusion across the country. It didn’t help matters that politicians were already positioning themselves for another gruesome journey towards 2022 when President Kenyatta would not be running.

The signs were all clear that anybody who bore presidential ambitions of 2022 could only complicate matters around Kenya’s stability, because their political lenses were squarely focused on the envisaged contest. Therefore, it wasn’t rocket science that the designers of the handshake project had to devise a way of excluding the different competing interests of the 2022 elections.

It would, therefore, be unfortunate if this exclusion could be interpreted as a slight on anyone.

Apart from the fact that President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are bound by the patriotic desire to promote the national good, they aren’t on the other hand limited from entertaining their own perspectives of Kenya’s politics.

SERIOUS DISTRUST

And this shouldn’t imply serious distrust between the two towards their respective political acolytes and erstwhile loyalists.

Politics is governed by pragmatism, and astute politicians ought to know and predict the repercussions of the decisions that they make at all times.

Besides, it made perfect sense that everyone else got locked out since most political transactions can be excruciatingly delicate, beginning with creating a rapport, eliminating suspicions, building confidence and consolidating trust.

All these are easier to achieve with smaller groups. Big groups of negotiators are very susceptible to the machinations of infiltraters, propagandists, power brokers, influence peddlers and all shades of purveyors of mischief, whose singular motive would be to derail the process.

It is also in the public domain that some politicians from both sides of the political divide had crafted lives and careers out of buccaneering, divisive and antagonistic politics that was widening the political chasms with each passing day.

UPHILL TASK

It would be an uphill task to persuade such politicians with nefarious motives to welcome the handshake or any other initiative that would deny them their means of livelihood.

Such political detractors deserved no place at the hallowed table of negotiations.

It is critical to note that once the handshake was executed, then it became relatively easy to think about rolling out the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

And, with the recent appointment and gazettement of eminent persons who will help in steering the BBI, Kenyans should now prepare to participate fully.

Mr Oliewo is the director, Public Research and Development Consultants (PRAD) Email; [email protected]


Celebrated referee keeps low profile after lifetime football ban

By VIVERE NANDIEMO
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Mr Aden Marwa, Kenya’s celebrated referee who was set to officiate at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia but was dropped after he was caught on camera receiving a ‘gift’ from an undercover Ghanaian journalist, has remained tight lipped over the match-fixing allegations even after the Confederation of African Football banned him from football-related activities last week.

Mr Marwa, who has resumed his teaching job at Komotobo Secondary School in Kuria East, Migori County, has chosen to keep a low profile since he was removed from the group of officials who were to officiate at the the world’s popular football extravaganza.

Mr Marwa maintains his silence even after the two referees accused alongside him owned up and apologised.

ACCEPTED GIFT

Gambian referee Ebrimma Jallow and Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi admitted receiving the ‘gifts’ and apologised.

“I finally apologise to the general public for my act of gross misconduct causing me a disruption to a sport I cherish. I wish to announce that I have excused myself and step aside from all refereeing matters pending completion of the investigation,” said Mr Jallow.

Mr Marwa has declined to talk to the media and has given instructions to his family members and relatives at his Kehancha and Nyamtiro homes in Kuria East not to welcome any visitors.

“He does not want to see anyone in this compound apart from relatives and close friends and you are not one of them,” his wife told this writer when he visited the home on Sunday.

EMOTIONALLY DISRAUGHT

The relatives say the fact that he was ‘fixed’ by a journalist makes it hard for him to open up and give his side of the story.

However, the Nation has learnt that Mr Marwa, a TSC employed Chemistry and Mathematics teacher, resumed his teaching duties in late June. TSC had initially given him a two month’s break to go to Russia and officiate the World Cup matches.

Colleagues at the school say Mr Marwa still appears emotionally distraught and hardly concentrates on his work following the unfortunate incident.

“He keeps to himself all the time and appears depressed. He has been like this since the unfortunate video of him allegedly receiving a bribe was aired on BBC prompting his resignation from the Fifa role as an assistant referee,” said a colleague.

WORLD’S LIMELIGHT

“This is sad given that Marwa is known to be a jovial person and a source of inspiration to his students and the young people from this region. Our efforts to encourage him to move on with his life have not yielded much,” added the teacher.

Family members say the situation has been traumatising for Mr Marwa. “He does not talk often, even to his children. He is always in deep thought. What kills his spirit even more is being in the world’s limelight for the wrong reasons and the kind of condemnation he has received from fellow Kenyans who do not even know what really happened,” said Mr Julius Range, Mr Marwa’s brother. He added that his brother spends most of his time indoors while at home.

On Saturday, the Confederation of African Football banned Mr Marwa from all football activities for life.

CONTEST DECISION

CAF’s Disciplinary committee found Mr Marwa guilty of match fixing after he was captured on video receiving a US$ 600 (Sh60,000) bribe in a BBC expose in early June.

Ten other referees were handed bans ranging between two and 10 years while 11 were provisionally suspended pending their appearance in front of the board on August 5.

“The following decisions were taken by the CAF Disciplinary board regarding the referees involved, Mr Marwa Range, assistant referee (Kenya); life ban from all CAF related football activities,” read the statement.

Marwa’s family members and friends have termed the decision by CAF as rash, unfortunate and unfair to Mr Marwa.

“It is unfortunate that they have taken such a harsh decision without hearing from my brother. It is unfair and CAF should reconsider it. Why slap Marwa with a life ban while others accused are banned for a couple of years?” Mr Range posed.

“We urge him to contest this unfair decision by CAF which he clearly does not deserve,” said Mr Charles Mwita, a football fan.


Ringera: Helb penalties levied on accounts not being serviced

By SUNDAY NATION TEAM
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In this interactive series, we invite our readers to send in questions to selected public figures. Answers will be published in the next print and online editions. This week, Higher Education Loans Board (Helb)  CEO Charles Ringera responds to your questions

1. How long does it take for one to be refunded? Koech Brian, via email

A refund is done within a period of three weeks as per the Helb service charter. However, the refund period may vary depending on a number of factors; for example, if one is in employment, the employer has to stop deductions first before Helb can initiate the refund process.

2. So far Helb is doing tremendously well to bring up a learned society. But after studies, a good number of beneficiaries stay for long without jobs. What are you doing as an institution to ensure that these graduates get employed in order to be able to repay the loans to ensure continuity of the good programme? Zephaniah Obaga, Gilgil

The mandate of Helb is to fund students pursuing higher education and also recover the same funds when they mature in order to create a revolving fund. Notably, Helb loan repayment is not pegged to employment and loanees are encouraged to come and engage with us on a flexible repayment plan in order to avoid penalties. It is important to note that there are other state agencies, not Helb, that are charged with the responsibility of creation of employment.

3. In this time of heavy economic challenges, one can easily conclude that your organisation is hardly exempted from this. In other words, how much is Helb affected by this? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

Indeed, these are difficult economic times for Helb and we are affected in the following broad ways: Demand for loans by students is higher due to inflation and pressure on household incomes therefore those already receiving loans are requesting for higher allocations.

More students are also requesting for loans to finance their studies in all levels of higher education from Technical and Vocational Training colleges to universities. We have also noted reduced repayments from past loan beneficiaries due to inflation and reduced disposable income therefore making it difficult for Helb to recover these loans.

4. I completed payment of my student loan in 2002 as per Helb letter Ref Helb/RS/SGS/334/21 dated December 3, 2002 confirming the same and instructing my then employer to stop any further deductions. Surprisingly, in April 2018 I received communication from a debt collector that I owe Helb Sh83,897; the bulk of it being interest and penalties. I decided to engage Helb on this matter and sent them a copy of my completion letter. All they have done is promise to look into the matter and, despite my follow-up, this matter is still pending. In the meantime, I continue to receive communication from the debt collector to offset my loan. My fear is that I will be wrongly referred to the Credit Reference Bureaus. My student number was D33/5228/87. Please put this matter to rest and issue my clearance certificate. Tabitha, via email

We have contacted you and advised that your matter was looked into and it was established that your loan was fully paid up as per clearance certificate Helb-27425. The hard copy is available for pickup and your account is now closed. We have since updated your details with the Credit Reference Bureaus and debt collectors accordingly. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

5. Some time back, you did admit that through acts of commission or omission, some undeserving students are awarded loans yet their deserving colleagues miss, leading to some of them terminating their studies. To tame this you had suggested the creation of a forum for those aggrieved to report these cases anonymously to your board for action. Sir, how far did you go with this? Komen Moris, Eldoret

Indeed Helb developed and implemented a whistle-blower tool for all interested parties to post issues of concern anonymously through our website, www.helb.co.ke. Nonetheless, we are also working on a simplified version to facilitate ease of use. The revamped whistle-blower platform should be ready before the end of the year in line with the ongoing review of our portals.

6. Both the national and county governments require those seeking jobs with them to present loan clearance certificates from your board. Sir, has this assisted your board in recovering some of the long-overdue loans? How can it be improved? Komen Moris, Eldoret

One requires a compliance certificate in line with Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya when seeking employment. This has greatly assisted since in the process we have been able to net the loanees and put them into repayment bracket. Helb has also made this compliance process much easier for both loanees and non-loanees whereby they can visit our website, log  into the loanee portal and print the compliance certificates from wherever they are at their convenience.

7. Help me understand why students of Kagumo Teachers Training College do not receive Helb loans and the college is a government institution whereas students in technical schools are receiving loans. What should the students in Kagumo TTC do to obtain the loans? Joseph Mwangi Maina Kahuro, Murang’a

Helb is currently offering loans to diploma and certificate students in the following categories of technical institutions: Technical institutions offering technical, diploma and certificate courses under the Ministry of Education, technical institutions registered with the Technical, Vocational Education and Training Authority, technical institutions that are members of Kenya Association of Technical Training Institutions and;

technical institutions admitting students through the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.

Although your college is under the Ministry of Education, it does offer courses in the technical fields. This may change in future and if it does, Kagumo TTC students will then be eligible for Helb Loans.

8. Last time, there was the pending matter of opening of bank accounts at banks not authorised by the Treasury. Has the matter been resolved? Githuku Mungai

All bank accounts opened and operated by Helb are approved the National Treasury as per Public Financial Management Act requirements.

9. I graduated almost ten years ago. My question concerns the penalty on the loan beneficiary. It is unfortunate that some of us haven’t got formal employment. Why should you penalise us yet we are not in employment? Please have mercy on us. Alex, Embu

We appreciate your feedback in regard to your loan repayment and we empathise with your current under-employment status. Key to note is that penalties are levied on a loan account that is not being serviced. In order to enable us empower dreams of other needy students, we rely heavily on loan repayment by past loanees. We therefore urge you to be paying Sh1,500 monthly even through M-Pesa PayBill  200800 where your ID number is your account number so as to avoid penalties. Specifically, Helb loan repayment is not pegged to employment, so Alex, don’t wait start paying now!

10. Sir, can you explain what happened to plans to increase income streams with borrowings from the Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) and starting a national lottery to generate more funds? Helb can also consider investing in real estate or other fixed income earning securities like Treasury bonds and bills to finance its operations and provide it with a stable income base. Paul Gesimba, Nairobi

Thank you Paul for the question, this portrays your appreciation of Helb funding gaps. You are on point on the fact that Helb requires other sources of funding outside Treasury to be able to meet the ever growing demand. Unclaimed Financial Assets, National Lottery, Investments are some of the potential sources of funds we have been pursuing through our new external resource mobilisation strategy. We have made tremendous progress in some areas and have been able to mobilise over Sh1.5 billion from various strategic partners. However, some of the potential funding streams such as Unclaimed Financial Assets require legislative approvals and review of the existing legal framework. We are in the process of reviewing our Act and engaging more strategic partners and establishing impactful linkages to boost our external resources kitty. We therefore invite the general public, corporates, NGOs, county governments, foundations, high net-worth individuals and well-wishers to partner with Helb in empowering dreams of deserving Kenyans who desire to purse higher education. Visit our website www.helb.co.ke to see more on how you can get involved.