Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Today in Seychelles Gagged

Today in Seychelles can no longer write about the Damienne Morel murder. Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey who will hear the murder case, issued an order that was served on the editor of the newspaper a few hours ago, prohibiting the newspaper from writing about the court proceedings without the court's order. 

The request for a gagging order was made by defence attorney Anthony Juliette. Juliette later tried to intimidate the daughters of late Damienne Morel outside the courtroom. He was talking to his client - Damienne's former husband and father of her two daughters - together with his family members when one of them asked the lawyer not to be too loud for fear the daughters would hear. Juliette then started swearing at them. Among them were four witnesses to the case. 

 The case was supposed to be heard by judge Burhan and no explanations were given to explain why the case would no longer be heard by the head of criminal division but instead by justice Twomey. In the first case she is presiding since her appointment, Matilda Twomey gags the free press. A dangerous precedent indeed.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Rajapakses used Bank Of Ceylon Seychelles branch for money laundering

(Lanka-e-News -24.Aug.2015, 11.30) The Financial crimes investigation department (FCID) that is conducting investigations based on a complaint had unearthed a wealth of information regarding the colossal sums of money earned fraudulently via robbery of public funds by the Rajapakse family which have been remitted to Seychelles Island and are with the Seychelles State . It is also revealed that the Bank of Ceylon branch which  was opened in Seychelles some time ago has been used as a center for their money laundering activities.

With a view to obtain the relevant files and the details of the account holders  in connection with the complaint , the FCID had submitted a B report  B-663/15 to the Fort magistrate.
Investigations had disclosed that there is no valid reasonable ground to open a Bank of Ceylon branch in Seychelles. Yet , from the beginning , when considering the money exchange that took place, a massive  sum in excess had been exchanged.
In the circumstances , it has come to light that the Rajapakse family had used the bank branch for its money laundering activities, and such monies have been used by  the Rajapakse family.The FCID is also probing into the passengers who travelled to Seychelles via Mihin Lanka airlines , and the officers of the Seychelles bank branch are also being questioned.

Meanwhile Gotabaya Rajapakse is scheduled to appear this morning  before the presidential commission which he was dodging  for a while. A statement is to be recorded of his pertaining to his involvements with Rakna Lanka establishment.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Who Are The Pirates Somalis Or Seychellois?

Robbers target at least three yachts in the Seychelles

On 11 August, the counter-piracy Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 conducted a joint operation in the Somali Basin aimed at strengthening international cooperation in preventing piracy and illegal trade in the region. The exercise involved both military and non-military authorities from Pakistan, South Korea, Spain, USA and Japan, who took part in the operation that also extended to the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. The operations indicate that, although levels of piracy have reduced in the region since the peak of activity in 2012, the threat remains of real concern on an international level.

Two late reports were received this week regarding robberies in the Seychelles. On 21 July at 0300 hrs local time, an unknown number of robbers boarded an anchored sailing yacht, Ceilydh, in Victoria Harbour, Seychelles. The robbers swam to the yacht, boarded and stole personal electronic items, a small amount of cash and the yacht’s dinghy, which was tied alongside. The robbers used the stolen dinghy to board another yacht which was anchored nearby and stole additional personal electronic items and jewellery. The dinghy was later found abandoned on a nearby beach. On 24 July, a sailing yacht, SY Imagine, was boarded by two robbers while anchored off Eden Island, Victoria, Seychelles. The yacht owner fired a flare to try and discourage the robbers. However, one robber took a second flare and fired it into the yacht cabin, starting a small fire. The yacht owner threatened the robbers with a machete and the robbers attacked the owner’s wife with a broom handle. The robbers escaped with a few personal items.
These are the first reported cases of robberies against maritime targets in the Seychelles. Since the beginning of the piracy crisis in the High Risk Area, the Seychelles has gone to considerable lengths to protect its tourism and fishing industries, and it is possible these incidents will prove to be isolated incidents of localised criminality aimed only at wealthy pleasure boat owners. Nonetheless, vessels should ensure crew are alert to these break-ins while the criminals remain at large.




Saturday, 8 August 2015

Drink and heroin killed sailor in Seychelles - but was alcohol spiked?

ROYAL Navy engineer Charlie Warrender, who was found dead while on active service in the Seychelles islands, had traces of heroin in his system, it has been confirmed.
But it is understood investigators are looking into the possibility that his drink may have been spiked as he and fellow crew members of HMS Richmond visited the island from their ship in May.
An inquest opening has heard the 22-year-old former Grimsby student from North Thoresby died from the combined effects of alcohol and heroin intoxication with positional asphyxia.
He was found dead at 6.30am near the docks in the main port of Victoria.
Seychelles Police said the death was suspicious because the serviceman had a head injury.
Toxicology tests later confirmed traces of heroin in his system.
Several crew members were out with the engineer technician on the evening before his body was found.
The coroner for Grimsby and North Lincolnshire, Paul Kelly, is awaiting a reports from the island police and the Royal Navy who have interviewed crew members.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said Seychelles Police have primacy in the investigation.
She said: "The Royal Navy undertook an Immediate Ship's Investigation (ISI) into the circumstances surrounding this incident.
"The purpose of the ISI was to review the ship's leave and security policy at the time of the incident.
"This was not an investigation into ET Warrender's death, for which the Seychelles Police have primacy. Therefore, the ISI did not inquire into, assess or analyse any matters or material which may prejudice the findings of the Seychelles Police investigation.
"A review of the ISI is now being carried out to determine if there are any immediate lessons that should be identified."
The former Louth King Edward VI Grammar School pupil was serving on Portsmouth-based ship HMS Richmond, which was part of Operation Kipion in the Indian Ocean at the time.
At the time of the tragedy his family issued a statement describing Charlie as "a charismatic and loving young man, who made everyone who met him smile."
The family statement said: "He was extremely proud to serve in the Royal Navy and was thoroughly enjoying travelling the world, progressing his career as a Marine Engineer."

While on board HMS Richmond he played an active part in operations supporting UK Sovereign Territories in the South Atlantic, Defence Engagement with Chilean forces, counter narcotics duties in the North Atlantic and service in the Indian ocean.
Charlie was a former Franklin College student, who spent time with Humberside Engineering Training Association (HETA) in Stallingborough.
A guard of honour was held by The Royal Navy at his funeral in June at Grimsby crematorium.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Human Trafficking Report 2015 - Seychelles Tier 2

James Michel
Seychelles is a source country for children subjected to sex
trafficking and a destination country for foreign men and women
subjected to labor and sex trafficking, respectively. Seychellois
girls and, according to some sources, boys are induced into
prostitution—particularly on the main island of Mahe—by peers,
family members, and pimps for exploitation in nightclubs, bars, guest
houses, hotels, brothels, private homes, and on the street. Young
drug addicts are also vulnerable to being forced into prostitution.
Foreign tourists, sailors, and migrant workers contribute to the
demand for commercial sex in Seychelles. Eastern European
women have been subjected to forced prostitution in private
homes. Migrant workers—including those from China, Kenya,
Madagascar, and various countries in South Asia—make up
20 percent of the working population in Seychelles and are
primarily employed in the fishing and construction sectors. Migrant
workers are subjected to forced labor in the construction sector.
NGOs report migrant workers face exploitative conditions in fish
processing plants, and fishermen aboard foreign-flagged fishing
vessels in Seychelles’ territorial waters and ports are subjected to
abuses indicative of forced labor, including nonpayment of wages
and physical abuse.
The Government of Seychelles does not fully comply with the
minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however,
it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting
period, the government adopted anti-trafficking legislation and
began implementation of the 2014-2015 national action plan.
The national anti-trafficking committee, in collaboration with
international donors, began the development of a victim assistance
tool and conducted an extensive national awareness campaign
on trafficking. However, the government did not report any
prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders and did not
identify any trafficking victims. The government deports migrant
workers working for state-owned or private companies for
participating in strikes to protest poor employment conditions
without conducting comprehensive investigations and screenings
to identify if the individuals were victims of forced labor.
Use the newly adopted anti-trafficking legislation to investigate and
prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking
offenders; amend the penal code to harmonize the duplicative and
contradictory sections addressing sexual offenses—particularly
those related to the exploitation of children in prostitution—to
ensure the prohibition of and sufficiently stringent punishment for
the prostitution of all persons under 18 years of age and the forced
prostitution of adults; provide specialized training to government
officials—including members of the national committee on human
trafficking, law enforcement officials, social workers, and labor
inspectors—on how to identify victims of trafficking and refer
them to appropriate services; implement the national action plan
to combat human trafficking and dedicate appropriate resources
towards its implementation; provide adequate resources to labor
inspectors to conduct regular and comprehensive inspections of
migrant workers’ work sites and inform the migrant workers of
their employment rights; institute a standardized contract governing
the employment of domestic workers within private homes;
and continue awareness campaigns on trafficking to increase the
understanding of the crime among the local population and the
large number of foreign tourists and migrant workers entering
the country.
The government demonstrated minimal efforts to identify and
protect victims. It did not identify or provide protective services to
any trafficking victims. There are no shelters or protective services
specifically for trafficking victims in the country. The Department
of Social Affairs provided counseling to women in prostitution,
some of whom may have been victims of forced prostitution.
The national anti-trafficking committee began the development
of a victim assistance tool, which will include standard operating
procedures and victim identification and referral mechanisms; the
tool was not finalized at the end of the reporting period. There
were no reports of victims being penalized for unlawful acts
committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking; however,
the lack of formal identification procedures likely resulted in some
victims remaining unidentified in the law enforcement system.
Additionally, migrant workers who strike are considered to be in
breach of their work contracts and can be deported at the will of
their employers. Several migrant workers who gathered to protest
a variety of abuses relating to their employment were deported
during the reporting period; these deportations took place without
conducting comprehensive investigations or screenings to identify
if the individuals were victims of forced labor.
The government increased prevention efforts. The national
anti-trafficking committee served as a coordinating body for
collaboration and communication on trafficking matters; the
committee met regularly during the reporting period, but did not
receive a dedicated budget and relied on ad hoc funding from
various government agencies. As a result, the implementation of
the 2014-2015 national action plan was slow and many activities
remained in early planning stages. The government conducted
a two-month nationwide media campaign to raise awareness
on trafficking; the campaign was funded by an international
organization. As part of this campaign, the Ministry of Home
Affairs and Transport developed a website to educate the general
public on how to identify and report trafficking offenses. The
Ministry of Labor and Human Resource Development employed
11 labor inspectors responsible for conducting inspections of
all workplaces in the country and one labor officer assigned to
inform all migrant workers of their employment rights; government
officials acknowledged this number was inadequate and inspectors
lacked basic resources to perform their duties adequately. Despite
several complaints by migrant workers, primarily in the construction
sector, about poor working conditions, nonpayment of salaries,
and retention of passports, the government has never identified
a case of forced labor in the country. The government made no
discernible efforts to decrease the demand for commercial sex acts
or forced labor during the reporting period. The government did
not provide anti-trafficking training or guidance for its diplomatic


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Gill Wants Tight Control On Businesses On Praslin.....Who is the Communist?

The Seychelles Chamber of Commerce Sub Committee Praslin chaired by Christopher Gill, held a meeting today, with the Fair Trading Commission delegation headed by Mr. Francis Lebon. The meeting was attended by 40 people in total and addressed key issues facing the Praslin economy.

The Fair Trading Commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) to share information on cases concerning abuse, manipulation, and fraud upon the free market system.

The issues discussed focus first on the monopoly practice in place on the Mahe-Praslin ferry route. This route has a price scheme that is unregulated, and route schedule is unregulated as well.
The FTC collected information to further its investigation.

The second area of discussion was the destination management company’s (DMC) control over Praslin under its current business model. Members asserted that this was in fact a monopoly in play with DMC now in the hotel business, excursion business, restaurant, transfer, and even bicycle business. The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) advised that they are aware of the problem and are perusing the matter aggressively given that Praslin has the largest amount of boat excursion charters in all of Seychelles.

The third issue discussed was the trans-shipment of perishables to be dumped on Praslin such as bread. This practice must stop, and the SCCI asked the government to take the necessary steps to cease this practice.

The fourth issue focused on cargo trading. There is 1,000 tons of capacity and only 90 tons of demand per day. Contractors must have their cargo license restricted to their own business, and must not be permitted to ship third-party cargo in order to protect the investments of dry-cargo shippers.
The fifth issue discussed was the cartel on cement sales which many believe involve Investment Promotion Act (IPA) tax-free cement. This is a fraud, and the FTC must take action.
The next meeting will take place in August as the matters discussed are urgent.