Displaying items by tag: Corruption
Fraudsters are sending out fake texts offering a Covid vaccine, trying to steal personal and financial information. Other scams include selling fake Covid cures and non-existent or low- quality PPE, as well as posing online as official sources to steal personal and banking details from victims. One scam message reading 'We have identified that you are eligible for your vaccine' prompts people to click on a link to 'apply’ for it. Pray for more police warnings about providing financial details to strangers. Criminals preying on people's fears over the pandemic are stealing millions of pounds, according to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. There have been fraud attempts posted on local Facebook pages and an ‘extremely convincing’ fake NHS website. Action Fraud warns people to never give out personal details to organisations or people before verifying their credentials first, even if the message appears to be genuine. See
Pastor Paul Song was a volunteer prison chaplain at HMP Brixton for 19 years, bringing many to Christ. In 2015, a Muslim imam became senior chaplain and placed heavy restrictions on the pastor's ministry, eventually banning him from the prison without explanation. Numerous other Christian prison volunteers leading Alpha courses, Christian drama courses, prayer groups and other vital ministries were banned from the prison. After taking the Ministry of Justice to court, Pastor Song was promised he would be allowed to return. But then he spoke to the media about the reality of Islamic extremism and radicalisation at HMP Brixton (see). As a result, he was suspended from prison work for ten years. He sought a judicial review of this decision on 12 January. At the time of writing the outcome is not known.
Last week we prayed for change and the need for reforms to alter the way Turkey polices, prosecutes, judges, and imprisons its residents. Almost all Kurdish mayors have been replaced by government-appointed administrators. Judges whose verdicts disagree with government diktats are probed and often punished. 63,014 people were prosecuted for insulting President Erdoğan between 2014 and 2019; 9,554 of them were sentenced. A political analyst said Erdoğan's reform program survived only nine days, and his charm offensive is fake and is too little too late. He wants Turkey to continue as a third-world democracy while hoping to lure foreign investment on the same terms as a Western democracy, but investors are leaving. The economy is in freefall, with double-digit inflation and central bank interest rates up to 15%, while unemployment rises sharply. Erdogan promises to democratise, hoping to reverse the economic downfall, but that will not happen without real reforms.
A lot can happen in seven days. A president was ousted. An interim president resigned. A new president was sworn in. The nation is in political upheaval, with Peruvians in protests marked by accusations of police brutality and a devastating economic decline. They also have the third highest per capita Covid mortality rate. Beneath these pressing issues lies an even more critical spiritual reality. Though 94% claim to be Christian, the majority have yet to know the life-changing love, freedom, and forgiveness of Jesus. Most adhere to traditional Catholicism, often mixed with indigenous beliefs. Fifteen people groups remain tragically unreached by the Gospel. See
Mariam Mbula is currently senior pastor with Salvation Proclaimers Anointed Church (SPAC Nation). Its leaders, including Mariam, encourage young congregants to take out loans and give huge sums to the church. The church was founded by Tobi Adegboyega, who is worth 2.5million and drives a £150,000 Rolls-Royce - number plate PA5TOR. An investigation is under way into fraud allegations and offences relating to individuals associated with SPAC. The church denies financially exploiting young people, saying it has a ‘robust complaints procedure’ and ‘well-run disciplinary system’ and ‘is not responsible for what goes on inside individual leaders' or members' houses’. It attracts large numbers of BAME and helps them leave a life of gangs, drugs and knife crime. For a documentary, see For background, see
Father José Arieira de Carvalho, a Portuguese priest who has lived in the DRC for over a decade, reported a critical situation in the north-eastern part of the country ‘where rebel groups roam across the region, looting and murdering. Recently the Lisasa village suffered a violent attack by rebel troops, claiming at least 21 lives, including that of catechist Richard Kisusi. There are reports that a Catholic church was defiled, several houses were burned down, and a medical post was looted. Bishop Sikuli Paluku Butembo-Beni called upon UN forces stationed in the region to protect the civilian population from attacks. In view of the escalating violence, the need for protection is becoming ever more pressing. The wealth of minerals has transformed certain regions of the country into a battleground for violent factions, bringing hardship and suffering to the people. It is believed there is a conspiracy between internal and external players to obscure ruthless exploitation of natural resources (mining, oil, woodland, and land).
Protests against police brutality subsided after a violent crackdown: see Now the police chief has ordered more police resources after the curfew gave way to widespread vandalism and looting, including government food warehouses stripped bare. Shopping malls, TV stations, and banks were targeted, and also retail stores in popular Lagos shopping districts. Violence and looting have been reported in most states. Amnesty International said, ‘The turmoil has seen the worst street violence since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999. Wealthy politicians and individuals have been looted, emboldening hoodlums that crimes of this magnitude are achievable. In an effort to quell unrest, the government announced that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) would be disbanded, and promised a host of reforms. But demonstrators are sceptical of government promises without clearly-specified timeframes. Pray for the police to successfully and peacefully prevent further hooliganism. See also
In response to protests which began on 9 July, Boyko Borisov proposed reforms to the constitution which have been decried by protesters as a means of keeping his government in power until the next elections. Rallies have been mostly peaceful, but there have been occasional clashes with police and some arrests. Transparency International ranks Bulgaria as the most corrupt of the 27 nations in the EU. The economy is said to be one of the poorest in Europe, mainly due to corruption. A 2019 report on corruption in Bulgaria said that at least 35% of public procurement contracts involve corrupt practices. Currently the European Parliament is discussing the ongoing anti-corruption protests, after some of the movement's leaders sent letters to Brussels requesting support, but the Bulgarian government isn't backing down. See
Nearly half of world exports come from countries that fail to punish foreign bribery. That’s half of G20 countries and eight of the top 15 global exporters. Since 2018, fewer countries have been actively working against foreign bribery. One obstacle to enforcement is shell companies which cover up payments, making it difficult for authorities to trace the origin and destination of money. But even when countries actively enforce against foreign bribery, victims’ compensation is rare and most proceeds of corruption are never returned to countries or citizens. Citizens of countries where multinationals bribe public officials pay higher prices than they otherwise would for possibly lower-quality goods and services. Public money wasted on unnecessary contracts and deals deprives people of essential services like education and healthcare. The EU’s seven-year budget for Covid-19 recovery funds are at risk of abuse unless open, data-driven mechanisms to protect public contracts are put in place.
This week the International Justice Mission invites us to join in praising God for a huge step forward in the class-action lawsuit that IJM Kenya helped bring against police, demanding greater accountability. One of the requests in the petition has been granted, and the court has ordered the inspector general to investigate 22 cases of police killings that were documented and presented as part of this petition. This case is important because it shows that the Kenyan government can be held accountable for the actions of its officers.