A Closer Look: Revived Corruption Charges Against Zuma

In a televised address, Mr. Shaun Abrahams, the national director of public prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in South Africa, announced that he would be reviving 16 charges against the former South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma. These include 12 charges of fraud, one of racketeering, two of corruption, and one for money laundering.

The charges are related to an incident in the late 1990s, when Mr. Zuma allegedly accepted bribes during a $2.5 billion arms deal between the government and a French weapons supplier. He was indicted at the end of 2007 on a range of charges associated with the deal, but the NPA dropped them in 2009, thus clearing Mr. Zuma’s path to the presidency. Then, in Autumn 2017, while Mr. Zuma was still in office, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a ruling to reinstate the charges, and condemned the 2009 decision to drop them.

In 2014, Mr. Zuma was accused of using tax payer money to pay for upgrades to his rural residence, including a swimming pool, amphitheatre, and cattle pen.

Mr. Zuma resigned from his post in February under considerable pressure from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. The ANC has since affirmed its confidence in the country’s criminal justice system, and cautioned that Mr. Zuma has the right to be presumed innocent until and if proven guilty.

Mr. Abrahams said that there are “reasonable prospects of successful prosecution of Mr. Zuma on the charges listed in the indictment.”

This is but the latest in a series of reckonings against corruption in South Africa. Other avenues have included an impending judicial commission of inquiry into state capture. Implications in a 2016 watchdog report alleged that the Gupta family, billionaire friends of Mr. Zuma, used connections to him to win state contracts and influence cabinet appointments. State capture refers to a type of systemic political corruption, in which private interests significantly influence a state’s decision-making processes.

Additionally, there are at least three separate parliamentary inquiries into corruption at state-owned enterprises ongoing in Parliament. A spokesperson for the NPA said there are hundreds of files related to state capture across state-owned enterprises and provincial governments– asset forfeiture will be primarily used as the first step toward addressing corruption across the public sector.

Further reading on red flags associated with state-owned enterprises may be found here on Centry Blog.  

For more content like this, follow @CentryLTD on Twitter! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach us on any of our social media platforms.

4 Social Media Risks to Businesses


Over the years, social media has evolved into a critical marketing and customer relations tool for businesses. Between audience-targeted ads and personal engagement, social media can be unparalleled in bringing organizations closer to their customers and clients. 

What about the Risks?

In this post, we’ll address some of the most common risks that businesses can encounter with their social media profiles.

1. Human Error

Whether it’s an accidental tweet, falling for a phishing link, or coming off rude to a customer, employee conduct on these social platforms can pose a significant risk to an organization’s reputation.

This also extends to situations concerning the individual, especially as it relates to personal accounts of an organization’s employees, where they may talk about work-related information that could lead to things like reputation damage or privacy violations.

2. Inattention & Neglect

Loosely covered under the umbrella of human error is neglect or inattention to a social media profile. If there is nobody in charge of managing your organization’s social  profiles, the accounts may be at risk of being infected by a virus – especially if that virus is one that sends spam. It could cost you followers, and otherwise lead into an adverse perception of your company’s brand.

3. Phishing Attempts

Whether it’s a fake Facebook friend or a bot on Twitter, there is always the ever-present risk of falling for phishing scams across different platforms. In this context, ‘phishing’ refers to any kind of fraudulent communication or links intended to trick people into giving up sensitive information.

Related Reading: For some examples of the unique ways phishing attempts shape around the platforms that they use as vehicles, check out our article Hook, Line, and Sinker: Phishing on Social Media.

4. Brand Impersonators

Following on the heels of phishing scams, another risk that businesses may run into on social media is that of impersonators. Seeking to capitalize on vulnerable clients and customers, some malicious entities may impersonate a well known brand to trick people into clicking bad links or handing over their passwords. Additionally, attackers may purchase website domain names that are either similar to your company’s or negative in context to it. 

Related Reading: For a case study on an example of this type of impersonation, feel free to check out our article on the Netflix Phishing Scam.  



For questions and comments on this article, please feel free to reach out to us @CentryLTD on Twitter!


Hidden Sanctions Risk: North Korean ties to Africa

Dozens of sculptures, monuments, and buildings in countries such as Senegal, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Botswana were built by Mansudae Overseas Projects, which is a construction company based out of Pyongyang in North Korea. 

Most of these projects are war memorials or other dedications to the respective nations’ struggles for independence. To give perspective, the following is just a few examples of some of the monuments that were built by Mansudae.

  • Senegal: African Renaissance Monument
    • The African Renaissance Monument is a nearly 50-meter tall bronze statue overlooking the Atlantic. It was dedicated on April 4th, 2010, which is Senegal’s “National Day” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence from France.
  • Namibia: Heroes’ Acre
    • The Heroes’ Acre was opened on August 26th, 2002 in the hills south of Windhoek as a token of honor to those who “…made great and meaningful contributions to the liberation of the Land of the Brave…” (Source)
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Laurent Kabila
    • This statue commemorating Laurent Kabila was reportedly built by Mansudae. Kabila was a Marxist revolutionary who served as the third President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko.
  • Zimbabwe: Joshua Nkomo statue
  • Zimbabwe: National Heroes Acre
    • The Heroes’ Acre in Zimbabwe commemorates the fallen veterans of Zimbabwe’s war for independence. Its design closely mirrors that of the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery just outside Pyongyang, North Korea.
  • Mozambique: Samora Moises Machel
    • A statue of Mozambique’s first president was constructed in 2011 in Maputo, Mozambique. Samora Machel is remembered as a military commander, politician, and revolutionary in the tradition of Marxism-Leninism.
  • Botswana: Three Dikgosi Monument
    • AKA The Three Chiefs, this bronze-cast monument was built in 2005 and features the three leaders (Khama III, Sebele I, & Bathoen I) who traveled to Great Britain in 1895 to ask Joseph Chamberlain and Queen Victoria to separate the Bechuanaland Protectorate from Cecile Rhodes’ British South Africa Company and Southern Rhodesia.

Specifically, the city of Windhoek in Namibia has been referred to as an ‘unlikely testament’ to North Korean industry. Many architectural staples of the city, such as the presidential palace, the national history museum, and the defense headquarters, were built by North Korea, for profit.

Two years ago, the United Nations stated that Namibia had violated U.N. sanctions through its commerial relationship to North Korea. The Treasury Department had sanctioned Mansudae Overseas Projects, as well as the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), which has come to be known as North Korea’s primary arms dealer. Namibia has since pledged to cut commercial ties to the DPRK, although they did state that they would retain warm diplomatic relations with the regime.

U.N. officials have conducted an investigation into at least seven African countries for sanctions violations concerning North Korea. These countries were also supposed to end their economic and military relationships with North Korea following the sanctions, however the U.N. panel of experts noted that what reporting had occurred was largely poor in quality or otherwise unclear, with a high number of States not reporting altogether.

The connection between Namibia and North Korea stands as but one example among many similar stories. It began in the 1960s, when several African countries started the struggle for independence from colonialism. During this vulnerable time period, North Korea invested time and money in these revolutions, where the political ties eventually grew into commercial relationships.

Now, this has become particularly important as sanctions have mounted against the regime. North Korea has been able to use their commercial ties to African nations like Namibia as financial lifelines– evidence by building infrastructure, and selling weapons and other equipment.

With these concerns in mind, it should be noted that it is important for businesses conducting operations in Africa to ensure that potential commercial partners will not put them at risk for violating sanctions. This risk may be mitigated through due diligence and watch-list screening.

If you or your organization have any questions or thoughts on this, please feel free to reach out to us at Centry. We can help!

Centry Supports the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union!

bulgarian presidency_centry

What is the Council of the European Union?

The Council of the European Union is one of the primary institutions of the community; together with the European Parliament, it discusses laws based on proposal from the European Commission. The Council coordinates the policies of the member states, specifically foreign policy, and security policy of the EU, and it also concludes agreements on behalf of the EU with international organizations and other countries.

The Council is comprised of one representative from each member state at the ministerial level. Each minister for a given policy area is thus a representative of their country, and they speak for it in the council. The council has ten configurations that covers all of the categories of policies of the EU.

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is a position that functions on a rotation basis. Each member state holds the presidency for a period of six months, with the exception of the foreign affairs configuration, which is chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.

Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU

To ensure continuity in the Council’s work, the presidency is held by a group of three member-states for a period of 18 months, wherein they must prepare and implement a common agenda. Bulgaria is part of the Estonia-Bulgaria-Austria trio, and it has just recently assumed the presidency as of January 2018.

Our Support

Centry has an established presence in Bulgaria, with a handful of employees and an office in Sofia.

We support Finnish and other Nordic companies in expanding their business to Bulgarian markets, and vice versa. One of our areas of expertise is to facilitate companies entering new business areas, and this is just the opportunity for it!

We are honored to be able to have a close partnership with the Bulgarian Embassy to Finland, and it has been our privilege to give our support to the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU!

For any questions or comments, feel free to contact us on any of our social media platforms!


The Next Gold Rush: Renewable Energy

The Renewable Energy industry just might be the next gold rush for businesses and investors alike. This time, we aren’t hiking into the Klondike for gold; individuals and organizations alike are turning their eyes toward the broader world, looking out for opportunities to make good on this booming initiative.

With all of its natural resources and varying biomes, Africa is a premium location for infrastructure development and investment into renewable energy. With sustainable energy investment set to grow to $57-billion by 2020, it’s clear the gold rush has already begun.

The massive desert that stretches across North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf beyond has incredible potential for solar power. While this might seem like an obvious choice for solar technology, it has not been until recently that factors such as social pressures, oil prices, and technological readiness have combined to create tangible opportunity.

For a long time, one of the major hindrances to solar power was the expense of implementing it, but in recent years we have seen a drastically lowered manufacturing and installation cost– now, unsubsidized solar is as cheap as coal, natural gas, and wind projects.

Just last week, the Government of Canada and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, formed an initiative to spur renewable energy growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. This program will have the Canadian government contribute $122 million USD, which the ICF will use to kindle private sector investment into renewables, aiming to improve access to affordable and sustainable energy services.

Algeria also has ambitious plans for solar energy, with a proposal for the installations of 13 gigawatts of capacity toward solar power (out of 22 total for renewable energy) by 2030. To put those numbers in conceptual terms, it’s enough power to meet a quarter of domestic energy needs whilst still reserving a significant portion for exports.

Energy exports will face a market barrier as electric storage technology strives to catch up, but in the United States, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a new rule on Thursday that may begin to clear the way. This order’s objective is to enhance competition and promote efficiency in the electric wholesale markets, with the overall effect of greater reliability and cheaper costs. With lowering costs comes the potential for greater investment yet.

Even the oil giant Saudi Arabia has started on the renewables train, with a recent movement to diversify its economy into the sustainable energy industry. By the end of the year, the country aims to invest $7bn into the development of new solar plants and a large wind farm.

However, with big money comes big risk, and the renewables industry certainly is not immune to it. Companies that may be tempted to dip their toes into the booming sector should keep the following things in mind.

Namely, there are reputational and legal risks if an organization’s actions do not line up with their environmental claims. This may incur adverse media content, which could impact the organization’s reputation toward its employees, partners, clients, consumers, and the general public.

Furthermore, companies could be subject to litigations if they violate regional environment regulations. Beyond that, there are the ever-present natural environment risks, which encompasses things like sandstorms blocking out solar farms, as well as regional risks that may include things such as terrorism or other crimes.  

Some of these threats can be mitigated with proper treatment and due diligence. For those, Centry can help! 

For any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us on any of our social media platforms!


Out-think Fraudsters!


My Post

Centry Ltd. will be participating in The Institute of Internal Auditors Finland (IIA Finland) fraud training workshop! Join us to learn about effective desktop investigation procedures, and how this can boost security for your organization.

Important Details


This workshop will take place on March 8, 2018 from 8:30am to 4:00pm.


Radisson Blu Royal

Runeberginkatu 2

00100 Helsinki, Finland

Ticket Prices


580€ + VAT*

*Discount offered for one or more members of the same organization at 400€ + VAT per person!


730€ + VAT

The Program

Over the course of this workshop, you will learn methods for Investigative Desktop Research (‘IDR’), which is the process of collecting readily available public information and analyzing it for signs of fraud, corruption, or other unethical business behaviours.

This workshop will be conducted in a hands-on style, to help you learn the best that you can of how to identify, collect, and analyze information from external and internal sources for your own research.

IDR is a useful tool for assessing the nature of red flags, whilst using a small amount of resources, time, and budget. With information readily available, we will teach you where to look, and how to interpret the things you find.

Here’s what you can expect from spending the day with us, as represented in English by Oskar Savolainen of Centry Ltd! Other speakers will include industry experts Veronica Morino and Nigel Iyer, both with over twenty years of experience with IDR.

Working with us, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of the risks, costs, and effects of fraud and corruption.
  • Come to appreciate the power of detection and analytical techniques to be applied to red flags.
  • Learn to sort, interpret, and evaluate your findings.
  • Acquire skills for presenting your findings to management.

We look forward to seeing you there! Click here to register before February 25th, 2018!

For any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to Centry at any of our social media platforms, where we will direct you to Oskar Savolainen and Kimmo Loukonen!

The Question of Privacy in the Smart-Tech Life


Smart-technology, wearable or otherwise, is undoubtedly a luxurious convenience. With products ranging from Fitbit for keeping track of your health to voice-activated vehicle consoles to home improvement and more, the market for this tech is seemingly limitless.

So how does this compromise your privacy?

Josh Lifton, CEO of Crowd Supply, said in a TechRepublic article: “…we’re entering this world where everything is catalogued and everything is documented and companies and governments will be making decisions about you as an individual based on your data trail…”

The European Union answered this question by issuing the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which bolsters the rights of individual data privacy, ensuring people have the right to know how, when, and where their personal information is used.

While it might not always be a bad thing for organizations to collect information about you, it’s important that those details don’t fall into the wrong hands.

The main concern among security experts when it comes to smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home is the degree to which they’re listening. Obviously, they are listening for the voice-activated commands the user might say. But if you own Alexa and have ever had it interrupt you when you weren’t intentionally speaking to it, you might wonder about what else it’s listening to?

Recently, an array of Bluetooth flaws that affect Android, iOS, and Windows devices were discovered in millions of AI voice-activated assistants, including both the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Blueborne Exploit is the name that has been given to the attack that takes advantage of these vulnerabilities, allowing external entities to run malicious code, steal information, and otherwise assume control. What is more threatening about this is that it does not require targets to click any links or fall for any other phishing scams; it can just assume control. Moreso, once an attack seizes one bluetooth device on a network, they can infect any other devices on the same network.

While both companies have since released patches and issued automatic updates for their products, it certainly serves as a cautionary tale to be mindful of what you say and do around these devices.

Wearable smart watches like Fitbit and jogging apps on smartphones run into their own security issues, which readers may have observed recently in the news, after a heat map of jogging and cycling routes released by Strava identified dangerous details of US soldier in war zones in the Middle East.

Overall, as much as it can be a minor inconvenience to do so, it is important that users don’t blindly press ‘accept’ on privacy terms for these apps and gadgets, and instead take the time to review how their information is collected and used. Such insight could lead to foresight that would ensure turning the relevant devices off in situations where that is appropriate.

This article was written by Kristina Weber, Content Supervisor of Centry. For more content like this, follow @CentryLTD on Twitter!