Politics

Police install street security cameras

Authorities at the Liberian National Police or LNP have begun installing security cameras on the streets, as way a of creating a safe city. Liberia’s Police Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman told the New Dawn in an exclusive interview Tuesday 13, June that the security cameras which are currently being tested will be rolled out probably within the next two weeks, and that over 60 percent of Monrovia will be monitored by camera in the initial stages.


“In the next two weeks, let’s say 60 percent of the city will be monitored,” Col. Coleman said in an exclusive interview with the NewDawn at the Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

Col. Coleman says police are closely working with the Liberia Telecommunication Corporations (LIBTELCO) in undertaking the “Safe City Project” that will lead to mounting cameras at unknown destinations covering over 60 percent of Monrovia.

He says a meeting has already been concluded with the general manager of LIBTELCO on all of the areas that will be captured while awaiting extension.

The cameras will be controlled at the police headquarters in Monrovia where police operatives will be zooming in at various designated posts to capture activities on a daily basis.

The security cameras may deter and capture whatever clandestine operations among police, vehicle operators and other road users, while at the same time capturing other incidents that may be of interest to security here.

The news of the installation of street security cameras is just a tip of the iceberg, as the LNP race to gain more professional status under its youthful looking director.

Touching on arms operation in the police force, Col. Coleman says that in as much as the Police have the right to carry arms not all the officers will be armed because much of their works are not weapon related.

He says right now the police have two units which are fully armed because they have been trained to and that refers to the Police Support Unit (PSU) and the Emergency Response Unit (ERU). He said in addition the police are also considering key individuals at higher levels to also be issued arms. He named zonal and regional commanders and their deputies across the country as those being look at in that direction.

The Police Chief says recent transformation including refurbishing of the police headquarters are not being done as a result of donor funding, but rather says the police authorities have simply changed “spending priorities” and to focus on things that would improve the institution’s image.

He says police are trying to direct their spending on things that would improve the image of the police force, though he admits that the police force still has some challenges.

In the midst of challenges facing the police, Col. Coleman insists that if there is intervention that he would be seeking right now, his priority would focus on the welfare of the police officers and how to beef up the institution’s capacity.

Additionally, he says the police are also concerned about continuously promoting the “No to Violence” message across the country, especially in these elections times.
He concludes that police uniforms and mobility are also key interventions that the police would appreciate to enable the force identify its officers properly, and make effective responses to calls from the public. .More from the exclusive interview will be published in subsequent edition

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

Chiefs must not wear party T-shirts

The head for the Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, is cautioning chiefs and elders across the country to remain neutral and avoid wearing campaign T-shirts for political parties, stressing that the goal of chiefs is to help promote peace.


Speaking in a meeting with chiefs and elders in Nimba County on Tuesday, 13 June Chief Zanzan Karwor notes that the Traditional Council of Liberia is non-political and should not get involved in any act that has the propensity to undermine peace in the country.

Chief Karwor further stresses that the October 10th Presidential and Representative elections are crucial and need the involvement of all citizens.He says chiefs should play the role of twins mothers, by refraining from pledging support or loyalty to any specific presidential aspirant in the race, but to welcome all to their various communities, towns, villages and cities as they do not know who may win the poll.

Chiefs and traditional leaders from Bong, Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties, recently pledged support to the Standard Bearer of the governing Unity Party, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

The meeting was sponsored by Carter Center, an International Non-governmental Organization. Also speaking, Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, William Tolbert, III, urges chiefs and elders to remain united in supporting here. Ambassador Tolbert continues that foreigners would not bring to Liberia, but Liberian themselves.
“If you are united and living in peace, other nations will copy your example”, he stresses. Meanwhile, Chief Karwor has pledged 100,000LRD for the renovation of the Chief Compound in Sanniquellie, Nimba County.

By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne

House summons CBL

The House of Representatives has summoned the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia to appear before plenary next Tuesday, 20 June.


Plenary took the decision on Tuesday, June 13, after a communication from Grand Kru County District#2 Representative, Numene T. H. Bartekwa, reminding his colleagues of alleged failure of Executive Governor Weeks to appear before the august body to provide reasons why the Central Bank has not been able to withdraw all mutilated Liberian Banknotes in circulation despite the printing of new banknotes to replace the mutilated ones.

According to Rep. Bartekwa, on February 9, 2017 a communication was sent to the CBL, requesting the Executive Governor and members of the Board of Governors to appear before the full plenary, but they have complied accordingly.

He says the alleged failure of the CBL Governor to appear continues to pose serious problem as the circulation of the mutilated banknotes still persist in the Liberian market. The lawmaker emphasizes that what is most important as contained in his request to plenary is that the CBL authorities should state the total amount of new Liberian Banknotes that was printed, but up till now, they haven’t do so, so the mutilated money is still in the market, which according to him, is contributing to the rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar against the United States Dollars, which is not good for the economy.

In a recent appearance before the Liberian Senate, Executive Governor Milton Weeks disclosed that 10.9 Billion Liberian dollars currently in circulation are outside of the banking system and couldn’t be accounted for.

He blames the situation on huge quantity of old Liberian banknotes that were put in circulation and have become mutilated, while others are pocketed by private citizens and companies.

Speaking at a public hearing in the chambers of the Liberian Senate on 2 May in Monrovia, he said this problem has put the CBL in a difficult position in replacing mutilated banknotes, pointing out that currently, the Liberian government is in possession of 12.6 billon of the newly printed local currency, and of the amount, only 1.6 billion LRD is in circulation while the remaining 9 billon LRD has been distributed among commercial banks , while the rest, which he did not disclose, is at the Central Bank.

Commenting on the economic situation, Governor Weeks further explained that the mutilated banknotes continue to roam the local market, noting that some commercial banks are in the habit of giving mutilated banknotes to customers, something which, he said, the CBL has threatened to sanction violators.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

23 sent to court in Maryland

Police in Maryland County have arrested and forwarded to the Harper Magisterial court 23 suspects in connection with a recent violence land dispute in the county that left property worth US$51,663.00 destroyed.


Those arrested in connection with the arson attack are: Dweh Bloh, Ylea Saba, Yeaba Saba, Emmanuel Akoko, Ghana Tiah, Yeabo Mle Sieh, NimelyYuah, Godfred Merriam, and Gba Mle Nyema. Others include, Doe Sunday, Eric Wilson, Yuah Howard, Weleh Yuah, Dweh Nyema, Hodo Himmie, Newyueah Howard, Gabriel Howard, Klabo Howard, SidaHne, Hodo Hysenon, and Tartu Clark.

They are currently reminded at the Harper Central Prison, awaiting court trial on charges ranging from Arson, Robbery, Armed Robbery, and Theft of Property to Riot, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief, and Criminal Conspiracy, respectively.

The act by the alleged defendants contravenes Section 15.1, 15.30, 15.32, 15.51, 15.21 and 15.5, respectively of the New Panel Law of Liberia. According to the state, the defendant being purposeful, intentional, wicked, willful, criminal, and unlawful, acted thereby, depraving owner of the said land of its asset and capital expended to upgrade the estate.

Plaintiff complained under oath that on Tuesday, 23 May between the hours 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. the people of Pedebo community, Maryland County refused to adhere to a court order for the conduct of an investigative survey of 260.3 acres of farmland, said to belong to Dr. James Elliott.

The farm was allegedly vandalized by co-defendant BuduYuwea, still at large, setting ablaze two houses and other items on the farm. The alleged attackers used lethal instruments, including cutlasses and single barrel gun, inflicting body injuries on their victims.

Meanwhile, Co-defendant BuduYuweh, identified as ringleader, is reportedly still at large along with several others, including Namely, Tuby Dennis, General Town Chief, Half Graway, Budu Jude Allison, General Town Chief, Kings Town; Dweh Sadalang, youth leader, Grawey, GiobaYude Merriam, Mayor, whole of Grawey, Thomas Dio, land secretary, Graweycian and Hne Wallace, General Town Chief, Grawey, respectively.

Latest report gathered from the county, says the case has been transferred to the 4th Judicial Circuit Courtin Harper. For his part, the clan chief of Pedebo town, Ben Klah David, in an interview with the NewDawn in Pedebo recently said, he and his people are currently living in fear as a result of threatening messages from unnamed sources.
Chief David is calling on government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Carter Center to probe the situation to bring a permanent end to the conflict on said land.

He warns that failure to quickly intervene he foresee a war between the people of Pedebo and Bleejay, because he and his people will not sit to watch any of their sons and daughters harmed without retaliating.

“Even if we go to war and all of us die, we will never change our word; the land in question belongs to Dr. Elliott and we cannot just do anything because he acquired the land from the late Senator J. Hodo Manston and presented documents to justify that he bought the land from Manston and we saw the deeds and agreed, all of us know that Dr. Elliott is the owner of the land”, Chief Ben Klah Davis defended.

By George K. Momo/ Maryland-Editing by Jonathan Browne

House endorses Ombudsman

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, 13 June endorsed an Act to amend Part XII of the Code of Conduct for the creation of an operational framework for the Office of the Ombudsman, as established in the CoC for public officials and employees of government here.


The plenary of the House of Representatives last Thursday sent the act to committee room for review and subsequent report to the body.  According to the committee, as per plenary’s mandate and in keeping with the latter portion of Article 77(b) that authorizes and empowers the Legislature to make laws, indicating the category of Liberians who shall not form or become members of political parties, and Article 90 (c) that gives the Legislature the authority to prescribe code of conduct for public officials, the joint committee convened and scrutinized the act carefully and critically and recommends that plenary concurs with the Liberian Senate on the amendment of Part Xll of the Code of Conduct.

The Senate unanimously passed the act recently and sent it the House of Representative for concurrence. According to the act, members of the Ombudsman shall hold office for two (3-year) terms following confirmation by the Senate and appointment by the President, and shall be removed from office by the President for nonfeasance, malfeasance, misfeasance, and criminal acts as prescribed under existing laws and regulations.

In matters of law, the office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to conduct hearings in a quasi-judicial manner and make findings, gives reasons and conclusions in matters filed before it, while an appeal from its decision relative to violations of the Code of Conduct shall be immediately appealable to the relevant courts of Liberia.

The act also states that no person, who files a complaint or participates in any investigation or proceeding pursuant to Chapter 12.6, shall be subject to any penalties, sanctions or restrictions in connection with his or her employment or be denied any right, privilege or benefit because of such action.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf early April nominated officials to the Ombudsman headed by ex-police chief Cllr. Clarence Christian Massaquoi amid public outcry that Massaquoi is a confidante of the President’s, questioning his neutrality. The Office of the Ombudsman is an autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct for public officials.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Media is key to better democracy

The Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, says the media in any country plays a major role in the developmental agenda, stressing that it must not be overlooked as it had been done in Liberia.


Addressing reporters here on Tuesday, 13 June at the opening of a two-day workshop on ‘Elections Reporting’ held at the Monrovia YMCA on Crown Hill, Minister Nagbe says the media is the custodian of a better democracy in any nation.

The workshop is being held under the auspices of the Center for Media Studies, bringing together Reporters from five counties, including Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, Bong, Grand Bassa, and Montserrado counties with the aim of strengthening their capacity and empowering them to monitor good governance, democratic participation, and peaceful political transition in Liberia thru free, fair and transparent elections in October.

The MICAT boss explains that whenever there exists an opportunity to get more training for young journalists, it contributes to the general effort for media improvement in the country. He reiterates that the media is an indispensable part of democracy, saying, “Without a free press, you cannot have a better democracy; it is the media that provides the check and balance that is required for democracy to continue”.

Nagbe himself, a former media practitioner and editor, continues that though the media plays a major, it cannot succeed if other partners, including the government and political institutions didn’t recognize the important role it plays.

“While we seek training for journalists, we anticipate our partners to get involve with this to promote a peaceful election; we also look forward to the Press Union of Liberia or PUL to push for politicians to commit themselves to allowing journalists to do their job without threat, intimidation, and violence.”

According to the Minister, the reason behind his remarks is that in a competition involving election, politicians will always seek to influence the media, adding that in times where the interest of a politician or a particular group is not promoted, it fuel conflict.

“We who are politicians must also look at the role the media has to play, not just to be promoters of politicians, but to be promoters of the country; that can only be done by examining us, assessing us, criticizing us, exposing us, that’s the version of a good media landscape”, Nagbe concludes.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Firestone bans heavyweight trucks

The management of Firestone Rubber Plantation in Liberia says until further notice, all non-Firestone Liberia trucks exceeding 5 axles will not be allowed passage through its production area, as a result of the significant damage done to the Harbel – 15 Gate road, particularly the collapse of the Du River Bridge.


The company based in Harbel, Margibi County issued this week after the collapse of the Du River Bridge in the county on Wednesday, 7 June. The management says the Du River Bridge located on the Harbel-15 Gate road inside the Firestone Rubber Plantation collapsed under the weight of an excessively overloaded truck carrying aggregate stone for the Roberts International Airport or RIA runway project.

The company says there was no injury sustained in the incident. The Harbel-15 Gate route is the primary access to the Firestone Medical Center at Du Side, the company says further. It adds in the statement that due to the bridge’s collapse, Firestone has been forced to reroute traffic through the center of the production area resulting in an increase in travel time to reach the hospital.

The company complains that since the RIA construction project began early 2017, there has been extensive damage to the Harbel-15 Gate road due to excessively overloaded non-Firestone Liberia trucks traveling the route. It says the decision has been made in order to limit further damage to roads and also to preserve the integrity of other bridges in the production area.

Firestone Liberia says it is now working closely with the Liberian Government, the owner of the overloaded truck that was on the bridge when it collapsed, and contractors working on the RIA project to reach a solution to the collapse of the Du River Bridge and the excessive damage to the Harbel – 15 Gate route. --Press release

Allen white confirms PYJ probe

The former chief prosecutor for the U.N.-backed special court for Sierra Leone, Dr. Allen White has confirmed that the leader of the disbanded rebels Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson is being investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Speaking to the Voice of America’s Peter Clottey over the weekend, Dr. White says the probe of Senator Johnson is in connection with atrocities committed during the nearly 15 years Liberian Civil War, including the action of an American.

He stresses the need for retributive justice in Liberia for victims of the civil conflict, adding the ongoing exercise is not something new. “There is an extensive record of crimes against humanity that has been committed and it is time the people of Liberia get retribution”, insists Dr. White who gathered evidence against jailed former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor, which led to his conviction by the U.N.-backed Special Court in The Hague for aiding and abetting RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Taylor is currently serving a 50-year sentence in Britain. His ex-wife, 50 years old Agnes Reeves Taylor was arrested about two weeks ago in London for alleged torture in Liberia.

Sen. PYJ recently accused U.S. President Donald Trump and All Liberian Party Political Leader businessman Benoni Urey, of master-minding the campaign against him to destroy his political interest.

But Dr. White clarifies that the process of gathering pieces of evidence for people who committed atrocities in Liberia has been a long journey, spinning over a period of 15 years. Story by Jonathan Browne

LP loyalists flog New Dawn journalist

The New Dawn correspondent in Nimba County is claiming physical assault from the Liberty Party of presidential hopeful, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine.

The LP over the weekend held its convention in the commercial city of Ganta, Nimba County, attended by hundreds of partisans and supporters, ahead of official start of campaign in July.

Correspondent Franklin Doloquee, who also reports for the state radio ELBC, had reportedly gone to cover the Liberty Party convention held at Peace Emprise in Ganta when some partisans of the party allegedly flogged him, taking away his tape recorder and accused him of being a spy of the governing Unity Party.

It all started when the keynote speaker for the convention was about to mount the podium and Reporter Doloquee along with other reporters mounted their gadgets on the podium, but he was picked from among the journalists by LP loyalists, who seized his recorder and flogged him.

“We have the right to flog you; look at him; you are a paid agent for the Unity Party, who has come to spy on us”, they remark. LP County Chairman Paul Wehyee, also told Reporter Doloquee, “You were lucky that my boys did not kill you; you’re not a Journalist, but a paid agent.”

Chairman Wehyee further threatened that more will come. The assault was reportedly carried out in the presence of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine and his Vice Standard Bearer Harrison Karwea, who both attended the convention.

The convention was largely attended by partisans trucked from Monrovia and other parts of the country. Residents of Ganta have described the attack against Reporter Franklin Doloquee as unacceptable, particularly coming from a party that is seeking state power.

This is the second attack from the LP against Franklin Doloquee. The first incident occurred in Saclepea, Nimba County. At the same time, several LP district coordinators from Nimba have threatened to take the party to court for lack of attention.

Addressing a press conference over the weekend, the aggrieved partisans disclosed that since they arrived in Ganta last Thursday up to press time, they did not have access to food and lodging.

“My brother, we have been in the streets of Ganta since we entered here on Thursday”, they lament. According to them, their local leaders, Jerry Kania and County Chairman Paul Wehyee allegedly absconded with their money. When contacted, both Chairman Wehyee and district coordinator Jerry Kania declined to comment.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Cummings camp reawakens 20,000 jobs pledge

Supporters of Alternative National Congress or ANC presidential aspirant Alexander Cummings are complaining that they are yet to see the 20,000 jobs opportunity annually promised by President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf, claiming that they only got alleged empty promises from their leaders.


While being petitioned by a group of Liberians from the southeast based in Montserrado County District #14 on Friday, 9 June on Clara Town Field, elder Alexander W. Hinneh told Mr. Cummings that “most of the males in the district are unemployed” and are still expecting the 20,000 jobs employment opportunity of the president.

“We believe in you because of your national and international records. You’ll perform to the best of your ability”, he said in the petition statement. President Sirleaf, while campaigning in Nimba and Bong Counties for her second term bid in 2011, promised that her government would have created 20,000 jobs annually for Liberians if re-elected, with assurance that about US$16 billion investments had been mobilized.

After accepting the petition, Cummings says he is going to work hard every day until Liberia is transformed, emphasizing that a better Liberia, Clara Town, Doe Community and District #14 would mean having better schools, better roads, better health facilities, electricity and running water.

“... And what that means is we will have better schools, we’ll have better roads, better health facilities; we’ll have electricity and running water. That’s what you deserve; that’s what a better Liberia means to you and means to us”, Mr. Cummings says.

The ex- Coca Cola executive has also pledged his commitment to have some bridges and roads constructed, but say he needs the help and support of the people to change Liberia.

He argues that changing Liberia for the better starts with him who wants the opportunity to serve Liberians, and it also starts with “all of us” doing something different to change “our lives”.

In petitioning Mr. Cummings on Friday, the Montserrado District #14 - based southeastern Liberians claimed that the ANC political leader is the best among the other presidential aspirants on grounds that he has “clean hands, no corrupt records” and possesses “international character”.

Elder Alexander Hinneh claims that they have only gotten alleged empty promises from their leaders, from the president to the senators and representatives, and that they now need someone who will take actions to meet their needs, and not words.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited Othello B. Garblah

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