Liberians cautioned against selling votes

A non- governmental organization called Vote Liberia has cautioned Liberians against selling their votes to aspirants for rice or money. Speaking with journalists at the ELWA Junction on Monday, 13 March, Vote Liberia Communication Director Ms. Asatu Toure said selling of votes would deny Liberians their rights to make choices that will benefit their children in the future.

She particularly pleaded with young Liberians to participate in the electoral process here, while reminding citizens not to ask what their country can do for them, but what they can do for their Country.

Ms. Toure noted that it was the responsibility of every Liberian who has reached voting age to fully participate in the this year’s electoral processes as a way of contributing to the country’s transformation process.

She warned young voters here not to allow wicked individuals to steal their children’s future for cup of rice. The peaceful assembly is comprised of students from 20 schools, including Christ the King Catholic School and PCS.

Ms. Toure said she believed that with the holding of the peaceful assembly, potential voters who had not registered would be encouraged to go and register.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley


World Bank holds first Knowledge Fest

World Bank Liberia has hosted its first knowledge fest ever here,for students, media and other key stakeholders, about its activities over the past period. World Bank Country Manager Madam Larisa Leshchenko, who addressed the opening session, expressed great honor for the event.

She said theforum came as the Bank concludes Liberia Results and Portfolio Performance Review, bringing together ministries and agencies of the government that are implementing World Bank Group supported programs.

According to the Country Manager, Knowledge Fest is an important knowledge sharing event that showcases results of the Bank’s intervention, which provides a perfect opportunity for students of higher institutions of learning and the media to understand how the Bank and partners are working with the Government of Liberia to promote growth and development.

Madam Leshchenko noted that The World Bank was organizing its first-ever Africa Knowledge Fest which officially kicked off on February 22, 2017 in Washington, D.C. and is subsequently taking place in World Bank Country Offices across Africa.

“Unleashing transformational change across Africa starts with reliable data and evidence-based knowledge that can inform and empower policymakers and the private sector. Knowledge is at the core of the World Bank strategy in Africa. The Africa Knowledge Fest is an important knowledge sharing and learning event. It is an exploration of ‘Africa Now’, offering keen insight on the progress and challenges facing the continent in today’s fast-changing global economy”

“We want to take this time to extend thanks and appreciation to the World Bank Office of the Chief Economist, Africa Region (AFRCE) and the Africa Region Communications and Partnerships (AFREC) for taking the lead in organizing this Knowledge Fest. We also want to commend all of our project teams in Government and the Bank, including our Global Practices colleagues for making this happen. We shall endeavor to make this event regular and expanding it by bringing onboard other relevant stakeholders”,Madam Leshchenko added.


Aspirant vows to unseat Rep. Solomon George

Montserrado County Electoral District#7 representative aspirant Alfred P.K. Cassell has vowed to unseat incumbent CDC Lawmaker Rep. Solomon George at the ballot box in October.

Mr. Cassell says his immediate goal is to ensure that the district benefits from good leadership that will bring about transformation. Speaking over the weekend in West Point Township, the political seat of district# 7, when he was petitioned by thousands of residents, Cassell said though he wants to bring relief to his people, he does not have power on his own to unseat the incumbent, but rather it is the decision of his constituents to do so by going to the ballot box to vote come October.

Reading the petition statement on behalf of the residents, spokesperson Ivor S. Moore said, “In two consecutive elections, we the residents of district# 7 exercised our democratic franchise, where we went to the poll and elected two persons to the Legistature with the commitment, and expectation that they would perform their statutory responsibilities of Lawmaking, Representation, and Oversight”.

Mr. Moore said while other districts in Montserrado are proud about choices they made at the polls in previous elections, the people of distrtcit#7 continue to bow in shame and their expectations shattered by the bad leadership of Rep. Solomon George, so they have petitioned aspirant Cassell who they believe would deliver them from bad leadership.

He said in spite of their disappointment, they always believe with a thorough search they can find someone competent in their midst to represent their interest at the Legislature.

Accepting the petition, Mr. Cassell promised to work with the people of the district to bring the long awaited changes they want, saying though he has not made a decision which party to join to contest, one thing is center that he will surely contest in the upcoming elections to rescue district#7 from bad leadership.

By Lewis S. Teh

Storm victims appeal for help

Victims of the recent violent storms that swept across Monrovia and its environs, uprooting light poles, electrical wires billboards, roofs of buildings, are appealing to humanitarian groups and national government for assistance to enable them repair their homes.

Residents of Logan Town, New Kru Town, and other communities in the Bushord Island suburb of the capital suffered infrastructural damages, including loss of personal effects.

Making the appeal recently via mobile on UNMIL Radio, a community leader on Bushord Island Mr. Charles Nah narrated that the storms devastated their areas, leaving residents with nothing.

“As am telling you now about 75 percent of our people are homeless as the result of the heavy storm, and these are things that we expect our government to prioritize whenever there is a major disaster in the country, but they are playing death ears to the cry of our people. This is not important to them, but they were encouraging our people to form part of the voter registration process, this is unfair”, he lamented.

According to him, one of the primary duties of a government in any country is to adequately respond to the plight of her citizens in case of an emergency, noting you have people whom others depend on to make their living being abandoned.

Mr. Nah claimed one life was lost as a result of the storms, while two others sustained injuries on Bushrod Island.  “All we are saying is for national government to see reason in addressing some of these situations, because none of these people will want to stay at their neighbors’ house for months plus as if to say they are not capable of taking care of their own lives; this is terrible”, he lamented.

By Lewis S. Teh

Margibi caucus brags

Five members of the Margibi County Legislative Caucus have bragged that they are the decision makers in the county, denouncing their other colleagues as having little influence over the people.

Members of the caucus and the county administration headed by Superintendent John Z. Buway are reportedly shakers and movers in Margibi. The county’s leadership comprises seven lawmakers, including five representatives and two senators along with Superintendent Buway.

Among them are Senators Oscar Alvin Cooper and Rev. Jim WumbaTornola, Representatives Roland Opee Cooper, district#1; Ballah G. Zayzay, District #3; Stephen S. Kafi, District #4; Ben A. Fofana and James Emmanuel Nuquay, District #5, respectively.

Excluding Sen. Cooper, Rep. Fofana and Supt. Buway, the rest are describing themselves as decision makers for the county, including Caucus Chairman Rep. Ballah G. Zayzay and Sen. Jim Tornola.

They made the brag recently in Worhn, Gibi District during a petition program for Representative Nuguay, who is current Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Rep. Zayzay described the five as ‘birds of the same feathers that fly together’, saying, “The entire caucus, we are seven but you have five here, it just tells you that the birds that have the same feathers fly together. The five that you see here today are the ones that make decisions for Margibi.”

Sen. Tornola described the five as the most radical members of the caucus, who are responsible for the survival of Margibi.  “Hon Zayzay said the team you see today, we are five; we can’t move from behind one another other and the five are the most radical five in the caucus so we say that for Margibi to survive, count five of us. I say that again, for this county to survive; you must be a part of this team that’s why my predecessor Senator Menyongar is now part of this team”, said Sen. Tornola.

But Rep. Fofana thinks the county leadership is divided, while Presidential hopeful Senator Cooper, describes himself as a lone soldier on the caucus.

By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi

PYJ dollarizes Nimba

A Nimba County Representative has again attacked his kinsman, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, this time as a politician who is only interested in dollarizing the electorates of the county for his ‘selfish gains’ at the expense of the people.

Representative Richard MatenokayTingban alleges that during the 2011 Presidential and General elections, Senator Johnson reportedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a political party for the run-off election to pledge support.

Speaking to the NewDawn Friday, March 10, at his Roberts International Airport Highway residence, Tingban said gone are those days when politician used the county for monetary gains, leaving the interest of the county and country vulnerable to desperate politicians.

Tingban, who is being tipped as running mate to Unity Party Standard bearer, Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai said, while there is no doubt that Johnson remains senator for life, but the people of Nimba are no longer interested in mortgaging their votes in the form and manner it was done in the previous elections.

“Our people are not willing to be king’s maker again. Instead, they want to produce president or vice president. Senator Johnson is a lucky politician in the eyes of our people. But the people will not be used for political commercial basis,” he said.

Commenting on the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR of Senator Johnson, Tingban said that MDR is a family club then being political party. He alleged that the current national chairman of the MDR is a relative and Chief of Staff to Senator Johnson, adding that the national treasurer of the MDR is wife to the senator, making the party to be a family with strength only in Nimba County.
He narrated that the MDR is not politically decentralized as compared to the ruling Unity Party, the party is known in Nimba County, leaving the rest of the 14 sub political divisions of the country undone.

Commenting on the Code of Conduct, Rep. Tingban said those that are guilty of the law should respectfully abide by the opinion of the Supreme Court or there could be a terrible precedence for future opinions of the highest court.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Othello B. Garblah


Child labor at Christopher Duncan’s mines

A New Dawn’s investigation has unearthed a child labor syndicate, involving the former project manager of ex-CBL governor Dr. Mills Jones. Mr. Christopher K. Duncan, who subsequently parted company with now presidential hopeful Dr. Jones, owns and operates a gold mine in Boy’s Town, Montserrado County.

Our reporter, who visited the mines, saw dozens of children between ages 13 and 15, working there as contractors. The minors were busy washing gravel in makeshift washing pans with elements attached to provide access to water pumps coming directly from a nearby river. This paper also discovered that most of the underage children came from various communities in Montserrado, including New Kru Town, West Point, Paynesville, and Mount Barclay, respectively.

They lack safety gears, boots, hand gloves, and eyes protectors, among others. Some of them narrated that they were allegedly hired by Mr. Duncan to work on the mines through his brother, only identified as Saykajeporc.

Our investigation further established that most of the activities there involve undermining (digging under the dirt to find gold) which in most instances, could cause disaster, particularly landslide.

Kids on the mines are responsible to transport dirt from one end to the other in wheelbarrow under strenuous conditions. Some of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they earn a weekly compensation of US$30.00 under the supervision of Field Manager only described as Mr. Nelson.

Unlike at other mining sites around the country where government agents are posted to monitor operation, not a single agent was seen at the Duncan’s gold mines, which contravenes the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy’s regulation against use of underage children in the mining industry.

When this paper contacted Mr. Duncan thru his Field Manager only identified as Nelson, Duncan inquired what this reporter was doing on his (Duncan’s) property. According to him, nowhere in Liberia that one can see safety, so what was wrong with him not providing safety gears for his employees.

“You see, this is why some of us Liberians can die poor because of the way we do things”, he blasted on the phone, saying “You can go and write anything you wish to write about me.”

However, minutes later, he called and this time around, ordered his Field Manager Nelson to immediately ensure that this reporter immediately vacates the mining site.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Finance minister raps on good governance

Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister BoimaKamara has told an audience here that the Liberian government has exhibited some level of good governance, something he said citizens should respect and appreciate.

Speaking during the launch of the APRM national sensitization campaign here on Thursday March 9, Kamaranamed the prioritization of citizens interests demonstrated by initiatives embarked upon with citizens’participation including the African Peer Review Mechanism orAPRM as some of the examples of good governance.

He said the APRMis aimed at creating massive awareness about theentire process for the general public ahead of the conduct of a“country self- assessment study” by the Technical Research Instituteor TRI.

Minister Kamara recalled that Liberia acceded to the 14th Forum ofheads of states, and government of the APRM in January 2011, and hassince made meaningful contributions in terms of representation and participation in the entire process.

Mr. Kamara urged all stakeholders to participate in the APRMactivities at national and local levels while government implementsthe “ambitious roadmap”. The MFDP Boss added that massive sensitization efforts will continueto accompany the conduct of country self- assessment study and reviewaround the country.

He told the gathering that the foundation of the APRM is built aroundfour thematic pillars including democracy and political governance;economic governance and management; socio economic development and corporate governance.

He had said under the political management, member countries werecommitted to the rule of law; the equality of all citizens before thelaw and the liberty of the individual.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Winston W. Parley

“Don’t elect misguided politicians”

The spiritual head of the Solution House of God in Caldwell, Rev.Callous Altitude is calling on citizens across the country to bemindful of what he calls electing misguided politicians in the pendingOctober elections.

The Clergy said misguided politicians are thoseindividuals who only come to Liberia when election is near, but arepeople who do not have the country at heart. Rev. Attitude made the comments recently at the Solution House of GodChurch’s edifice on Bushrod Island at the beginning of a three – dayrevival under the theme “Spiritual Marching to Take over YourTerritories”.

He expressed confidence that the revival will help to revive the soulsof Liberians as they gear up for the October representatives andpresidential elections. The Clergy warned that electing misguided politicians will do no goodfor Liberia, but only put the country in more danger. Rev. Attitudecautioned that some of the misguided politicians will want to incitecitizens to go against their colleagues especially during the campaign process.

He suggested that if Liberia wants to take a different [direction], it is now time for citizens, especially the votingpopulation to make good and sound decision in the interest of thecountry.

While warning against election misguided politicians, Rev. Attitudealso cautioned Liberians to respect their leaders, stressing thatLiberians themselves must show respect to their leaders if God mustshow his blessings.

He told Liberians to stop misusing air time on radios for the sole purpose of abusing leaders, but rather they discuss things of importance. He frowned on some individuals here that he says are in the constanthabit of using the air waves to throw insults at people that are inpower, saying “if you continue to throw insult at your leaders today, how will you feel when you are in power and people dothe same?”

By Lewis S. Teh--Editing by Winston W. Parley

First witness testifies in GW bribery case

Prosecution's first witness in the economic sabotage trial of past andpresent Liberian officials accused of being bribed by U.K. – basedSable Mining, Mr. Marc N. Kollie. says Dr. Eugene Shannon receivedUS$250,000 and another US$5,000 in his capacity as Lands and MinesMinister.

“The investigation concludes that Big Boy One is Defendant EugeneShannon and Big Boy -2 is Defendant E.C.B. Jones,” the Liberia Anti -Corruption Commission or LACC senior corruption investigator Mr.Kollie said Friday, 10 March at the Criminal Court “C”.

Witness Kollie alleged that former House Speaker J. Alex Tylerreceived from defendant H. Varney G. Sherman US$75,000 and furtherdemanded from Sable Mining executive defendant Klaus Piprek US$250,000in August 2010 to influence the passage of the Public Procurement andConcession Commission or PPCC Act in favor of the company.

Mr. Kollie testified that his interaction with the defendants wasprompted by a Global Witness report published on 11 May 2016. Heclaimed that Nigerian national Chris Onanuga received US$50,000, andformer National Investment Commission Boss Richard Tolbert receivedUS$50,000 from defendant Sherman.

Witness Kollie narrated how the Global Witness report specified analleged corruption scheme in which a British mining firm Sable Miningacquired shares or interest in Delta Mining and hired Liberian lawyer
Cllr. H. Varney G. Sherman who allegedly became distributor of bribesoffered by the company.

With the alleged advice of Cllr. Sherman, now Grand Cape Mount CountySenator, witness Kollie says Global Witness claimed that Sable Miningpaid bribes to current and past officials of government.

“The essence of these [bribe] payments according to the report was toinfluence the change or change of the Public Procurement ConcessionCommission (PPCC) Law of 2005; the laws of this country in favor of
Sable Mining. Sable Mining is a UK - based firm registered in theBritish Vergence Island with registration number 1402067,” the witnesssaid.

Witness Kollie said Global Witness had alleged that bribes were paidto the officials totaling US$950,000, and amounts paid to two unknowncharacters called by the report as Big Boys One and Two.

He said a private investigator for over 25 years, Paul Sulevan, hadfurnished investigators with emails and other documentary evidencethat connected the defendants with the alleged commission of thecrimes.

Witness Kollie further said Heines Van Niekerk who was very familiarto the named defendants allegedly turned over to investigators ”CC”copies of emails directly sent to him.

He concluded that Sable Mining executive Klaus Piprek who worked inLiberia told investigators that he was copied and “CC” in most of theemails concerning the conspiracy to change the laws of Liberia infavor of a single company.

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

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