LMA School System graduates 32

The occasion was characterized by pageantry when the Liberia Marketing Association School System (LMASS) held its 25th thanksgiving and graduation exercises here on Sunday, 8 July at the school premises in Logan Town, Bushrod Island, awarding certificates to 32 kids who have completed nursery studies.

Addressing the jubilant graduating class of 2018, keynote speaker David D. Kollie challenges the graduates to persevere in their educational sojourn. Mr. Kollie, who spoke on the theme: “Education, A Key to Prosperity” says in order to succeed; kids must take their education seriously by studying their lessons.

The professional Lab Technician, who addressed the occasion in place of Montserrado County Electoral District #17Representative Hassan Kiazolu, expressed gratitude to parents for placing serious emphasis on their children’s education, something, he notes would go a long way in preparing them for future responsibilities.

He stresses that the success of any nation depends on the quality and sustenance of the kind of lessons learnt by its graduates who had sleepless days in their quest to obtaining sound and quality education.

Meanwhile, Rivercess County Superintendent J. Bismork Karbiah, commends the graduates for their patience, time and preparedness to acquire better education.

He calls on government to place more emphasis on primary and secondary education by providing an enabling environment that would attract children who are not in school because of unforeseen circumstances, to enroll.

He congratulates teachers and the school administration for adequately molding the mines of the 32 pupils, some of whose performance clearly demonstrates what they were taught in the classroom.

Superintendent Karbiah continuous the LMA school system has demonstrated patience and tolerance for members of the graduating class indicative by their eloquent speeches which must be extolled by all well-meaning parents in the country.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

House plots to impeach Justice Ja’neh

Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Montserrado County District #8 Rep. Acarous Moses Gray says he and some of his colleagues are to submit a bill of impeachment against Associate Justice Kabinah M. Ja’neh of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

Announcing the plan at a news conference on Friday, 6 July in Monrovia, Mr. Gray however declined to state why they are seeking to impeach Justice Ja’neh, telling journalists that the reason will be reflected in the impeachment bill.

“I’m proud to announce we have prepared a bill of impeachment against Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh. The action we are to take was proposed by the late human right activist Melvin Page and we overlooked it, but we think now is the time,” Mr. Gray says.

“I know your next question will be the reason for our action. That will reflected in the bill,” he adds.According to Rep. Gray, Justice Jane’h will face the House of Representatives for his impeachment within a couple of days.

According to him, lawmakers that are leading the impeachment proceedings against Justice Ja’neh have done strong consultations with other lawmakers, adding that the passage of the impeachment bill will take place in the soonest possible time.

Mr. Gray’s failure to immediately give reason for preparing an impeachment bill against Justice Ja’neh appears to leave the public in suspense, particularly given constitutional mandate that Justices of the Supreme Court can be impeached on grounds of gross breach of duty and exhibiting of clear inability to perform the functions of their respective offices.

The last time Justices Kabineh Ja'neh, Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie and outgoing Justice Philip A.Z. Banks faced threats of impeachment from lawmakers was during the 2017 political season when they were accused of alleged ethical breach.

It took the intervention of senior officials of UNMIL to quiet down the political chaos that was emerging through a mediation process when both the Legislature and the Judicial Branch tried to exercise their respective powers in a standoff.
On August 4, 2017, Senators H. Dan Morais of Maryland County, Peter S. Coleman of Grand Kru County, and Jim Tornola of Margibi County accused the three justices of being in gross violation of their oaths of office by allegedly engaging in misconduct, gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform the functions of their respective offices as Associate Justices.

The lawmakers claimed that their petition to impeach the justices arose from the decision of the Supreme Court in which the three Justices by their opinions and judgments in cases involving the Code of Conduct enacted by the Liberian Legislature in May 2014, sought and did effectively usurp the powers and authority of the Legislature to make law.

The lawmakers claimed at the time that the accused made ineffective and virtually null and void the Code of Conduct.
According to Article 71 of the Liberian Constitution, the Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behavior.

It says they may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Speaker blames former Pres. Sirleaf

House Speaker Bhofal Chambers is blaming former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the bad ship of the economy, explaining that in the climaxing days of her presidency, madam Sirleaf allegedly created an economic gold lock.

Speaking with reporters Friday at the Capitol, Speaker Chambers says the Liberian dollar was printed in huge quantity by the Sirleaf regime and it has flooded the economy, chasing out the few United States dollars coming into the Liberian commerce and trade corridors.

He notes that the 53rd Legislature and other economic pundits warned the past government against printing new banknotes, but former President Sirleaf did not listen, thus contributing seriously to the present condition of the Liberian economy.

Speaker Chambers continues that the low security features on the new Liberian banknotes printed by Sirleaf regime, has given rise to the wanton counterfeiting of the Liberian dollar by unscrupulous individuals.

The Speaker is at the same time calling on government to withdraw the multiple local currency from circulation, adopt the United States dollars and subsequently introduce a highly sophisticated secured feature prone currency.
He maintains that a single currency regime for Liberian commerce and trade would be necessary preferably adoption of the United States dollars amidst the excruciating challenges the economy is faced with.

He stresses that until some radical decisions are made to curb the economic situation in the country, such as adopting a single currency, the woes would deepen.
The Maryland County lawmaker is however assuring Liberians that the economic issues the country is faced with will be overcome by the Weah Administration, as the government is now finding a lasting solution. He says the state of the economy is on course, adding that the economy is in the right direction and it’s just a matter of time.

By Bridgett Milton--Editing by Jonathan Browne

Police, Lottery Authority face Court Tuesday

Liberia’s Supreme Court has cited the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the National Lottery Authority (NLA) to a conference due Tuesday, 10 July, following NLA Deputy Director General Ms. Agnes Effiong’s claims of police threat to force her out of office and install new presidential appointee Mr. Neved Kortu.

Ms. Effiong claims that President George Manneh Weah violates the Constitution because he does not have the power and authority to make appointment for the position of Deputy Director General at NLA, but such power rests with the entity’s Board based on the Act creating it.

Based on Chamber Justice Jamesetta Wolokolie’s mandate, Ms. Effiong and the respondents including Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue, NLA Board Chair Claude J. Katta and the Ministry of Justice are to appear for the conference at 3:00 pm.

In a petition for a writ of prohibition before the Supreme Court, Ms. Effiong who says she is a member of the Group of 77 here notes that NLA’s Board of Directors appointed her on 20 September 2016 as Deputy Director General which has a statutory duration of two years.

She says her tenure runs up to September 19, 2018, but complains that while going about her normal duties, one Neved Kortu visited NLA in June 2018 to take over as Deputy Director General over claims that he had been appointed by President Weah.

Ms. Effiong says when Mr. Kortu’s planned takeover did not materialize, he allegedly issued threat that he would return with police to have him take over the office.

On 29 June, Ms. Effiong adds that Mr. Kortu returned with police loaded in three pickups, allegedly blocking NLA’s entrance in demand of Mr. Kortu’s installation.

She says the installation did not take place again that day because she was not in office, but the officers allegedly left warning that they would return Monday, 2 July to break into the office if Ms. Effiong did not turn it over to Mr. Kortu.

She also complains that the NLA Board which appointed her to the position did not protect her rights, saying it is not within the province of the police to install appointees.

Her counsels want the Court to issue an alternative writ of prohibition against the actions of the respondents, direct an immediate halt to Mr. Kortu’s installation and further restrain government and the police from removing her from office until the court hears the matter.

This is the second prohibition case against appointment made by President Weah to positions with statutory mandates. The first was Atty Issac Jackson, a permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization, who was recently replaced by President Weah when in fact his position is a 5 year tenure position and has gone little over a year.

By Winston W. Parley

LACC Boss out of order

Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Rep. Acarous Moses Gray says Liberia Anti - Corruption Commission (LACC) Chair Cllr. James Verdier’s statement that no member of the Legislature has ever declared their assets to the commission is “totally out of order” and needs to be revisited.

Rep. Gray told a press conference in Monrovia Friday, 6 July that Chairman verdier recently said the refusal of government officials to declare their assets was a violation of the Code of Conduct.

He recalls that Cllr. Verdier complained that since the inception of the Weah-Taylor administration, the LACC does not have a considerable number of public officials who have declared their assets.

Section 10.1 of the National Code of Conduct mandates every public official or employee involved in making decisions affecting contracting; tendering or procurement and issuance of licenses of various types to sign performance or financial bonds.

It says they shall in addition, declare their income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter.Cllr. Verdier further said the country’s asset declaration laws are not strong enough because the failure to declare asset is not criminalized.

According to him, the mandate to enforce the Code of Conduct is in the purview of heads of the various branches of government, and not the LACC.He says the reported gross refusal to declare their respective assets is in violation of the Code of Conduct and the acct that creates the LACC.

But Rep. Gray maintains that members of the Liberian Senate cannot declare their assets to the Commission. Instead, he says members of the House of Representatives declare their assets to the Chief Clark, Madam Mildred Sayon while members of the Liberian Senate declare theirs to the Secretary of the Senate Mr. Nanbolor Singbe, respectively.

Rep. Gray also argues that the officials of the Executive Branch of Government by law declare their assets to the General Auditing Commission.He notes that if the LACC needs information about officials, the Commission should follow the channel.

“We members of the Legislature cannot go declaring our assets to the LACC instead the Chief Clark or the Secretary of the Senate. He does not understand what he’s talking. Apparently, he’s not familiar with the Act that established the LACC,” Rep. Gray argues.

He says he was very engaged with the passage of the bill and they made the addition and subtraction to the bill that today, is called the Act of the LACC. Commenting on calls for President George Manneh Weah to comply with the asset declaration clause of the Code of Conduct, Rep. Gray says there are many opposition leaders in government that have failed to declare their assets including the Chairman emeritus of the former ruling Unity Party, Sen. Varney Sherman.

Rep. Gray further names the wife of Sen. Sherman, Madam Joyce Sherman, Unity Party Spokesman Mo Ali, the National Secretary of opposition Liberty Party Gabriel Smith, a consultant of Internal Affairs Ministry, and Mr. Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress who served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Booker Washington Institute, among others.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Deputy House Speaker Launches LD $ 2M Micro loan program

Deputy House Speaker Prince Kermue Moye has launched a two Million Liberian Dollars loan scheme in an effort to help rural women in Gbarnga, Bong County.

The non-payable loan, which was launched over the weekend during the endorsement of Former Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa as a senatorial candidate to replace Vice President Jewel Taylor is expected to benefit forty nine groupings under the banner “Traditional Friends of Moye”.

The Traditional Friends of Moye is a conglomeration of citizens mainly traditional people who supported the second term mandate of Deputy Speaker Prince Kermue Moye during the October 10th 2017 general elections.

With the support of the Deputy Speaker, members of the group will now be able to enter into new business venture that enable them send their children to school, feed them and also positively respond to their health issues.

Prior to the launch of the loan Program, Executives of the group had earlier complaint about the difficult economic situation in the country, something they say have hinder them from paying their children’s tuition Launching the loan scheme, Mr. Moye said it is important to always help the needy and as such, launching the loan was the best alternative which he said will help to improve the lives of beneficiaries.

According to him, the two million Liberian Dollars is just an initial amount from his office which will be distributed among members of the group to start their local businesses.

The deputy speaker said his desire to contest for the position was to help the local citizens adding that he remains passionate to ensuring the wellbeing of his people.

“We do not want to be like people who have but can’t give to others. That is why we will always help you in whatever ways we can. Besides the loan, we will also make sure to have at least seventy five percent members of the organization on our scholarship scheme across Bong County” Moye added.

He promised to follow the distribution exercise in making sure that members of the group receive their fair share of the loan.The deputy speaker also presented one hundred thousand Liberian Dollars to be placed in the group’s account and additional fifty thousand Liberian Dollars for agriculture activities.

Our Bong County Correspondent says after the pronouncement of the said amount, members of the group were dancing and chanting slogan in the kpelle language “Moye ya mo ya geh, Moye ya mo ya geh” (Moye is talk and do)

BY: Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong County

GVL reacts to SDI’s report

Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) says it is disappointed by the High Risk in the Rainforest report from Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) in partnership with Friends of the Earth Netherland and Friends of the Earth United States, saying the report includes inaccurate information and previously disputed or rebutted claims to the detriment of GVL’s reputation.

In a release issued over the weekend, GLV Management said while the 65 year Concession Agreement signed by GVL and the Government of Liberia in 2010 does allow for a gross total of 350,000 hectares due to GVL’s commitment to forest protection and community engagement it is anticipated that planted area will be smaller. To date, it says only 17, 200 hectares have been planted.

Further to the Concession Agreement, GVL said it has undertaken Free, Prior and In-formed Consent (FPIC) processes with communities in the area it has sought to open up for palm oil development. Development only proceeds with the agreement of communities identified and confirmed through a memorandum of understanding. These MOUs ensure community rights are protected and identify sacred sites and other areas of value such as forest areas set aside for conservation.

The management said GVL has and will continue to work closely with community members and leadership to resolve conflicts, especially in relation to land disputes, and to deliver job opportunities, infrastructure, and livelihood benefits to communities in the south eastern region through the sustainable development of palm oil.

“The SDI report also erroneously claims that GVL is avoiding taxes. GVL pays land lease taxes to the Government of Liberia and the community as per the land lease law,” the company said.

The company further stated that having previously investigated and disproven earlier allegations of land clearing based on information provided by the report author, it claimed that the final report published 2 July includes additional allegations and details that GVL will review and investigate thoroughly in line with its grievance procedure.

GVL said it welcomes constructive criticism and takes seriously allegations of inappropriate behavior of breaches of its policies or the Concession Agreement. It added that it is determined to work constructively and collaboratively with all stake holders to achieve a sustainable palm oil industry in Liberia.-Press statement

MRUYP regrets misuse of over US$12,000

Mano River Union Youth Parliament (MRUYP) Liberia Chapter leadershio says it regrets the misuse of US$12,000.00 given it by US - based humanitarian organization Carter Center for elections violence prevention project in Bong and Lofa Counties.

“With deep sense of regret, the leadership of the MRUYP under Mohammed A. Massaley consciously apologizes to the Carter Center and Government of Sweden over the nasty financial behavior of its former speaker,” MRUYP said over the weekend.

The group pledges its commitment to do everything legally possible to bring to book Mr. James M. Kolleh, assuring the restitution of funds Mr. Kollie allegedly stole singlehandedly from the parliament’s UBA Accounts.

MRUYP also assures the public of its preparedness to ensuring fair practice under the new leadership oMr. Massaley to restore the lost image of the organization and regain public confidence.

They however plead with the Carter Center to hold on all legal actions against the MRUYP as it has already began collaborating with the Ministry of Justice, the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to resolve the situation.

MRUYP Liberia Chapter acknowledges receiving a complaint from the Carter Center about the misappropriation of $US12, 000 given to the institution, but accuses former speaker James Kolleh of allegedly misusing the money.

MRUYP on 11 March 2018 impeached and subsequently expelled Mr. Kolleh for alleged gross administrative ineptitude and financial impropriety as well forgery and bribery during a meeting in Bomi.

MRUYP therefore says the communication from Carter Center came as no surprise to members of the parliament because it is a clear prove and provides alleged evidence to the many financial mal - practices carried out by Mr. Kolleh and his entire leadership.

MRUYP vows it will not not tolerate any act of corruption intended to pose a challenge to the institution’s effort to buttress the pro-poor agenda of President George Manneh Weah.

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

PYJ blames Ellen for hardship