Inside sources have revealed that while a nine-member committee set up by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to probe the controversy that characterized the 2012 Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant is on the verge of submitting findings, frantic efforts are said to be ongoing behind the scene to award the embattled crown to Miss Leeda Knowleden of Lofa County, who was unilaterally declared winner by the organizer.
Judges from Nigeria and Ghana, who presided over the April 14, 2012 pageant, publicly opposed the pronouncement of the so-called winner by CT.Com boss. The head judge, who is also Executive Producer of the ECOWAS Peace Pageant, Madam Maxine Menson said Miss Leeda Knowlden did not meet the standards set to become Miss Liberia 2012.
“We absolutely have no idea on her announcement as winner; we never sent her name as winner; what we said is that she has the highest online votes from text messages, and she is the most popular contestant, but not the winner”, she told a press conference in Monrovia immediately after the organized the winner.
Madam Menson noted that on the night of the contest, Leeda Knowlden received one of the least marks among the 11 contestants. Instead, the judges had unanimously concluded on the name of Miss Brigitte Rouhana of Montserrado County as winner, but they were circumvented by the organizer in announcing her to the disappointment of fans and supporters.
Speaking to this paper recently for the first time on the issue, Miss Rouhana maintained she is qualified to represent Liberia in any part of the world and stressed that as a strong adherent of the rule of law, she will patiently await findings of the committee set up by the government to bring the matter to conclusion.
“I respect the rule of law, and I respect government. But we are waiting and watching with eagle eyes for the committee report; I respect all the members on that committee and look forward to a speedy investigation in this matter,” she noted.Efforts by the New Dawn to get comments from any member of the committee via mobile phone were unsuccessful.
However, Minister Lewis Brown’s Special Assistant Saye Garpeh had earlier promised to inform his boss and get back to this paper, but up to press time Garpeh was not available.
Meantime, sources further hinted that currently, there is serious bitterness between the Information Ministry and CT.Com for the embarrassment brought to the country by the manner in which the pageant ended.
This paper also gathers the committee has already submitted findings to the Information Ministry, which seems to be in favor of Miss Montserrado County, but the authorities are apprehensive in coming public giving previous pronouncement by CT.Com.
Information is that the organizer with the knowledge of the government has sent Miss Leda Knowlden’s image, name, height and age to Miss World. Government is said to be deliberately delaying the release of the committee’s report to allow public anxiety to die down.
The nine-member committee is chaired by the winner of Miss Liberia 1988 Ms. Ollie White. Other members include former Information Minister Emmanuel Z. Bowier, General Services Agency Director-General Pearine Parkinson and Television News Anchor, Estelle Liberty.
Also on the committee include Madams Roseline Sherman, Nyomblee Karnga-Lawrence, G. Onike Gooding-Freeman, Mornjay George Pratt, and Mr. Jacob Kabakole.
A recent MICAT release quoted Information Minister Lewis Brown, as saying that the committee would seek to unravel the truth of what happened on the night of April 14 and recommend needed actions to elevate and fine-tune the larger significance of the Miss Liberia Pageant.
The Miss World 2012 will be held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China. Ordos is one of the twelve major subdivisions of Inner Mongolia, China. It is located within the Ordos Loop of the Yellow River.