A court in Tanzania on Tuesday ordered a group of opposition lawmakers and other co-accused to pay a fine or serve five months prison on charges related to a banned demonstration.
A judge in Dar es Salaam found the nine defendants including top political opposition figures guilty of sedition and other charges and sentenced them to jail unless they raised 350 million shillings ($152,000) in penalties.
The accused, including Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe, four MPs and other senior opposition officials, were remanded in custody after failing to raise the money.
“We went to the court believing that we could win. However, this sentence will not stop us from fighting for democracy in this country,” the party’s deputy chairman, Said Issa Mohammed, told reporters after the verdict.
He said Chadema, the main opposition movement challenging Tanzania’s powerful ruling CCM party, was trying to raise the money and would consider appealing.
Mbowe and the others were charged in 2018 with sedition, unlawful assembly and inciting violence, among other offences, over a rally in which police fired live rounds to disperse Chadema supporters demanding accreditation in a local election.
A 22-year-old student who was not taking part was shot dead by a stray bullet from police.
Some of the charges were linked to a speech Mbowe gave during the demonstration in which he said President John Magufuli would not last long in his job.
The demonstration had been banned by Magufuli’s government, which has been accused of crushing dissent, jailing critics and passing draconian laws that have weakened freedoms in Tanzania.
The strongman leader, who was elected in 2015, is expected to run for another term later this year in a country once seen as a bastion of democracy in a tumultuous part of Africa.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in conjunction with the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has commissioned has commissioned $1 billion (about N360 billion) worth of locally assembled vehicles.
The vehicles are manufactured in the country by 17 companies such as Innoson, Nissan, Coscharis, Ford and Elizade Motors.
Adeniyi Adebayo, the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, during the commissioning of the Nigerian-made and assembled automobiles in Abuja on Monday observed the vehicles would later be showcased at the Argungu Motor Rally.
The inaugural edition of the motor rally will be kicked off in Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister said plans were afoot by the NADDC to make the Argungu Motor Rally a yearly festival for the Nigerian local auto industry although the rally is part of the Argungu Annual International Fishing and Cultural Festival.
He expressed optimism in the progress of the country in automotive assembly saying the sector had posted tens of thousands of newly assembled vehicles despite beginning from a zero production level in 2012.
Mr Adebayo affirmed that the unveiling of the 10-year Nigerian Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP 2013-2023) in 2013 had made it possible for 62 firms to be registered to assemble vehicles.
The former Ekiti State Governor disclosed that the companies were registered to assemble vehicles at Semi Knocked Down (SKD) and Completely Knocked Down (CKD) levels with a total installed capacity of 423,790 units.
He observed that an actual assemblage of 10,343 units had been attained to date just as 31 automotive assembly companies were currently listed under the Bureau of Public Procurement for patronage.
“The vehicles and brands for unveiling are a testament to the zeal and commitment of the automotive industrial subsector to the present government’s efforts towards diversification of the non-oil sector of the economy.
“The role of the NADDC in reviving and sustaining the automotive sector has greatly helped in stimulating growth and development in Nigerian automotive industry,’ Mr Adebayo said.
He enjoined Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigeria vehicles with a view to creating jobs, driving investment, conserving foreign exchange, building capacity and transferring technology to the citizenry.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, who was represented by Nasir Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, urged the auto firms to improve local content and repose their trust in government’s dedication to the diversification of the economy.
On his part, Jelani Aliyu, the NADDC Director General confirmed that $1 billion had been invested by the auto companies whose vehicles were being commissioned while 4,700 people had been directly employed in the sector.
Aliyu said it earmarked N5 billion aimed at a single digit vehicle finance scheme and was in talks with banks including Wema, Jaiz and Zenith in order to provide the financing for made-in-Nigeria vehicles.
He asserted that the organisation was building three automotive testing centres and three automobile service hubs across Nigeria in order to boost sustainability and maintenance culture.
“Not just to build cars for 200 million people but to support local producers by opening up for them market opportunities to the one billion people of the African continent,’’ he said.
Mr Aliyu expressed his discontentment with the fact that the country spends $8 billion (about N2.932 trillion) every year to import 300,000 to 400,000 vehicles.
Rana Kapoor, the arrested founder and former managing director of India’s crisis-hit Yes Bank, faces a double charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of almost $602million.
Kapoor was sent on Sunday to police custody until Wednesday by a court in Mumbai following his arrest.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Rana Kapoor early on Sunday after hours of interrogation and searches at his and his daughters’ residences in Delhi and Mumbai. The 62-year-old broke down when he was produced in a Mumbai court.
ED’s lawyer Sunil Gonsalves said at the hour-long hearing the total proceeds of the alleged crime amounted to Rs 4,300 crore, about$602million, and that Rana Kapoor had refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Rana Kapoor denied this. “I want to cooperate with them,” he told the court through tears. “I’m willing to cooperate day and night despite the fact that I haven’t slept a wink.”
His lawyer Zain Shroff told the court his client had been made “a scapegoat” due to public outrage against Yes Bank after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) placed the bank under a moratorium and imposed a Rs 50,000-limit on withdrawals.
Weighed down by an increasing pile of bad debt, Yes Bank tried unsuccessfully for months to raise the capital it needs to stay above regulatory requirements.
On Thursday, RBI took control of Yes Bank and said it would work on a revival plan. State Bank of India (SBI) said on Saturday it would invest funds to buy a 49 per cent stake in Yes Bank as part of the initial phase of a rescue deal for the troubled lender.
Last week finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Yes Bank had granted loans to entities including bankrupt Dewan Housing and Finance Ltd (DHFL).
The bank is the third significant Indian financial institution to unravel in the last six months, following the RBI’s moves to take control of Dewan Housing and Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank.
According to NDTV, investigators from the Enforcement Directorate are probing Kapoor over investments worth over Rs 2,000 crore, 44 expensive paintings and a dozen alleged shell firms.
The agency, official sources said, has also recovered documents that show some assets of the Kapoor family in London and the source of funds for their acquisition is now being investigated.
The central probe agency that began action against the banker by raiding his residence in south Mumbai on Friday is primarily investigating Mr Kapoor, his wife and three daughters over a Rs 600 crore fund received by a firm allegedly “controlled” by them from an entity linked to the scam-hit Dewan Housing Finance Limited (DHFL).
Kapoor’s firm, DoIT Urban Ventures (India) Pvt Ltd, was alleged to have received the funds when Yes Bank had an exposure of more than Rs 3,000 crore loans to DHFL, already being probed for purported financial irregularities and diversion of funds.
The bank, they said, allegedly did not initiate action to recover the NPA-turned loans from DHFL and the agency suspects that the Rs 600 crore funds were part of alleged kick backs received as quid pro quo in the firm controlled by the Kapoor family.
The ED, officials said, is looking at finding the proceeds of crime during the raids conducted at Mr Kapoor’s residence and those of his wife Bindu and three daughters. It has stumbled upon investments worth over Rs 2,000 crore by the family and the active presence of about a dozen shell or dummy firms used to rotate alleged kick backs, they said.