Daily Archives: April 18, 2017

Le symposium fiscal africain de l’IBFD arrive au Ghana

Le troisième symposium fiscal africain de l’IBFD se tiendra du 10 au 12 mai 2017 à Accra, au Ghana. S’appuyant sur le succès des deux derniers symposiums en Zambie et en Ouganda, cet événement de plus en plus populaire arrive en Afrique occidentale pour la première fois cette année. AMSTERDAM, April 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — […]

IBFD Africa Tax Symposium comes to Ghana

The third IBFD Africa Tax Symposium will take place from 10-12 May 2017 in Accra, Ghana. Building on the success of the past two symposia in Zambia and Uganda, this increasingly popular event comes to West Africa for the first time this year. AMSTERDAM, April 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Despite its relative infancy, this […]

Migrants Flee Libya as Weather Warms and Libyan Patrols Loom

ROME � Warm weather and calm seas usually spur smugglers to send migrants across the Mediterranean come spring. But aid groups say another timetable might be behind a weekend spike: the looming start of beefed-up Libyan coast guard patrols designed to prevent migrants from reaching Europe.

Over Easter weekend, rescue ships plucked some 8,360 people from 55 different rubber dinghies and wooden boats off Libya's coast, Italy's coast guard said. Thirteen bodies were also recovered.

While such numbers are not unheard-of for this time of year, they come as Italy is preparing to deliver patrol boats to Libya as part of a new European Union-blessed migration deal.

Italy and Libya inked a deal in February calling for Italy to train Libyan coast guard officers and to provide them with a dozen ships to patrol the country's lawless coasts. EU leaders hailed the accord as a new commitment to save lives and stem the flow of migrants to Europe, where the refugee influx has become a pressing political issue.

Aid groups, however, have criticized it as hypocritical and cruel, arguing that migrants who have already endured grave human rights abuses in Libya will face renewed violence, torture, sexual assault and other injustices if they are returned by the Libyan coast guard. Doctors Without Borders called it "delusional" while even the Vatican's own Caritas charity said it was worrisome.

International Organization of Migration spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said improved weather conditions certainly are fueling renewed flows in recent days. But he said smugglers are also telling their customers, "You have to hurry up and leave the country right now because otherwise in a couple of months you will be rescued by the Libyan coast guard and you will be sent back,' which is the last things that migrants would like to do."

The United Nations refugee agency also cited the pending arrival of Italian patrol boats as a possible cause for the weekend's high numbers, although spokeswoman Barbara Molinario said it was too early in the season to identify trends.

"For now it's premature, even if 8,300 in 55 operations is a high number," Molinario said.

Overall, Some 35,700 people have been rescued in the central Mediterranean route in 2017, up from 24,974 in 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said. Molinario noted that the numbers are constantly in flux and a week or two of poor weather could alter the year-on comparison. The IOM reports some 900 people are known to have died so far this year.

Some 800 people rescued over the weekend arrived in Sardinia on Tuesday, where officials struggled to find accommodation for them after some 900 were brought to the island by rescue boats last month. They hailed from Syria, Egypt and Libya, as well as more than a dozen other African countries.

The entry into force of the new Libyan patrols could heighten tensions that have already flared between the European Union and humanitarian organizations, which have assumed increasing role in rescuing migrants as their vessels tend to patrol closer to Libya's territorial waters, and their numbers have skyrocketed in the last two years.

The European border agency Frontex has said these humanitarian aid ships in 2016 were responsible for 40 percent of all rescues, up from 5 percent a year earlier. Frontex has essentially accused them of encouraging smugglers to set migrants off in increasing numbers and on increasingly flimsy vessels, since rescue is so close at hand.

"While there is no question that saving lives is an obligation of whoever operates at sea ... it seems the Libyan smugglers are taking full advantage of this fact, and they do so with impunity," Frontex spokeswoman Izabella Cooper said.

The aid groups have denied being in cahoots with smugglers, but Catania's chief prosecutor, Carmelo Zuccaro, testified to parliament last month about the phenomenon, in particular the funding behind the aid groups' operations.

Cooper says there are both "push and pull" factors at play in the Libyan migration saga, with wars, poverty and famine pushing the migrants to Libya and the relative ease with which they then can reach Europe pulling them to make the risky crossing.

But behind it all is money: Europol reported that smugglers made some 5-6 billion euros in 2015, a peak year for arrivals in the EU, making it one of the most profitable activities for organized criminals in Europe. On the Libyan end, an EU military task force reported in December that Libyan coastal communities earned around 270-325 million euros a year from smuggling operations.

Source: Voice of America

Post Office warns of scams

Pretoria - The South African Post Office (Sapo) has warned members of the public to be on alert of a parcel delivery scam designed to defraud them.

According to the Post Office, people are contacted telephonically by persons pretending to be from the customs division of the SA Post Office.

The caller informs them that a parcel is ready for collection � provided they first pay money into an account. According to the caller, the money is for customs duties and courier fees, the Post Office said on Tuesday.

Members of the public are directed to a website that appears similar to the Speed Services website. The phone number, however, is in the United Kingdom with a prefix of +44.

Customers are also given a pin which they have to enter before they can 'track' the fictitious parcel.

The Post Office said it does not use pin numbers for its tracking service.

The SA Post Office does not require customers to make any bank deposit before parcels are released. In instances where SARS levy import tax on parcels from abroad, the import tax must paid at the Post Office counter when the item is collected. The customer will receive a receipt for this payment, the Post Office said.

In instances where the Post Office has the cellphone number of the recipient, the customer will receive an SMS requesting him or her to collect the parcel at a specific Post Office branch.

The SMS will not request that funds be deposited into an account.

Members of the public that have information regarding this scam, are requested to call the SA police or the Post Office's Crime buster Hotline on 0800 020 070.

The SA Post Office has advised the public to ignore communication of this nature.

In one case, a member of the public was requested to pay R1500 in courier charges and R2000 in customs fees.

Source: South African Government News Agency

CAMEROON’S VERA SONGWE APPOINTED EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF UN-ECA

UNITED NATIONS, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Vera Songwe of Cameroon as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA).A statement on the commission's website Monday said Songwe is an economist ...