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Ikeda Photographer: Carol Sachs
I like the quality of the fish and I like the simple décor,” says
Rogers. “It is excellent Japanese food without all the stuff that
usually goes with it in London. It is pared down. We always have the
sashimi, and the sea urchin if it is on the menu.”
Lobster with chicken quenelles at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester Photographer: Carol Sachs
This three-Michelin-starred hotel restaurant is a surprising choice
for French chef Koffmann, who held three stars at La Tante Claire
before abandoning fine dining in favor of the rustic cuisine of his
native Gascony. But a recent lunch at Alain Ducasse’s newest space has
him reconsidering. “I’m not interested in Michelin restaurants
anymore,” Koffmann says, “but it was the best meal I’ve had in a
year.” The lobster with chicken quenelles is “perfection,” he says.
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Law & Politics
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is in financial dire straits. Since
the plunge in oil prices, the kingdom has been hemorrhaging money
left, right and center. It has provided billions of dollars to shore
up counter-revolutionary governments around the Middle East,
especially Egypt, it is heavily involved in the Syrian conflict, and
is burning through some $6 billion a month waging war on impoverished
Yemen. The country needs oil to be $104.6 a barrel, according to the
Institute of International Finance, for its budget to break-even; the
current price is around $45.
Finances have become so tight that from being the second largest
importer of armaments worldwide in 2010–14, deputy Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has said the kingdom aims at sourcing up to
50 percent of arms from local producers to help diversify the economy.
It is as much of a pie-in-the-sky idea as turning KSA over the next
several years into a knowledge-based economy.
What is also indicative of the financial difficulties ahead is that
commercial banks have tightened lending to anyone outside of the
government, with the state the primary borrower, according to a senior
financial officer in Riyadh. “There is a liquidity crunch at the
banks, and it is the government that is borrowing, so companies are
suffering,” he said.
Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Kim Jong Un at the military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang
Law & Politics
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has opened the door of his isolated
economy a crack to market reforms. Now, as he calls the first congress
of the ruling party since 1980, he faces a choice.
Since becoming supreme commander with the death of his father in late
2011, Kim has built his grip on power with purges of senior officials
and other provocative actions, including two nuclear tests. But as
North Korea loses most of its Cold War benefactors and struggles from
a series of droughts and famines, he’s also tiptoed into the realm of
Ordering the Workers' Party to hold a full congress for the first time
under his leadership gives him the chance to set out his agenda as
well as promote or demote officials to shore up his inner circle. What
is said and done in Pyongyang during the gathering may indicate how
serious he is about economic reform and whether that may be trumped by
his desire to preserve control.
Abe Breaks Putin's Isolation as Rare G-7 Leader to Visit Russia
Law & Politics
President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe in a rare bilateral meeting with a Group of Seven leader,
marking a breakthrough in Kremlin efforts to end Russia’s isolation
since it intervened in Ukraine more than two years ago.
Abe, who is due to meet with Putin on Friday in the Black Sea resort
of Sochi, has argued for engagement with the Russian leader to further
Japan’s goal of ending a World War II territorial dispute, as well as
in tackling issues such as Syria. Russia played down expectations of
serious progress in resolving the dispute over ownership of a chain of
islands, even as officials sought to make political capital out of
Abe’s decision to visit.
“This is yet another indication that Obama’s policy of isolation has
failed,” Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian lower house of
parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said by phone. “It’s an
important visit that shows that Japan has decided not to put all its
eggs in one basket.”
The Japanese leader, a key American ally in the Asia-Pacific region,
rejected an appeal by President Barack Obama not to go ahead with the
visit to Russia, the Kyodo news service reported Feb. 24.
Brave to Call Bottom of Commodities Rout, Rio Chief Walsh Says @business
Rio Tinto Group says it’s a brave move to call an end to the
commodities rout with the outlook clouded by volatile prices and
uncertainty over issues including the U.S. election and Britain’s vote
on European Union membership.
Pressure remains on prices across all sectors from metals and energy
to agricultural products, while some areas of the economy in China,
the top commodities consumer, continue to slow, Chief Executive
Officer Sam Walsh told reporters in Brisbane, Australia. He pointed to
“excessive” trading volumes in Chinese iron ore futures that’s spurred
“It is far more volatile than we’ve experienced in the past,” Walsh,
who will retire on July 1, said following an annual meeting of the
world’s second-largest miner. “In that environment, calling the bottom
is a brave move. It will turn though, as this is a cyclical industry.”
Walsh joins pessimists including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which said
last month that it sees no “sustainable shift in fundamentals” and
expects higher U.S. interest rates will keep the outlook bearish. The
bank forecasts oversupply will see prices of iron ore, Rio’s top
earner, retreat to about $35 a metric ton by year end after touching
$70.46 on April 21.
“Iron ore bounced up to $70 a ton and I said I didn’t expect it to
stay there -- guess what, today it’s down at $60 a ton.” Walsh told
reporters. “Some people can see a bit of an uptick, and I don’t know
whether it’s hope. You have to look at the fundamentals.”
The Bloomberg Commodity Index, a gauge of returns on 22 raw materials
including gold and copper, has rebounded since bottoming in January,
when it sank to the lowest level since at least 1991. It advanced 8.5
percent in April to a second straight monthly gain.
"If I had a lot of money to lauder, I would choose gold," says John Cassara, a former U.S. Treasury special agent
“There really isn’t anything else like it out there''
Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S. have a problem: getting the
profits home. Sometimes they try sending cash through banks, but
that’s grown difficult as the government forces financial institutions
to beef up anti-money-laundering efforts. So at least one
international organization moved its money on a river of molten gold.
The Sinaloa cartel, once led by serial prison escapee Joaquin “El
Chapo” Guzman, used some of its proceeds from selling drugs in the
U.S. to buy gold in pawn shops, according to allegations in court
records. It shipped more than $98 million in gold to a Florida company
that had it melted down and sold for cash. Then the cartel used fake
invoices to justify sending the proceeds to a company in Mexico.
Tanzania Pipeline Deal Reflects Uganda's Practical and Strategic Concerns @Africaprog
Plans for a 1,410-kilometre heated pipeline from Hoima in western
Uganda to Tanzania’s deep water port at Tanga have been chosen to
carry Uganda’s oil to international markets, over the initially
favoured ‘northern route’ through Kenya. Heavy lobbying by
international oil companies, changes in regional politics and Kenya’s
fragile security situation seem to be major reasons behind Kampala’s
change of heart. But by engaging a member long seen as a hindrance to
integration efforts, a cross-border project with Tanzania could also
help spur the development of the East African Community (EAC). -
On 10 August 2015, the presidents of Uganda and Kenya publically
agreed to jointly develop a pipeline, depending on Kenya meeting a
number of conditions. The choice of the ‘northern route’ via
Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu was portrayed as a contribution towards closer
East African integration – a key political goal of Uganda’s President
Yoweri Museveni. The proposed pipeline was also politically important
for Kenya’s government, as it would have helped to justify the huge
$25 billion cost of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport
Corridor (LAPSSET) development – a flagship project for Kenya’s
President Uhuru Kenyatta, holding increased significance in a
But progress on the Hoima-Lokichar-Lamu pipeline was contingent on
Kenyan guarantees, on the security of the pipeline within Kenya,
project financing, swift implementation and low tariffs. Perhaps
complacent that the deal had been done, Kenya made slow progress,
leaving space for Tanzania, with encouragement from Total, to
emphasise the attractiveness of the Tanga route.
The Kenyan government sought to finance the ‘northern route’ pipeline
through a public−private partnership, potentially a slow, complex and
expensive mechanism. In contrast, in March 2016, the Tanzanian
presidency claimed that the oil company Total would contribute
directly to the Tanga pipeline. Total did not comment publicly on
this, but if confirmed, it would make the Tanga financing package
significantly cheaper and less risky.
Uganda’s foreign affairs minister also highlighted the issue of
relative costs of the rival routes. The projected cost of the Tanzania
route is approximately $4 billion, up to $1 billion less than going
via Kenya. Kenya’s proposed tariff was almost $17 per barrel, compared
to Tanzania’s $12 per barrel. Uganda’s energy minister has also
reported that Tanzania has waived land fees, transit charges and taxes
associated with the pipeline − if true, this is unlikely to be viable
in the long-term.
But Kenya’s options are less promising, and none will lend the country
the regional clout that was envisaged in its plans to position itself
at the heart of East Africa’s oil and gas development. Ongoing talks
with South Sudan may yet convince the country to halt its oil exports
through Sudan and move through Kenya instead, but this is a high-risk
scenario given South Sudan’s fragility – conflict has stopped the flow
of oil before.
Uganda’s pipeline deal with Tanzania ultimately demonstrates the
mutability of East Africa’s regional politics. While there is a shared
ambition of strengthening East Africa’s economic growth through
integrated development, it is clear that each country aims to do this
on its own terms.
"My house was surrounded this morning police," Katumbi said in a statement on his Twitter account.
“This is Kabila’s answer to my candidacy for president. Whatever
happens, I stand by my application and remain firm in my peaceful
struggle for the rule of law.”
Justice Minister Alexis Tambwe on Wednesday ordered the general
prosecutor to open an investigation into Katumbi’s alleged use of
mercenaries. “The government has identified unauthorized foreign
security officials working in Katumbi’s security detail,” Amuri
Ntambwe Kahenga, a spokesman for the ministry, said by phone from the
Calls to Katumbi’s phone didn’t connect when Bloomberg called him
How @sapresident Zuma, the smiling spy, controls South Africa @Reuters
As head of intelligence for the outlawed African National Congress
during apartheid, Jacob Zuma neutralised perceived traitors and
sidelined opponents to shore up his position, people who worked with
Decades later, as South Africa's President, he hasn't lost his touch.
Lampooned in the media, jeered in public and now facing calls from
inside and outside the ANC to resign over millions of rand of improper
state spending on his private home in Nkandla, the 73-year-old’s grip
on power seems like it should be weaker than at any point since his
election in 2009.
Yet he endures, thanks to skills honed decades ago in the exiled ANC
underground, promoting little-known officials who do his bidding to
powerful positions within the security and intelligence portfolios,
politicians who work around Zuma say.
Zuma, whose Zulu middle name, Gedleyihlekisa, means "the one who
smiles as he hurts you", joined the ANC in 1959. The son of a
policeman and domestic worker from what is now rural KwaZulu Natal, he
had little formal education.
Ronnie Kasrils, intelligence minister between 2004 and 2008 under
Mbeki and an anti-apartheid veteran, spent years in the ANC
underground and intelligence circles alongside Zuma.
"The first people he appointed were in his security team," said
Kasrils, who has publicly called for Zuma to resign.
"It was vital that Zuma had the heads of intelligence to do his
bidding. It gives you the ability to dig up dirt on politicians and
keep a close eye on opponents," he said.
@sapresident Zuma captured the ANC and the Guptas captured @sapresident.
MAY 4, 2016 Shootout in Caramba NewYorker
Garamba’s elephants are a hybrid of Africa’s two elephant
species—forest and savanna. They have the larger size of savanna
elephants and the long, straight tusks of forest elephants, making
their ivory particularly sought after. In the nineteen-seventies,
there were more than twenty thousand elephants in Garamba. Today there
may be as few as fifteen hundred.
He moved to Garamba, in May of 2015, because, as he put it to me, it
was “one of the world’s last true wild places” and was threatened by
criminal and terrorist groups.
Garamba lies on the edge of what Mararv referred to as a “political
wasteland”—a lawless region abutting Sudan, Congo, and the Central
African Republic—where there is virtually no government. The area is
subject to raids by the janjaweed from Darfur, army units and militias
from both North and South Sudan, and followers of Joseph Kony’s
murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, a movement that steals, rapes,
pillages, and deploys kidnapped child soldiers. Until Garamba acquired
a helicopter, a few years back, the northern two-thirds of the park
had essentially been ceded to Kony’s forces. In recent months, the
L.R.A. guerillas have increased further in number, and are believed to
be operating out of Azande, a hunting area just west of the park.
The Re-Opening of Chase Bank which involved ''KDIC as “the Receiver”
appointing KCB as “the Manager” under the provisions of Sections
44(2)(b) and 44(3) of the Kenya Deposit Insurance Act, 2012 to carry
out the business and manage the assets and liabilities of CBL''
[Central Bank Press Release from April] has to be seen as a Win and
even a coming of Age for the Capital markets in Kenya.
167,290 accounts (equivalent to 97 percent of accounts or 6 percent of
total deposits) have their funds available in full. It was always a
''National Interest'' Issue that so many Account Holders were not sent
to the Wall because of the ''Robert Maxwell'' antics of the Chairman
and his Cohorts. It was not their Fault and they should not have been
made to a pay a heavy and even terminal [for their businesses] price
for the activities of a Rogue Banker. The Faith and Trust these
Account Holders put in the Institution was a miracle to behold and
worthy of further study. I watch the real-time all the time and even
as it became clear that things were seriously murky, Chase customers
remained ''bright eyed and bushy tailed'' about prospects. However, as
the CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank said at Mindspeak last Saturday
''Good Customer Service does not give you the right to steal customer
So, I think the Central Bank Governor and his Team and Kenya
Commercial Bank deserve a Pat on the back for catching the Ball [and
not dropping it], for crafting an indigenous, home-grown solution and
for getting the show back on the road.
Big Ticket Savers are now having to appreciate that high and even
extreme interest rates should carry a ''Health Warning'' Billions of
Shillings are locked and to date i find it mind-boggling that No-One
is asking the Question.
What Kind of surveillance were the Big Depositors deploying?
Interbank Lines to Chase Bank were cut in December [i am reliably
informed]. From that moment, it was always one ''reputation'' Hit away
from where it later found itself in April. And given the arrival of
Mobile Money and Social Media, we are living in a new normal where the
Velocity of Cash in and Cash Out is essentially off the charts.
So Big Up to the Central Bank Governor and his team and also for
''out-sourcing'' the receivership with such despatch. It shows a speed
of thought and execution for which we should all be grateful.
Patrick Njoroge is a Change Agent and is taking Kenya Banking through
a Portal into a New Normal.
He is to be commended.
You are as safe with me as you would be in the Bank of England. Robert Maxwell
If things were half as bad as some people persist in believing, I'd
have retired with a bottle of Scotch and a pistol a long time
Ousted Chase Bank chairman was architect of Sh11bn loot @bd_africa
Zafrullah Khan, the ousted chairman of Chase Bank, was the chief
architect and biggest beneficiary of some Sh11 billion systematically
looted from the troubled mid-sized lender, financial consultancy
Deloitte has told lawmakers.
Mr Khan is said to have siphoned the cash to entities he co-owned with
suspended managing director Duncan Kabui.
He pumped the funds in buying prime real estate and constructing
properties in Nairobi and abroad. The huge outflows from Chase Bank
peaked in 2012.
When Deloitte probed deeper into the transactions early this year, the
duo disguised them as loans disbursed in line with Islamic banking,
the auditing firm told a National Assembly committee probing the
collapse of the bank.
“These companies are owned by the chairman, over 90 per cent of the
ownership of those companies was the chairman and 10 per cent was the
group MD,” said Fredrick Aloo, a partner at Deloitte & Touche in
charge of auditing Chase Bank’s accounts.
“There was no single documentation to show how the money was advanced
from the bank to purchase those properties,” Mr Aloo said in his
Deloitte was summoned to appear before the National Assembly’s Trade,
Finance and Planning committee which is investing the circumstances
leading to the collapse of Chase Bank, which had Sh73 billion in
deposits and 170,000 customer accounts.
Ms Muthoni Kuria is now the chair of Chase Bank’s eight-member board
which also includes CEO Paul Njaga, lawyer Anthony Gross, businessman
Rafiq Shariff, Richard Carter, and French PE firm Amethis co-founder
Mr Khan, 60, is one of the founding owners of Chase Bank, and was
first appointed group managing director in 2009 and later made
chairman in 2014.
His interests in Chase Bank are held through Sheghas Ltd, the
second-largest shareholder at the SME-focused lender with a 13.9 per
Deloitte said that the embezzling of Sh11 billion at Chase Bank had
left the lender running on empty as the heist had wiped out the
lender’s core capital of Sh9.6 billion as at December 2015.
READ: Chase Bank director borrowed Sh7.9 billion without security
The Central Bank of Kenya last week disclosed that it had seized
assets worth Sh7.9 billion from Mr Khan and Mr Kabui, which allowed
the re-opening of Chase Bank on April 27, 2016 after a three-week
The prime assets forcefully seized include a business park in Karen, a
three-acre parking lot in Nairobi, some 240 acres of land on Mombasa
Road, a three-acre plot next to the German Embassy on Riverside Drive
and various high-end properties in Dubai.
Deloitte said a further Sh3.1 billion was stolen from Chase Bank,
saying that Mr Khan had pointed a finger at finance manager Makarios
Agumbi and James Mwaura, the credit manager.
“The Sh3.1 billion we also believe was eventually channelled to the
chairman. We are looking for those properties as well,” said Deloitte
East Africa chief executive Sammy Onyango in his submissions.
The hefty interest-free loans were taken as insider borrowing and the
properties purchased were disguised as Musharakah — a sharia-compliant
financing used by Islamic banks —where partners form joint ventures to
co-own assets and share profits and losses in a ratio mutually agreed.
Some of these properties were already completed and generating income
but none of that income was going to Chase Bank, Deloitte said.
Mr Onyango said the ousted chairman had admitted to irregular
borrowing and confided in him as follows: “That is a mistake and we’re
going to transfer them immediately.”
Home Afrika FY EPS Loss [0.91] 2015 Earnings here
Closing Price: 1.45
Total Shares Issued: 405255320.00
Market Capitalization: 587,620,214
FY Revenue 259.773m vs. 687.301m -62.204%
FY Cost of sales [233.493m] vs. [447.027m] -47.768%
FY Gross profit 26.280m vs. 240.274m -89.062%
FY Other operating income 45.547m vs. 114.878m -60.352%
FY Operating expenses [349.906m] vs. [294.801m] +18.692%
FY Operating [Loss]/ profit [278.079m] vs. 60.351m -560.769%
FY Finance costs [132.720m] vs. [12.577m] +955.260%
FY Profit before tax [410.799m] vs. 47.774m -959.880%
FY [Loss]/ profit for the year [390.091m] vs. 8.955m -4,456.125%
FY [Loss]/ profit attributable to owners of the parent [367.646m] vs.
[Loss] per share [0.91] vs. [0.04] -2,175.000%
Total equity [41.709m] vs. 348.382m -111.972%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year 44.491m vs. 308.868m -85.595%
Deferred income and deposits from sales of Plots grew from 1.7b in
2014 to 1.8b in 2015
In line with our accounting policy, these amounts are carried as
current liabilities but will over the next two years convert to
revenues in our profitability statement as we increase the percentage
Total Assets grew to 3.9b in 2015 from 3.7b in 2014.
The Book Value of the group's inventory or land bank therefore grew
from 2.4b in 2014 to 2.9b in 2015
Current market valuation of group's inventory or land bank is in excess of 6b.
Their Land Bank is worth 10x the market cap.
Businessman Jacob Juma shot dead @thestarkenya
Controversial businessman Jacob Juma is dead. Juma was shot dead by
unknown people while driving past Lenana School Thursday night.
Nairobi CID boss Ireri Kamwende said the businessman was driving from
his bar at around 9.30pm when he was shot by gunmen who escaped on a