VP Howard-Taylor Names Group Of 77’s New Head

The Vice President of Liberia, Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor, has named Madam Florence Wayfa-Siafa as the new Executive Director of the Group of 77 on Newport Street.

Madam Wayfa-Siafa, according to a press release in the office of the Vice President, replaces the wife of Ex-Vice President Joseph Boakai, Madam Katumu Boakai who headed the institution for twelve years.

Speaking during her interactions with members of the disabled home, Madam Howard-Taylor asked members of the group to work with the newly appointed Executive Director to formulate new programs meant to address their plight.

Madam Howard-Taylor said government remains committed to addressing the challenges facing the physically challenged people, with the Group of 77 being no exception.

“The CDC-led government’s pro-poor agenda under the leadership of President George M. Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, takes seriously the plight of physically challenged people in the country,” the release stated.

VP Howard-Taylor recalled that during her tenure as Senator of Bong county over the years, she seriously opposed the idea of physically challenged persons gathering at public places begging; a situation she said, has to change. ‘Our physically challenged brothers and sisters must go beyond mere survival and start living better lives as desired of all other Liberians,’ she averred.

The Vice President also used the occasion to present 30 bags of rice to the Group of 77, as part of her initial commitment to enhancing to their welfare.

Speaking earlier, concerned members of the Group of 77 outlined a number of challenges being experienced under the past leadership of the institution.

They spoke of the need for quarterly meetings intended to discuss and find a way forward to these challenges.

They also called for the replacement of the entire leadership of the Group of 77 with competent members (of their kind).

The group of 77 is one of the institutions which the Vice President has direct mandate and supervision over. The Vice President, as part of her mandate, has therefore asked the newly appointed Executive Director to formulate new programs targeting the welfare of members of the Group of 77.

 

House’s Defense C’ttee Takes On AFL Widows’ Benefit Claim

The  Defense Committee at the House of Representatives  has been tasked with the responsibility  to meticulously review  a longstanding problem affecting widows of fallen Armed Forces of Liberia soldiers when it comes to benefits they (widows) are entitled to.

The House’s Defense Committee chaired by Montserrado County District Two Representative, Jimmy Smith, was mandated last Thursday during session to look the widows’ benefit issue within two weeks and report to Plenary for a way forward.

It is recalled that a record number of AFL widows have from time to time  since 2006  been requesting for their deceased husbands’ benefits which to some extent have been provided in piece meal to their dissatisfaction thus sometimes leading to street protests.

The regime of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on a number of occasions strived  to resolve the issue but it seems the concerns of the widows continue to surface for redress.

Recently, the widows began to agitate  after they got hinted that  former Defense Minister Brownie Samukai  allegedly squandered  the benefits of  AFL soldiers, both those living and on active duties and the deceased, whose children need finances to go to school.

However, as elected leaders of the Liberian people, members of the current National Legislature at the Lower House under the Speakership of Dr. Bhofal Chambers, with the mandate of Plenary have requested the Smith’s Committee to take a look at the  issue in its entirety and subsequently advise  the August Body within two weeks for onward decision that will determine an amicable solution.

“Judges Should Not Be Members of Masonic, UBF, Others” -Cllr. Gongloe

By: Yassah J. Wright

The Guest Speaker at Trial Judges Association’s 7th annual convention, Cllr Tiawan Gongloe, has told  judges not to be members of Masonic, UBF, and other fraternal organizations if they are to play the role of sustaining peace in Liberia.

Cllr. Gongloe warned judges to refrain from becoming members of any fraternity group in order to become neutral and impartial: to treat all parties before them equally.

The former Solicitor General said, such attitude by a judge could be influenced by the rules and sanctions of such fraternities. “Judges should avoid being chairpersons or members of boards of any organizations because they could make decisions favorable to those organizations and they should not be pastors or Imams as well,” he added.

The counselor informed magistrates and judges that “it is not every dispute in Liberia that is taken to court”. According to him, some disputes or cases are taken to community leaders, chiefs, religious leaders and civil society leaders. “But when disputes are taken to the courts of our country, the parties that appear in court expect to get nothing less than transparent justice, based on evidence and the law,” he maintained.

At the same time, Cllr. Gongloe warned judges against taking bribes if they must sustain peace.

Cllr. Gongloe said bribery is the most deadly and effective means by which public confidence in the integrity of any public servant is eroded.

“Bribery reduces a public servant such as a judge or magistrate to a mere commodity that can be purchased by the highest bidder,” he contended.

Cllr. Gongloe reminded judges that bribery is a second degree felony, irrespective of the amount received or the value of the thing received. He noted that the one who bribes a judge will never keep it secret.

He further noted that this kind of conduct of a judge erodes public confidence in the justice system and the way to avoid that is to improve on calendaring so that on the basis of first come first serve, without the request of a lawyer or a client, cases can be automatically assigned by clerks of courts, in order to reduce the frequency of party X contact with a judge.

 

Don’t Get Used To Present Condition” -TOL Executive Director Tells Christian Women

By Alfred L. M. Gezaye

Christian women of Liberia have been urged not to get used to their present condition and always seek God in all of their activities.

The Executive Director of the American based Christian charitable organization Dr. LaTonya T. McRae said some women been living in their current situation for so long. She encouraged them that God can do the impossible possible.

Dr. McRae said no matter how they (women of Liberia) maybe God can turn their situation around for the good.

She made the comments over the weekend at the close of the Tree of Life Ministries International Prayer-Healing-Deliverance Women’s Retreat held at the Conquerors Christian Center in Old Matadi Estate.

“Some of us been living in a situation for so long and think that it is just it, but we need to look to God for our strength just because God is bringing us through it. God doesn’t want you to get used to that situation because greater is he that is in you than he that in the word.”

She went on to say “why should we get used to the mess that we are in? Why should we get used to our current situation knowing that our redeemers live and that God is going to deliver us in his appointed time?”

Dr. McRae said they decided for the Liberia TOL women’s retreat to go forward, not because of herself and those helping her to carry on the work, but because of Jesus Christ.

She thanked God for the involvement of the women of Liberia in the activities of TOL in their country.

“We will like for all of you to take part in this, you should let our coordinator know, let our team know that you want to be involved because we want representation from all women from different churches so that there can be a blessing that is greater and bigger for all of us,” she told the women.

The two-day event brought together over two hundred (200) women from several churches that are affiliating with the Tree of Life Ministries International.

The Tree of Life Ministries International women’s retreat was held under the Theme: “Picking up the Broken Pieces”.

Facilitators of the women’s retreat were: Rev. Mother Blessing Swaray, resident pastor of the Conquerors Christian Center, Old Matadi Estate; Mother Theresa Martee Bannie, Missionary Pastor Headquarters Church of the Believers, New Matadi Estate and Pastor Musu Marshall, Senior Pastor of the Virginia Evangelical Christian Church and Dr. LaTonya T. McRae of the Faith Tabernacle in Freehold, New Jersey, USA and Executive Director of the Tree of Life Ministries International

The other three Liberian Christian women called on their fellow women not to be weary but should always depend on God who they said is on time to settle whatever situation that may come their way.

The speakers said women should learn to have faith and wait on God’s time for the settlement of their trouble.

The women of God told the attendees that nothing too big that God cannot solve and as He (Jesus) did it for people in the past He can do it for those in search of Him in the present.

 

 

 

 

Revelation?

To many, it is no more a secret that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was allegedly supporting the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) instead of her party, former ruling Unity Party (UP).

Some UP supporters and other Liberians say President George Weah’s statement about the WASSCE (West Africa Senior Certificate Exams) fees payment is a revelation confirming their claim that she was supporting CDC.

President Weah, during his first state of the nation address to the Legislature, revealed that, in consultation with Madam Sirleaf, he has deposited about US$200,000.00 (two hundred thousand United States dollars) for the WASSCE fees payment for 12th graders of both private and public schools in Liberia.

While welcoming such initiative intended to reduce burden on parents, many Liberians are of the belief that Madam Sirleaf had given the money as her contribution to the CDC’s campaign.

The issues

When the former government announced there was no money to pay WASSCE fees, it took center stage in Liberia, with CDC machineries lambasting government and committing their party to settle the situation.

This prompted many WASSCE candidates’ frequent visit to the CDC headquarters. Some of the candidates began disenchanted while other felt deceived when the fees were not forthcoming to meet up with registration deadlines. It was at this point that the CDC said the fees will be paid directly to schools instead of students.

Promise by the CDC, coupled with the failure of many students to pre-finance the payment, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has been postponing dates for the administration of the exam.

While these suspicions were growing during the runoff, Madam Sirleaf and and Weah, then presidential candidate, broke ground for the construction of the Lofa Road.

Even though Madam Sirleaf denied of inviting Weah, pundits saw it as a political game played against former vice president, Joseph Boakai, who was reportedly not aware of the occasion.

Arguments grew at the time, with some saying that Weah was a senator and so his presence was necessary. They said it was incumbent upon even ordinary citizens to grace the occasion, calling on Liberians not to make politics out of the matter. They further noted that the road also connects Bong County, where Weah’s then running mate, Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor hails.

On the other hand,   it became an issue when Boakai did not attend the program. “It was necessary for all of them including Boakai to grace the program. But leaving Boakai out and inviting Weah was a political deceit orchestrated by Madam Sirleaf,” a UP’s member claimed.

When was consultation for WASSCE fees payment held?

Some UP’s members and critics are expressing fears that Weah may be remote-controlled by Madam Sirleaf. “When this consult was held? What is the source of this money? Who is the custodian?” These are the questions they underscore the need for President Weah to answer. They, however, praise the President for such a gesture that is cardinal to the education system, especially at the time Liberians are faced with economic hardship.

It can be recalled that during the political campaign in 2017, many UP members fell out with Madam Sirleaf, accusing her of supporting Weah of then opposition CDC. It even went as far as claiming that she would rig the elections in favor of Weah.

They alleged that Madam Sirleaf held a closed-door meeting with National Elections Commission (NEC) officials at her residence. The former president admitted of meeting the officials; but said it was not closed-door as alleged. She explained that the meeting was held with some international and local groups represented.

 

GOL/ World Bank Sign US $ 24.7M Grant Agreement

The World Bank has provided its first development support to the new Government of Liberia headed by President George M. Weah with the signing of an IDA Grant Agreement amounting to US$ 24.7million between the Bank and the Liberian Government. Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia, while World Bank’s Group Country Director for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone Henry G. R. Karali signed on behalf of the Bank.

According to the Agreement, US $20 million is for the implementation of the Fourth Poverty Reduction Strategy, while US$4.67 is specifically intended for a Forest Landscape Single Donor Trust Fund.

The Agreement signed further outlines the project focus to include strengthening governance with particular emphasis on transparency and accountability, as well as budget execution and oversight.

Also other key areas the grant will be addressing as contained in the agreement are the key constraints to growth, including electricity, as well as improving human capital development particularly through improved access to education and health.

Speaking during the signing ceremony in Paynesville City, Kerali on behalf of the bank disclosed that the bank has expressed its commitment to Liberia’s development in an earlier meeting during the day with President Weah.

He said: “The Bank will continue to provide more support including additional grants and credits going forward in the scope of the Bank’s twin goals to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity which means to create more jobs in Liberia.”

Speaking on behalf of Government, Finance and Development Planning Minister Tweah conveyed thanks to the World Bank for its continuous support to the country and described the bank as being among the trusted partners that Liberia has.

The Finance Minister further mentioned that the new partnership between the Bank and the Government of Liberia under the leadership of President Weah will now be based on delivering results for pro-poor impacts something he said is the new paradigm that is going to happen in line with the President’s vision.

Finance Minister Tweah during his brief remark further said “that grant resources, credit resources from multilateral and bilateral partners should deliver impacts whether for road construction, education, youth development, agriculture, etc.

He then assured the World Bank that every penny of the grant will be dedicated to pro-poor causes in the interest of the Liberian people.

 

 

‘I Will Not Entertain Gossip’ -Mayor-designate Koijee Warns MCC Workers

By: Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

The Mayor-designate of the city of Monrovia and CDC Youth League Chairman, Jefferson Koijee, during a formal welcoming ceremony upon his ascendency as Mayor-designate, warned employees of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) that he will not entertain gossip but rather encourage a collaborative spirit to enhance the MCC.

Speaking Friday, during programs marking his official welcoming ceremony by employees of the MCC, Koijee said he’s new on the job and would not pretend to be a Mayor; therefore, he would count on the expertise of the staff of that corporation to enhance the corporation and further develop Monrovia.

Koijee thanked everyone for gracing the occasion especially their donor, City Alliance International. He also thanked President George M. Weah for his preferment and fortitude to ensuring that the lives of ordinary Liberians are lifted.

Mayor-designate Koijee assured the MCC employees that despite their political affiliation during the recent elections, he’s not taking over to take away their jobs, but rather worked with them to ensuring that the aims and aspiration of President Weah’s pro-poor policy is achieved.

Koijee urged all resident of the city of Monrovia to cooperate with the MCC to ensure that Monrovia becomes a wholesome functioning city. He noted that he is open to learning in order to make sure Monrovia is advanced developmentally.

According to him, his priorities is not to take away jobs butt work with donors to ensure that even more jobs are created, because if the poor people cannot succeed under President Weah’s administration there will be a reversal of democracy.

“If democracy is something that changes the lives of people, then under Weah led-administration, depending on everyone’s collective support to the government, everyone will experience the true essence of democracy,” Koijee noted.

Speaking earlier, the Representative of the MCC workers union, Eric Doe, pledged his union’s fullest cooperation in working with the new city Mayor-designate to ensuring Monrovia is on par with other cities in the world.

Doe described Koijee as a partner owing to his youthful age. He also thanked the outgoing Mayor for her services rendered the corporation over the years.

Also speaking, the Minister of Internal Affairs-designate, Varney Sirleaf, promised to closely collaborate with Mayor-designate Koijee in order to improve and develop Monrovia.

GAC Hits Back At Kings’ FM Talk Show Host

The General Auditing Commission (GAC) said its attention has been drawn to a tirade of allegations made against Auditor General Yusador Gaye on King’s FM Radio flagship Talk Show “Liberian Talk” on Tuesday, January 30, Wednesday January 31 and Thursday, February 1, 2018.
The GAC said it wants the public to know that the allegations made by the King’s FM Liberian Talk Host Robert Haynes are well planned conspiratorial attempts to willfully castigate and defame the character of its reputed Auditor General for political gains of his sponsors.
The GAC noted that claim by Mr. Haynes that Madam Gaye connived with the Printer of the GAC Act of 2014 at the Foreign Ministry to tamper with the Legislative Approved tenure of four years for the service of the Auditor General to seven years is untrue. “This claim is simply a bold face lie,” a GAC release said.
Setting the record straight, the GAC provided the following pieces of information:
“GAC Act of 2014 Chapter 2.1.5: The Auditor General is appointed for a one term of 7 (seven) years. The process of writing the GAC Act started 2009 and ended 2013. The Act was written with the support of the European Union who sent two legal experts to the GAC at different times. The Act was benchmarked against other Supreme Audit Institutions in English speaking Africa to ensure best practice.”
The Commission also termed as erroneous and wicked, claims that the Auditor General has been siphoning fees charged by the GAC to conduct audits of SOEs and Commissions in accordance with the GAC Act and the Public Financial Management Act of 2009.
The Commission further clarified that all funds paid the GAC by Commissions, SOEs and Donors are strictly paid out in the name of the GAC and such funds are duly accounted for.
The GAC also wants to make it emphatically clear that never did the RIA pay the GAC $600,000 for its audit or NPA $350,000 and the JFK $50,000 as claimed by the Kings FM Talk Show host Robert Haynes. “These claims have no iota of truth in fact and substance- a rudimentary principle each journalist must adhere to at all times when performing their reportorial duties,” the release said.

TRANSCO CLSG, Sierra Leone Gov’t To Launch RAP

To give way for the construction of a 1300km transmission line from Cote d’Ivoire into Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, TRANSCO CLSG, in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone will formally launch the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) to settle families, who are within the corridor of the project.

The symbolic launch of RAP for Project Affected Persons (PAPs) within Lot 2 from Kono to Bumbuna, was held in Makeni, Sierra Leone on February 1st, 2018.

More than 400 households are affected by the construction of the transmission line and substation in Sierra Leone and they will be compensated through a transparent compensation process.

Similar activities will be carried out in other CLSG countries. Following the RAP process, TRANSCO CLSG management will acquire the sites and turn them over to the contractors who are in line to jumpstart physical construction activities of 1300km transmission line and substations across the CLSG.

TRANSCO CLSG, which is implementing the CLSG electricity project, interlinking Cote d’Ivoire with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea has already conducted information campaigns across the CLSG to sensitize communities on the resettlement process.

TRANSCO CLSG, in collaboration with the Governments of the CLSG, is responsible for the implementation and coordination of the resettlement program. All the PAPs have been identified within the Transmission Line corridor.

Prior to the implementation of the RAP, all assets in the right of way were assessed and asset inventory established.

Meanwhile, donors of the CLSG project including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the KfW the German Development Bank; have reaffirmed their unwavering support to the successful implementation of the CLSG project. “We are at the point of no-return,” one of the donors declared during the just ended two-day annual donor’s coordination meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

 

 

Israel Moves Toward Deporting Thousands of African Migrants

Israel is taking steps to deport thousands of African migrants.

Israeli immigration authorities have begun issuing deportation orders to asylum seekers from war-torn Eritrea and Sudan. It is the latest step in Israel’s plan to expel about 40,000 African migrants, after they entered the country illegally during the past decade.

A man who identified himself as Michael received a deportation notice. It said that by April 1st, he must leave for an unnamed African country, reported to be Rwanda.

Michael said it is wrong for Israel to deport refugees, knowing they face certain death back in Africa.

But the Israeli government rejects the refugee claim, saying the vast majority are economic migrants seeking a better quality of life.

The deportation order amounts to an ultimatum: The migrants can accept $3,500 and leave “voluntarily,” or they will face imprisonment. Israeli officials say the Africans are threatening the Jewish character of the state and blame them for rising crime and a deteriorating quality of life in South Tel Aviv.

An Israeli who lives in South Tel Aviv, Mai Golan, says the migrants must go.

She says Jewish residents are afraid to walk the streets, where they are harassed and sometimes robbed, raped or attacked by the Africans.

Nevertheless, Israeli human rights activists say the government’s policy is illegal under international law, and immoral.

Parliament Member Michal Rozin of the liberal opposition Meretz party says Israel is deporting the migrants to an uncertain future in Africa, noting that Rwanda denies that it has agreed to take them in.

Critics say Israel has a moral obligation to shelter the Africans, considering the fate of Jewish refugees who were turned away from Western countries during the Holocaust.