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Ex GT-Bank Employees Denied Acquittal

Criminal Court “C” at Temple of Justice has denied three former employees of GT-Bank who were accused of stealing US$126,219 of acquittal.

The trial of the former employees has continued in Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice as the defendants requested judgment of acquittal by the court.

The employees include Montmorancy Yancy, Stanley Yorsee and Emmanuel Togba.

However, Judge Emery S. Paye of Criminal Court “C” denied the defendants’ request for judgment of acquittal on Thursday, September 15, and ordered that they take the witness’ stand to answer to the charges levied against them by the bank.

Prior to the judge’s decision, the defendants’ lawyers filed a motion requesting the court to set the defendants free because according to the lawyers, the testimonies and evidences produced by state prosecutors were saturated with speculation, uncertainty and generally characterized by flaws which the lawyer claimed, raises serious doubts and as such, the court should operate in favor of the defendants.

The defense team stated that the alleged huge loss the bank suffered with respect to customers’ transactions was as the result of negligence from the bank.

“As the result of negligence in handling customers’ transactions and as a way of covering up for said losses, the bank has incriminated her employees for the commission of the crimes,” the defend lawyers noted.

The defendants stand trial for crimes including theft of property, misapplication of entrusted property, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation.

According to the indictment, between May 28, 2015, up to and including June 29, 2015, at the GT-Bank, co-defendant MontmorancyYancy, then serving as posting teller within the entity, criminally conspired with two other employees – Stanley Yorsee and Emmanuel L. Togba – to steal the money intended to be deposited into Total Liberia Inc.’s account at GT-Bank without the knowledge and approval of the management of the bank.

The indictment  also stated that between May and June 2015, several Total gas stations, including A. Jawara located at Jacob Town, Wroto Town, A. kaba Congo Town, Rehab Station and Tarr Town with the intent to deposit, made several deposits totaling US$126,219 into Total Liberia’s account at GT-bank.

Defendant Yancy should have posted said deposits into Total Liberia’s account at GT-Bank, but instead, he knowingly conspired with co-defendants Stanley Yorsee and Emmanuel L. Togba to take the cash, thereby depriving the bank of said deposits done by its customers.

According to the bank’s policy, during the business day, the bulk tellers take the cash received from customers to the posting tellers. In the instant case, defendant Montmorancy received and verified the cash and signed the logs indicating that he received the US$126,219.

Additionally, co-defendant Stanley Yorsee, head of operations, who also cosigned said logs, was under obligation to ensure that the total cash received by Montmorancy was posted into Total Liberia’s account at the bank and to confirm said posting by affixing his signature, but instead criminally joined co-defendants Montmorancy and Emmanuel to steal the money.

In furtherance of their criminal scheme, co-defendant Emmanuel was instructed by Yancy and Yorsee to take away the logs from the bank in which those deposits were recorded to destroy evidence.

The US$126,219 in question was later reportedly used by the defendants to credit some individuals and employees as loans for interest without the knowledge and authorization from the bank’s management.

 

W/African Anti-Corruption Chiefs Meet In Monrovia

 

More than sixty Anti-Corruption practitioners and goverment officials from West Africa will gather in Monrovia  next week for  a three-day  regional workshop on Whistleblower and Witness Protection.

The meeting will be attended by heads of Anti-Corruption bodies, Police Chiefs from West Africa, Parlimentarians with oversight on corruption issues and representatives from international organizations involved with Whistleblower and Witness Protection activities.

The three-day regional gathering seeks to increase the knowledge of participants about the systems to protect whistleblowers and witnesses, to share experiences and lessons learned from other countries within the region and beyond on whistleblower and witness protection as well as identify practical priority actions for West African countries in relations to whistleblower and witness protection.

The exercise which is being organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the LACC and the Network of National Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA), brings together various stakeholders from West African countries to discuss specific challenges in protecting reporting persons and witnesses, to raise awareness about concepts and measures used in other countries, their strength and limitations.

The regional workshop comes against the background that, despite increased awareness about the need to enact whistleblower and witness protection legislation and other measures, there is still a lack of technical knowledge on how to device such legislation, good practices and issues to be considered in devising such legislation. Moreover, most countries have some form of general protection provided in their anti-corruption laws, but these provisions remain very vague and usually don’t provide sufficient protection for whistleblowers and witnesses.

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Shielding “Dictatorial African” President Nguema: Semblance Of Media Censorship …Cllr. Gongloe Condemns Journalist’s Arrest

By T. Michael Johnny, Macpherson Marbiah

Human Right lawyer Cllr Tiawon Gongloe has strongly condemn the arrest and subsequent detention and release of New Democrat Senior Editor, Festus Poquie by the government.

The Human Rights lawyer said he usually goes to court in defence of journalists, but said the frequency of his representation in court is not yielding the type of result he expects in his advocacy.

Cllr. Gongloe stressed that his resolve is to deter the government from further arresting journalists performing their scared duty, stating that Liberia has a democracy and the constitution also obliged the protection of freedom of speech and information.

The New Democrat in its publication culled from the British Mail newspaper reported that Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of being cannibal who allegedly skins enemies alive and eats their testicles.

Addressing a major press conference at the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) headquarters in Monrovia Thursday September 15, 2016, Cllr. Gongloe described as “big shame” on government to detain the journalist for exposing what is currently happening in another sisterly African country.

Cllr. Gongloe: “It is grossly undemocratic that citizens undergoing massive suffering at the hands of their leader can irritate the government to arrest journalist Poquie also implies government’s approval of what is happening in Equatorial Guinea.”

“I find myself here and feel compelled in the interest of Liberia to help stop this evil that the government keeps doing. The government has said that it is a friend of the press, the government through the President has won several awards, even African journalists have given awards to the President with affirmation that she was a friend of journalist,” he said.

Cllr. Gongloe said the arrest of Journalist Poquie is intended to intimidate him and serve as deterrence to other journalists who he said are performing excellently and fearlessly to be afraid of government not to report, write or speak the truth to their taste in educating society, noting that the government is wrong in this action.

He opined that the government has always being wrong, but said: “this one is so terrible that for a brutal dictator who everyone knows that he is killing people in his country and the information on the internet was what Festus Poquie wrote is despicable.”

The Human Rights lawyer said the arrest of journalist Poquie clearly shows that government does not have the political will to change the anti-speech laws, noting that it is only pretending to the international community because of the aids received or wants to get from the international community.

“They are only pretending, they do not have the political will because there is no way  you can have the political will and then try to change anti-speech laws to decriminalize speech and then at the same time arrest people for speaking,” he said.

The erudite legal luminary said the government is currently doing censorship and want to decide what media institutions or journalists should report, stressing that he is ashamed because it was not the purpose of President Sirleaf’s campaign.

“I can say without fear that had she not order the arrest of Festus Poquie, it would not have happen, and no amount of aid is worth scarifying our dignity and freedom in this country. We should never compromise our dignity and liberty,” he said.

Cllr. Gongloe elated that the dignity and liberty of any individual is higher than any authority in Liberia, stressing that it is what Liberia is and every Liberian should fight for is to be consistent with the law.

“This man took power in 1979 after killing his uncle and even though his country is one of the richest countries in Africa, it has some of the poorest people on the continent as well, simply because he is not sharing money. We have heard what his son is doing around the world, spending money as if it is water,” he said.

He asserted that the war that was fought in the country was not because of tribalism or religious difference, but because of bad governance, stressing that the menace is still happening in the society.

Cllr Gongloe continued: “I cannot just understand what happened today that a journalist writing for a newspaper write about a dictatorial leader in another African country and our government gets angry and arrest that journalist, I just cannot understand it, so I do not think that going to court to represent that journalist is sufficient in terms of dealing with what government has done.

“I came here to express solidarity with the journalist and everyone of you, I stand by your side, but I think that we should have a greater civil society force working with political parties to put an end to this, because those opposition leaders who are not shocked by this kind of development are people we should be concerned about,” said Cllr. Gongloe

Cllr Gongloe: “I have said before and right after leaving government noted that our president, a democratic leader is befriending a dictatorial leader in Africa speaks volume of unforeseen circumstances; it means that we should all be alert and should act out of the box.”

For his part, the Press Union of Liberia President K. Abdullai Kamara also condemned government’s action and said the arrest of Journalists Poquie undermines freedom of speech and information.

 

 

Major Reshuffle!   -Pro Tyler Lawmakers Affected

 

Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue has carried out a major reshuffle in Statutory Committee Heads and Deputies at the House of Representatives.

Making new appointments Tuesday in Plenary, Deputy Speaker Barchue noted that these appointments were as a result of a communication written by Representative Samuel Kogar and a decision taken by that body in line with Rule 54 of the House Standing Rules.

Those appointed are Representatives Prince Moye and Jeremiah Koung, Chairman and Co-chairman on the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning, once chaired by Representative Moses Y. Kollie and Sekou Kanneh.

Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah was appointed as the new Chairman on the Judiciary Committee replacing Bomi County Representative Garyah Karmoh.

Deputy Speaker Barchue also appointed Representative Thomas Fallah and Edward Karfiah as Chairman and Co-chairman on the Public Account Committee, replacing Representative Ben Fofana and Mariamu Fofana.

Another committee is the Committee on State Own Enterprises now Chaired by Representative Garrison Yealu, replacing Representative Zoe Emmanuel Pennoh.

Deputy Speaker however retained Representative Jeh Byron Brown as Chairman on Rules, Order and Administration but however appointed Representative Bill Twehway as Co-chairman.

It can be recalled that Representative Kogar on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, wrote the Plenary through Deputy Speaker Barchue, complaining that several committees in the Lower House were not functioning properly thus impeding the smooth operations of the House of Representatives.

“As you will be aware, the House runs its activities through committees and their non-performance has hindered the effective and efficient operations of that body,” Kogar’s communication noted.

In keeping with Rules 54.2, Kogar craved Plenary’s decision to mandate the Presiding officer to replace all Chair and Co-chair persons to Committees that have ceased to function and thereafter make necessary changes to enhance proper functioning of the House.

Those Committees mentioned by Representative Kogar are the Judiciary, State Enterprise, Foreign Affairs, Public Account, Commerce, Contract and Monopoly, Agriculture, Ways, Means Finance, Budget and Development Planning, Defense and Executive.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Barchue disclosed that other subsequent appointments will be made next Tuesday, assuring the appointments will cut across so as not to create division in that body.

 

Pregnant Women At Risk In Rural Mont. ….As Liberia Fights Maternal Mortality

 

Investigation conducted has revealed that public health centers in most parts of Rural Montserrado County are struggling to make impressive marks in the fight against increase in maternal mortality cases reported in Liberia.

Maternal mortality is a pregnancy-related death and is referred to as “death of a woman” during pregnancy or within one year following the end of pregnancy.

An independent survey unearthed that out of three major health facilities in Rural Montserrado County, only one has a maternal waiting home, which women in those  areas predict as major  threats in the fight to reduce maternal deaths.

Maternal waiting homes are residential facilities, located near qualified medical centers, where women categorized as “high risk” can await delivery or transferred to a nearby medical facility shortly before delivery or earlier if complications arise.

The construction of such homes near every public health facility within hard – to -reach communities could be one of the surest means to save the lives of pregnant women and the babies during delivery, but the availability of the facility are seemingly unavailable in most places across Liberia.

According to health reports, Liberia now has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the sub-region and that during the pre-Ebola era, Liberia had 1,072 live deaths out of every 100,000 birth, which was stated in the 2013 Liberia Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS). This is evidence; according to medical sources are indicators of non-improvement from 770 out of 100,000 live births in 2007.

Maternal waiting homes, according to some health personnel must be built in every rural city considering Liberia’s high mortality rate, which has resulted from a struggling health system over the years.

Due to the importance of Maternal waiting home, the In Profile Daily freelancer investigated key public health facilities in rural Montserrado County, which included the Bensonville, Johnsonville and the Harrisburg Health Centers.

Importantly, the investigation was necessitated due to the remoteness of these areas and considering the risk it poses to pregnant women in these areas, usually under intense conditions, which compels them to travel long distances in search of medical care.

For her, the Maternal Child Health (MCH) Supervisor at the Bensonville Hospital Albertha Kortie revealed that maternal waiting home is not available at the hospital and believes that its construction will address the health needs of over 15-20 pregnant women who visit their medical center daily.

She regretted two maternal deaths at the hospital, which the Bensonville Hospital Supervisor attributed due to delay by the families of the deceased, noting that their death could have been prevented if there was a maternal waiting home in the area.

Madam Kortie then requested the donation of a Land Rover jeep as an ambulance to the hospital, stressing that it would be timely because of the inaccessible road to these rural areas, which is hampering the free movement of the only ambulance in the area.

In another interview, Sando Gayflor a Registered Nurse (RN) at the Johnsonville Community Health Center also sounded that the construction of a maternal waiting home in the township is exceptionally vital to the survival of women in the area, noting that its availability would have prevented the loan maternity death at the center recently.

She also appealed for the construction of staff quarter to allow nurses reside overnight if these deaths must be reduced or curtailed.

For her part, the Officer in Charge (OIC) at the Harrisburg Medical Center Menikili Paye, via mobile phone confirmed the construction and operation of the only maternal waiting home in the area.

According to her, it was constructed by Save The Children in 2012 along with two bedroom staff quarter, which is enabling nurses to conduct 24 hours service at the health center.

She told this reporter that its construction is yielding positive results on grounds that rural women in Harrisburg and parts adjacent have seen the facility as their own, which results to less than 10 deliveries outside of the center every year since 2012.

With regards to her communication strategy to encourage more women take advantage of the center, Madam Paye told this paper that she works alongside traditional midwives, providing them health talks once every month.

“The midwives are well informed about the number of pregnant women reported in their control areas— midwives take interest in these cases and immediately consult the clinic and together we take charge of the women to avoid deaths,” said Madam Paye.

Despite the intended success, however, she complained of lack of electricity at the health center, which she stressed: “The situation usually compels nurses to conduct deliveries with candles and touch lights, while the poor ambulance services being experienced often compel us to contact a nearby private clinic at the government’s power plant in the case of referrer.”

“The lack of motivation at the Harrisburg Community Clinic is hindering operations. These include transportation, rain gears, phone cards, soap, hand sanitizers and many others needed medical materials”. She explained.

Only identified as Princess, a pregnant woman in rural Montserrado County said she’s convinced that if maternal waiting homes are constructed in the area, the lives of babies and their mother would be saved.

Statements collected form these rural health facilities as well as pregnant women suggest that the Liberian Government has  remarkably strive to improve Liberia’s health facilities over the years , but an increase in international support will play a more strategic role in curbing maternal deaths across the country.

Follow-up carried out at the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Congo Town could not be concluded because the personnel responsible could not be reached as he had been away for a remarkable period.

However, chapter  III Article 11.a) of the Liberian Constitution, article III of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) and chapter six of the International Convection on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)  ratified by Liberia in 2004,support the right to life by every person regardless of his / her status.

These provisions embraced by the government can further be achieved if the international community and the MOH exert additional efforts to construct maternal waiting homes in hard –to –reach communities.

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Liberian Peacekeepers Threaten To Block RIA?

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

“My brother, the UN told us we were going to be making US1, 332 dollars monthly, but to our utmost surprise, one Mayor Holman informed us that the UN was providing US1, 100 dollars instead of the US1, 332 dollars earlier promised. We believe this is corruption and wickedness in the highest order. But if our money is not returned, or proper explanation provided, we will block the RIA until we can hear from our authorities.”

Some aggrieved members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) who recently served on United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Mali have threatened to hold the Robert International Airport (RIA) hostage if the Ministry of Defense and the leadership of the AFL don’t give account of an alleged administrative slice from their incentives provided for serving on the mission.

According to an AFL source who begged for anonymity, they were 46 men and women in the third batch that went on the peacekeeping operations in Mali for  14 months and 6 days.

The source said they were informed that they were going to be paid US1, 332 dollars per month each under the UN mandate.

Unfortunately, the source indicated that the leadership of the AFL and Defense Minister Brownie Samukai allegedly decided to take 20 percent administrative tax from the US1, 100 dollars from each of them instead of US1, 180 dollars that should have been the original amount after the cut from US1, 332 dollars without their knowledge, and that there wasn’t any prior discussion on the matter.

Accordingly, the source further alleged that to their utmost surprise, they (Liberian Peacekeepers) reportedly received US1,100 dollars as their incentive from the MOD and AFL on grounds that it was what was provided by the UN, something the soldiers termed as false and a plan only orchestrated to corrupt their monies

“My brother, the UN told us we were going to be making US1, 332 dollars monthly, but to our utmost surprise, one Mayor Holman informed us that the UN was providing US1, 100 dollars instead of the US1, 332 dollars earlier promised. We believe this is corruption and wickedness in the highest order. But if our money is not returned, or proper explanation provided, we will block the RIA until we can hear from our authorities,” the source explained.

The aggrieved soldiers have threatened to block the RIA until their reported money is returned to them or proper explanation given in the next seventy two hours.

When the In Profile Daily contacted Defense Minister Samukai via text, he did not respond or reply the text. The In Profile Daily contacted also Assistant Minister for Public Affairs, David Dahn for reaction but his two numbers were out of coverage.

In an effort to get clarity on the matter, the In Profile Daily contacted one Colonel Dana, but he informed this paper that no member of the AFL can speak on the matter until they are asked to do so by Assistant Minister Dahn.

In an effort to get verified information, an inside source within the AFL who asked not to be named, termed the information as false and misleading and further clarified that UNDP actually promised to give the soldiers US1330  dollars.

According to the source, part of the money was given to the soldiers while on mission and the second payment was sent to their accounts upon their return while the final payment is expected.

Hence, the source claimed that the soldiers were not given the right information that’s why they took to the media, but as it stands, they have been fully briefed.

 

Pastors Get Empowerment

 

A two-day workshop organized by the New Day Ministerial Association (NDMA) in order to mentor pastors of Bong County through preaching the Gospels has ended in Gbarnga.

The NDMA is an American- based organization that has branches across the world, aimed at training pastors to be Biblically strong through the winning of souls for Christ.

The National Coordinator said NDMA has conducted the training in Africa, Europe, and America, disclosing that since the establishment of the Liberian Chapter; it has ended similar training in four counties, including Bong County. The Coordinator said the Chapter is expected to shortly conduct the training in Grand Bassa before the Dry Season. Speaking to this paper in  Gbarnga at the end of the workshop,    NDMA National Coordinator for Liberian Chapter, Dr. Apostle Leroy LW Saysaw., said those trained will now be able to send the message in the right way in order to gain more souls for Christ and will also serve as trainers for those that were not part of the process.

Dr. Saysaw said pastors around the world have been preaching the good news, but there is a need that at least a workshop be conducted for them as they continue their jobs.  “Participants from all those places we have gone with the training are applying what we told them in the workshop, so that is a clear manifestation that pastors around the world are willing to do more in preaching the gospels,” Dr. Saysaw  stressed.

According to him, as long as the organization exists, they will continue to conduct training for pastors across the world just for the sake of taking the ‘word of God’ to every living being.

He then called on pastors to continue to do the work of the “Lord” through winning more souls.

Some participants who spoke to this paper in the county expressed delight and praised NDMA for empowering them mentor.

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Citizens Advocate For Mental Illness Services

By Mafanta Kromah

Concerned citizens have called for mental illness services in Liberia, noting that Liberians have suffered moderate mental disorders and yet the country lacks such services, and that majority of the health workers have limited understanding of mental illness.

They stressed that lack of appropriate services for mental illness is something that should draw the attention health authorities in the country, aimed at helping to reduce the rate of mad people on the streets.

Speaking to In Profile reporter Wednesday in Monrovia, Mary Susu, a businesswoman said mental illness is common and can begin at any age, from childhood to adult years.

She noted that the effects can be temporary or long lasting because there is no proper care for mentally ill people; especially those on the streets, due to the use of alcohol and recreational drugs, as well as those being abused and neglected as children with little healthy relationships.

Mrs. Susu indicated that one of the main ways to reduce mental illness in Liberia is to build a modern mental recovery Center that promotes recovery through peer support, education, socialization and training which will help them build better lives themselves and gain empowerment, maintain independence and earn acceptance within their homes and communities.

At the same time, Musu Robert, another citizen, cautioned that mental illnesses are always stigmas in their various communities and to reduce them, government has to be acknowledged of addressing mental illness with policy.

She also said social policy and histories of trauma affect people through generation, meaning invisible things can affect stress levels of people leading to mental illness.

Musu called on the government to bring in the teaching of empathy and emotional regulation skills as part of primary and secondary education curriculum, adding, ‘This will help the young ones understand themselves, express themselves in a healthy way and reduce shame to be sad as being a male or female and also reduce shame to hide pain which can lead to self-harm. This will help our next generation.’’

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Concerned Legislative Staff Wants Liberian Legislature 21st Century Compliance

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

A concerned staff of the Legislature, Bobby Addison, is urging the National Legislature to be 21st Century compliant with regards to modernization of that branch of government.

According to him, a blueprint for effective representation, lawmaking and oversight is yet to be fully implemented by the legislature. He noted that nine years ago, members of the Joint Legislative Modernization Plan Committee (JLMC), the editing of the modernization plan for 2009-13 at a special retreat held in the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) in Grand Bassa County, from July 11-13, 2008 with assistance from several institutions.

He named the institutions as the Governance Commission, United Nations Mission in Liberia, National Democratic Institute, USAID, UNDP and the World Bank.

While in Grand Bassa County, Addison said the following issues were highlighted: the need to put in place mechanisms to ensure legislative consultation or reporting; professional capacity of staff- both personal and central staffers of the 52nd and 53rd Legislature.

According to him, there are personnel who are poorly trained, lacked adequate equipment, no job description, and that their recruitment is highly politicized at the expense of merit.

Therefore, he indicated there is an urgent need to rationalize and professionalize the strength of legislative staffers without jeopardizing the political standing of the lawmakers and constituencies.

Another issued highlighted by Addison is the abandonment of the legislative library. According to him, since the library was destroyed by fire, there has been no support from the legislature.

He said before the library was destroyed by fire, all the offices were equipped with computers and internet that was being sponsored by USAID through the National Democratic Institute; something he noted enabled staffers and lawmakers to conduct daily research.

The concerned Legislative staff further pointed out that another grave issue of concern captured in the modernization plan was the issue of transportation.

According to him, the increase in the number of lawmakers led to the corresponding increase in the number of staffers at the Capitol.

“We are therefore appealing to members of the 53rd Legislature to kindly purchase additional four new buses to enable us commute to and fro. Presently the three buses that are helping staff to get to work are not road worthy as they have spent more than ten years. We are therefore appealing to all those who crafted this document to please do their best to have this modernization plan implemented,” he noted.

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Pollution Saga Mirrors CASPIAN -Garbage Site Relocation Demanded

By: Josiah Kpadeh /Freelance Journalist

 

Some residents of the Stockton Creek Community in Gardnesville have accused the Caspian Holdings Company of creating health hazards for them.

The aggrieved residents told this writer recently that the Management of the Monrovia City Cooperation Waste Transfer Station-Caspian Holdings must be engaged by the Government of Liberia if continuous illnesses in the area must be avoided.

They called for the removal of the waste transfer site, on grounds that it has polluted the environment- thus producing filthy water that pours flies and mosquitos, including other insects into their homes.

The Stockton Creek Community is lowland established in the early 80s; currently it has thousands of inhabitants – largely women and children.

There, flooding is being experienced hugely during mid-rainy season and at times it runs into homes, causing intense embarrassments for dwellers.

In this open area, the MCC has a Solid Waste Disposal Site just on the shoulder of the community along the Somalia Drive. It hosts a share of the famous Stockton Creek Bridge, few meters to the Jamaica Road on the Bushrod Island.

This disposal site is used as a transit point— garbage collected from other communities are dumped there and later transferred to other destinations for final disposal.

George Menscole, Mohamed Kamaraand and Stephen Tolbert are residents of the area.  They  said prior to the construction of the MCC Solid Waste Disposal Transfer Station, health condition in their area was fair regardless of the presence of the Stockton Creak.

“The continuous sicknesses we experience here are because of the dirt factory, often our children get sick from the dirty water that runs from the garbage. In this place, we experience the black flies, the green flies and the normal flies. The area was not like this. We are appealing to the government to remove the dirt factory from our area.” Mr. Tolbert spoke angrily in a separate statement.

He also stressed his disappointment about information that Caspian Holdings had regularly treated the garbage with insecticide.

Caspian Holdings is a hired company by the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) Project. The EMUS project is a World Bank initiative aimed at increasing access to solid waste collection service in Monrovia as well as enhancing the Monrovia City Corporation’s (MCC’s) revenues from waste fees and other sources.

Mr. Tolbert further alleged that community representatives have on occasions approached the Monrovia City Corporation on the matter but the engagement did not yield fruit, something the MCC had since denied.

Hawa Konneh and Annie Kollie are mothers of four children and live next to the fence that hosts the Waste. At their front view is a sleeping body of spilled water that runs from the dumps.

They also denied reports that Caspian Holdings chemically treats the garbage. According to them, their assertion was due to what they called the increased pollution and insects being experienced daily.

The women claimed that the condition has caused them much expensive as they take their kids to the clinic at least three times a month.

“This dirty water also gets worms inside, so we are forced to travel along with table salt so that we can rub it on our feet when we leave the water. We have to do this because the water can cover the road and that’s the only place we can use to come to our house,” Kollie said regrettably.

The residents preferred the garbage site be transferred to a distance location where people do not reside.

Aliue Konneh is the Chief Administrator of  Alilal Medical and Surgical Center on the Jamaica Road, close to the affected area. At this Muslim Clinic, he receives 20-25 patients daily mostly women and children.

According to him, a week- long survey recently conducted by his clinic suggests that out of 179 cases, malaria accounts for 92, while 35 cases were typhoid- related and the others were urinary track- infection (UTI) and respiratory track- infection (RTI) which account for 52.

Mr. Konneh however could not confirm or deny that these sicknesses have resulted from the MCC garbage transfer station being managed by Caspian Holdings Company.

He was also concerned about the increased number of illnesses from this community. He admitted the condition, that residents there are unable to adequately finance their treatments but called on government to provide subsidies for his clinic.

“This is necessary because we as professionals do not need to wait for money before turning to our patients,” Allieu exerted.

Meanwhile, research has indicated that disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems to humans especially in areas where they are vulnerable.

Accordingly, some waste will eventually decay, but not all, and in the process it may smell or generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to the greenhouse effect. Leachate produced as waste decomposes may cause pollution. Badly-managed landfill sites may attract pestsor that causes disorder.

When contacted, the MCC referred this reporter to the Emergency Monrovia Urban Sanitation (EMUS) Project for clarity. The EMUS project as well said it could not comment on the subject but preferred the reporter to Caspian Holdings, on grounds that it was Caspian that is implementing the project at the Stockton Creek Garbage Site.

The objectives of the EMUS Project for Liberia is to increase access to solid waste collection service in Monrovia and as well  enhance Monrovia City Corporation’s (MCC’s) revenues from waste fees and other sources.

At the same time, when visited on August 22, 2016, the Management of the Caspian Holdings Company said it could not orally response to the matter with fear of being misquoted by the press, instead, it promised to reply via email within four days, but failed to do so.

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FOJ Hosts Seminar For Urban Women ..Prepares for 2017 Elections Showdown

By: Yassah J. Wright/0880645821

 

Scores of urban women gathered at a one day leadership training seminar organized by the National Women Congress of the friends of Dr. J. Mill Jones (FOJ) in collaboration with the Montserrado county chapter at the sport commission on Friday, September, 9, 2016, under the theme: “The role of women in the impending 2017 general elections.

The seminar brought together over 250 urban women leaders trained in various life skills and also ways of propagating the vision and aspirations of Dr. Jones to the effect that it resonates with consciences of the masses of the Liberian people.

Speaking at the occasion, the National Youth Chairman of FOJ, Evans R. Bryant, said for several decades, Liberians have lived in abject poverty, experienced bad governance, political exclusion and foreign domination of their national economy and resources to redeem them from the odds that has become an ultimate importance.

“The economy empowerment of Liberians is an idea whose time has come; women are very important and they need to rise up and play major roles in traversing the crushing layers of Liberia’s democratic system during the era of economic deprivation, nepotism, exclusion and corruption, which appears to be growing space and no longer confirmed to their borders,” said the FOJ Youth Chairman.

He disclosed that group of Liberians from diversified sectors of the society came together to form the “friends of Dr. Jones” as a political sorority that will serve as the vehicle to champion the needs and aspirations of Liberians.

Bryant cautioned youth: “ Do not use your today to eat your tomorrow; being useful during electioneering period. The 2017 general and presidential should be an issue based, people should vote beyond party lines; beyond tribal lines and beyond religious lines and fraternity.

The FOJ Youth leader reckoned that the time has come for Liberians to choose a potential national leader on the basis of proven leadership abilities embedded with the requisite experience, high moral rectitude, character credential, academic astuteness and propinquity with the masses of the Liberian people.

Bryant said friends of Dr. Jones strappingly believed that their political leader has the proven ability and excellent brainpower to revive the nation from the existing state of backwardness, the shackles of underdevelopment and massive corruption.

He continued: “Dr. Jones vowed during his response to petitions from across the 73 districts of Liberia that he is prepared to take difficult decisions necessary to put the country on the path of transformation, the idea of collective responsibility that will make Liberia more prosperous and also reconcile the country.

He said women should pursue fundamental principles and objectives as they endeavor a break with the past and increase awareness and sensitize citizens about the enviable leadership credentials of Dr. Jones and his vision for Liberia.

In addition, the National Vice Chair for Administration of the women congress of FOJ, Sarah Y. Cummings said the one day leadership workshop is squarely intended to build the capacity of the women to reach out, mobilize, concentrate, rationalize, coordinate and consolidate the ongoing activities across the 73 districts clearly propagate the party’s vision to local communities.

Cummings said, the national women congress of the FOJ is a main-stream political action group nationally agreed upon and geared towards uniting Liberians to hold together under the canopy of fraternal solidarity to overwhelmingly elect Dr. Jones in 2017as president of the Republic of Liberia, stressing the need to engage all sectors of Liberia and sensitize electorates about the increasing imperativeness to achieve their overall ambition.

 

Floodgate At NEC?

 

The Executive Director of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Lamin Lighe, at the expenditure hearing of the budget on Wednesday, disclosed that funds collected for political parties and candidates’ registrations sit in an escrow account at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning as the commission seeks additional funding.

Asked by Representative Julius Berrian as to what NEC does with funds collected from political parties and candidates’ registration, Executive Director Lighe informed the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget and the Public Account Committee (PAC) that the account is being controlled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning

But responding to the question, Deputy Minister for Revenue, Dr. James Kollie, noted that the funds from the escrow account are sometimes sent to consolidated account or sometimes released to the NEC for pressing pertinent matters.

However, the NEC or MFDP could not further elaborate as to how much is in the escrow account or how many dollars have been withdrawn from that account thus prompting pundits and some lawmakers to describe the situation as “fishy.”

Executive Director Lighe said the NEC needs 45.6million for the upcoming 2017 Elections and the Government of Liberia is expected to provide US23million dollars while there are commitments of US7.1million.

He also indicated within  2016-17, the commission needs about 2.9million for voter and civic education. The NEC Executive Director further said the NEC can no longer afford to postpone the process, because doing so would hamper the entire process because election is timing.

Lighe is therefore calling on the Committee to speedily pass the budget and also ensure to increase the commission’s funding so as to enable them smoothly execute the election process.

In 2005, the NEC submitted an annual budget to the Budget Bureau for consideration and approval. Upon approval of the budget, funds were paid in a timely manner, according to the planned expenditure, into an account established by the NEC. International donor support was critical in both the 2005 and 2011 national elections. While the NEC has not published its 2011 elections report, the estimated 2010–11 budget was over USD 38 million, of which over US 27 million dollars (70 per cent) came from international donors.

During the 2010–11 electoral cycles, funds from gender mainstreaming projects were intermittently redirected to processes regarded as more critical to the success of the national elections, such as voter registration, poll worker training and technology acquisitions.

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Gov’t Commits To Mechanize Financing … For Agriculture Sector

By: Teacee Gbeway

 

Vice President Joseph Boakai has disclosed government’s commitment to ensure that the country’s agriculture sector is designed to provide innovative financing mechanism.

The Liberian Vice President made the disclosure Tuesday, when he served as Keynote Speaker at the opening of a two-day the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Food Enterprise Development (FED) Agric-business Expo held at the Monrovia City Hall.

He said the government’s intervention will include small and medium size enterprise (SMEs), agricultural financing mechanism such as incentive-based risk-sharing facilities for agricultural lending and social bond.

The program, according to the Unity Party (UP) Standard Bearer also disclosed that the innovative financing will also cover catalytic financing facilities, agriculture-relevant e-wallet, and digital financing mechanisms.

Vice President Boakai committed that the government is working closely with the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to design and set up the ” Liberia Incentive Based Risk Sharing Agriculture Lending” (LIRSAL) based on going best practices in Nigeria and other African countries with support from AFDB and AGRA.

He said reducing post harvest losses, strengthening value addition, establishing structured markets and marketing systems can all contribute to sustainable food security.

The Keynote speaker emphasized that the estimated rate of post harvest losses in Liberia is approximately 35 to 40 percent, stressing that the losses are caused by improper processing, poor storage practices and transport constraints, which is one way to attain food security and reduce the rate of post harvest.

He lamented that the government is encouraging stronger framework for collaboration and agreed scorecard for mutual accountability to judge the results of the implementation of huge investments in various programs and projects both by government and development partners and NGOs.

Vice President further emphasized that both the government and development partners should be held accountable for huge sums of funds spent in the agriculture sector, as well as other sectors, for economic growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods of citizens.

“We are impressed that this is taking place with some of the best minds that understand the Liberia agriculture sector. I am confident that the topic will be probed with the rigor and intelligence that it demands” he noted.

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Man Commits Suicide …Eyewitness Alleged “Unbearable” Economic Situation

By: Mafanta Kromah

 

A man only identified as Boakai has reportedly committed suicide on Warren Street due to the difficulties experienced during  past months and that his shattered life has become unbearable, said eyewitness on the crime scene.

The late Boakai, according to eyewitnesses, the deceased was a car loader on Broad Street until his death.

A close associate of Boakai, only identified as Joe, who is also a car loader was quoted as saying that “He and I had breakfast this morning and he told me that he’s tired with life and cannot continue anymore.”

He revealed that murmurs from the late Boakai during the last two months hinted that his father haven’t send him anything since then, but said he persuaded the deceased not to worry because they can bear whatever difficulties they faced.

Also speaking about the deceased, another colleague, John Paye, revealed that the late Boakai and other friends were  close associates and they bought “cigarette and grass” to smoke.

He divulged that the late Boakai committed suicide out of frustration and also attributed his demise to protracted chest problem he suffered, eulogizing that his deceased colleague was courteous to people in the area and had lived in his “shanty hole” for more than six years and that his action was allegedly due to the obstruction in his life.

Muslims Holiday Proposal Bill Termed: “Politically” Motivated For 2017 …Senator PYJ “War-Years” Hunt Patronage

 

By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

 

Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson’s alleged “political expedition” to lure Muslims into his path will be resisted despite proposal for the enactment of a bill intended to recognize Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan and Abraham Day as national holidays; scores of Muslim and Christian youth have hinted.

In an organized forum of Christians and Muslims on the pending 2017 general and presidential elections and the pronouncement of holidays for Muslims, discussants at an intellectual debate proffered diversified views on the pronouncement, which attracted hundreds of attendants and curious onlookers.

Senator Johnson, who recently established the Movement for Development and Reconstruction (MDR), has heightened hatred and championed opponents against the reelection of the Unity Party (UP) in 2017 and also implored verbal attacks on President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

Accordingly, the ex-leader of the breakaway Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) has in recent times launched scathing attack on the UP-led government describing President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai as “Vampire 1 and Vampire 2” and his ambitious bill for the enactment of Muslim holidays is being heavily weighed.

However, during the heated debate, discussant Patrick Johnson, a Christian, said the pronouncement by Senator Johnson is intended to bait Muslims into his newly wedded political party, after parting relationship with the National Union of Democratic Progress (UNDP) where he snatched the third place spot in 2011.

He rationalized that the once feared rebel leader’s pronouncement for Muslim holidays is diametrically opposite to his expressed assertion, noting that the Nimba County lawmaker is a “political joker” in disguise whose beliefs are farfetched in genuine acceptability.

“While Christians do not oppose the legislation of Muslim holidays in the country, however, it would be foolhardy to denote that Senator Johnson is naturally in support of his expressed bill. The statement is intended to buy sentiments from the Muslim community,” said discussant Johnson.

In an affirmation and out- right debunk to Senator Johnson’s statement, another discussant, Alieu Sheriff, a Muslim scholar, accused Senator Johnson of “buying undue sympathy and recognition” at the expense of individuals (Muslims) who wished national holidays for the Islamic population in the country.

He accused Senator Johnson of  fermenting religious intolerance in Nimba County by marginalizing Muslims in crucial decision making in the county through his divide and rule administrative tactics.

“Although we the Muslims want holidays for our religious festivities such as Ramadan and Abraham Day, however, the attainment of our desire will be missed with Senator Johnson as proponent,” said Sheriff.

The scholarly Islamic youth stressed that Senator Johnson should commence his crusade for holiday for Muslims by uniting Christians and Muslims in Nimba County and the bitterness over the long running land dispute before craving for legislation.

However, although discussants reproached the sincerity of Senator Prince Johnson, however, they also opined that politics and religion should not feature prominently in the 2017 general and presidential elections because of the intricacies attached.

Recently, preposition 24, of the Constitutional Review Committee, which proposed that Liberia should become Christian State as opposed to secular State, was vehemently criticized by scores of Muslim leaders as well as segment of Christians.