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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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PM Abiy reiterates Ethiopia’s decision over latest clampdown.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has finally spoken on ongoing anti-corruption and rights abuse clampdown stating that there was not going to be any backing down let alone retreat.

A statement from the Abiy’s office issued in Amharic tasked citizens to rally behind the development as a means of ridding the country of lawlessness and criminal elements.

State-affiliated FBC reported that the statement titled, ‘Let’s Fight (the) Cancer,’ said the government was bent on bringing people behind injustices to book.



The statement said the underlying objective of recent arrests was to get rid of Ethiopia criminals. “… criminals do not care about ethnicity, country, or morality; they only care for themselves.

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“The key to justice is to create a system for innocent citizens to live in freedom and dignity while criminals are held accountable and punished in accordance with the law,” the statement read in part.

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Since early this week, authorities have announced the arrest of over sixty former military and intelligence officials arrested in connection with rights abuse in prisons and gross corruption in the military run business conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation, MetEC.

A former head of MetEC, Kinfe Dagnew; and a former intelligence chiefs, Tekleberhan Woldearegay and Yared Zerihun have all been detained and put before courts in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Head of security at the state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, Gudeta Olana, has also been arrested as has head of the entity and brother of ex-MetEC boss, Essayas Dagnew.

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New Zealand denies refusing refugees with holiday visas entry.

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New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, rejected allegations that the country’s government was blocking refugees who wished to travel into the country from Nauru on visitor visas.

Nauru’s president, Baron Waqa, also claimed in an interview with Australian media that he had also personally brokered a deal for New Zealand to accept 80 refugees currently located on the island.



“It’s incorrect to say that there is some kind of agreement for 80 specific individuals to take residence or visit,’’ Ardern told media at the East Asia Summit in Singapore.

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“The request did not ask about whether refugees could visit New Zealand on holiday visas,’’ he added.

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The country assessed all applications for visitor visas on a case-by-case basis. This applies regardless of a person’s country of origin or nationality.

The country is under pressure to transfer the remaining 30 children from the island.

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