Ex-Comoros president given life sentence over passport scandal | Courts News

The previous president, who had already spent 4 years in jail earlier than he confronted a trial, is a rival to the nation’s present chief.

A court docket in Comoros has sentenced Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, ex-president of the East African nation, to life in jail for “excessive treason”, regional media studies and the AFP information company have reported.

In accordance with Tanzania Day by day Information, Sambi, who’s a political rival of incumbent President Azali Assoumani, was sentenced by the State Safety Court docket, a particular judicial physique whose rulings can’t be appealed, after he was convicted of promoting passports to stateless folks residing within the Gulf.

“He betrayed the mission entrusted to him by the Comorians,” public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid accused within the court docket as he requested for a life sentence.

Sambi, 64, who led the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago nation between 2006 and 2011, enacted a legislation in 2008 permitting the sale of passports for prime charges.

The controversial scheme was aimed to present nationality to the so-called Bidoon – an Arab minority numbering within the tens of hundreds who can’t acquire citizenship.

In accordance with Djounaid, the previous president embezzled $1.8bn beneath the fraudulent scheme – greater than the gross home product of the impoverished nation.

Native media quoted Emmanuel Sossa, a lawyer for civilian plaintiffs, as saying: “They gave thugs the proper to promote Comorian nationality as in the event that they have been promoting peanut.”

Sambi’s lawyer Jean- Gilles Halimi, nonetheless, refuted the accusations, saying no proof had been offered for the lacking monies and no financial institution accounts had been put ahead to counsel a criminal offense.

Sambi refused to attend the trial on the grounds that there have been no ensures he can be judged pretty. He briefly appeared as soon as along with his defence asking the choose to recuse himself since he had beforehand sat on the panel that determined to indict him.

The previous chief, who was initially charged with corruption, had already spent 4 years in jail earlier than he confronted a trial. He was beforehand positioned beneath home arrest for allegedly disturbing public order.

Three months later he was put beneath pre-trial detention for embezzlement, corruption and forgery, within the so-called “financial citizenship” scandal, earlier than being slapped with excessive treason fees.

“It’s clear that Sambi is a hindrance to Azali Assoumani’s political agenda and that he’s doing every little thing to take away it,” Sambi’s daughter Tisslame Sambi had instructed AFP.

Among the many defendants was French-Syrian businessman Bashar Kiwan, who accused the federal government of searching for to stress him into testifying in opposition to the previous president in trade for a pardon.

The Comoros presidency has formally denied these accusations.

The Comoros islands – Anjouan, Grande Comore and Moheli – have endured years of grinding poverty and political turmoil, together with about 20 coups or tried coups, since independence from France in 1975.

South Korea to hold first talks with striking truckers on Monday | Business and Economy

South Korea’s authorities will meet a placing truckers’ union for the primary talks of a five-day nationwide walkout, as provide chain glitches worsen and concrete runs out at constructing websites.

The federal government, which estimates each day losses at about 300 billion received ($224m) as provides of cement and gas for filling stations run quick, raised its warning of cargo transport disruption to the very best stage.

However the union held out little prospect of a breakthrough within the second main strike inside lower than six months, as 1000’s of truckers demand higher pay and dealing situations.

“The transport ministry’s place is already set, and there’s no room for negotiations, so this assembly just isn’t a negotiation … the content material is a requirement for an unconditional return to work,” the union mentioned in an announcement on Sunday.

The strike is disrupting industrial exercise at a time when Asia’s fourth-largest financial system, which depends on exports, faces lower-than-expected progress subsequent yr, with the central financial institution having downgraded its 2023 forecast to 1.7 p.c from 2.1 p.c.

“We have to set up a rule of legislation between labour and administration,” President Yoon Suk-yeol Yoon mentioned on Monday, in line with the presidential workplace.

Yoon, who has criticised the strike as taking the nation’s logistics “hostage” within the face of an financial disaster, will maintain a cupboard assembly on Tuesday to think about ordering the truckers to return to their jobs, his workplace mentioned.

The legislation permits the federal government to situation such an order throughout a critical transport disruption, and failure to conform may be punished with as much as three years in jail or a high quality of as much as 30 million received ($22,550).

The strike organiser, Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union (CTSU), has criticised the federal government for being unwilling to increase a minimum-pay system past an additional three years, as a substitute of assembly union calls for to make it everlasting and widen its scope.

Container visitors at ports was 21 p.c of regular ranges by 10am on Monday, the transport ministry mentioned, towards Friday’s determine of 49 p.c.

The metal business, together with POSCO and Hyundai Metal, noticed shipments greater than halve to 22,000 tonnes on Sunday, down from the same old common of 46,000 tonnes, the transport ministry mentioned.

Some filling stations might run out of petrol and kerosene as early as this week, particularly in massive cities, regardless of provides secured earlier than the strike.

That’s as a result of 70-80 p.c of truckers for main refiners, equivalent to SK Innovation’s SK Vitality and S-Oil Corp, are union members on strike.

Since final week, 259 out of 459 constructing websites have suspended ready-mix concrete work, the Yonhap information company mentioned, whereas the transport ministry mentioned most websites have been anticipated to expire by Tuesday.

The cement business estimated an collected output lack of about 46.4 billion received ($35m) by Saturday, with shipments all the way down to 9 p.c of regular ranges, the Korea Cement Affiliation mentioned.

“Non-union bulk cement truck house owners, who’re implicitly sympathetic to, or in worry of, the cargo union’s unlawful actions, are giving up cement transport,” the foyer group mentioned in an announcement.