Lone Star Cell MTN opens new center

Liberia’s leading Telecommunications giant, Lone Star Cell MTN has opened a new Service Center at Barnesville Junction on Somalia Drive, outside Monrovia.

A release issued by the company on 12 March, disclosed that the new service center is ideally located to serve customers residing along the Somalia Drive and adjoining communities within Bushrod Island suburb.

It quotes Customer Care Manager, SameliaDempsterTweh, as saying that the new service center is surely a dream comes true. She said for too long customers in those areas have complained of travelling to Central Monrovia, Duala, or Paynesville to get full services.

Madam Tweh also disclosed that the service center is part of efforts by the management of Lone Star Cell MTN to ensure accessibility and quality customers’ service.
“We have no doubt that this service center is ideally located and will surely help us meet our objectives and serve our customers well”, Madam Tweh added.

According to her, the new service center adds to the many centers scattered across the company’s footprint in Liberia’s 15 counties. The company which has been operating since June 2001 is a subsidiary of MTN South Africa, a leader in International Telecommunication, which operates in 22 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Europe,respectively.


“Friends of Sulunteh” debunk critics

The National Chairman of the ‘Friends of Jeremiah Sulunteh’ has termed as laughable comments that Amb. Sulunteh is over ambitious. Recently a member of the governing Unity Party in Bong County claimed Ambassador Sulunteh left the UP because he is over ambitious, but did nothing to improve the party.

But Mr. Othello Frank has frowned at the comment, describing it as laughable. He said those making the comment need to think and counter-think before stating such in public.

Mr. Frank argued that Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh did a lot in the Unity Party, while serving as Senior National Vice Chairman of the party. He named provision of scholarships to youth of the party and contribution to the election of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in two polls as great contribution to the UP.

Mr. Frank cautioned AmbassadorSulunteh, who quit the UP last month and has reportedly joined the opposition Alternative National Congress, not to listen to critics, who think he did nothing for the governing party.

He reminded critics that if Amb. Sulunteh were over ambitious, he would not have abandoned the senatorial races in 2011 and 2014 to save the image of the UP after he was asked by President Ellen Johnson Sirlaf to do so.

He added that in 2014 there were people who left the party and contested as independent candidates after losing the UP primary, noting they were over ambitious that is why the party lost the election to the National Patriotic Party.

By Papa Morris-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Girl, 6, survives on selling cold water

A motherless six-year- old girl, Patience Goffa says she has been selling cold water for survival since she turned five years old. While being interviewed in Jacob Town Community in Paynesville on 11 March by a communication student from the state run - University of Liberia, Patience said her mother died when she was just two years old, and her father has not been in touch with her.

Worse of all, she narrated that her aunt with whom she has been staying following her mother’s death has now compelled her to sell cold water to raise her own money for feeding and schooling.
Patience said when she was three years old, her father left her with her aunt and went out Monrovia to work, adding that since departing Monrovia, he has not returned.
Due to her father’s alleged long stay coupled lack of communication, she said her aunt decided at certain time that she would start selling cold water in the streets if they did not hear from her father.

Patience claimed that her aunt had warned that if her father failed to send her support, she [aunt] will not struggle for her money and then spend it on her [Patience].
The minor further claimed that true to her Aunt’s warning, she was subsequently given money one week later to start selling cold water in the streets with strict instructions that if she did not make enough money from her sales, she would not eat or go to school.

According to her, each time she makes less profit, her aunt doesn’t give her food. But she says when business is fine for her, she takes home between L$500.00 to L$600.00.
Patience wishes that in the absence of her father, someone else could take her and treat her as their own child, but said she would be very grateful if her father were to return and give her the care she needs.

By Apu A. Togba-doya

‘I Know What You Are Going Through,’

Vice President, Dr. Joseph Nyumah Boakai has thanked all Liberian diplomats for their service to the country and for the sacrifices they make in their various assignment areas. “The Foreign Ministry is that Ministry that we think a lot needs to be done. This is one area where I think that we need very seasoned people; I mean people who are very knowledgeable,” he said.

A Foreign Ministry release says, Vice President Boakai made the comments when he stopped by a local hotel where heads of Liberian missions abroad were having a two-day retreat. He told the diplomats that he is fully aware of some of the challenges they face.
Dr. Boakai, himself a career diplomat, said he decided to stop by to meet his colleagues - the men and women who are positively promoting Liberia’s image abroad. “I am so fortunate because I know all of you and not just knowing you all but have interacted with nearly all of you. Believe me, I know what you are going through,” he told the Liberian diplomats.

He further told the diplomats that when Ms. Marjon V. Kamara assumed the leadership at the Foreign Ministry, he knew what she was getting into.
He emphasized that he knows most of the challenges Liberian diplomats, posted abroad, go through; adding further, “Knowing the problems lead closer to the solution. All we can say now is that we thank you for your service working under some of the most difficult conditions.”
Touching on the retreat, he thanked Minister Kamara for bringing the ambassadors together, where he thinks ideas can be shared and to discuss the foreign policy of the country.

Vice President Boakai assured them that with their commitment, Liberia will continue to take its rightful place among the comity of nations and that he will continue to work with them. “Let’s continue to work for our country; there is a hope and future for Liberia,” he assured all of them.

Before his remarks, Foreign Minister Kamara thanked the Vice President for stopping by to meet with the ambassadors and provided a synopsis of the two-day retreat.
Included in their discussions was what foreign policy that will be left on the table for the next administration following the presidential and legislative elections in October 2017.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Liberia’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr. Jarjar Kamara, too, joined the Minister to thank Vice President Boakai for stopping by. “We want to thank you for your interest in the Foreign Service, the ‘mouth piece’ of Liberia overseas,” he said.

UP smokes peace pipe

Barely weeks after Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, current standard bearer of the governing Unity Party broke silence here, accusing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of abandoning the party, both leaders appear to have reconciled and are back on course with President Sirleaf calling for forward march of the UP.

Speaking on Thursday, 9 March at the national headquarters of the Unity Party in Cong Town, President Sirleaf, who is ending terms in office by October, called on UP stalwarts and partisans to “Let by gone be by gone” and move ahead in preparing the party for victory.

The occasion also saw the presentation of 15 brand new two-cabin pickups to the party for use by leaders in the political sub-divisions of the country.

With the overture, she immediately struck a popular campaign song during the 2011 Presidential and General elections, blaring “When you’re up, you’re up; when you’re down, you’re down, but when you against Unity Party, you’re upside-down.”

The tune led by President Sirleaf, Vice President Boakai, Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe and  many other partisans sounded in an atmosphere of total jubilation as though the Unity Party has already been declared winner of the 2017 Presidential election.

According to the President, it is time for all partisans to unite and move the party, which has until now, been dormant, with spit of exodus of several national executive committee members to Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine’s Liberty Party.

The exodus started late last year and continued into 2017, beginning with President Sirleaf’s campaign manager for Montserrado County, Musa Hassan Bility, followed by Harrison Karnwea, and former Amb. Jeremaih Sulunteh, among others amid widespread speculation that Madam Sirleaf had turned her back to the ruling party to give her support to the candidacy of Cllr. Brumskine.

But the President, apparently in a religious mood or mocking members of the opposition bloc, who might have shared speculations about division within the ruling establishment, quoted the Holy Bible by saying, “By their fruits, we shall know them.”

Commenting, Vice President Boakai and presidential hopeful said, the UP is not at war with anyone, urging partisans not to live under such belief. He called on partisans, supporters and sympathizers to treat President Sirleaf with high respect.

He stressed that President Sirleaf as standard bearer emeritus, merits high level of respect from all UP partisans.

Political observers here have begun reading into what is unfolding in the ruling party, and are asking where does this leave Brumskine?By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor- Editing by Jonathan Browne

Tyler, others risk salaries cuts

Former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and several other lawmakers risk losing their salaries and benefits for not attending regular legislative sessions here.

Based on Bong County District #5 Rep. Edward Karfiah’s complaint that some representatives were not attending sessions, Montserrado County Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe suggested that the House was governed by rules, and that they could not allow their colleagues to stay away from session without any excuse for months and yet receive salaries and gasoline.

Speaking in session Thursday, 9 March, Bong County District # Rep. Edward Karfiah complained that some colleagues at the Lower House, who have not written excuses, were not going to work most of the times
when the House goes for Session.

Rep. Karfiah said it was becoming alarming at the House of Representatives because most of the time it was difficult to get a quorum, the number of lawmakers that must be present to make the legislative proceedings valid.

He recommended that there was a need to communicate with the absentee lawmakers to tell them that they needed to come to work because they have their work to do on behalf of the Liberian people.

He was buttressed by Rep. Edwin M. Snowe of Montserrado County, who suggested that the issue of lawmakers not coming to work was a very serious matter, warning that the House was governed by rules.

Rep. Snowe noted that they cannot allow their colleagues to stay away from session without any excuse for months and yet allow them to receive salaries and gasoline. He argued that some of the absentee lawmakers were present at every political forum while abandoning legislative sessions.

Rep. Snowe made specific mention of former Speaker Alex Tyler, claiming that since Mr. Tyler’s removal as speaker, he has only gone to session once. Rep. Snowe alleges that Mr. Tyler has not returned to session, thus leaving the people of Bomi County District #1 who elected Mr. Tyler to have no representation in session.

Former Speaker Tyler was last seen in session on 31 November 2016, a day he told journalists that leadership of the House had not given him office space in response to journalists’ inquiry as to why he was not going to work.
By Bridgett Milton--Editing by Winston W. Parley

Women important for 2017 election

Swedish Embassy Charge d’affaires Ms. Elizabeth Harleman says 2017 is a crucial year for Liberia’s democratic and governance process, stressing that women’s role is very important as the country goes to election in October for new leaders to steer the affairs of the country.

Speaking at a pre- celebration of the International Women’s Day in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island, Ms. Harleman stressed the importance of continuously having a conversation about the significance of
women’s political participation in national discussions.

Addressing the event organized recently by Youth Exploring Solutions, Ms. Harleman said the government across the continent and the world bodies have all agreed that the inclusion of women and girls in the decision making process is vita.

She said in Liberia, women have played a vital role in governance and leadership, as well as the maintenance of peace and security.

She said research shows that “women in politics raise issues that others overlook, pass bills that others oppose, invest in project, dismiss and seek to end abuses that others ignore”.

Ms. Harleman said electioneering periods are the best time to effect the needed changes, and Liberia is at this critical junction this year.

The Swedish Diplomat noted that women are underrepresented as voters, as candidates on party listing, and as officials in political parties.

She said in Liberia, the National Elections Commissions or NEC statistics showed that women constituted 51 percent of the voting population in 2005, and a slight reduction of 49 percent in 2011.

“Political parties’ officials must ensure that women who bring viability to the party and contribute immensely are put on the party candidate listing”, she recommended.

While seeking women participation, Ms. Harleman however urged that should not wait for the opportunity to come to them, but noted they should take steps, distinguish themselves and be willing to learn new skills and build their experience.

For his part, the executive director of Youth Exploring Solutions Mr. Stephen B. Lavalah said women are special and they need to be treated as such.

4mLRD disappears at Johnson Inc.

At least four million Liberian dollars and three thousand United States dollars have reportedly been stolen from a private Liberian business, Johnson Inc., dealer of wholesale drinks located in Paynesville Red Light, suburb of Monrovia

Two security officers and Madam Cynthia David, mother of prime suspect identified as Abu Sheriff, are undergoing intense police investigation at the Zone Five depot in Paynesville Gobarchop, while the prime suspect is to be on the run.
The reported disappearance of the money from the business premises on Wednesday, 8 March comes in the wake of mass protest by workers of the entity in demand of salary.
Information obtained by this paper from the crime scene in Paynesville indicates this is the second theft at the company since it started operation.
Police investigator, who were on the crime scene requested Purchasing and Marketing Manager, Emmanuel Parker to write an official statement about what he knows about the theft in his office.
He told The New Dawn that when he arrived at work on Tuesday, March 7, the company’s Chief Executive Officer gave him two different checks in the tune of over Four Million and Eight Hundred Thousand Liberian dollars to go to the Monrovia Club Breweries on Bushrod Island to purchase drinks for sale.
The two checks, he explained, were written in the name of both Access and GN banks, respectively. He revealed that in the past he and the management had some difference over money business, but could not recall the actual amount that was involved. However, he added that the matter was resolved.
He continued that upon arrival to work on Thursday, management informed him about the disappearance of the money.
Parker, who said he has about 15 persons working under him, claimed that prime suspect Abu Sheriff and management had been engaged in series of misunderstandings about money matter, but they usually resolved their disputes.
He added that suspect Sheriff left the company one week before management discovered the theft.
This paper also gathered the alleged criminals used electrical drill machine and drilled the in-built lock to where the money was kept before taking the amount in a vehicle.
Besides the money, several signed and indorsed checks were also stolen from the company’s premises.

By Emmanuel Mondaye -Editing by Jonathan Browne

LRA, FIRS sign knowledge sharing pact

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria have (FIRS) signed a Memorandum of Co-operation to strengthen ties between the two tax collecting bodies.

According to a press release, the signing ceremony took place recently in Abuja, Nigeria at Headquarters of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, with LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba and FIRS Executive Chair Dr. Tunde Fowler signing for their respective institutions.

Speaking during the signing ceremonies recentlty, CG Tamba firstly conveyed appreciation to the FIRS for its commitment to knowledge sharing with the LRA and stressed the importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization as a sustainable way through which the continent can impel its own developmental initiative, as donor assistance dries up.

FIRS Executive Chair Fowler welcomed the initiative and described it as a platform to strengthen institutional capacity, capability and performance of tax administration of the two taxing bodies.

The release said areas of cooperation under the memorandum will include exchange of information and best practices; identification, initiation and development of pilot projects in the areas of revenue administration; provision of technical assistance, including capacity building and training; development of common approaches towards risk profiling, risk assessment and revenue protection measures, among others.

Commissioner General Tamba believes that the MOU will serve common interests and contribute to strengthening capacity of the LRA. Press Release

Ellen talks politics at diplomatic meeting

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has told a diplomatic retreat here that she had to run out of the meeting to get engage into politics, something which suggests that the president will not be an onlooker in the October 10, Presidential and Legislative elections.

“I will not be here for long,” Mrs. Sirleaf told her audience on Thursday March 9. “I have to go and do politics, because you know politics never ends,” the president said as she laughed out her comments.
The president did not made it clear where she was heading off, to a political meeting, but her comments come at the time she has been heavily accused of supporting the opposition Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles W. Burmskine at the detriment of her vice President Joseph N. Boakai.

 Recent media reports here suggested that the Vice President had expressed frustration over the fact that he was getting the kind of support that an incumbent candidate would get from his boss.
However, the retreat which is being organize by the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Foreign for Ambassadors and heads of Diplomatic Missions abroad at the RLJ Kendeja Resort, outside Monrovia is intended to acknowledge their contributions as well as show case what this government has been able to achieve over time.

President Sirleaf in her very brief statement said the retreat offer an opportunity to thank the heads the country’s of foreign missions abroad and ministers who have contributed immensely during her administration.
“It might not be all the things that we have done that the next administration will follow, and they will also have their own Ministers and Ambassadors but through your hard work, the next administration, will pick up from where this administration ended.” She noted.

bForeign Minister, Marjon V. Kamara, said it was the last six years since the Liberian Government had such retreat to bring together Ambassadors and heads of Diplomatic missions.
She said the retreat is the overview of Liberia’s Development Architecture and Expected contribution of the Foreign Service under the theme “Promoting Liberia’s Transformation Agenda through the Liberian Foreign service”.
 Meanwhile Representative Edwin Melvin Snowe District #6 Montserrado County, said by the end of the retreat, they will expect to see the policy being put in place. He also said the ambassadors should be well prepared to represent the country outside.

By Ethel A. Tweh

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