In your local headlines this past week, the Ministry of Health and Social Services issued general regulations in terms of the Public and Environmental Health Act, 2015. The guidelines published in Government Gazette number 7342, state that visitors to Namibia must present a negative SARS-COV-2 PCR test result that is not older than seven days. The Minister of Health and Social services is on record as saying that these results should not be older than 72 hours. In other news, the Ministry of Finance has once again extended the annual individual income tax returns, this time to 1 March 2021. In news pertaining to next months local elections, an alliance of potential voters who want the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to extend or grant another period to register for the upcoming regional and local government elections has recently been formed.
President Hage Geingob, while addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, said as the world combats the COVID-19 pandemic, some United Nations member States face more obstacles in combating the virus than others, including those which have sanctions imposed on them, highlighting Zimbabwe specifically and calling for sanctions against the country to be lifted. Meanwhile, Knowledge Ipinge, the Regional Councilor of Walvis Bay Urban called on President Hage Geingob to urgently consider establishing a committee to investigate COVID-19 corruption and fraud. And in economic news, analysts suggested that gold prices could forge ahead to $4,000 per ounce in the next three years, but factors such as the development of a coronavirus vaccine and the November US elections could change the fortunes of the precious metal. This year has already seen gold prices shoot to record highs not seen since September 2011 as investors fleed to “safe haven” assets with prices last week surging to above $2,000 per ounce for the first time.
Meanwhile in South Africa, the trending forms of corruption between January and June this year have been maladministration, misappropriation of resources and procurement irregularities. This is according to Corruption Watch’s 2020 Analysis of Corruption Trends report. The organisation’s Kavisha Pillay told SAfm that for the second consecutive year‚ police corruption at 13 percent led in terms of overall complaints received.
In news from the rest of the continent, wildlife officials said the deaths of more than 300 elephants in Botswana this year, which sparked widespread alarm and left conservationists and veterinary surgeons baffled, were caused by toxins produced by cyanobacteria in water. High-ranking politicians and bureaucrats in South Sudan siphoned off at least $36m in public funds, sometimes with the connivance of international corporations and banks, a United Nations commission said. And in a regional security update, Mozambique formally asked the European Union for support to battle Islamist militants in its gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado, requesting support in logistics and specialised training for its soldiers.
On the International Front, several global banks moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds during nearly two decades, despite warnings about the organisations they were dealing with, BuzzFeed and other media reported, citing documents submitted by banks to the government. The ICIJ reported that the files which are partly based on documents filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, identify more than $2-trillion (or about N$32.6-trillion) of transactions between 1999 and 2017 that were flagged by internal compliance departments of financial institutions as possible money laundering or other criminal activity.
US President Donald Trump declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election on the 3rd of November, leading Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to say ‘a president not committing to the transfer is unacceptable’, while Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, equated Trump’s refusal to commit to a transition to the actions of a dictator. Keeping an eye on the situation in Belarus, the European Union (EU) said it does not recognize the leadership of Aleksander Lukashenko, who was secretly sworn in for a sixth term as president of Belarus. The high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borell said the new mandate claimed by Lukashenko lacked any democratic legitimacy.
And finally … One former police officer was charged with “wanton endangerment” in relation to the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor who died in a police shooting inside her own home in the US state of Kentucky in March.