Opposition takes slim lead in Sa Leone

With 75% or 1.95 million of the processed votes clounted so far, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Sunday announced that the presidential candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) rtd Brig. Julius Maada Bio now leads with 43.33% of the votes.

He is followed by Dr Samura Kamara of the ruling All People's Congress (APC) with 42.57%; while Kandeh Yumkellah of the National Grand Alliance (NGC) is third with 6.95%.

The two women presidential candidates scored less than 1% each. Some 3.17 million voters were registered for the polls in the country with an estimated seven million population and 16 Administrative Districts. The electoral Commission said voter turn-out was “large” adding that the exact figures would be given when tabulation is completed.

NEC chair Mohamed N'fah Alie-Conteh told a Press Conference on Sunday that the remaining results would be announced as soon as possible, explaining that under the electoral law NEC has up to one week to release results of the polls.

If none of the 16 candidates contesting the presidency gains 55% of the votes cast in the first round, the two frontrunners will go for the run-off balloting two weeks after the declaration of the first round results.

The winner will replace outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma of APC, who has completed the mandatory two-terms of five years each.Some 789 candidates also contested for 132 seats in the 144-member parliament.

Post Minister, accuser trade claims

Liberia’s Post and Telecommunication Minister Cllr. Cooper Kruah and his adversary in a 28 - year - old property case Mr. Abduallah B. Kromah are trading claims against each other, with the Minister claiming that Mr. Kromah tried to use the matter block his confirmation at the Senate.

Mr. Kromah on Friday, 9 March alleged in an interview that Cllr. Kruah was making mockery of justice by allegedly failing to sign a stipulation from Justice - in - Chambers Mr. Phillip A.Z. Banks that allots certain percent of rental proceeds to a 1.21 lots of land that is established to be distinct from a main suit between Kromah and Cllr. Kruah’s client, Mr. George Henries.

A copy of Justice Banks ruling partly says that records confirm and the parties agree that while [Civil Law Court] Judge Johannes Zlahn was without authority to review or change his predecessor Judge Boima Kontoe’s ruling, his findings to the effect that the contested 2 lots of land is separate and distinct from the 1.21 lots of land owned by Foday Kamara were legally and factually correct.

As such, the ruling stipulates 62.30 percent of the proceeds to the contested 2 lots of land which is in the main suit, while also stipulating 37.69 percent of the proceeds of the rental to the 1.21 lots of land owned by Foday Kamara.

The document has spaces for Cllr. Kuah, Cllr. Sunifu Sheriff, Cllr. Swahillho Sessay and Associate Justice Banks to sign, but it appears to show that only Cllr. Kryah has not sign it.

Mr. Kromah wants Cllr. Kruah or Mr. Henries to sign the stipulation so that case can come down to the lower court.

He says he had a joint lease agreement with Mr. Kamara in 2011, but Mr. Kamara was not in the main case with Mr. Henries, noting that the Civil Law Court decided that Mr. Kamara should get his proceeds.

But he complains that Cllr. Cooper Kruah has not signed the stipulation from the Chambers Justice before whom he (Cllr. Kruah) had filed a prohibition.

In a follow up with Cllr. Kruah on Saturday, 10 March via mobile phone, the Post and Telecommunication Minister accused Mr. Kromah of trying to use the case to object to his confirmation by the Senate.

But Minister Kruah says Senate did not see sense in it because he (Cllr. Kruah) was representing a party as a lawyer in the case.

“He was doing that to block my confirmation; but he went there and the people looked at the record and they said no, no, it ain’t make any sense for us,” Cllr. Kruah told this paper in mobile phone interview.
Cllr. Kruah says the property in question was sold by one J.B. Todd to former Associate Justice George Henry’s father, former House Speaker Richard Henries between 1952 and 1953.

He says Mr. Richard Henries leased the property to the Monrovia Breweries in 1958 before Daniel Todd, son of J.B. Todd, allegedly resold it to another party after the first buyer Mr. Henries was executed in a coupe.

He adds that the late Henries’ son George Henries could not get rent from Beer Factory when he returned from the United States because the company had said other people were claiming the property.

While the matter was in court, Cllr. Kruah says the Court opened an escrow account and began keeping the rent there, but notes that Mr. Kromah wants him to sign a document for him to withdraw money from the escrow account.

By Winston W. Parley

Police alarm new stealing method

Police authorities in Monrovia are warning the public and private security guards against a new scheme of criminality designed to drug victims by offering food embedded with drugs before stealing victims’ valuables.

“Today, we call the press in to help us spread out this message to all of the private guards and the general public that they should be mindful not to eat food from anybody who will be nice to them at night because … the food that is given to you is being embedded with drugs,” Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue told journalists on Friday, 9 March.

Mr. Sudue sounded the warning at the police headquarters while returning two vehicles that were stolen under this new criminal method to their owners Mr. Mohammed A. Keita and Mr. Aleo Kamara.

This new method of stealing by drugging securities was first reported during the administration of immediate past Police Inspector General Col. Gregory Coleman.

Col. Sudue says criminals have developed a new scheme in which they will go to the private security at night or somebody who is guarding your residence, pretend to be stranded and make a kind of passionate appeal with the guard in the form of seeking some help.

Mr. Sudue says upon persuading the guard, the criminals would later share drugged food with the person on duty, suddenly leading the victim to fall asleep upon consuming the food and giving the criminals a chance to burglarize the place to steal whatever their target is.

He says criminals carried out the stealing method at the Mohammed Keita Used Cars Company in the Gardnerville area where criminals drove their car, claimed to be stranded and requested the security on duty to permit them to sit with them.

Mr. Sudue says the suspects made several calls while sitting at the used cars company, pretending to be waiting for somebody before sharing biscuits and water with the guard that was on duty at the used car company.

“They gave him water, he drank the water, in no time, he passed off and they were able to make away with two vehicles from the used cars fence,” Col. Sudue explains.

Following sometimes of investigation, Mr. Sudue says suspect Elton Cooper, one of those allegedly engaged in drugging and stealing from people, was in possession of one of the stolen vehicles from the Mohammed Keita Used Cars Company.

He says the discovery was made while another burglary incident in which several phones were stolen from a phone store was being probed.

He adds that suspect Copper and his accomplices Emmanuel Johnson, a Liberian, and Emmanuel Egbu, a Nigerian, were charged and sent to the Monrovia Central Prison. According to Col. Sudue, police discovered the second vehicle after it had been abandoned by the suspects.

After receiving the keys to the retrieved vehicles, the used cars company manager Mr. Mohammed A. Keita said he was overwhelmed, acknowledged God’s blessing and expressed profound gratitude to the Liberia National Police (LNP) and its boss, Mr. Sudue.

He praised the police for their resilience, vigilance and hard work, saying retrieving those stolen vehicles from the criminals proved that the police were working in the best interest of the Liberian people. The vehicles retrieved include Nissan Almera (Sedan, grey color) and another Nissan Almera (Sedan, brown color).

By Winston W. Parley

MOL frowns on illegal protests

The Ministry of Labour has observed with total dismay, the increase in the number of illegal actions by some employees and contractors at workplaces across the country in recent time. The ministry said these actions contravene provisions of the Decent Work Act of 2015.

The ministry said employees and their organizations should desist from such actions as the Ministry strives to improve the labor sector of the country by implementing the Decent Work Act of 2015.

In a release issued Sunday, the Ministry said such unlawful act on the part of workers and their organizations have the propensity to undermine industrial peace and harmony as well as, the national security of the Country.

The ministry further warned aggrieved workers to follow the procedures as spelled out in the 2015 Decent Work Act. Section 14.1 of the Decent Work Act of 2015 provides the “Right to strike or lockout” Sub-section 41.2, insists that “Every party to a dispute of interest has the right to strike or lockout if: i) the dispute has been referred in the prescribed form to the Ministry for conciliation in accordance with section 40.3; ii) the party has attended the conciliation meetings convened by the conciliator; iii) the dispute remains unresolved at the end of a period of 30 days from the date of the referral”.

The ministry said it wish to remind all workers and employers here that planning to embark on any strike actions, termination of employment contracts, redundancy and other Labour actions to do so conformity with the Country’s Labour law, which is the Decent Work Act of 2015.

The Labour Ministry notes however, that it is committed in protecting the rights of workers and employers throughout the country in line with the Decent Work act of 2015 and therefore calls on all stakeholders of the Labour sector to respect the laws.

The Decent Work Act of 2015 or the Labour Laws of Liberia, particularly the provisions on the protection of trade unions and employers’ rights provide clear means by which workplace issues can be resolved amicably and peacefully. “We will all be happy if we govern ourselves accordingly” the ministry said.

China makes humanitarian donations to Liberia

The Governments of Liberia and China, Friday, March 9, signed an Emergency Humanitarian Food Assistance grant to Liberia. The food assistance is aimed at consolidating and strengthening the existing bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

A Foreign Ministry release said, the signing of the Certificate of Handover and Acceptance note for the China-aid grant under which China donated 50 containers of 1,243 metric tons of rice, took place in the Foreign Minister’s conference room. 

Acting Foreign Minister B. Elias Shoniyin signed on behalf of the Liberian Government while Chinese Ambassador Fu Jijun, signed for his Government. The donation was made possible following a request from the Liberia government.

In brief remarks, Chinese Ambassador Fu stated, “On behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, I have the honor to hand over 50 containers in the tone of 1,243 metric tons of rice to the Liberian Government and people.”

Ambassador Fu indicated that the donation is another gift from the Chinese Government; adding, “The rice has arrived in the country at the right time.”He recalled that since the inauguration of President George Manneh Weah on January 22nd, the President and his administration have been working hard to stabilize the price of the country’s staple food, with the intend to ensure that Liberians especially unprivileged Liberians can afford to buy their staple at a reasonable price.

“I believe this batch of rice will help alleviate some of the difficulties the current administration is faced with,” Ambassador Fu hoped. The Chinese Envoy further hoped that the rice donated would be allocated to the needy; adding, “As a friend of Liberia, China is willing to share its experiences and help Liberia in the recovery of its agriculture and increase its grain production.”

For his part, the Acting Foreign Minister, Shoniyin, lauded the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China for the bilateral gesture. Mr. Shoniyin recounted China’s numerous bilateral aids to the People of Liberia. 

He also, on behalf of President Weah and Liberia, extended Liberia’s deepest appreciation to the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China for what he called the ‘usual and genuine gift’ from China to Liberia.


Weah congratulates Mauritius on 50th Independence Anniversary

President George Manneh Weah has sent a message of congratulations to Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius, on the occasion marking that nation’s 50th Independence Anniversary.

The known history of Mauritius begins with it discovery by Europeans and its appearance on maps in the early 16th century. Mauritius was successively colonized by the Dutch, the French and the British and became independent on March 12, 1968.

The Independence Day ended nearly 200 years of British rule of the island. The first Prime Minister and Architect of Independence at that time was the late Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, leader of the Labour Party while the British Governor General of Mauritius who handled the ceremony of the flag at that time was the late Sir John Shaw Rennie.

According to a Liberian Foreign Ministry release, President Weah, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia and in his own name said it gives him immense pleasure to extend to Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and the Government and People of the Republic of Mauritius, heartfelt congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of the 50th Independence Anniversary of the great country.

He further stated that as the People of that Indian Ocean nation commemorate this historic occasion, Liberians are fervently praying that the Mauritian President will continue to be endowed with wisdom and the vitality required to lead her people to nobler heights.

“One this auspicious occasion, I entertain the hope that the cordial ties of friendship and cooperation subsisting between our two countries will be further strengthened for the mutual benefit of our peoples,” Mr. Weah concluded.--Press release

Israeli experts train fish farmers in Bong County

Agricultural experts from Israel in partnership with the Aquaculture fish farmers here have conducted a two-day intensive training in Gbarnga, Bong County.

Speaking to the NewDawn at the start of the training recently, the production manager Mr. Tamir Ezer, said the training was meant to educate fish farmers in Liberia how to grow fish in their respective communities and to test suitable areas for fish farming, amongst others.

Mr. Ezer explained that he will exert all efforts in enhancing skills of fish farmers across Bong County, stressing the need for fish farmers to take the soil as theirs.
The technical director for aquaculture in Liberia, Mr, Zaza Kpadeh lauded the Israeli experts for building the skills of fish farmers in Bong County.

According to him, the aquaculture program was established to teach young people how to grow fish and create job opportunity for themselves. Mr. Kpadeh explained that the organization basically focuses on how fish farmers could acquire skills to manage fish pumps in the County.

He urged participants to make use of the knowledge acquired especially, in their respective communities. Speaking at the end of the two days event, some fish farmers who attended the training thanked the agriculture experts for imparting knowledge in them, terming it as an eye opener.

They believe the training will greatly help in producing fish in their respective communities. “We are really happy about the training and we can assure you that what we have learnt will be implemented to the fullest”, the trainees promised.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan, Bong County-Editing by Jonathan Browne

2 visually impaired citizens uphold tax compliance

According to a press release, the two senior citizens, escorted by their children, recently walked to the headquarters, voluntarily declared and paid their real properties taxes, stating that it was their obligations to pay taxes for the development of the country.

Mrs. Anna Peabody (86 years) and Mrs. Victoria Ireland (78 years) who met with the Assistant Commissioner for Real Estate Tax Division, Isaac Beyan Stevens, said they had gone to settle their tax obligations on their residential properties.

Mrs. Peabody narrated that as a Liberian, she had been paying taxes for decades, and remains committed to doing that, despite her challenge, but expressed concern about the increase in the residential property tax rate.

According to Mrs Peabody, all of her properties have been registered with the LRA and are captured in the real estate property tax net. They thanked and encouraged the LRA to increase tax awareness and education to enlighten Liberians to embrace and cultivate a sustainable tax compliant culture.

Assistant Commissioner Stevens thanked the two senior citizens for demonstrating patriotism, loyalty, and commitment to their Country and urged other citizens and residents of Liberia to follow suit.

The two citizens urged the LRA to increase tax awareness and education to enlighten Liberians to embrace and cultivate a sustainable tax compliant culture. For her part, Mrs. Victoria Ireland, a longtime taxpayer herself, reaffirmed her commitment to voluntary tax compliance as she believes paying tax is a national obligation that contributes to Liberia’s development agenda. She also expresses concern about the increase in the real property tax rate.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to ease customs transactions and enhance transparent payment processing, the LRA will on Friday, March 16, lunch the Centralized Customs Declaration Processing System.

The new system, when switched on, will become assessable to the public to declare and process goods declarations in a paperless environment and reduce clearing periods, a release from the institution says.

“The aim of the LRA is to enable importers clear goods from customs ports with in at least five hours to a maximum there days,” Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi said.

The structure will enable the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to be available online through the internet while payment notices to declarants and releases to terminal operators will be automated.

The Centralized Customs Declaration Processing System is intended to eliminate all supporting customs clearings activities and promote electronic transmission through the use of the “Query and Amendment” portal in ASYCUDA for declaration of all queries pertaining to goods declarations.

LRA Compliance Officers will now operate the system from to the LRA Headquarters in Paynesville as there will no longer exist human interface between Customs Brookers and the officers during customs related transactions.

Customs Commissioner Saamoi said as the LRA gradually moves into modern customs administration, there will be a significant reduction in challenges and paper works importers go through to clear their good.


MRUYP endorses candidates ahead of election

The majority bloc in the third Mano River Union (MRU) Youth Parliament, Liberian Chapter, has endorsed its First Deputy Speaker Mr. J. Fahn Dehgar as Acting Speaker ahead of Regular Session to hold election for a new Speaker.

In a press release issued recently, the Secretary General of the majority block and Parliamentarian of Grand Kru County Mr. Tobee Wreh Sudieh said the third MRU Youth Parliament Liberia-Chapter’s regular session is scheduled for this weekend in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.

He says election will be held for a new Speaker as a result of Speaker James Kolleh’s alleged unseriousness to handle the affairs of the parliament. Ahead of the elections, the MRUYP Liberia Chapter is making claims that the current Speaker Mr. James Kolleh is unfit to continue his regular parliamentary duties and responsibilities.

The majority bloc claims gross administrative ineptitude, and the lack of clear vision to lead serious-minded national youth leaders, among other things. The majority bloc claims that the inability of the current leadership of Speaker Kolleh to maintain friendly network (partnership agreements) left behind by past leadership, has isolated the institution from all of its national and international donors and partners.

It says the action of Speaker Kolleh has moved the majority bloc it to apologize to the young people of Liberia and sub-region at-large for gambling their future with electing Mr. Kolleh as their Speaker.

“We say that our decision, though regrettable, was as a result of stress from prolong leadership conflict which gave rise to him as a golden opportunist who accidentally landed in the Parliament’s Speakership yet, have been finding it difficult to settle comfortably,” the majority bloc says.

Meanwhile the bloc calls on the Acting Speaker J. Fahn Dehgar to carry on smooth transition in a timely manner by leading the Parliament to its Regular Session to elect a new Speaker comes this weekend (March 9-10, 2018).

The bloc assures all young people and Liberians in general that it remains committed to the true nature and values of the MRU Youth Parliament and will exert all effort to adhere to its guiding principles.

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

U.S.-based Liberian wants Pres. Weah

A Liberian based in the United States has written President George Manneh Weah, urging him to keep focus on the country’s problems, with emphasis on improving the living condition of ordinary Liberians.

The Executive Director of Democracy Frontline International (DFI) Amish Amara, based in Fargo, North Dakota, outlines some of the problems as abject poverty, high cost of living, high unemployment and deplorable road network. Mr. Amara wants President Weah to initiate programs aimed at addressing the challenges sooner than later.

“Please also be aware that Liberia’s deep seated troubles including high unemployment, did not vanish with the departure of the Unity Party-led government; neither did it spell the end of challenges that previous administrations faced”, he writes.

The DFI director further cautions that the overwhelming mandate given President Weah at the 2017 polls is not the end of the sufferings of the masses, but simply a means to that end.

He notes that failure on the part of the Weah Administration to deliver on grass root expectations, would be a disappointment to the nation, particularly those who believe in his ability to redeem and transform Liberia.

Amara acknowledges that while it is true that the President and his team cannot accomplish the task alone, “nothing is clearer to the common man in the street than the promises made to alleviate, if not end poverty in their midst”.

He says as a nation, this is one of the human sufferings the people have endeavored for generations to solve, but to no avail. “I personally believe that one of the keys to defeating this menace is improving the standard of education and job creation”, Amara suggests.

One of the areas that the social worker wants President Weah to commit his government is road construction and rehabilitation; mainly farm-to-market roads, which he notes would boost agricultural production and by extension, economic growth. He then commends the World Bank and the government and people of France for the financial donation and pledge to Liberia.

U.S.-based Liberian wants Pres. Weah -Editing by Jonathan Browne

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