JUST IN: Ban Ki-Sang, Ban Ki-moon’s brother arrested in the US

Ban Ki-Sang, brother of Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations (UN) secretary general, has been arrested in the US for paying a $2.5 million bribe to buy an ailing skyscraper complex in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Trouble started for the 69 year old and Joo Hyun Bahn, his son, when the middleman stole the initial payment, and the three of them found themselves on the wrong side of the law in the US.

They were indicted Tuesday and charged with participating in an international bribery scheme.

According to the indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court, Ban Ki-Sang and Joo Hyun Bahn arranged to pay a $500,000 bribe upfront to the head of a middle eastern sovereign fund to buy the complex for $800 million, and another $2 million payment when the deal was closed.

Authorities said Malcolm Harris, a blogger who lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan, boasted of connections to middle eastern royalty.

He allegedly blew the $500,000 on luxuries, including expensive restaurants and hotels and a penthouse apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

A fourth man, Sang Woo, 35, of Edgewater, New Jersey, was also charged, with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law.

Lawyers for the four could not immediately be contacted for comment. Bahn and Woo were arrested and were scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, authorities said. Ban and Harris remain at large.

The skyscraper complex, known as Landmark 72, consists of two 48-storey residential towers and a 72-storey office tower that was the tallest in the region in 2012, when it was completed.

It was built for about $1 billion by Keangnam Enterprises Ltd, a South Korean firm where Ban was a senior executive.

In early 2013, the company struggled to make debt payments that were coming and was looking for an investor or buyer who could ease the cash crunch.

Ban convinced the firm to hire his son to find an investor. Bahn, who also went by “Dennis,” was working for a New York commercial real estate broker at the time and stood to make a commission of at least $5 million, prosecutors said.

Instead, the father-and-son team devised a scheme to bribe the unidentified Middle Eastern official through Harris, who held himself out as an insider who could use his influence to get the sovereign fund to buy the complex.

Harris told Bahn to use the word “roses” for the bribe payment.

Believing the bribe scheme would eventually work, Bahn allegedly created phony e-mails and other records to make it appear the deal with the sovereign wealth fund was coming together.

It was ultimately forced into receivership, the indictment said.

Ban Ki-moon Apologizes For UN Role In Haiti Cholera Epidemic

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has apologised for the first time to the people of Haiti for the international organisation’s role in a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed more than 9,300 people and infected over 800,000.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly we apologise to the Haitian people,” he said three times, in Haitian Creole, French and English, to the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

“We simply did not do enough with regards to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti … We are profoundly sorry for our role,” Ban said.

According to numerous independent experts, cholera was introduced to Haiti by infected Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent to the Caribbean country after the massive 2010 earthquake.

Cholera, a disease that is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhea, is a major challenge in a country with poor sanitary conditions.

The UN reiterated its rejection of claims that it is also legally responsible for the damages from the health emergency.

“We do not change our basic legal position,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told reporters on Thursday.

The UN chief also formally presented the 193-nation General Assembly with a “new approach,” a two-pronged programme to help the families of the cholera victims and support the battle against the disease.

The UN hopes the new proposal will raise $400m over two years, but funding for prior UN assistance to Haiti has been slow to arrive.

Read More: aljazeera

Child Abuse : UN Uncovers Fresh Claims In CAR

The UN rights chief Friday expressed alarm at new allegations of child abuse by foreign peacekeepers in the troubled Central African Republic, including cases involving European Union troops.

“Four of the girls said their abusers were attached to contingents operating as part of the European Union operation,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, adding that he was “extremely alarmed at continuing allegations.”

Last year, allegations of sex abuse were levelled at soldiers serving with French and UN missions in the country.

UN Condemns Yola Attack

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, on Thursday condemned Tuesday’s bomb attack in Yola, Adamawa, North-East of Nigeria, which claimed many lives and left others injured.

Ban, in a statement issued by UN Information Centre in Lagos, said no political or ideological objective whatsoever, should justify the killing of people.

“The Secretary-General condemns the bomb attack on 17 November in the city of Yola, in the North-Eastern state of Adamawa, Nigeria, which resulted in death of dozens and scores injured.

“He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the government and people of Nigeria, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

“The Secretary-General reiterates that no political or ideological objective whatsoever justifies the loss of life and terror to which civilians are being subjected,” the statement said.

The statement also restated UN’s support to the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism.

It also said that for the government’s effort at fighting terrorism to be effective, such effort must be grounded in international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

Ministry of Health Perm Sec Arrives After Ban Ki-Moon Leaves Polio Eradication Event

The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Linus Awute yesterday caused a stir when he arrived late for about eight minutes after the visiting United Nation Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon had departed a Primary Health Centre in Abuja venue of an event on polio eradication.

Awute also tried to rehash the event by vaccinating a child, while his press unit mobilised the press to capture him.

He, however, said Nigeria’s new government needed support to encourage and sustain tempo in “seeing that polio is completely eradicated.”

But Ban Ki-Moon commended Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts, pledging to mobilise necessary resources and financial support for the country to exit polio endemic countries by 2017.

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President Buhari Accepts Ban Ki Moon’s Invitation To World Leaders’ Meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday accepted an invitation from the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to a meeting of world leaders in New York.

The meeting is expected to formulate a fresh plan of action against extremism.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists. 

Shehu said President Barack Obama and President Francois Hollande of France are also expected to participate in the September 28 meeting which will, among other things deliberate on a new UN draft resolution on combating extremism worldwide.

He said the UN scribe also invited Buhari to a meeting of a select group of 25 World leaders in New York on September 27 to deliberate on a global climate change agreement.

The presidential spokesman said in offering the invitations, the UN scribe said they were in recognition of the political will demonstrated by Buhari in combating terror in Nigeria and dealing with environmental issues.

He said Ban applauded moves by the present administration to clean up  Ogoniland and promised the full support of the United Nations for the exercise.

“We will find ways to complement your leadership on environmental reform.  We are happy with your plans for the  restoration of Ogoniland and we will see how we can help,” he quoted the UN scribe as saying. 

Shehu added that Ban said the UN would welcome the President’s “input and experience” in finalising plans to introduce a new resolution against extremism at the General Assembly.

Ban Ki-Moon Demands Unconditional Release Of Chibok Girls

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, on Monday called for the unconditional release of the over 200 girls abducted in their school in Chibok, Borno State last year and other abductees of the Boko Haram sect.

Ban Ki-Moon made the appeal while addressing State House correspondents shortly after having a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as part of the activities lined up for his two-day visit to the country.

His call came the week the girls will be spending their 500th day in captivity.

He commended Buhari who he said had embarked on an agenda for change in which he was prioritising security and anti-corruption war.

He promised UN support for the President’s agenda, saying “When you change Nigeria, you have also changed Africa.”

Buhari on his part said they discussed the difficult time Nigeria had found itself during the meeting.

He said the step was taken so that the UN could assist the country.

He thanked Ban Ki-Moon for extending invitation to him to attend the UN General Assembly holding in New York on September 27 and 28.

The UN scribe will return to the Presidential Villa by 7pm for a dinner organised in his honour.

Nigeria Passing Through Crucial Moment, Says Ban Ki-Moon

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, has said Nigeria is currently passing through a crucial moment.

He, however, said that he was happy to know that despite this, the country was facing all the challenges with the needed vigour.

The UN scribe spoke in Abuja when he held a meeting with Nigerian governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum on Sunday.

He pledged the support of the UN to the desire of the leadership of the country’s leaders to move the nation forward.

Ki-Moon said governors also played pivotal roles in the country and the world, noting that they made policies and implement programmes for the people.

He said, “This is a crucial moment for Nigeria. And you have to take crucial steps to move the country forward. The United Nations is ready to help you. We have to work together to move the country forward.

“You (the governors) understand the peoples’ challenges and you have the power to help the people on education, power, development, institution building, security and others

“Nigeria occupies a pivotal place in the comity of nations. This is time of hope when we have a lot of challenges.

“I want to commend you for a successful election. Elections should serve as a rallying point for the people. But most often, it serves as a means of destruction but Nigeria has done well.”

He said he hoped that the governors would use the sustainable development goals for the development of their states.

While saying that local governments also play important roles in the implementation of the policy, he reminded the governors that no leader had the capacity of achieving this alone, and that leaders must carry the people along.

“No country or leader can do it alone. You have to build a relationship with the people to achieve your aims,” he said.

The governors in their welcome address, told Ki-Moon, that there had been no case of polio in the country for the past one year.

The Chairman of the Forum, who is also the Governor of Zamafara State, Alhaji Abdulazizi Yari, stated this while welcoming the UN scribe to the meeting with the governors.

He assured Ki-Moon of the resolve of the governors to eradicate polio from the country.

Yari said he was happy that the NGF was a product of the success recorded in the last general elections and that the governors had come together irrespective of party affiliation, to cooperate, collaborate and share ideas on how to bring development to Nigerians.

Yari said, “Let me reassure Your Excellency of the collective resolve of the governors to eradicate polio from our country, our states and local governments.

“In this wise, I’m delighted to inform Mr. Secretary General that since the last time you were here, Nigeria has made unprecedented strides in the fight against this scourge.

“In fact, this month marks one full year without any report of a new case of polio in any part of the country.”

He said governors and other stakeholders were already “working tirelessly through the instrumentality of campaigns, through vaccination, and the development of critical resources to ensure that by 2017, Nigeria will be certified polio-free.”

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, spoke on the challenges facing states, using his state as a case study.

The visiting Secretary General and the governors later went into a close-door meeting.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday play host to Ki-Moon at the Presidential Villa, Abuja at noon on Monday (today).

According to a media advisory signed by Mr. Oche Egwa on behalf of the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Buhari and Ban Ki-Moon will address a joint press conference at the end of their closed-door session.

Ban Ki-Moon, according to the statement, will later return to the Presidential Villa for a dinner to be hosted in his honour by the President by 7pm.

Kaduna State Government To Host The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon

Today, the Kaduna State Ministry of Budget & Planning (KADMBP), on behalf of the Kaduna State Government announced a dinner event in Abuja in honor of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.

The dinner is expected to take place after the meeting with the Nigeria Governor’s Forum. It is to be hosted by Governor Nasir El-Rufai. The Governor will assure Mr. Ki-Moon and his team of Kaduna’s genuine intention to partner with the UN in order to improve the economic and social conditions of the state. Specifically, the governor intends to have a brainstorming session about to fully execute the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kaduna.

Those expected to attend the event include Mr. Ki-Moon (as stated), Hajiya Amina J Mohammed, his Special Adviser on SDGs, as well as other members of his team. On the side of the Kaduna State Government, the Governor El-Rufai, Hadiza Bala Usman (Chief of Staff), Balarabe Abbas (SSG) Jimi Lawal (Special Adviser, Investment & Promotion), Muyiwa Adekeye (Special Adviser, Media & Communications) and the Honorable Commissioner of Budget & Planning, Mohammed Sani Abdullahi.

According to Mohammed Sani Abdullahi, the Commissioner of Budget & Planning of Kaduna State, “this meeting between the UN delegation and the El-Rufai-led administration further highlights the seriousness of the administration to partner with any stakeholder that can further the development of the state.” Sani Abdullahi added that, “the recent decisions of the administration to restructure the government and cut the running cost of the government has earned the administration a lot of credibility in the international community.”

Therefore, we call on Nigerians on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to follow the event using the #UN_Kaduna. We call on them to monitor, analyze, comment, commend or criticize the diverse developmental ideas that will surely emerge from the event. Finally, Commissioner Mohammad Sani Abdullahi will engage participants in a Q&A session at the end of the event. The Q&A will explore how the UN and its partners can aid the administration to improve critical issues such as

  1. Health & Social Welfare,
  2. Internal Security: Law & Order,
  3. A Good Governance System
  4. Agriculture & Natural Resource Management.

Ban Ki-Moon Commends Buhari’s Determination To Crush Boko Haram

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on Tuesday in New York, commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination in the fight against Boko Haram.

Ban said in a statement that he had noted Buhari’s determination to root out the menace. He commended the countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin for their steadfast efforts in the fight against Boko Haram.

The UN Chief strongly condemned the attacks by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin countries, including the deliberate targeting of Christian and Muslim worshippers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the northeast states of Borno and Yobe.

He extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Ban renewed his calls to support the operationalisation of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) through the provision of the requisite political, logistical and financial resources.

He also called for necessary expertise, consistent with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

Credit: NAN

Drugs: Ban Ki-moon Urges Indonesia Not To Execute Nigerian, Others

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has appealed to Indonesia to stop the planned executions of nine prisoners within days for drug-related crimes.

The nine – from Nigeria, Australia, Brazil, Ghana, the Philippines, and Indonesia – have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where they are set to face a firing squad, despite mounting international criticism.

Indonesia has so far informed eight of the death row inmates,

including one Nigerian, two Australian members of the so-called “Bali Nine” group, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday.

Officials said earlier that a 10th prisoner, the Frenchman Serge Atlaoui, who was expected to be among the group being put to death, would not be included in the forthcoming batch as he still had an outstanding legal appeal.

The United Nations opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and

in a statement, Ban’s spokesman said the secretary-general urged Indonesian President Joko Widodo to “urgently consider declaring a

moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition”.

Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap. Six executions have been carried out so far this year.

“Under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing and only with appropriate safeguards,” Ban’s spokesman said in a statement.

“Drug-related offences generally are not considered to fall under the category of ‘most serious crimes’,” he said.

The foreign drug convicts have all lost appeals for clemency from Widodo, who argues that Indonesia is fighting a drugs emergency.

Ban Ki-moon Asks INEC to Embark on Rapid PVCs Distribution

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has asked INEC to take advantage of the shift in polls to embark on rapid distribution of the remaining Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to all registered voters.

This is contained in a statement from the Secretary-General on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the postponement of Nigeria’s elections, initially scheduled for February 14 and 28. The statement was made available to the media by Oluseyi Soremekun, National Information Officer, UN Information Centre in Nigeria.

He urged, “the electoral authority to take all necessary measures, such as the rapid distribution of the remaining PVCs, to enable all eligible voters, including those displaced, to exercise their right to vote in a timely manner.  This is imperative for ensuring a credible, free and transparent election,” the statement said.

The statement also said that the UN scribe had spoken in a telephone conversation with President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday over the postponement of the election, and also to Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).

He had encouraged both Jonathan and opposition candidate Buhari to respect the Abuja Accord they adopted and which commits them to non-violence, peace and tolerance during the elections. “He looks up to Nigeria’s authorities to uphold their commitment to ensure a violence-free election and put in place adequate security measures, so that citizens across the country are able to exercise their civic duty safely and without fear,” the statement added.

The secretary-general expressed the hope that the forthcoming elections would meet the high expectations of the Nigerian people and the international community. “The successful conduct of these polls would strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and enable the country to continue to play a leading role in the promotion of regional peace and security,” Ban said.

Credit: NAN

UN Launches Urgent Appeal for Ebola Donations

UN chief, Ban Ki- moon, has launched yet another emergency appeal for funds to fight Ebola because the UN ran short of its target. He said a $1bn trust fund he launched in September has received just $100,000 (£62,000) so far. He joins a growing chorus of world leaders criticising the global effort to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

Donors have given almost $400m (£250m) to other UN agencies and aid organisations directly but the UN trust fund, intended to act as a flexible spending reserve, has itself only received pledges of just $20m (£12m). Of those countries that have pledged money to the trust fund, only Colombia has paid, giving $100,000 (£62,000).

The UN special envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, said the fund was intended to offer “flexibility in responding to a crisis which every day brings new challenges… It allows the areas of greatest need to be identified and funds to be directed accordingly,” he added.

Ban said, said it was time for the countries “who really have capacity” to provide financial and other logistical support. “