Partial view representatives of 26 African countries n Liberia attending a three-day Capacity Building Workshop of July 26-28 in Monrovia Representatives of 26 African countries are in Liberia attending a three-day Capacity Building Workshop for the third edition of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) Tax Outlook Publication.

According to a press release, the three-day workshop, being hosted by the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is highlighting means of improving cross-country comparison and benchmarking comparable data on tax policies and tax administration and related legislations, among others.

The gathering seeks to provide analysis of tax data trends and identify good practices as well as understanding of the Tax Outlook Publication data collection processes. Addressing the opening session on Wednesday, LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba describes the workshop as a critical milestone of the African journey in providing high quality and reliable statistical data on tax administration covering the continent.

She praises ATAF for spearheading such initiative, noting that it will further enhance the collection and compilation of accurate tax data in Africa. The LRA boss also points out that the hosting of the workshop in Liberia demonstrates the importance of statistics in tax administrations and the vital role it plays in informing public policy decision.

She urges participants to dedicate their attentions in acquiring the requisite skills with the aim to improve the level of revenue collection across the Africa region. For her part, the Director of Research of ATAF, Dr. Nara Monkam, indicates that the training is aimed at enhancing revenue administration in the region through knowledge and experience sharing and comparison analysis.

She notes that the event is also a means of preparing for the third African Outlook Publication, which highlights factual and evidence-based statistics on all tax related matters on the African continent. The workshop will climax with the tour of the LRA Headquarters on Friday, January 28, in Paynesville. Press Release

Opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) presidential candidate Sen. George Manneh Weah says if he is elected president this October, Liberians will live a middle class life and attend schools whether they have money or not.

“If we are given the opportunity to serve, Liberian kids will walk in mall to buy goods of their choice, our people will attend schools whether they have money or not, hospitals will be available for all,” Liberia’s former international soccer soccer icon - turned politician Sen. Weah said Sunday, 13 August while being honored by the Fula Community in Monrovia.

He says the only thing Liberians need to do during his administration is to work, noting that he will create the enabling environment for the young and old people to work. The Montserrado County Senator claims that during his administration kids here will have playing grounds, and that colleges and technical institutions will be built to provide easy learning terrain for students.

He promises that hospitals will be improved for all Liberians, and adds that for too long Liberians have lived below the poverty belt. Mr. Weah says his administration is concerned about the redemption of every Liberian, be it partisan or not.

He called on Liberians not to vote for ruling Unity Party (UP) presidential candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, and describes UP partisans as virus that continue to eat the fabrics of the country.

According to Weah, the 12 years of service given the UP in which Vice President Boakai is the second in command while he Weah serves as Senator are enough.He claims that it is for the Liberian people to elect him for better living condition, peace, fair share of the nation’s resources, middle class living condition, good health facilitates, better education and a reduced tax environment.

Reading a statement of endorsement and support for Weah by the Fula Community, Kalilu Jalloh said their support is based on the past track record of the Montserrado County lawmaker they say has served the country.

He added that the best option for the country that is enjoying peace and stability is to give power to someone who once served as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, one serves as Liberia’s Peace Ambassador and a humanitarian.

He opposes electing someone who brought wars in the fighting for freedom and rampant corruption. Mr. Jalloh promises that the Fula Community will stand with the CDC in these elections and will ensure that the CDC takes state power in a smooth and democratic way.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Edited by Winston W. Parley

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning or MFDP has strongly rejected a local daily’s report of a potential US$41 million dollars deficit for the just ended fiscal year 2016/2017.

In a press statement issued here Thursday, 20 July the ministry ays its attention has been drawn to the Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Edition of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper in which the paper erroneously reported a potential US$41 million dollars deficit for the just ended 2016/2017 fiscal year, not on the basis of factual reporting, but on account of “reliable or financial experts.”

The release says the paper based its story on an unsubstantiated year-end fiscal reconciliation report of the consolidated account, indicating a wrong year-end revenue collection of US$522million and US$42 million as potential deficit; even though, the year-end expenditure estimate needed for accurately determining deficit or surplus was not mentioned.

The release claims the paper further suggested that the deficit could increase to US$50 million if US$4million payment for the Executive Mansion renovation and US$6million payment to George Haddad’s Prestige Motors were made, which it maintains, are all concoction of a “financial expert’s” imagination.
It explains that the Budget year FY16/17 successfully ended with a surplus of US$1.8 million brought forward to the FY17/18 budget, which has been approved by the Lower House and awaiting concurrence by the Upper House of the National Legislature.

According to the Ministry, Gross Revenue collected at end June 30th, 2017 is estimated at US$550.8 million, saying “This amount net of the ECOWAS Trade Levy of US$3.2 million brings the net revenue available to GoL at US$547.57 million. This fact contradicts FrontPage reported net revenue amount of US$522 million.”

The release further refutes allegation that Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara has usurped the allotment functions of the Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, and is not holding weekly Fiscal Management Team meetings with senior technicians regarding the formulation and execution of the national budget.

“In keeping with supervisory oversight of every department to ensure proper and accountable usage of tax payer money; it says, “Minister Kamara has instituted several reforms including the following:

The authorization of allotments to spending entities still remains a function of the Deputy Minister of Budget, but with the expressed approval of the Minister as provided under the PFM Act. The procedures for allotments, which are the first layer for authorizing, spending from the National Budget, have been revised to effectively minimize unauthorized allotments;

In tracking the execution of the national budget with respect to revenue performance and expenditure monitoring, the Minister still holds regular Fiscal Management Team (FMT) meetings with senior technicians of the MFDP and the Liberia Revenue Authority to discuss various fiscal reports and reconcile the financial position of the Government of Liberia. These meetings are in addition to regular Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings and general staff meetings aimed at cultivating a working culture that promotes team spirit and effectiveness.

The MFDP release says in the fight against corruption, the current management team is on record for improving systems and controls within the Ministry and taking punitive action against individuals caught in the act of misuse of entrusted public resources.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning encourages media entities to seek clarifications on news relating to government’s fiscal operations from relevant authorities within the MFDP before publications. The Ministry cautions against spreading false news, especially on fiscal operations of government because it has the propensity to undermine the economic viability of the State by scaring away potential investments and development assistance. Press Release

An anonymous source within opposition Liberty Party (LP) has hinted this paper of a destructive ploy designed to distract LP’s campaign activities through the spread of fake media reports against LP Campaign Manager Musa Hassan Bility in connection to an alleged US$2.4million criminal transaction.

On condition of anonymity, the source tells this paper that LP political opponents see the party as a major contender in the 2017 October presidential elections, and are therefore seeking ways to cause distraction that are simply aimed at downplaying substantive issues that matter to the public.

The LP insider’s reaction comes following some falsified media reports by some unsuspecting section of the Liberia media, alleging business misdeeds on the part of Mr. Bility.

Recently, there were reports on social media and some publication in local daily here claiming that the International Police Organization (INTERPOL) had issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Bility.

The report claimed that INTERPOL was seeking Mr. Bility’s extradition into the Federal Republic of Nigeria for investigation in connection with a US$2.4million alleged criminal transaction.

But in contrast to the allegation against Mr. Bility, the LP source clarifies that a search conducted on INTERPOL website on Musa Hassan Bility shows now result, meaning that “there is no information on the INTERPOL website that he is wanted.”

The source at LP says the opposition party has categorically condemned the report, noting that such information is an unwarranted political ploy by lazy politicians who want to distract the party from discussing key issues of the 2017 presidential elections by employing falsehoods and fake news against formidable opponents.

The LP says the reports are far from the truth on grounds that Mr. Bility is not wanted by INTERPOL, and that his name is not on that site for any reason, be it criminal. “They think they go after Mr. Bility and others because they fear him a lot,” the source says, adding that opponents want to use fake news as a means to destroy the party.

It says most of these lazy opponents are engaging in these media ploys because they really see LP as potential winner of the Presidency this October. “It is not Mr. Bility who is one of those graded as contributing immensely to the present status of the party, but it is the party that the opponent wants to destroy,” the source adds.

Citing the LP’s level of centralized message of change, which the source says has largely bordered on reform, reconciliation and rebuilding to various spectrums across the Liberian society, the source suggests that the LP presents itself as the party with the best political structure that tends to get its opponent to become nervous.

“It’s because of these gains that its opponents, many of them, having sensed that the party is headed for victory at the polls, are beginning to throw fake media reports at some of its stalwarts, including Mr. Musa Bility, who’s credited to be one of the main architects behind the success of the Liberty Party in the ensuing October Presidential and General elections,” the source claims.

While acknowledging that Mr. Bility might have business friends in many parts of the world including Nigeria, the LP source reminds Liberians as well as journalists to be mindful, especially during the time of elections, that there will be unscrupulous individuals that will come with fake information to destroy their opponents.-New Dawn

All Liberian People or ALP standard bearer Benoni Urey is cautioning electorate, particularly youths of Grand Bassa County to vote rightly this time around, come October, warning that any decision they make at the ballot box would have a serious impact on their lives.

He says the youth desire for better health and educational facilities, food for their homes and jobs for their parents rest with whatever decision they would make on October 10th, polling day.

The presidential hopeful gives the warning on Friday, 11 August during celebration commemorating the second anniversary of the ALP held at the Doris Williams Sports ground in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens, including partisans, sympathizers and well-wishers graced the occasion, characterized by speeches, pageantry, and soccer match.Deputy Secretary-General Nat TS Johnson says the ALP is a movement that embraces all Liberians irrespective of tribes, religions and traditional values.

“For us as a party, we see this country at a crossroads; Farmer Urey and Teacher Duopu can fix it, build the broken system in Liberia”, says Mr. Johnson. He notes that it is time that citizen rally around the ALP to make Liberia works again by restoring dignity, love and unity.

According to him, the people of Grand Bassa are excited about the Urey-Duopu Ticket, adding, “They see their future in it, what they hope for in a better Liberia.” The part is one of the newest founded here after the 2011 presidential and general elections, but it seems to have taken a firm grip of every political subdivision of Liberia, receiving mass support, ahead of the October elections.

Story by Jonathan Browne

The standard bearer of the Liberian People’s Party or LPP, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, says Coalition for Democratic Change standard bearer, Senator George Manneh Weah is only a footballer, not a presidential material.

He says that the former “world best footballer” lacks technical knowhow of governance, particularly serving in the nation’s highest seat, arguing that Weah has not been tested politically in serving at the highest level of public leadership.

In 2005, Weah publicly confessed to Liberians that he was not a high school graduate during the election against Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, which he lost in the runoff.The humiliation subsequently led his return to the United States of America, where he reportedly completed secondary education and went on to college, earning a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration before coming home to contest for senatorial post, which he won in 2014.

Speaking to this paper Thursday, 10 August in Monrovia, Dr. Fahnbulleh explains that the presidency of a country is neither a child’s play nor a try and error terrain. He adds that instead, it is for people, who have prepared themselves over the years, who have gone through the fire of standing for change, battling for the people even with death looking straight in their eyes, something, which he notes, the CDC flag bearer has not experienced in his life’s time.

He further argues that governance is not about popularity contest, but requires gallant people, who can stand the test of time, make case on behalf of the country in the Diasporas, at international fora and create a place for conventional assistance rather than someone, who kicks ball around.

According to him, Liberia is the only country in the global village that elects people only on the basis of popularity instead of credential brought on the table. “Look around you, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, they vote on the basis of experience, who can deliver, and not popularity. Liberia is the only country that can vote because that person is popular, and is the problem here. When you elect someone because of popularity, don’t cry when they don’t produce anything,” he cautions the electorate here.

Commenting on the Congo/native politics, Dr. Fahnbulleh says those preaching such politics are people, who are bankrupt, backward, bigotry and detrimental to where the country should be. He reminded that the country has suffered so long from marginalization by some group of people and wars at all levels.

Dr. Fahnbulleh served as Minister of Education and Foreign Affairs respectively during the regime of slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe in the 80s before departing the country for exile.

He returned and participated in the 1997 special election organized by ECOWAS, which ex-rebel leader Charles Taylor won overwhelmingly, receiving over 75 percent of the total votes cast. Until his recent return to active politics, he served as President Sirleaf’s national Security Advisor.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

President Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf has asked lawmakers here to abandon an impeachment proceeding being initiated against three justices of the Supreme Court Bench on grounds that the action tends to undermine the peace, threaten the elections process currently underway, and create confusion and chaos in Liberia’s fledgling democracy.

“The Executive Branch of Government is not prepared and will not support any unconstitutional maneuverings from any of the institutions of Government,” Mrs. Sirleaf says in a special statement issued in Monrovia Thursday evening, 10 August.

She further emphasized that the Executive Branch of Government will not support any action, which tends to undermine the Constitution and reverse the gains this country has made.

Associate Justices Kabineh M. Ja’neh, Phillip A.Z. Banks, III, and Jamesetta Howard - Wolokollie are being pursued by some lawmakers with an impeachment proceeding that is being worked out at the House of Representatives following the Supreme Court’s decision in July on the controversial Code of Conduct.

“This move is clearly in violation of Article 73 of the Constitution of Liberia,” Mrs. Sirleaf cautions, and admonishes that at this time, all branches of government should be working coordinately to ensure the peaceful elections and the smooth transfer of power.

Though not a candidate in the October presidential and representatives’ elections, Mrs. Sirleaf’s vice president, Joseph Nyumah Boakai is seeking to secure his party third term against some 20 contenders as Mrs. Sirleaf concludes her second and final six years in January 2018.

Ahead of Mrs. Sirleaf’s call on Thursday for the legislators at the House of Representatives to abandon this course of action, the nation’s highest court had on Wednesday issued a stay order against the ongoing impeachment arrangements, though some lawmakers are suggesting that they won’t honor the Court’s stay order.

Impeachment proceedings are being worked out following protests by Sen. Dan Marais, Sen. Dr. Peter Coleman, Sen. James Tornola, Sen. Numene Bartekwa and Rep. George Mulbah against the Supreme Court decision last month that received mix public reaction.
After ruling in March this year that the Code of Conduct is legal and binding for all its intent and purpose, the Supreme Court, ruled in July and overturned the National Elections Commission (NEC’s) disbarment of opposition Liberty Party’s vice presidential candidate Harrison Karnwea from the October elections.
The NEC disbarred Mr. Karnwea on grounds that he violated the Code of Conduct due to his failure to have resigned as Forestry Development Authority Managing Director two years ahead of conducting the October elections.
But while the Supreme Court agrees that Mr. Karnwea did violate the Code, it however, finds that his violation was not egregious to warrant his disbarment by the Commission.

In the wake of the glaring constitutional crisis that is developing here during these critical electoral periods, Mrs. Sirleaf expresses concern over some lawmakers’ attempts to initiate impeachment proceedings against majority members of the Supreme Court because of judicial decisions made by the Supreme Court.

The incumbent reminds lawmakers here that in Liberia’s system of government, the Legislature is empowered to enact laws and the Supreme Court is mandated and authorized to interpret the laws.

While urging legislators to abandon the impeachment process against the justices, Mrs. Sirleaf is emphatically clear that the Executive Branch of Government will not support any action, which tends to undermine the Constitution and reverse the gains this country has made. In conclusion, she wishes God’s blessing upon the works “of our hands and save the Republic.” By Winston W. Parley and editing by Othello B. Garblah


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