ethiopiantimes

May 2, 2011

Obama watched Bin Laden die on live video as shoot-out beamed to White House

Filed under: Uncategorized — ethiopiantimes @ 11:07 pm
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Obama watched assault on compound housing bin Laden in real time
Terror chief blasted in head after refusing offer to surrender

Three adults including Bin Laden’s ‘son’ reportedly killed in raid
Compound was yards from Pakistan’s ‘Sandhurst’ military academy

Body buried at sea after Saudi Arabia ‘declines to take corpse’
DNA tests 99.9 per cent certain man killed WAS Bin Laden

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Ethiopian Tax Authority Claims 210m Br in Back Taxes from Libya Oil

Filed under: Ethiopia,Lybia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:25 pm
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Oil Libya Ltd was ordered last week to pay 210 million Br in back taxes for the purchase of shares from Shell Ethiopia Ltd, to the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA).

Shell Ethiopia, which was established pursuant to the United Kingdom (UK) Companies Act, was engaged in the distribution of petroleum products in Ethiopia since 1948. Shell Petroleum, a London based company, was the major shareholder with 587,813 of the company’s total 587,817 shares.

Shareholders of Shell Ethiopia passed a resolution on November 14, 2008, to sell all its shares to Libya Oil for an amount they claimed was 99 million Br.

Libya Oil, owned by the Libyan government and registered in Mauritius, became operational in Ethiopia upon acquiring the shares of Shell Ethiopia on May 20, 2009.

Libya Oil had a registered capital of 60.1 million Br at the time, according to the data from the former Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoT).

The company has five major shareholders: Libya Oil Holding Ltd and Tamoil Africa Holding Ltd as well as three Libyan individuals named Sultan Abusahawashi, Saleh Saad Abdall, and Abadulsalah Yuneus.

Upon receiving the payment of seven million Br for capital gain tax dues from Shell Ethiopia following the share transfer, the ERCA issued a tax clearance certificate to the company.

However, in August 2010, the ERCA was approached by a Libya Oil employee claiming that the tax authority had been intentionally defrauded over the transfer of the shares between the companies to avoid paying taxes, according to sources inside the ERCA.

Subsequently, an investigation was launched into the matter by the authority which ended in England, according to sources inside the authority who were not authorised to comment.

Information was obtained from Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) and authenticated by the Ethiopian Embassy in London that Oil Libya acquired the downstream operations and assets of Shell in Africa for 323.4 billion Br, according to a senior official at the ERCA.

“Shell Ethiopia’s attorney in England also affirmed it and confessed that the companies had entered into a contract not to disclose the details of the agreement,” sources told Fortune.

Both companies acted intentionally to evade taxes, the ERCA claimed.

Had the real amount been disclosed, the capital gains tax would have amounted to 16 million Br.

The transaction between Shell Ethiopia and Libya Oil was not a mere transfer of shares but a transfer of business, some legal experts argued.

The experts were called in by the ERCA upon learning of the alleged fraud.

“Since such kinds of cases are unique for the authority, we were very careful in deciding everything,” a senior official at the ERCA told Fortune.

The group included instructors from the Law Faculty of Addis Ababa University (AAU) and notable legal experts such as Membere Tsehay, former president of the Supreme Court and now director of the Justice and Legal Systems Institute.

Shell Ethiopia vanished following the transfer of the shares, which is contrary to the normal transfer of shares which results in a change of shareholders while the company continues to operate, some of the experts argued.

Upon concluding the transaction to be a business transaction, the ERCA was advised by some experts to levy all the dues that are usual when a business is transferred. These are business profit tax, VAT, dividend tax, stamp tax, property tax, and capital gains tax.

A different legal argument was made by other experts who suggested that the transaction be considered a transfer of both shares and business property. This would allow the ERCA to levy capital gains tax, stamp tax, and dividend tax from the share transfer in addition to all the other taxes involved with a business transfer.

These different legal arguments on how to proceed with the case delayed the authority’s decision.

“The discussion lasted for about six months before a decision was made as a result of the international nature of the case,” sources disclosed.

The ERCA was finally convinced by the arguments of first group. The authority had little recourse but to take Libya Oil to task as Libya Oil Holding and Shell Petroleum had entered into a contract that Libya Oil would be liable for any debt or third party claims arising from their agreement.

The payment of 119 million Br in capital gains tax (including interest and penalties) and 91 million Br in dividend taxes that should have been declared truthfully and paid by the company to begin with was ordered by the authority.

Mengistu Demesse, deputy manager of Libya Oil, claimed the company had not received the notice, on Friday, April 29, 2011. He refused to say more.

The ERCA is also putting together a case to claim the taxes for a business transfer, which would not amount to less than the current claim, sources disclosed.

The company’s shareholders may also be held criminally liable for not declaring the correct sum of the share transfer, sources pointed out.

Supplying false information to the authority is regarded as a crime, according to the income tax law.

Questions arose about whether Ethiopian courts have the jurisdiction to try the case, since both companies are registered abroad.

Since Shell Ethiopia was established in Ethiopia, a regular tax payer, registered with the former MoTI, and all the dispute assets are situated in Ethiopia, Ethiopian federal courts have the jurisdiction to try the case, experts argued.

Over the past two years, the ERCA has paid around 33 million Br in rewards to informants who supply information about tax crimes and people who aided in the seizure of contraband and illegal items.

If the ERCA succeeds in securing its claim for 210 million Br, the informant would be paid around 41 million Br, the highest reward the authority has ever paid to an informant. To date, the largest payout was 2.5 million Br, in August 2010, to an informant who tipped off the authority about an individual who attempted to smuggle gold to Djibouti.

Uprising Realigns Qatar, Egypt Relations With Eritrea, Ethiopia

Filed under: Egypt,Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:02 pm

The North African uprising is having a dramatic impact on Egyptian and Qatari relationships with bitter rivals Eritrea and Ethiopia, with the latter benefiting from the new developments and Eritrea finding itself, once again, on the wrong side of the popular wave.

Prior to the uprising, Ethiopia regularly complained about Qatar and Egypt. In 2008, Ethiopia broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar accusing it of being “a major source of instability in the Horn of Africa.”

More recently, in an interview with awate.com, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused the Egyptian regime of having a colonial mindset with regards to the River Nile which it uses as a “political instrument” to “justify this gargantuan state, Egyptian state, which is there to protect the Egyptians vis-a-vis the Abd [slave] from the South.”

Meanwhile, the Eritrean government had excellent relations with Qatar, with the Eritrean president regularly scheduling a “working visit” to Qatar—using Qatar-donated presidential plane—to discuss “bilateral relations.” (Check here and here for “working visits” in 2011 alone.) In June 2010, Qatar also mediated the Djibouti-Eritrean border dispute of 2008, which Eritrea had been describing as a fabrication for nearly two years. (see the text of the mediation agreement, a pdf file, linked in our article here)

Similary, the Eritrean and the Hosni Mubarek regime saw eye-to-eye on ensuring that Sudan remain “united” (which ended up being a futile effort) and that Ethiopia does not have a dominant role in Somalia. Towards that end, the Eritrean strongman had close relationship with Egyptian spymaster Omar Suleiman, who had been promoted to the vice-presidency in the waning days of Hosni Mubarek. According to our sources, the upcoming report of the United Nations Sanctions Committee is going to include damning information on the government of Hosni Mubarek and its facilitation of illicit funds to Somali extremists, through Eritrea.

Qatar Changes

With the popular uprising against Libya’s Muammer Qaddafi, another friend of Isaias Afwerki, Qatar took a leadership role: it allied itself with NATO; its planes are employed in the bombing campaign against Qaddaffi, and it was one of the first nations to recognize the Bengazi-based Interim Transitional National Council. Its powerful network, Aljazeera, has been seen as the only ally to the people’s uprising, presenting an alternative to the stifling and heavily-censored state media. Many of the young revolutionaries in Egypt and Tunisia credit Aljazeera for the success of their revolution. Qatar, in short, is heavily-vested in ensuring the overthrow of the Qaddaffi regime.

In his interview with Eri-TV, Isaias Afwerki explained that questions that attempt to get to the bottom of choosing sides—with Qaddaffi or the opposition—are “childish games.”

In his interview with awate.com, Meles Zenawi explained that recognizing Libya’s “Interim Transitional National Council” is a formality: traditionally, he explained, Ethiopia doesn’t recognize governments unless the African Union does first.

Now, effective May 1, 2011, Qatar has directed its immigration authorities to deny entry to citizens of over a dozen countries, including Eritrea, who still support Libyan dictator Muammer Qaddaffi.

Egypt

An Egyptian public diplomacy delegation numbering 48 prominent personalities comprising of politicians, parliamentarians, judges, journalists and Tahrir Square youth arrived in Addis Ababa last week and were received by Ethiopian dignitaries. The delegation, which included Abdulhakim Gemal Abdelnasser (son of former Egyptian president Gemal Abdelanasser), was accompanied to Ethiopia by Mahmoud Dirir, Ethiopia’s new ambassador to Egypt.

The subject is the so-called Renaissance Dam: Ethiopia is building a dam estimated to cost more than US$ 4.5 billion on the Nile and it insists that the dam that is is building on the West of Ethiopia close to the Sudanese border will not hurt Egypt and it will not effect the flow of water but on the contrary it will save evaporation wastage of about 14 billion cubic meters of water.

On Saturday, after dinner, the host, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian ambassador to Egypt, as well as the head of the Egyptian delegation danced to celebrate the achievements of the “January 25 Revolution.” Sources also indicated that Egypt’s first post-Mubarek prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, is expected to visit Ethiopia for further talks with his Ethiopian counterpart.

The same night that the Ethiopians were partying with the Egyptians, Eritrean state TV was showing Isaias’s interview where he attempted to downplay the role of the popular uprising and credited/blamed foreign conspiracies for the development, specifically using “Fewda Khalaqa”—the Arabic phrase for “creative chaos”—for people who presumably have hijacked the revolution.

Isaias Afwerki, who lost his military and intelligence sponsor in Hosni Mubarek appears to be losing his main financial sponsor Gaddafi, and is now on the verge of losing Qatar, his diplomatic sponsor. And, historically, as goes Egypt, so goes Sudan

Nile Dam

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 4:10 pm
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Ethiopia has postponed its dam project till our presidential elections according to announcement on Al Hayat TV

Al-Shabab threatens revenge attacks for bin Laden’s death

Filed under: Africa,Kenya — ethiopiantimes @ 1:28 pm
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NAIROBI, Kenya — A survivor of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing who lost his eyesight in the al-Qaida terror attack sobbed Monday as he prayed in front of a wall commemorating those killed in the explosions that targeted embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Douglas Sidialo went to the site after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, and said Monday was a day to remember those who have died in terror attacks.
“This is a day of great honour to the survivors and victims of terrorism in the world,” Sidialo told AP Television News. “A day to remember those whose lives were changed forever. A day of great relief to us victims and survivors to see that bin Laden has been killed.”
East Africa has long felt al-Qaida’s presence. The group was blamed for the simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks that together killed 225 people. Members of Somalia’s militant group al-Shabab have pledged allegiance to al-Qaida, and a spokesman on Monday threatened revenge attacks for bin Laden’s death.
“The Americans have previously killed other Islamist leaders,” said Mohamed Osman Arus. “Their students will continue the jihad and we shall retaliate against the Americans, Israel, Europe and Christians in Somalia with destructive explosions.”
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on Monday said it was “important to remember” that hundreds of Kenyans and Americans were killed during the Aug. 7, 1998 embassy attack.
“Many innocent people of many nationalities and faiths have been killed by al-Qaida under the direction of Osama Bin Laden,” it said.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki commended all those involved in tracking down and killing bin Laden.
“His killing is an act of justice to those Kenyans who lost their lives and the many more who suffered injuries,” Kibaki said.
Major TV stations in Kenya simulcast live coverage from CNN and BBC. The news surprised some who felt the U.S. would never get bin Laden.
“It is good news for all Kenyans and for me in particular,” said Beatrice Wairimu, a beautician in Nairobi. “One of my cousins was injured in al-Qaida’s 1998 attack. I never expected that he will be killed. They have been searching for him for 10 years.”
Charles Muriuki, who lost his mother in the Nairobi blast, visited the memorial wall Monday.
“When I heard the news I felt very excited and justice has been served,” he said. “It’s been 12 years but finally justice has been served.”

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