Rep. Samuel Kogar enjoys huge endorsement

About 200 chiefs, elders, women and youth groups from Nimba County Electoral District#5 have overwhelmingly endorsed Representative Samuel Gongben Kogar for a second term, outlining his contributions and achievements in the district.

The citizens’ endorsement, approved by Paramount Chiefs Jessie Wonleh of Nyo Chiefdom; Jackson T. Kwanue of Ninkwiah Chiefdom, and Tahn Willie of Yao Chiefdom, respectively notes that Representative Kogar has, in the last six years, demonstrated good leadership across the length and breadth of Electoral District#5, and therefore, he deserves another term of transparent leadership that would not only transform the district, but improve their standard of life.

“… we have resolved, unanimously agreed and decided without any form of influence or coercion whatsoever, to democratically exercise our political franchise by endorsing Representative Samuel Gongben Kogar’s second term bid to contest the upcoming October 10, 2017 Representative and Presidential Elections”, the endorsement statement reads.
The citizens outlined among others, factors that led them to taking the decision, noting that having worked with the incumbent Lawmaker for the period of six consecutive years, and observed his transparent dispensation of good leadership in the entire Disrrict#5, including respect for traditional norms and cultural values coupled with ably discharging the key legislative functions of Representation, Lawmaking, and Oversight, they are convinced that he deserves another term in office.

According to them, Representative Kogar has embarked on decentralization of development in the district that has provided freedom to grow and glow in areas of capacity building, communication, infrastructure, women empowerment and human resource management, among others.

“Therefore, and in view of the numerous positive attributes and good leadership provided by the incumbent Lawmaker, Hon. Samuel Gongben Kogar, which have made the people and citizens of the electoral district to know and recognize their human values, coupled with the sanity his leadership has provided for the district, we are left with no other alternative but to endorse Representative Samuel Gongben Kogar’s second term bid to contest the upcoming October 10, 2017 Representative and Presidential Elections in Nimba County Electoral District#5”, the citizens conclude in their statement of endorsement of the lawmaker.

Stolen U.S. cars’ trial begins

The Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice will today begin hearing into multiple charges brought against four defendants accused of stealing and receiving seven vehicles belonging to different persons in the U.S..

The trial has be set to begin following the selection of a 15 - man jury panel to hear the facts into multiple charges.

Two of the defendants, Armstrong Tony Campbell and Sheak K. Brown where present in court on Monday when presiding Judge Yussif D. Kaba summarized the indictment to the jury panel. The remaining two yet to be
found Kandakai Sherman and U.S. - based Sheriff Lasuado will get separate trial.

The four defendants are indicted here for theft of property, economic sabotage, smuggling, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation. They are accused of allegedly stealing and shipping to Liberia seven cars belonging to different persons in the U.S. without being authorized between July and October 2016.

Besides allegedly stealing the seven vehicles, prosecutors here say the four defendants understated the value of the vehicles and paid into government revenue US$21,800.65 “when they should have paid US$92,233”.

All the seven vehicles in question are said to have been “confirmed stolen by U.S. Law Enforcement and police records”, and title documents of the vehicles were said to have been provided to the Liberia National Police during the course of the investigation.

The indictment claims that defendant Campbell provided false and incorrect information about the vehicles to the shipping line, and caused their broker New Millennium Cargo Handling to make false declaration in the Liberia Revenue Authority’s ASYCUDA System about the year model, VIN numbers and the mileage of the vehicles.
The cars were allegedly shipped to Liberia in the name of a non-existent and fictitious company named “Sheak K. Brown Building Material Incorporated.

Prosecutors say the defendants understated the true value of the vehicles to defraud government of the required taxes.

Before physical examination of the vehicles could be conducted here, prosecutors say defendant Campbell and Sheak K. Brown “irregularly caused a reassessment and amendment” to be carried out to their previous declaration done on 8 October 2016 by defendant kandakai Sherman.

Despite making such an alleged amendment, government says the defendants once more provided misleading information concerning the vehicles.

On 12 October, 2016, defendant Sherman is said to have provided the third set of information about the same vehicles, but the fake VIN numbers which were earlier declared were not changed due to the fact that Sherman was in a hurry to do another reassessment sought by Campbell and Brown when they knew that physical assessment was imminent.

The trial begins at 10am on Tuesday, 20 June at the Criminal Court “C”, Temple of Justice.-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

NPA completes dredging of Freeport of Monrovia

Authorities at the National Port Authority or NPA announced Monday June 19, 2017 that they have completed the dredging of the Freeport of Monrovia to a depth of 13.5 meters and in some places, 14.5 meters, in order to accommodate larger and wilder vessels, provide for safe navigation and facilitate trade and commerce.

The dredging which was completed last week Friday, June 16, 2017, was executed by the Norwegian company, Nordsee, a subsidi

ary of Dredging Environment Marine International (DEME Group) who was the Most Responsive Bidder selected from among the six (6) companies that submitted bids in an International Competitive Bidding (ICB) process executed by the National Port Authority and the outcome approved by the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).

In 2012, the last time the Freeport of Monrovia was dredged prior to this current exercise, it was dredged to 12.5 meters depth. This depth reduced to 11.5 meters as a result of siltation buildup over the five years period. A SAFE MEMO reducing draft requirement soon followed, limiting the size of vessels that could come in because the entrance channel had narrowed and the depth reduced.

As a result of the just completed dredging, the depth has increased to 13.5 meters in most places and 14.5 in other areas, eliminating the need for draft restriction which has been lifted immediately. The areas around the new Fuel Unloading Facility (FUF) which is to be completed and commissioned shortly, was also dredged to similar depth. The safe navigational buoy that was sitting ashore as a result of siltation built-up was recovered and repositioned in order to continue facilitating 24 hours safe vessel movements.

The NPA Managing Director expressed delight in the completion of the dredging exercises because it accommodate the global trending where vessels are becoming bigger in order to accomplish economy of scale – discharging more cargoes for multiple consignees on a single trip.

Mr. David Williams said as a consequence of this dredging, it is expected that cargo throughput at the Freeport of Monrovia will increase since the port can now attract and accommodate bigger and wilder vessel safely and reliably. The NPA Managing Director further averred that going forward, it is his hope that it will no longer take five years before dredging is done; but that the required two years maintenance dredging will be carried out accordingly in order to keep attracting bigger and larger vessels to a safer and reliable port to spur trade and commerce.

The NPA Managing Director thanked all partners including the MOJ, MFDP, PPCC, APM Terminals and the abled staff of the National Port Authority, especially the Marine personnel, for the cooperation and assistance through this exercise.

Mr. Williams thanked the shipping community for keeping faith with Liberia’s port system and assured the community of a continued safe and reliable port environment to call at all time.


Wash cardinal to human existence

British charity Water Aid Liberia says access to safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) remains cardinal. Water Aid Liberia Deputy Country Director Chuchu K. Selma warned here on Friday, 16 June that every year thousands of children die globally as a result of poor sanitation and lack of clean water.

Mr. Selma was speaking at the Capitol Building during the official launch of the Legislative WASH Network by a local NGO group named United Youth for Peace, Education and Transparency and Development in Liberia (UYPETDL).

The Water Aid official suggested that the issue of WASH must be taken into serious consideration, noting that there is no child that could survive without clean water and adequate sanitation.

He has stressed his organization’s supports to citizens here and promised to work with lawmakers to ensure that the Water and Sanitation Act be passed for the benefit of the Liberian people.

Mr. Selma said argued that the importance of WASH in the society cannot be overemphasized on grounds that it is cardinal to the existence of human being.

He says Water Aid is a member of the Liberia WASH Consortium, adding that they have been supporting the WASH sector since 2007. According to him, six International NGOs are working together to support the WASH sector here to see how progress can be made in the sector.

He further promised that his organization will continue to support the initiative of the local NGO group UYPETDL, working along with them to provide the necessary information that needed to strengthen its work at the Legislature.

Mr. Selam noted that the group will also be advocating ensuring adequate budgetary allocation for the sector, targeting national and local budget as well as overseas development aid for the sector, including the decentralization and information management of WASH services in Liberia’s 15 counties.

The charity indicated that the major barrier it has is to ensure water, sanitation and health programs are implemented effectively.

But he assured that Water Aid will continue to engage donors to influence government to ensure that it meets up with commitments made that are aimed at improving the WASH sector of Liberia.

By Lewis S. Teh

Judge proposes alliance of Methodist lawyers

The Assigned Judge of Bomi County, Judge A. Blamo Dixon, Sr. is proposing the establishment of the Association of Methodist Lawyers of Liberia (AMLL) to legally resolve all disputes arising out of Methodist Churches here.

He made the proposal about the association on Sunday, 18 June when he was crowned father of the year 2017/2018 by the Trinity United Methodist Church (TUMC) situated in the Borough of New Kru Town.

The celebration held under the auspices of the Men Unit of the TUMC brought together the cleric, senior government officials, guests and relatives of the honorees. In remarks, Judge Dixon said in his first year term he intends to galvanize the support of all Methodist lawyers to form a single framework that would incorporate all lawyers from Methodist Churches not to plead in cases involving members of the same denominations.

He adds that he would also strive to ensure that two lawyers from the church do not plead in cases involving their members on grounds that it doesn’t represent the interest of the church and its associates.He said he would encourage female of the Methodist Church to become lawyers as their male counterparts of the church are dominating the legal profession.

He then recommended an out of court settlement in legal matters involving the church’s members to avoid appearing before a sitting Methodist Judge because it sends a bad signal for the church and those associating with it. Judge Dixon has expressed gratitude to the officials and members of the TUMC for selecting and honoring him as Father of the Church.

He says it will go a long way in bringing peace and tranquility among members of Methodist Churches operating in the country through the involvement of the church’s various fathers of the year.

Meanwhile, other persons honored during the celebration include the Grand Father Amos T. Sabah, Brother Danny B. Wilson, Journalist D. Ignatius Roberts of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) and D. Sonpon Weah, II, among others.
By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Ellen declares World Refugee Day

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared Tuesday,20 June as "World Refugee Day", to be observed throughout the country as a Working Holiday.

According to a Foreign Ministry release issued in Monrovia Monday, 19 June, the official ceremony of World Refugee Day 2017 in Liberia will be held at the PTP Refugee Camp in Grand Gedeh County, under the theme: "We Stand Together with Refugees".

World Refugee Day is particularly commemorated to acknowledge the difficulties faced by refugees forced to cross international borders as well as those who remain within their countries as internally displaced persons or IDPs. The Proclamation is calling on all citizens and foreign residents, national and international youth organizations as well as government agencies concerned to join Liberia Refugees Repatriation Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) to execute appropriate programs befitting the observance of the day.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says World Refugee Day serves as a platform to raise awareness and promote solidarity with refugees through social media and radio programs that will enable UNHCR to disseminate information on the different durable solutions, notably voluntary repatriation and local integration.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Regulation 55/76, declaring June 20 of each year as World Refugee Day to be celebrated by Member States in recognition of the courage and resilience of more than 50 million persons around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflicts or human rights abuses.

More than 100 Countries will hold events with collaboration of Governments, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, civilians as well as the IDPs and refugee themselves.--Press release

GA calls for halt to Female Genital Mutilation

Girls’ Alliance for future leadership, a local group, is calling for a halt to female genital mutilation, including all forms of abuses against young girls in Africa, particularly Liberia.
Speaking over the weekend in commemoration of “Day of the African Child” GA Secretary General Aquila Saah, describes FGM as evil, noting that it does nothing positive but rather robs the girl child of a better future.

She further laments that the practice is an embodiment of pain and problems both physical and psychological saying, “People, who are not in your shoes, find it difficult to understand how it feels.”

Aquila demands zero tolerance in mutilation, abuse, disparity and early marriage, stressing that a girl’s worth is based on what she has in her hand, something that is achievable through education.

She continues that for the past 11-years, the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has allegedly failed to pass laws, criminalizing female genital mutilation, adding “Sometimes adults brand young people as disrespectful and rude when the youth dare challenge their excesses.”

She recalls that award winning Liberian female Journalist Mae Azango couple of years ago went into hiding because she wrote few articles against FGM.According to her, traditional leaders, who are considered allies of the President declared war against Mae Azango, adding “that entire unfortunate thing happened under a Nobel Laureate, who is the first female president in Africa.

Aquila emphasizes that if the government failed to protect those, who speak for the rights of others then what becomes the fate of the oppressed.She says even in the face of heavy presence of the international community in Liberia, the country remains undemocratic when it comes to the right to peacefully gather and protest, adding that highlighting this state of affairs is critical for members of the girl’s alliance for future leadership.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Barclayville residents panic

The constant might appearances of an unmarked vehicle in Barclayville, Grand Kru County has created fear among residents of the provincial capital. The vehicle only identified by panicking residents as “black jeep” with no license plate, is usually seen in Setor, a suburb of Barclayville during early morning hours specifically between 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. each day.

Setor community residents told The New Dawn on Friday, 16 June that the jeep, which comes from an unknown destination, is always occupied by six masked men, all addressed in black.

They narrate that each time the jeep enters the city from the direction of Barclayville-Kanweaken highway, it is usually parked behind an Assembly of God Church in Setor.
According to them, four of the six men with mask on the faces would disembark the car and spread themselves in the bush until early morning around 5:30 before they leave

he area.he residents are meanwhile calling on the Joint Security in the county to step up intensive night and early morning patrols to allay their fear as the country goes to elections.  

By John Bropleh, Grand Kru-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Woman slices husband’s penis in Grand Kru

Police in Grand Kru County are investigating a 55-year-old woman identified as Lucy Wajac of Zogoken, Wedebo District on charges of crijinal attempt to commit murder and aggravated assault, Lucy reportedly attempted to castrate her husband identified as John Welleh during a recent fight by the couple which resulted to his penis being chopped by his wife, using a razor blaze.

Welleh, who is presently receiving medication at a local hospital with several stitches on his penis, was quietly taken away by neighbors during the fight, who met the victim lying helplessly on the ground bleeding profusely.
According to family sources, the couple got into a fight after Lucy allegedly refused to accompany her husband to the farm to plant rice.
They continue that she instead, decided to go to the farm of some friends to help them, leaving her own farm unattended to, a situation which led to a quarrel and subsequent fight.

By John Bropleh, Grand Kru-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Liberians urged to uphold strong integrity

The chief of party of Digital Liberia E-Government Project is emphasizing here that if Liberia will be a better place, it means every citizen should be honest, trustworthy and sincere in whatever position he or she occupies in public service.

Madam Rie Lukowski spoke recently at the 5th Consultative Meeting of Kvinna Til Kvinna or TK Liberia, urging Liberians to become standard bearers of building integrity, because it’s very significant to the rebuilding process of the country.

She explains that the aim and objective of the meeting was to learn more about integrity, understanding the importance of being a person with integrity and how integrity is linked to unity and culture.

ccording to her, there’s no doubt that the women of Liberia, when they are united, could do more than just stopping the war, and bringing peace to Liberia, saying “As we are aware, more still needs to be done, especially in a society that is male dominant, and with a history that still hangs in some parts of the country that women should not have equal rights as compared to men. There is more work to do; meaning there’s more than enough reasons that women should gather and be more united than ever before.’’

“We can all do it but it’s a choice, take back your culture with strong values and keep pushing for a better result, we must become the change we want to see”, she continues.
Keynote speaker Madam Victoria Cooper-Enchia, stresses that building integrity is important to making a country peaceful, stable and sustainable.

The gathering, under the theme “Integrity-Link to the Unity of Women” was organized by Kvinna Till Kvinna (KTK), a Swedish based organization in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Gender Advisory Office.

Participants were drawn from urban and rural women, as well as representations from Community Based Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and government agencies, NGOs, INGOs, marketers, Traditional Council, entrepreneurs and young women’s organizations, respectively.

Mrs. Enchia continues that in order to achieve integrity building, the rebuilding process across the society must be as intentional as building roads, hospitals, schools, churches, mosques and businesses.

“Rebuilding integrity must be as important as teaching children to read, write and count and training doctors, teachers, nurses, lawyers, electricians, and it must be intentional.”

“I was living in Ghana in 2003 when the women sat down, locked their arms together and refused to allow the Liberian leaders out of the room until they agreed to a peace settlement; This was unity, this was solidarity, and this was women united to save their country and their families and their future”, she notes.
She recalls that when Liberia went to the polls in 2005, women were again in the forefront and elected the first democratically-elected female President in Africa, noting that the life and death nature of civil conflict made unifying women easier, as war was the common enemy.

She stresses the need for solidarity and unity of women as more important now than before because this is fight for Liberia’s core, for the fabric of society, which holds a society together.

“The Government of Liberia acknowledged that the fabric of the Liberian society was devastated during the war. Implicit in that statement is that before the war there was a fabric of the society or a set of core values. Maybe these core values can be rewoven, but it will take commitment and focus,” she points out.
She says the country may not be at physical war anymore; however, the situation remains critical, adding that although it looks different and the challenges are spoken of in hushed tones and not from megaphones, “We have a major problem at the core with integrity.”

By Lewis S.Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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