Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 21, 2013

Newsline: US ambassador says ex-Marine held by Colombia rebels not part of US mission

A former U.S. Marine who Colombia’s main insurgency says it “captured” a month ago in a turbulent southeastern region is a tourist, not a member of the U.S. mission, and should be released immediately, Washington’s ambassador said. A Colombian police general said Kevin Scott Sutay, 26, had entered a hot zone against warnings. The rebels offered to free Sutay as a good-faith gesture in announcing on their website Friday night that he was in their custody. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said Sutay had described himself as a 2010-11 veteran of the Afghan conflict who left the armed forces in March.


Newsline: Canada offers discounts for embassy booze purchases

Ontario’s liquor board has sweetened an already sweet deal for the federal government and foreign diplomats as it chops the prices they pay for beer, wine and booze almost in half. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario began offering its products to federal departments and agencies at a 49 per cent discount from the retail price that everyone else pays. The cut rate on alcoholic beverages is also available to foreign embassies, high commissions, consulates and trade missions, most of whom are located in the Ottawa area, within the LCBO’s jurisdiction.


Newsline: Nigerian Senate Petitioned Over $1.55 Million Embassy Tax Fraud

Freedom Of Information Advocates Initiative, an anti-corruption group, has petitioned the Senate committee on Foreign Affairs to urgently take an enforcement against Mr. Emeka Ugwuonye, a lawyer to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC, who was last week indicted by a United States court for allegedly stealing $1.55 million belonging to the Mission. It would be recalled that the presiding judge of the US District Court for the DC, Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, in her ruling held that Emeka Ugwuonye was guilty on all counts and ordered the embattled lawyer to pay the Embassy over $2 million in monetary damages. The Judge also affirmed the claim of the Embassy that the controversial lawyer who had at one time acted as counsel to the government actually embezzled $1.55 million tax refund he collected on behalf of the embassy in 2007. In the petition signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Bob Olukoya esq, freedom of information advocates urged the Senate committee to immediately call on the relevant security agencies in Nigeria, especially the Nigeria Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to urgently investigate the matter in order to determine the criminal culpability of the defendants, Mr. Ugwuonye, under Nigerian laws.