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UK, Finland freezes funding to Zambia over alleged misuse of $4million

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Britain and Finland have frozen funding to Zambia on suspicion that the four million dollars they channeled into a social welfare scheme may have been misused, the Zambian presidency said on Tuesday.



The social cash transfer scheme is a donor-supported programme under which the government relays money to vulnerable households in rural areas in Africa’s No. 2 copper producer.

The British High Commissioner to Zambia, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, said in a tweet that Britain had frozen all bilateral funding until audit results are known.

“(Britain) takes a zero tolerance approach to fraud and corruption,” he said.

Officials from Finland did not immediately comment.

Presidential spokesperson, Amos Chanda, said president Edgar Lungu ordered an inquiry three months ago into possible “misuse” of the aid funds between 2012 and now, and a number of suspects were due to be prosecuted.

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“They notified us about the suspension of aid to the social cash transfer scheme but all other forms of bilateral aid are ongoing,” Chanda said.

“Following the investigations, the secretary to the cabinet actually presented a report to the president on Friday.”

Lee Habasonda, a political analyst at the University of Zambia, said the withdrawal of the funding would hurt the poor in the southern African country at a time when Lusaka is struggling to manage its debt.

“We hope that the government will take quick remedial measures to ensure that the funding is resumed,” Habasonda said.

Zambia’s external debt rose to 9.37 billion dollars by the end of June from 8.7 billion dollars in December, the finance ministry said in August, a week after the International Monetary Fund raised concerns over its high borrowing.

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Motherland News

Nigerian President Buhari Warns Ballot box snatchers to value their lives

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President Muhammadu Buhari has warned those planning to snatch ballot boxes during the elections to desist or pay with his or her life if caught.



President Buhari who stated this at the opening session of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Caucus meeting in Abuja, on Monday, said that such act would be the last unlawful act the person will be brought to book.

Meanwhile, the governors of Imo, Rochas Okorocha and Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun were conspicuously absent at the meeting.

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Buhari who said he is confident that he has garnered enough supporters having gone round the country to campaign, urged party members to reassure their constituents to come out and vote on the rescheduled dates.

While urging party agents to watch out for the party interests at the polling units the president said that he has directed security agencies to identify hot spots and be ready to move should they suspect any attempts to cause problems by thugs across the country irrespective of party affiliations.

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Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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