A South Korean court sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to eight more years in prison on Friday after finding her guilty on charges of causing loss of funds from the state spy agency and interfering in 2016 parliamentary elections.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Park, who already received a 24-year jail term over separate corruption charges, colluded with her former aides to cause the loss of government funds worth 3.3bn won ($2.91m) from the National Intelligence Service.
“The accused received some three billion won over three years from the three NIS chiefs. Through this crime, the accused incurred a considerable amount of loss to the state treasury,” said senior judge Seong Chang-ho at the Seoul Central District Court.
Three former NIS chiefs testified they had funnelled the funds to Park on her orders, the court said.
The judge rebuked Park, who denied the charges, for being “uncooperative” throughout the court hearing and questioning by prosecutors.
She was also found guilty of interfering in the then-ruling Saenuri Party’s selection of candidates for the parliamentary election.
Prosecutors had earlier demanded a 15-year sentence for Park.
Park, 66, has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She was found guilty by a lower court in April of separate charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She was also fined $16m.
She now faces a total of 32 years in prison.
Impeached and removed from office
In December 2016, South Korean legislators overwhelmingly voted to impeach Park but she refused to resign, offering instead an apology while denying any legal wrongdoing.
Three months later, the eight-member Constitutional Court voted unanimously to remove her from office.
She was charged and arrested soon after her dismissal from office in 2017.
She is the daughter of another former president, Park Chung-hee, who seized power in 1961 and was assassinated eight years later.
Park could potentially get an even longer jail time depending on the rulings of the appeals courts.
Following the earlier ruling in April, prosecutors appealed Park’s 24-year term on charges including bribery and abuse of state power and are now demanding 30 years in prison.
The Seoul High Court will rule on the case on August 24.
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Mali: Apex court upheld Keita’s re election
Mali’s constitutional court on Monday confirmed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s re-election in a run-off ballot, rejecting fraud accusations by the opposition candidate.
The decision clears the way for Keita to be inaugurated next month for a second five-year term, at a time when Malian authorities are contending with rising violence by jihadist groups and ethnic militia.
Challenger Soumaila Cisse had contested the electoral commission result of the Aug. 12 vote, which showed Keita winning 67 percent.
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The election was tainted by armed attacks in the centre and north, where hundreds of polling stations remained closed, and a turnout of only 34 percent reflected fears of violence as well as voter apathy.
Cisse says he would have won 51 percent of the vote but for ballot box stuffing and other cheating by Keita’s camp. Keita rejected the allegations.
The European Union observer mission and other local and international monitors said that, despite a number of irregularities and disruptions, they saw no evidence of fraud.
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Nigeria: More bodies discovered from collapsed building in Abuja
But relatives of the victims had protested the decision of the government, insisting that about 18 workers were still trapped under the rubble.
They were dispersed by policemen who fired tear gas and shots into the air.
The rescue team consisting of officials of FCT Emergency Management Agency, National Emergency Management Agency, firefighters and Julius Berger Plc ended the rescue operations around 8am after they failed to find victims.
But the youths who were annoyed by the removal of the payloaders and other equipment attempted to take over the site, insisting that many victims were still trapped under the debris and should be rescued.
The Coordinator, Abuja Municipal Metropolitan Council, Umar Shuaibu, had explained that the rescue workers could not find any signs of life or body, adding that they deployed the necessary equipment for the job.
He disclosed that only one died out of the seven victims that were rescued, insisting that no other casualty was discovered during the overnight rescue operation.