Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Africa

Newsline: Diplomats Seek Intensified Security in Lagos after German Embassy Breach

Following the recent breach at the German Embassy on Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, five diplomats from their respective embassies asked the police to intensify security. The diplomats were drawn from the British High Commission, United States (US), German, Italian and The Netherlands embassies, all in Lagos. Tabling their grouse to the Lagos Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi, at the command headquarters in Ikeja, they cited the popular Nigerian Army Mammy Market operated in the neighbourhood, as one of the security threats they face. According them, their worries were triggered by the recent security breach at the German Embassy, which almost went out of hand before it was contained.

https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/12/15/german-embassy-breach-diplomats-clamour-for-intensified-security-in-lagos/

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Newsline: Protests at Libyan embassy in London against slavery

Demonstrators protested outside the Libyan embassy in London, calling for the British government to pressure Libya to end the slavery and inhumane treatment of migrants. It follows the emergence of video footage last month that appeared to show men being sold at a slave market in Tripoli. Protesters gathered in London to march on the Libyan embassy because at the moment, there are up to one million migrants in Libya, many of whom are hoping to travel to Europe.

http://www.africanews.com/2017/12/10/protests-at-libyan-embassy-in-london-against-slavery/

Newsline: Ethiopia recalls embassy staffer in Ankara who ‘threatened to start war with Turkey’

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry on Dec. 1 stated that it recalled an embassy employee in Ankara who was reportedly drunk and threatened police officers that he would “start a war” between Ethiopia and Turkey after getting involved in a traffic accident, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported. The ministry said in a statement that Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu instructed the formation of a committee to investigate the incident. It also said the embassy staffer returned to the country on suspicion of misconduct and the ministry was also weighing on imposing sanctions on the official after they shed light on the incident. The official had reportedly refused to take an alcohol test after the accident. He also reportedly vowed to “ignite a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Ethiopia.” One of the eyewitnesses, whose car was hit and damaged by the official, also said the suspect threatened to “start a war” with Turkey.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ethiopia-recalls-embassy-staffer-in-ankara-who-threatened-to-start-war-with-turkey-123411

Newsline: Israel to open first embassy in Rwanda as part of ‘expansion in Africa’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will open an embassy in Rwanda for the first time. Netanyahu said he apprised Rwandan President Paul Kagame of the decision at a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. The opening of the embassy “is part of the expansion of Israel’s presence in Africa and the deepening of cooperation between Israel and African countries,” Netanyahu said in a statement. His visit to Kenya is his third to Africa in a year and a half. Israel and Rwanda re-established ties in 1994 after they were broken in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War.

http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-open-first-embassy-in-rwanda-as-part-of-expansion-in-africa/

Newsline: Audits on ‘higher fraud-risk’ Canadian embassies find undocumented payments

The audits in Nigeria, Algeria, Russia, India and Kenya were ordered after a probe found Canada’s embassy in Haiti was defrauded of $1.7M over 12 years. Audits of five Canadian embassies operating in “higher fraud-risk environments” have found cases of questionable procurement practices, undocumented payments for work, and sky-high levels of overtime for drivers. The audits were ordered after a 2016 investigation discovered that Canada’s embassy in Haiti was defrauded of $1.7 million over 12 years through inflated supply contracts and diverted materials. The government fired 17 locally recruited employees over the case. Management audits were conducted on Canadian embassies in Nigeria, Algeria, Russia, India and Kenya, as well as on Canada’s embassy in South Korea as a low-risk environment for comparison purposes. The audit on the Nigeria embassy was the most damning, concluding that protocols around “finance, procurement, contracting, revenues, and asset management were not consistently followed and some key controls were not in place or were circumvented.” Several dubious payments were found, including one case where the contract was signed after the work had already commenced, another where the overtime was paid at a higher rate than in the contract, and another where the value of the contract was “significantly exceeded without a contract amendment.”

Audits on ‘higher fraud-risk’ Canadian embassies find undocumented payments, ballooning overtime costs

Newsline: Drunk Ethiopian embassy official threatens to ‘start war’ with Turkey

An official from the Ethiopian Embassy in Ankara, who was reportedly drunk, threatened police officers that he would “start a war” between Ethiopia and Turkey after getting involved in two traffic accidents on Nov. 26. Police officers were dispatched to the scene after the accidents as the official, whose identity remains undisclosed, reportedly refused to take an alcohol test. After police arrived, the official reportedly vowed to “ignite a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Ethiopia.” One of the eyewitnesses, local man Burak Ayaydın, whose car was hit and damaged by the official, said the suspect threatened to “start a war” with Turkey. “This person hit another car down the road. Then he drove off and hit us … It looked like he was drunk,” Ayaydın said.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/drunk-ethiopian-embassy-official-threatens-to-start-war-with-turkey-123140

Newsline: The true story of the fake US embassy in Ghana

On Friday 2 December 2016, a curious story appeared on the website GhanaBusinessNews.com. “Ghana security authorities shut down fake US Embassy in Accra,” the headline declared. For a decade, the story went, there had been a fake US embassy in the Ghanaian capital. The fraudsters behind it had flown the American flag from their building and even hung a portrait of Barack Obama on the wall. The criminal network behind the scam had advertised on billboards and prowled the most remote villages of west Africa, searching for gullible customers. They brought them to Accra, and sold them visas for as much as $6,000. According to a US state department statement, which had been published in early November, the fake embassy was operated by “figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings and a Ghanaian attorney practicing immigration and criminal law”. The American authorities supplied a picture of an old, two-storey pink building with a tin roof, originally captioned: “The exterior of the fake embassy in Accra, Ghana.” The caption was later changed to: “One of several buildings used by the disrupted fraud ring.” Reuters reported that the Americans, with the help of the Ghana Detectives Bureau, had raided the fake embassy. Several people were arrested, and officials seized 150 passports from 10 different countries. The US state department said, the number of fraudulent documents coming from west Africa had gone down by 70% as a result of this and other raids, and “criminal leaders no longer have the political cover they once had”. But the story was fake. It might have started with a diplomatic cable – a classified memo – sent from the US embassy in Accra to the state department in Washington DC on 25 July 2016, titled “Ghana: Fake US Embassy Closed for Business.” When I asked the US state department for comment, an official simply told me that US Diplomatic Security Service officials work with Ghanaian authorities to uphold the integrity of the visa system. The state department declined to provide additional information in response to specific questions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/28/the-true-story-of-the-fake-us-embassy-in-ghana