Internet Community Right of Reply from Cloud Innovation to AFRINIC's Communique referred in SysAdmin's Journal on 30 August 2022

Following a recent post that I published which referred to a communique by AFRINIC appearing on its website and on page 7 of the l'express dimanche newspaper, I was contacted by the legal representative of Cloud Innovation. Below is the latter's verbatim reply to the AFRINIC's communique.

Ish Sookun

4 min read min read

On 30 August 2022, System Admin Journal published an article based on a Press Communique in the name of AFRINIC which made a number of inaccurate statements designed to mislead the readers of System Admin Journal. As a responsible publication, System Admin Journal has given a right of reply to Cloud Innovation in order for them to respond to AFRINIC’s misleading claims and to set the facts out for the benefit of readers of System Admin Journal.

AFRINIC, an Ebene-based private company, is tasked with providing fair access to the internet across Africa. AFRINIC is currently under able to operate as it does not have a Board of Directors and its CEO has been suspended by the Courts in Mauritius. Therefore any public statement issued by AFRINIC is not authorized by the Directors or Members and has been issued by unauthorized individuals claiming to act on behalf of the organization. These individuals are in Contempt of Court.

Individuals who unlawfully claim to represent AFRINIC alleged that Cloud Innovation was attempting to “undermine the image and reputation of the internet registry for Africa.” This is not accurate. Cloud Innovation are simply stating facts that are already on the public record that show the actions and track record of AFRINIC: These include:

- work-place sexual harassment
- systemic corruption over multiple years
- links to known terrorist supporters
- Unlawfully demanding Cloud Innovation to monitor hundreds of millions of end-users across 60 jurisdictions and report monitoring data to AFRINIC.
- attempts to interfere in the rule of law and democracy in Mauritius
- making inaccurate claims against members of AFRINIC

It is in the public interest that evidence of AFRINIC’s unlawful activities are made public. Attempts by AFRINIC to close down legitimate investigating and reporting of allegations against them go against the principles of the freedom of media. Attempts by AFRINIC, their representatives and those who unlawfully claim to represent them to intimidate individuals and organizations who provide evidence of unlawful activity will be resisted. Multiple individuals, companies and NGOs are exercising their legal right to expose corruption and other unlawful activity by AFRINIC.

In response to numerous organizations and individuals whistle-blowing against AFRINIC, the Seychelles based company Cloud Innovation has been targeted by individuals with historic links to AFRINIC via a public attack in a desperate attempt to intimidate and stop those exposing the actions of those individuals and AFRINIC. Individuals claiming to speak in the name of AFRINIC are making misleading and libelous claims against the organization in hosting websites containing illegal content, including images of child pornography, gambling and broadcast content.

Imposters who claim to represent AFRINIC made these inaccurate claim via System Admin Journal and other media outlets despite knowing that Cloud Innovation is an IP management service provider, which does not provide hosting service of any kind. Its customers are ISP and telecom firms that are hosting millions of websites on Cloud Innovation's IP range. Such a hosting service does not give Cloud Innovation and its customers the legal right to police any of their content on millions of sites across 60 different jurisdictions.

Cloud Innovation and its customers are solely relying on reporting from third parties such as law enforcement agents, and others such as AFRINIC, to act against illegal content.

Despite numerous requests, AFRINIC have failed to report the websites of concern and therefore been reported to authorities in the United States of America and Republic of Mauritius for aiding and abetting illegal online content.

The unlawful advertorial placed in the name of AFRINIC also refers to 25 lawsuits against them. The unauthorized representatives claiming to represent AFRINIC failed to make clear to the readers of System Admin Journal that the Supreme Court of Mauritius ruled that these law suits were fair and reasonable in response to the actions of AFRINIC. A Supreme Court Judge ruled in favour of Cloud Innovation, and against AFRINIC. The Supreme Court Judge concluded that the lawsuits were caused by AFRINIC's dogged “determination... to terminate (the plaintiff’s) membership.” At the same time, the judge found no evidence of the lawsuits being indeed vexatious, asking how “in these circumstances... can it be held against the applicant [...] that it resorted to the court to preserve its rights?”

Readers of System Admin Journal were not made aware that the former CEO of AFRINIC, Mr Eddy Kayihura, has been suspended in his role by the Supreme Court. AFRINIC does not have a board of directors. This means that AFRINIC are not authorized to undertake any activities – with the exception of paying staff and other basic business running costs. Businesses and individuals asked to undertake any activities by Mr Eddy Kayihura or his staff or agents should be aware that they are unauthorized to instruct work or enter into contracts. Any contracts entered into with AFRINIC will be subject to potential legal review in the courts of Mauritius with paymentrestrictions. Businesses and individuals who choose to work with or contract with AFRINIC do so at their own risk, and should be aware they may be subject to legal proceedings.

Media outlets should be aware that this also means, the advertorial's and press notices issued in the name of AFRINIC are being sent by an imposter who does not have proper authorization from the Board of AFRINIC. Cloud Innovation cautions the media and public that any further communication from AFRINIC is not authorized and should be consider fake until such time as a board of directors and new CEO is appointed via free and fair elections.

Businesses, individuals, members of staff and agents of AFRINIC who have further examples or concerns of ongoing unlawful activity by suspended CEO Eddy Kayihura, officials and staff of AFRINIC or those acting on behalf of AFRINIC are considered whistle-blowers and are able to provide evidence in strict confidence via Cloud Innovation’s Port Louis based lawyers, Appleby. Any concerns of immediate unlawful activity by AFRINIC can also be referred to the police, foreign embassies (if the concerns relate to AFRINIC’s activities internationally), or in the case of concerns around money laundering and proceeds of crime via the Financial Services Commission.