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Nigerian athletes convicted for fraud after FBI investigation



Nigeria’s athletics federation says last week’s conviction of two of its athletes for their part in a fraud scheme uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “sad and damaging” for the country.

On 10 November, Emmanuel Ineh and Toluwani Adebakin were convicted for transferring tens of thousands of dollars to the West African country as part of what the American justice department called “a complex fraud scheme”.

Prosecutors said the scheme involved athletes from multiple higher-learning institutions in the USA, with African Under-18 triple jump record holder Ineh, 23, and sprinter Adebakin, 25, operating part of the conspiracy while team-mates at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“It’s really sad and damaging, not just to the image of the sport or federation, but Nigeria as a country,” Dare Esan, a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), told reporters.

Two Nigerian athletes, Toluwani Adebakin and Emmanuel Ineh, convicted for  fraud in the U.S., to serve 10yrs imprisonment

Emmanuel Ineh and Toluwani Adebakin were convicted for transferring tens of thousands of dollars to the West African country as part of what the American justice department called “a complex fraud scheme”.

“This kind of action could potentially affect other young athletes seeking scholarships to American schools. It dents the incredible achievements other honest athletes have created in the world.

“But we know America is a country with justice and fairness, so whoever is found guilty will be punished and made to pay the price for their own actions.”

Following the FBI’s investigation, the pair pleaded guilty to violations of the United States code, having engaged in unlawful activities and having ‘sent tens of thousands of illicitly obtained proceeds to fraudsters in Nigeria as part of a larger mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy’.

Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on 15 February next year in Hattiesburg, and face a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

“Sadly, wire fraud and other criminal activities are not limited to athletics but have become a national problem that must be fixed,” said Esan.

“Imagine someone like Ineh, who’s won an African [Youth] Games medal, to be caught up in this? You allow yourself and bank details to be used for fraud and decide to derail your career – for what?

“It’s sad and disappointing to see young athletes with great potential go this route in life.”

Sentencing set for February

A federal district judge will determine any sentence for Ineh, who finished in eighth place at the 2018 African Athletics Championships, and Adebakin, whose career has not shown such promise, after considering sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Ineh is one of Nigeria’s fast-rising long jump and triple jump talents, having moved to the University of Alabama earlier this year.

An African Youth Games silver medallist and continental age champion in the triple jump in 2018, his 8.16 metre long jump mark set last year remains the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) record.

Adebakin graduated from the University of South Florida in May with a dual degrees, a master’s degree in sports entertainment and an master’s in business administration (MBA).

He spent two years at William Carey University and won a national championship in the 4x400m relay.

♦ Culled from the BBC

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Home Office ordered to give full cost of Rwanda deportation plan



Top civil servant summoned to give ‘full and frank’ answers after costs of scheme rose from £140m to £290m

The Home Office has been ordered to disclose the full costs of Rishi Sunak’s secretive deal to deport migrants to Rwanda, as insiders told of turmoil within the department over the controversial policy.

Matthew Rycroft, the permanent secretary of the Home Office, will be hauled before the public accounts committee on Monday, after the initial costs of the scheme rose from £140m to £290m.

He was also accused of showing an “extreme lack of respect” towards the home affairs and public accounts committee over the way the Home Office disclosed the costs, days after refusing to be transparent.

It is a further headache for Sunak as he tries to get his emergency legislation aimed at overturning court objections to the Rwanda scheme through the Commons on Tuesday. Rightwingers in his party are saying it is not hardline enough and centrist Tories are concerned that it undermines human rights.

His team are set to spend the weekend pressing Tory MPs to back the legislation, despite a lack of legal certainty about the workability of the plan. According to the Times, the government’s own legal advisers have said there is a no more than 50% chance of deportation flights leaving for Rwanda before the next election.

With pressure mounting on the Home Office, a source close to James Cleverly, the home secretary, appeared to blame his sacked predecessor, Suella Braverman, for the way the department has been run up until now.

“It’s not easy for departments that have been for months in the grip of one way of doing things that tended to produce headlines, to very quickly and successfully adjust to another way of doing things that within weeks produces results,” the source said. “But that is what they are doing.”

Culled from the Guardian

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Burkina abandons French as an official language



The Burkinabè government adopted on Wednesday a bill revising the Constitution and henceforth enshrining national languages ​​as official languages ​​in place of French which is relegated to the rank of “working language”.

The report of the Council of Ministers specifies that this bill “is part of the realization of one of the main missions of the transition which consists of initiating political, administrative and institutional reforms to strengthen the culture democratically and consolidate the rule of law.

Among the “major innovations” of this new text is “the establishment of national languages ​​as official languages ​​in place of French which becomes the working language”.

Earlier this year, Mali, governed like Burkina by the military and which also maintains terrible relations with France, had modified its Constitution by referendum and reserved the same fate for the French.

This bill, which must still be voted on by the Transitional Legislative Assembly, also provides for “the establishment of traditional and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms”.

The Constitutional Council sees its missions expanded while institutions are abolished such as the High Court of Justice which judges senior political figures or the Mediator of Faso.

Finally, the powerful National Intelligence Agency (ANR) sees its status reinforced by now being protected in the Constitution.

In recent months, several demonstrations for the adoption of a new Constitution have taken place in the country. Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who came to power in September 2022, had promised a partial modification of the Constitution two months ago.

“The writing of a new Constitution is a question of political, economic and cultural sovereignty. No one can truly flourish from the concepts of others,” Prime Minister Apollinaire Joachimson Kyelem of Tambela declared on Friday, alluding to texts modelled on the French constitution.

Since Captain Traoré came to power, Burkina has moved away from France, a former colonial power and historic partner, while moving closer to Moscow.

Since 2015, Burkina has been caught in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups, which were already hitting neighbouring Mali and Niger and which left more than 17,000 dead.

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Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says if Trump is nominee, he’ll vote for Biden



Former Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger describes himself as politically “homeless,” at odds with a party he views as “anti-constitutionalist.” He believes former President Donald Trump will be the 2024 Republican nominee — and if that’s the case, Kinzinger intends to vote for President Biden.

Kinzinger was one of two Republicans to serve on the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot that sought to derail congressional certification of Biden’s victory.

The other Republican on the committee was Liz Cheney, who says she’s considering a third party bid for the White House, although she told CBS “Mornings” Thursday, “I won’t do anything that would help him,” she said, when asked about possibly running as a third-party candidate.

Kinzinger shares that concern. “If a run as an independent for Liz Cheney damages Donald Trump, then I think it’s smart. Go for it, right?” Kinzinger said.  “The only concern I have, and this is with any third-party attempt is, you know, are you going to just take away from Joe Biden?…Donald Trump is the big threat to the country in 2024.”

Kinzinger, author of the new book “Renegade,” appeared on this week’s episode of “The Takeout” with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett.

Asked about Trump’s sizable polling lead in the race for GOP nominee, Kinzinger said, “If I was betting Vegas odds right now, I would put all my money [that] Donald Trump will be the nominee.”

But Kinzinger said the federal charges Trump faces related to his alleged role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election could upend the nominating contest. He noted that Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows, could play a big part in Trump’s Jan. 6-related trials.

Culled from the CBS News

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