Displaying items by tag: Corruption
The election of Ebrahim Raisi, sanctioned by America for his involvement in mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competitors found themselves disqualified from running. That sparked calls for a boycott, and many stayed home. 28.9 million voted out of 59 million eligible voters, and 3.7 million voided their ballots. The low turnout and voided ballots suggest unhappiness with the tightly-controlled election, as activists criticised Raisi's ascension. Those casting ballots received stamps on their birth certificates. Not having a stamp could affect their ability to apply for jobs and scholarships, or to hold onto their positions in the government or the security forces. Iran accused Washington of claiming that last week’s election was neither free nor fair. Amnesty International wants Raisi investigated for crimes against humanity, murder, enforced disappearance and torture. See
On 10 June a bipartisan group of members of the US Congress launched a caucus against foreign corruption and kleptocracy at a virtual kickoff event. The new caucus will focus on fighting global corruption and kleptocracy (authoritarian governance model in which foreign officials use corruption to maintain their power and grow their influence in countries). Transparency International said this caucus is a clear recognition of the importance of combating global corruption by leaders, which has increased since the pandemic. Corruption, including stolen and misappropriated relief funding, harsh crackdowns on pandemic reporting in the media, and attempts to appropriate or dismantle democratic and rule-of-law institutions, robs all those in need of urgent aid.
BBC chairman Richard Sharp said failures of ‘accountability and transparency’ existed until 2020. The BBC will review editorial practices and investigate how journalist, Martin Bashir, was re-hired as religion editor in 2016, after an inquiry found he used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to secure an interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. The BBC accepted the findings and reiterated its apology. The Duke of Cambridge said his mother was failed ‘not just by a rogue reporter’ but by BBC bosses. An enquiry found Bashir had faked bank statements to suggest Princess Diana was under surveillance - to win the trust of her brother Earl Spencer, and eventually gain access to the princess for the 1995 interview. Then as media interest in the interview increased, the BBC covered up its knowledge of how Bashir secured the interview. Now the BBC board ‘hopes to ensure the mistakes of the past could not be repeated’. Pray for truth, humility and justice run through all reporting and commentaries.
The UK has joined other European countries and donated €500,000 to a human rights project investigating the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. The longtime dictator denies human rights abuses in his country despite overwhelming evidence gathered by journalists and NGOs. The project will collect, store, and build evidence of human rights violations and torture against the people which may in future be used in independent criminal proceedings. The initiative is led by a coalition of expert NGOs and supported by the UK, Denmark, Germany, and other international partners to hold Lukashenko’s regime to account for violations following the rigged Presidential election in 2020. This independent initiative, free from political interference, will help defend democracy, media freedom and human rights. It will help the Belarusian people take a vital step further towards securing justice.
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).