Cummings Foundation donates to J.J. Dossen

Cummings Africa Foundation or CAF has donated medical supplies worth US$100,000 to the J.J. Dossen Memorial referral hospital in Harper City, Maryland County - southeast Liberia.

The Foundation is owned by presidential hopeful and Standard Bearer of the Alternative National Congress (ANC). The consignment includes gauzes, bandages, surgery beds, pampers, and respiratory tanks, among others.

CAF country director Ms. Fatu Gbedema says the donation is in response to a request from the hospital authorities to Mr. Alexander B. Cummings during a recent visit to the county.

Receiving the consignment on behalf of the hospital, chief administrator Ms. Julian Natt Doe, lauded the Cummings Africa Foundation for the gesture and promised that they will be used for the intended purpose. She says the medical materials would serve the hospital for long period, because their expiry date is 2021.

Madam Doe continues that the hospital looks forward to more donations from CAF and other humanitarian organizations to enable the hospital adequately meet the health needs of patients.CAF implemented 24 quick impact projects with 25 implementing partners in eighteen months, benefiting about 30,097 persons in the areas of Agriculture, Health, and Education at a cost of US$289,386.00.

The Foundation paid WAEC fees and provided tutorial support for 2,322 pupils from 21 schools across Maryland Country. It also established the Alexander B. Cummings, Jr. modern computer lab at the University of Liberia Fendell Campus, among others.

For her part, Miss Maryland 2017 and Miss Liberia 2nd runner up Goretti L. Itoka, on behalf of young people in the county lauds CAF for the level of support brought to the county health system by the Cummings Africa Foundation, adding that it will enable the hospital to cater to more patients.However, she calls on the hospital authorities at the hospital to ensure that the donations are used for their intended purpose.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

UMU alumni conducts career seminar

The United Methodist University Alumni Association or UMUAA has held career development seminar for high school students to enable them to make good, sound decisions that would impact their lives.

Addressing reporters at the Monrovia Christian Fellow on 9thy Street in sinkor over the weekend at the start of the seminar The President of the Association Kojo Weeks, says career development is intended to expose young people, especially students, to the job market.

“When we graduated from UMU, we thought on doing something that will benefit our students; in one of our meetings there were many of us with various ambitions, some wanting to become Medical Doctors, Accountants and Pilots, among others. It is against this backdrop that we organize this seminar so our incoming university students can make the best decision in terms of career”, he says.

He continues the seminar is phase one, as the Association intends to have another phase, which will be the career development program adding that the objective is to have career counselors who will be trained and placed in high schools to work with students as they leave grade school to enter college or university.

Mr. Weeks continues that the Alumni Association is working with the Ministry of Labour in obtaining job statistics to identify areas that provide access to jobs, and to have balance in the country’s workforce.

He further explains that UMU is not only in Montserrado County; it has various campuses in some counties, including the Gbarnga School of Theology in Bong, School of Nursing in Ganta, Nimba and an Agriculture College in Gbazon, Sinoe County, respectively.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Sen. Yallah gives to Salala women

In an apparent political gesture, Bong County Senator Henry Yallah has presented 110,000.00 Liberian Dollars to the Women in Cross Border Trade in Salala, lower Bong County.Senator Yallah provided the money to the women over the weekend at an elaborate program marking the induction of a leadership for the group.

The senator, who deputized for Vice President Joseph Boakai, says the money is his personal contribution to the upliftment of the women group.He says that he was impressed with the way the Salala District Women in Cross Border Trade have organized themselves for the betterment of their community.Senator Yallah, who was among 19 incumbent senators here that endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Boakai, called on the women to support the Vice President in the October elections.

He stresses that it is time that Bong County speaks with a single voice to enable the county have a say in the governance process of the country.He reminds the women that if they wanted to form part of national decision making other than being mere voters, they should elect Vice President Boakai.Senator Yallah was accompanied to the ceremony by Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh and Grand Kru County Senator, Dr. Peter Coleman, all of whom endorsed the Vice President for the Presidency.

Students drilled through multiple careers

Dozens of students were on Friday, 30 June drilled through multiple careers by guest lecturers from different professional backgrounds at the Seventh - Day Adventists (SDA) High School on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia.

The Mercy Corps implemented Inter - High School Career Fair funded by ExxonMobil through Liberia’s National Oil Company witnessed Liberian Geologist Dr. Eugene Shannon, Economist James N. Gilayeneh, Jr., Counsel Sam - Kpa Sarto and IT Specialist Joel Van Toby and several others lectured students in their respective professions.

In his presentation, Dr. Eugene Shannon told the students that the choice they make today will determine their future. He began by encouraging students to stop spying in school but to rather focus on studying their lessons.

He says students should decrease their time in nightclubs and study subjects that are found to be challenging many Liberian students, like mathematics. He says those who may want to become geologists first have to develop passion for the profession and then be trained in courses related to the field of study.

According to him, a geologist could work with the Ministry of Agriculture because he or she might be needed to help make informed decision about where good soils are for farming purposes, among others.

Opposed to widely - held notion that the Liberian soils are “rich”, he argues that the soils here are poor in some places and certain areas would need to be fertilized before certain things are planted.

Earlier in his presentation, Economist James Gilayeneh encouraged students to understand both English and Mathematics if they want to choose economics as their career.
He dismissed claims that economists are cheap, but rather made the students to understand that economists are simply rational people who want to establish the cause, effect and economic benefits that come when money is spent for instance on the construction of a road at a particular place.

He also argues that an economist will not advise management to hire new employees when accounting records submitted at the end of each year continue to show decrease in revenues.
He suggested that females could do better in the field of economics if they put in more time to study the course and develop passion for the career.In addressing students’ concern about the high exchange rate between the US and Liberian Dollars, Mr. Gilayeneh argued that consumers here indirectly contribute to the problem on grounds that most of their preferences are not produced in Liberia.

He wondered how many Liberians want to sit on rattan chair, for instance, or eat locally produced rice (country rice). Instead, he says business people have to get US Dollars to import pepper and other stuff from Guinea to come and sell here. For his part, Counsel Sam Kpa - Sarto encouraged students to learn how to read with understanding if they want to be lawyers, warning that people’s lives, properties and reputation depend on lawyers.

By Winston W. Parley

LEC lights up community streets

Authorities at the Liberian Electricity Corporation or LEC announced Sunday that they have embarked on a project to light up the streets of Monrovia’s local communities.In a statement issued the company admitted that for thirty years the streets of communities in Monrovia and its suburb have emptied in a furious hurry at nightfall.

It also acknowledged that under the cover of relentless darkness, criminals and armed robbers would attack residents trying to commute to their dwelling places, rob them of their belongings and leave many of them fatally wounded. Not too many residents would venture out during the night time.

When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power in 2005 she made an inaugural promise of “small lights today, big lights tomorrow.” Following the emergency phase of the Liberia Electricity Rehabilitation programme, government and its international partners have succeeded in restoring sustainable and cheaper means of generating electricity. Currently, the Liberia Electricity Corporation has a thermal generation capacity of 38 megawatts while the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant has reached its full capacity of 88 megawatts. As part of the LEC’s strategic goal, management has launched an ambitious project to install streetlights in a bid to improve visibility and make our communities safer.

The campaign to improve visibility and prevent crime on the main streets of Monrovia and its suburb was launched last week by the LEC. The campaign is aim at installing 500 new Streetlights and repair existing ones throughout the LEC network.

During the inspection of the project Saturday night, Managing Director Ernest Hughes said improved street lighting will not only improve visibility and prevent crimes on our streets and communities but would also increase pedestrians and traffic safety.

Mr. Hughes said the project is also in support of the ongoing efforts by the Liberia National Police to install CCTV cameras on the streets to improve security. “We are complimenting the ensuing project by the LNP to install closed circuit cameras on the streets of Monrovia to improve security. We are cognizant that the cameras won’t function effectively if they are installed on dark streets. We are working to ensure that this project achieve its targeted goals,” Hughes who recently took over as Managing Director said.
He said the campaign is in fulfillment of the Corporation’s mandate to increase reliable access to affordable electricity throughout the country.

With Mt Coffee generating clean, renewable hydropower with the completion of the four generating units, with the capacity of 88 megawatts, Liberians can now brace themselves for increased supply in electricity with minimum interruption in supply.

This campaign is not only aimed at beautifying the principal streets of Monrovia, but it is also targeting improving the livelihoods of people living in shantytowns and slump communities. This is a major step in our post conflict recovery drive. With electricity being the linchpin of every economy, the management of the LEC is committed to ensuring that street lights spread to all areas of the network in the quickest, most prudent and sustainable manner.

The corporation is cognizant that with improved street lighting, businesses would remain open for longer time. School going kids can study their lessons during the night hours. This drive will improved peoples’ livelihood and help in the reduction of traffic and motor accidents. Drivers of vehicles and other earth moving equipment will no longer have to drive with high beam at their own risk.

MD Huges is very hopeful that the installations of new streetlights and the refurbishing of damaged ones will improve visibility and help in the prevention of crimes in various neighborhoods.

Liberia elected vice president at UN General Assembly

Liberia has been elected as one of several Vice Presidents of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with a one-year mandate.
A dispatch from Liberia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations dated Friday, 30 June says the election of the leadership of the 72nd Session of the UNGA took place at the Un Headquarters in New York recently.

Other Vice Presidents elected to the UN plenary include Afghanistan, Bolivia, Chile, Finland, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel, Madagascar, Morocco, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe.

 Also, serving as Vice Presidents are the five permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and the United States. The General Assembly also elected by acclimation Slovakia’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, as President of the 72nd Session of the UNGA.
The dispatch says he was elected in accordance with tradition which follows a system of geographical rotation whereby regional groups put forward a consensus candidate every year – in the present case, the Eastern European States.

Following his election, the new President outlined six priorities, stressing that his first aim is to focus on people. He pledged to bring the UN closer to the world’s citizens and make a real difference in their lives. The Sustainable Development Goals and climate action are also important priorities, he said, adding that human rights which would guide his work as an overarching principle. The UN President promised to maintain gender and geographical balance.

Mr. Lajčák went on to highlight the importance of prevention and mediation in sustaining peace, and of calling attention to the issue of migration. Emphasizing the importance of quality, he pledged not to launch any initiative that would result in additional burdens, particularly for smaller States.

He said he would rather create a streamlined agenda, organized in clusters. The President emphasized that creating a stronger United Nations that is able to meet the multitude of expectations placed upon it is a common goal.

As such, he says he would facilitate a constructive, informed and open interaction among Member States and with the Secretary-General.Mr. Lajčák called for greater trust between the United Nations and its members, stressing that he would do the utmost to support progress in the United Nations reform agenda.

He also underlined the vital need to bolster the General Assembly’s role and improve its efficiency, and transform the Security Council into a 21st century entity. Meanwhile, the General Assembly also selected members to the Bureaus of its six Main Committees. --Press release

Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria Prof. Al-Hassan Conteh has provided a briefing on Liberia to participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course of the Nigerian Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Abuja.

The Liberian Mission in Abuja, Nigeria says a delegation of 16 participants is scheduled to depart Abuja for Monrovia on July 4, to embark on a one week study visit here.

A dispatch says the lecture included history and governance, foreign policy, Liberia-Nigeria Relations, economy, investment opportunities, Executive-Legislative Relations, Culture, among others.

The Liberian Mission says 52 participants drawn from 20 public agencies undergoing the ISS’ Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC) 10 are expected to undertake study tours of Liberia, Ghana, Togo and Senegal this month.

The lecture was held recently in the auditorium of the ISS in Bwari, Abuja. The ISS is operated by the Department of State Services (DSS) of Nigeria.

Its curriculum includes country briefs on security and strategic topics whose effective management provide leadership lessons useful to the participants and Nigeria.

The team to Liberia aims to research the relationship between the Executive and Legislative branches of the Government of Liberia and its impacts on development, security and other strategic governance issues, the release adds.

On Executive-Legislative Relations in Liberia, the Ambassador explained the several coordinate and coequal functions and activities of the Legislature and Executive branches as provided by the Liberian Constitution both in theory and practice.

The Liberian Envoy also lectured on the country’s Foreign Policy, whose guiding principles, he said, are the maintenance of national security, preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

He also cited the promotion of peace and harmony based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and cooperation in the international community based on the virtues of democracy.

He described as excellent Liberia-Nigeria relations, as evidenced by the strong bilateral partnership in development, security, and regional cooperation between the two nations.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, his administration, and people across the spectrum of Nigeria take great pride and inspiration from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s record as the first democratically elected female African President, who has worked assiduously to turn around a war torn country to a post-conflict success story with political stability, sound economic growth and resilient peace-building,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Abdulwahab Wali, Deputy Director for Studies at the ISS, in his vote of thanks, lauded the Liberian Envoy for the lectures.

According to Dr. Wali, the Ambassador’s Country Brief Lecture solves 90% of the problems in particular of the participants travelling to Liberia. --Press release

Court wants U.S. Embassy handover stolen vehicles

The Criminal Court “C” in Monrovia has paused trial surrounding some alleged stolen seven U.S. cars, instructing its clerk to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here “to exert its influence” on the United States Embassy to have the vehicles brought under the court’s jurisdiction.

“It is a requirement under our law, that object so situated as those vehicles be brought under the custody of the Court during the prosecution of a case involving such object”, presiding Criminal Court “C” Judge Yussif D. Kaba decided at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, 29 June.

Over claims of smuggling stolen cars belonging to individuals in the U.S. and understating their values at the Freeport of Monrovia, Liberia’s prosecutors have indicted four persons for theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation. Two of the indictees including defendants Armstrong Tony Campbell and Sheak K. Brown are standing trial in the case, but government says the other two accused persons including Kandakai Sherman and U.S. - based Sheriff Lasuado will face separate trial upon apprehension.

The defendants allegedly shipped to Liberia seven stolen cars without being authorized between July and October 2016, understated the value of the vehicles and paid into government revenue US$21,800.65 “when they should have paid US$92,233”.Judge Kaba has instructed the clerk to insert in the communication to be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it is the expectation of the Court that the vehicles be reported to the Court on or before Tuesday, 4 July to permit the Court to continue with the hearing of the case.

“Pending the production of those vehicles therefore, this matter is hereby ordered continued (postponed) and reassign to Tuesday, the same being July 4, 2017, when the vehicles are expected to be brought under the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court”, Judge Kaba says.

The Court says it has information that the seven vehicles were placed under the custody of the U.S. Embassy here, noting that from the date of the commencement of the trial of the case, the “Court has ordered that the seven vehicles” be brought under the jurisdiction of the Court. Judge Kaba, further order for prosecution to produce the vehicles has resulted to the State requesting the Court to have a subpoena issued through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and addressed to the U.S. Embassy.

“This Court in its wisdom decides that rather than issue a subpoena, a communication will be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Clerk of this Court informing the said Ministry of the precarious situation this Court finds itself in the successful disposition of this matter in the absence of those vehicles being brought under the jurisdiction of this Court”, he concludes.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

2 LRA Ex-employees found guilty

Jurors at Criminal Court C recently have handed down a guilty verdict against two former employees of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), after several months of legal proceedings.

The former employees, Mr. Joseph Weeks and Ms. Linda Sumowood were caught in December 2015 in the act of extortion at the Customs Business Office at the Freeport of Monrovia.

The Jury of the Criminal Court C on June 14, 2017 found Mr. Joseph Weeks guilty of the crimes of Economic Sabotage and Bribery, while Ms. Sumowood was guilty of Criminal Facilitation.

The LRA, collaborating with law enforcement officers, caught the former employees in 2015 and forwarded them to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for investigation and subsequent prosecution.

Mr. Joseph Weeks, an Assessor, was captured on Closed Circuit (CC) TV taking a bribe of US$500, which he had demanded from a taxpayer, while Ms. Sumowood was captured for concealing the bribe when Mr. Weeks was being apprehended.

A taxpayer, Mr. Abraham Sinayoko, returning from the U.S., complained Mr. Weeks of extortion to the LRA Commissioner General.

Mr. Sinayoko said though he had paid all taxes and requirements in the amount of US$4,600 on his personal effects in a container he brought from the United States, he was being asked for a bribe by Mr. Weeks before his container could be released.

He complained that his documents were seized by Mr. Weeks on grounds that an additional assessment was required on his container. Mr. Weeks reportedly requested Mr. Sinayoko to pay an extra US$2,300 but later settled down for a negotiated amount of US$1,000.

An undercover operation involving the Liberia National Police and the Liberia Seaport Police caught Weeks receiving the bribe from a customs broker as he had advised the taxpayer to channel the money, and was subsequently arrested and charged by the Police.

Ms. Sumowood was arrested as she aided in concealing the bribe taken by Weeks after he had been apprehended.

The LRA lauded the whistle blower, the Liberia Seaport Police and the National Police of Liberia for their swift cooperation which resulted in the arrest of the culprit with substantial evidence.

LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba has since called on the general public, including the business community and taxpayers to report any form of dishonesty carried out by any employee of the LRA in the discharge of their duties.

“The LRA is taking all the necessary steps to curb this unwholesome behavior and therefore solicits the help of all taxpayers and the general public in order to win the fight against corruption in the revenue sector and to collect the needed revenue for the people of Liberia”, says Commissioner General Tamba.

Bribery and distortion are grave violations of the LRA professional and ethical handbook signed onto by all employees before assuming duties. Press Release

For rejecting Boakai:

In total violation of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, and being politically vendetta, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif has reportedly asked some of her staffs that are not supporting the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Boakai to go on compulsory leave or face tougher action.

The senator had earlier encouraged her staffs to follow her lead to the Unity Party candidate. But at a meeting, some staffs out-rightly turned down the request.

Based on their refusal, she ordered them to go on compulsory leave without being clear whether they’ll get their monthly salaries while beig away.

Senator Doe Sherif, who came to the Liberian political limelight through the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change, took the decision based on the refusal of some of her staffers who believe Vice President Boakai cannot make a better president.

Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia under the heading Fundamental Rights in Chapter III states: All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to associate and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations.

Based on the senator’s action, the affected staffers are seen loitering in the corridors of the Capitol Building. Some are lobbying with other senators to intercede on their behalf, but it appears that the lawmakers of the upper house are forcing their staffers to follow their lead in the coming elections.

When Senator Doe Sherif was contacted through her administrative assistant, Mr. Murphy Diggs, he informed this paper that his boss is not ready to respond to the allegation.

Mr. Diggs says the senator is preparing a well-loaded press statement on the matter.

On 10 March this year, 19 senators from several political parties endorsed the candidature of Vice President Joseph Boakai for the Presidency.

The Senators, in a statement, promised to work to ensure that Vice President Boakai is elected Liberia's next President.

Senators include Albert Chie (IND-Grand Kru County), Henry Yallah (PUP-Bong County), Dan Morias (NPP-Maryland County) Gbleh-bo Brown (IND-Maryland County), Peter Coleman (CDC-Grand Kru County), Edward Dagosseh (UP-Grand Cape Mount County), Varney Sherman (UP- Grand Cape Mount County) and Alphonso Gaye (UP-Grand Gedeh County).

Others are Geraldine Doe-Sheriff (CDC-Montserrado County) Thomas Grupee (NUDP-Nimba County), Dallas Gueh (PUP-River-cess County), Armah Z. Jallah (NPP-Gbapolu County), Matthew Jaye UP-River-Gee County), Daniel Naatehn (ANC-Gbapolu County), Francis Paye (NDC-River-cess County), and Morris Saytumah (UP-Bomi County), including Milton Teahjay (IND-Sinoe County), George Tengbeh (UP-Lofa County) and Jim Tornonlah (PUP-Margibi County).

Senator Deo Sherif, who was out of the country at the time, subsequently followed suit after she returned to the country and promised to work tirelessly to ensure that the governing Unity Part flag bearer becomes the next President.
Senator Henry Yallah, chairs the 19 Senators known as the majority, and signed the resolution of support for VP Boakai, says their decision was based on the Vice President's experience in public service and his maturity in handling matters, especially when it comes to conflict resolution and reconciliation. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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