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Ex-president son gets six-month jail term in Ivory Coast

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Michel Gbagbo, son of Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo, was sentenced Friday to six months’ jail and a fine for “complicity in disclosing false news”, his lawyer said.

In an interview with the Koaci.com news website in May 2016, Gbagbo said “250 people are still in prison” after a political and military showdown in 2010-11 when his father refused to accept electoral defeat at the hands of Alassane Ouattara, the incoming president.

Michel Gbagbo also said 300 other people who have been “charged and placed under arrest since 2011 are held to be missing.”

But the Abidjan criminal court ruled the claim false, said lawyer Rodrigue Dadje.

Gbagbo was fined 500,000 CFA francs (760 euros/$950) in the case.

His fellow defendant Laurent Despas, the French director of Koaci.com, was fined 10 million CFA francs (15,200 euros/$18,950) for spreading false news, Dadje said.

Dadje said he would appeal against the sentences, “which could constitute a serious precedent with regard to press freedom in Ivory Coast.”

“Journalists might from now on be convicted for having simply collected the views of people or prominent figures if the Ivorian regime considers that they do not share its point of view,” he said.

Ouattara on Thursday congratulated the media for making steady progress in the annual press freedom ratings by the NGO Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders). The west African country took 81st place in the rating for 2017.

Laurent Gbagbo is on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, accused of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the power struggle in Abidjan.

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EFF demands the sacking of South Africa’s finance minister Nene.

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South Africa’s political players are headed for a collision course over the fate of the finance minister, who the Treasury on Tuesday said is traveling to Indonesia for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting.



Pressure has been piling on finance minister Nhlanhla Nene to resign, following his disclosure to the state-capture inquiry commission, that he had met the Gupta brothers between 2010 and 2013.

The Business Day on Monday reported that Nene had asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to relieve him of his duties as finance minister.

Ramaphosa’s office responded and said they were not aware of Nene’s request.

And on Tuesday, Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Nene is also expected to read the mid-term budget later this month.

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The news that Nene is continuing with his duties is likely to anger opposition supporters including the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), whose leader, Julius Malema on Monday asked Ramaphosa to sack Nene.

In a written letter to Ramaphosa, Malema argued that the country, whose economy is in recession, had very serious challenges that needed a credible finance minister to address them.

‘‘Public servants at all spheres and levels of government will have no obligation to responsibly manage state fiscal resources under a compromised minister of finance,’‘ Malema said.

He then added that that Nene can no longer inspire much needed confidence to revive the economy.

‘‘The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS)‚ which is supposed to be a statement to build confidence amongst all important economic role players‚ cannot‚ and should not‚ be delivered by a minister who was part of the Gupta criminal syndicate.”

For the EFF, Nene’s position as finance minister is no longer tenable and they are determined to win what they are now calling a battle.

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.

The Gupta brothers are accused of using their friendship with former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions including unfairly winning state contrcats.

Both Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

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South Africa: Ex-minister reveals Zuma’s Gupta deals.

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South Africa’s Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said on Wednesday he was fired by former president Jacob Zuma for refusing to approve contracts that would financially benefit the Gupta family, friends of Zuma accused of corruption.



Nene, who was giving testimony at a judicial inquiry into influence-peddling, said the main reason he was he was sacked was for rejecting a proposed plan to build a fleet of nuclear power plants. The project could have cost up to $100 billion.

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Zuma and the Gupta family deny allegations they colluded to inappropriately divert state funds.

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