By Lincoln G. Peters
Liberia’s main opposition Unity Party (UP) has threatened legal action against the government for allegedly leaking a Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) footage of Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s departure from the country.
At a press conference Tuesday, 29 August 2023, UP’s campaign spokesperson Mohammed Ali said the party specifically targets state-owned Liberia Airport Authority (LAA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) Deputy Director Mr. Sam Siryon in its planned lawsuit.
The UP accuses the two state agencies LAA and NSA of unauthorized and unlawful disclosure of video footage exposing the privacy of its standard-bearer Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai.
The party complains that on 28 August 2023, its standard-bearer and former Liberian Vice President Amb. Boakai took a break from the campaign tour of Montserrado County for a three-day official visit to Ghana.
The former ruling party disclosed that Amb. Boakai departed the Roberts International Airport (RIA) at about 7 AM via ASKY.
Minutes after Amb. Boakai’s departure, the UP laments, journalists from Freedom FM which is owned by Mr. Siryon announced on their station that Amb. Boakai had been hurriedly flown out of Liberia for emergency medical attention.
UP pointed out that following the pronouncement from Freedom FM, scores of zealots of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and officials of government including Presidential Aide Sekou Kalasco Damaro and Deputy Finance Minister Samora P. Z. Wolokolie flooded social media pages with claims that Amb. Boakai was sick.
But the UP stated that its Rescue Mission Campaign promptly refuted the claims of Sam Siryon’s Freedom FM and CDC zealots including government officials through a Facebook release by National Campaign Spokesman, Mohammed Ali.
Mr. Ali alleged that Mr. Siryon unlawfully released to journalists at his station and surrogates of the CDC a CCTV footage of the Unity Party standard-bearer making his way through the airport terminal to board a flight.
Mr. Ali alleged further that the CCTV footage was sent to Mr. Siryon by RIA Managing Director Martin Hayes.
Mr. Ali noted that the unauthorized release of the CCTV footage of Mr. Boakai is in clear violation of Section 17.40.3 of the Liberia Civil Aviation Regulations, Volume XXI, No. 70. August 11, 2021.
He indicated that the CCTV footage is part of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) of the UP’s standard-bearer, and it is his privacy.
“The Legal Team of the Rescue Mission Campaign is reviewing all of the legal implications associated with the release of the CCTV footage of the UP-Standard Bearer and will advise appropriately,” said Mr. Ali.
“The right to that privacy was violated by the RIA and the government operating through the NSA and its surrogates,” he lamented.
Full text of UP’s press statement
Unity Party National Campaign Press Statement
Rescue Center, Airfield New Road
THREATS ON THE LIFE ON AMB. JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI, SR.
Monrovia August 29, 2023: On August 28, 2023 the Unity Party Standard Bearer and former Vice President of Liberia, H. E. Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. took a break from the campaign tour of Montserrado County for three-day official visit to Ghana. Amb. Boakai popularly now known as Rescue 1 departed the Roberts International Airport (RIA) at about 7 AM via ASKY. Minutes after his departure, journalists from Freedom FM owned by the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) announced on the station that Amb. Boakai has been hurriedly flown out of Liberia for emergency medical attention.
Following the pronouncement from Freedom FM, scores of zealots of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and officials of government including Presidential Aide Sekou Kalasco Damaro and Deputy Finance Minister Samora P. Z. Wolokolie flooded social media pages with echoes of Joseph Boakai is sick. The Rescue Mission’s Campaign promptly refuted the claims of Sam Siryon’s Freedom FM and CDC zealots including government officials through a Facebook release by National Campaign Spokesman, Mohammed Ali.
Moments after releasing false information to the public about JNB’s health, that which has now become the only campaign message of the miserably failed Weah-led CDC government, NSA Deputy Director, Sam Siryon, unlawfully released to journalists at his station and surrogates of the CDC a Close Circuit TV (CCTV) footage of the Unity Party’s Standard Bearer making his way through the airport terminal to the plane. The CCTV footage was sent to NSA Deputy Director Sam Siryon by RIA Managing Director Martin Hayes.
The unauthorized released of CCTV footage which, is part of the, of former VP Joseph N. Boakai by authorities of the RIA, at the behest of President George Manneh Weah, to surrogates of the CDC is clear violation of Section 17.40.3 of the Liberia Civil Aviation Regulations, Volume XXI, No. 70. August 11, 2021. The CCTV footage is part of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) of the UP’s Standard Bearer and it is his privacy. The right to that privacy was clearly violated yesterday by the RIA and the government operating through the NSA and its surrogates. The particular provision of the Civil Aviation Regulations that were violated are as follow:
(d) The relevant authorities of Liberia with full respect for human rights and fundamental
clearly identify in their legal and administrative framework the PNR data to be used in their operations;
clearly set the purposes for which PNR data may be used by the authorities, which should be no wider than that necessary in view of the aims to be achieved, including in particular border security purposes to fight terrorism and serious crime; and,
limit the disclosure of PNR data to other authorities in the same State or in other Contracting States that exercise functions related to the purpose for which PNR data are processed, including in particular border security purposes, and ensure comparable protections as those afforded by the disclosing authority.
(e) The relevant authorities of Liberia shall:
prevent unauthorized access, disclosure and use of PNR data; their legal framework shall provide penalties for misuse, unauthorized access, and unauthorized disclosure;
ensure the safeguards applied to their collection, use, processing and protection of PNR data apply to all individuals without unlawful differentiation;
take measures to ensure individuals are informed about the collection, use, processing and protection of PNR data and related privacy standards employed;
take measures to ensure that aircraft operators inform their customers about the transfer of PNR data;
in addition to the above, CCTV is not for public view. CCTV cameras installed at institutions or facilities are for the purpose of tracking criminal(s) who is/are on the run or to track criminal activities. CCTV footage should only be released to an institution or individuals upon order of a court. More so, the release of the CCTV footage provides sensitive information about JNB’s travel patterns, routines and whereabouts that could be exploited by those with malicious intent.
Once the CCTV footage of our Standard Bearer was released by the NSA Director, Sam Siryon, the Intelligence Bureau of the Rescue Mission Campaign launched an immediate investigation to determine the motive behind such blatant violation of privacy right. Our intelligence has found that the Government of Liberia through the National Security Agency, other state security agencies and privately hired security groups/individuals have been tracking every movement of the UP Standard Bearer with the utmost sinister motive. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that government officials and surrogates of the CDC have been planted to propagate that JNB is “sick and will die soon”. The Rescue Mission Campaign through its Intelligence Bureau has now determined that there is an eminent threat to the life of our Standard Bearer from the CDC and its government operatives. Our intelligence bureau has also find that other high ranking members of the Rescue Mission are being tracked on the order of President George Weah.
The use of the PNR of the former Vice President and UP Standard Bearer for propaganda purposes which has put his life in eminent danger must claim the immediate attention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the US Embassy, the European Union, the United Nations and all other Diplomatic mission and international partners in and out of Liberia.
The international community should also take cognizant of the fact that the Weah government has sent a clear signal to the rest of the world that no one’s privacy, including international travelers passing through the RIA in Liberia, is guaranteed. Said privacy could be leaked to surrogates of the CDC at any point in time for political or private sinister motives.
President Weah and his henchmen have realized that they will massively lose the ensuing October 10, 2023 polls and hence have set out to plunge Liberia into an irreversible chaos. These violations of the privacy of officials of the Rescue Mission is worrisome and we all now fear that the government has set out to get at us in the most vicious way.
It can be recalled that on Monday, August 14, 2023 the UP Campaign announced that Amb. Boakai will host a press conference at the Rescue Center. As the UP Standard Bearer left his residence to proceed to the Rescue Center to hold the press conference, the CDC sent it thugs and hooligans to attack the Campaign headquarters. It has now been revealed that the attacks which were ordered by the hierarchy of the CDC with the approbation of President Weah had intended to inflict bodily harm and injuries on the person of former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr. Despite massive public outcry and condemnations, the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Justice deliberately refused to conduct any investigation into the attacks on the campaign headquarters of the Unity Party.
In spite of all these, we called on our supporters to continue the campaign unabated as we are doing everything to ensure their safety. We will not allow this country to retrogress to war years. We will not allow any amount of threats to cowered us into surrendering the election to state sponsored gang looters who are bent on destroying the country. That is why we are calling on all of our supporters to come out en masse to vote #2 on October 10, 2023 in order to remove this nightmare from the helm of power of our country.
The Legal Team of the Rescue Mission Campaign is reviewing all of the legal implications associated with the release of the CCTV footage of the UP’s Standard Bearer and will advise appropriately.
Let us all together Think Liberia, Love Liberia and Build Liberia.
God Bless you all.