Electricity Restored To Zwedru, Others

By: Fredrick P. W. Gaye

LEC at work in Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County

Residents of Liberia’s southeastern counties of Grand Gedeh and Maryland have begun celebrating the ongoing electricity restoration to that part of the country after many years.

The cross-border electricity project being implemented by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), was recently commissioned in Zwedru, Grand County during the visit of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the area. Grand Geneh’s electrification project was the second to commission under the cross-border project, the first being Nimba County’s project.

Speaking with journalists in Monrovia on Wednesday, LEC’s External Relations and Corporate Coordinator, Mr. Adolphus Scott, disclosed plans by the Corporation to officially commission the project in Maryland County soon; even though current is already in the capital, Harper.

According to Scott, as part of efforts to illuminate Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf attaches serious importance to the West African Power project, from which three counties are initially benefiting, including Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland.

He said President Sirleaf negotiated with EU and Ivory Coast for the cross border power project, aimed at bringing quality and affordable power Liberians, adding that Monrovia is not Liberia, and so providing electricity to rural areas is a laudable development for the country.

Scott revealed that, so far, about 60,000 persons and institutions are currently benefiting from the eight megawatts (8MW) power grid coming from Ivory Coast.

The LEC official explained that the power grid is being installed in three lines: one enters from Ivory Coast to Nimba County; one from Ivory Coast to Grand Gedeh County and the other from Ivory Coast to Maryland County.

He mentioned the overcoming of a serious problem LEC had with the 72-KM line in Grand Gedeh, which the Corporation solved to restore electricity in Zwedru, after the situation drew the President’s attention to mandate its immediate restoration.

Scott praised Grand Gedeh officials and citizens for their assistance and cooperation during the project, without whom he said it would have been more difficult.

“On behalf of the Management of the LEC, we want to say a big thank you to the people of Grand Gedeh County and the President of the Republic of Liberia in ensuring that the people of Grand Gedeh have electricity,” he averred.

At the same time, Scott alarmed the loss LEC continues to sustain as a result of power theft, indicating the the Corporation is losing 33% of its revenue to power theft.

He then called on Liberians to assist in fighting power theft because it is from the revenue the corporation expands transmission by purchasing poles, meters and otherv modern equipment.

The LEC’s External Relations and Corporate Coordinator said the aim of government is to electrify the entire country, but doing so also needs the assistance of the citizens by desisting from and helping to battle acts that undermine the aim.

He used the occasion to disclose that the Corporation has begun using smart meters and other state-of-the-art equipment to assist in minimizing power theft and other criminal acts as well as providing safe power.

Touching on provision of current to Monrovia and other parts of the County, Scott explained that LEC is doing everything possible to get people connected gradually. He said transmission lines are being installed in some communities and along the Monrovia-Kakata Highway. Scott told Liberians to be patient as government lobbies with partners for the establishment of power grids to boost generation. He said communities are mapped in their respective grids and once LEC obtains grids, they will get connected immediately.

LEC, he said, relies on its customers and so it has no intention to leave out anyone, and it is its statutory responsibility to provide services to the people.

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Guangzhou promotes Fortune Global Forum in Tokyo

Guangzhou, China’s most integral business center and gateway to the outside world, is enabling a new level of collaboration and innovation between Chinese and Japanese enterprises by following through on a series of progressive business and economic initiatives set forth by the humming southern capital of Guangdong Province. In 2016, import-exports between Guangzhou and Japan grew to USD$ 12.77 billion representing a 12.5 percent total increase from the year prior. Of that, imports from Japan to Guangzhou totaled USD$ 9.31 billion, an 11.8 percent rise, while exports from Guangzhou to Japan increased 14.4 percent, to USD$ 3.46 billion.

 

By the end of 2016, Japanese companies had invested in and established 626 enterprises in Guangzhou with the actual use of foreign capital totaling USD$ 5.24 billion. At the same time, Guangzhou companies continued to invest in Japan, establishing 16 enterprises with a total investment volume of USD$6.65 million.

 

“There’s a powerful synergy that’s growing between our two great nations, with Guangzhou at the heart of it all,” said Guangzhou Vice Mayor Cai Chaolin. “Many leading Japanese enterprises have already recognized the benefits and ample opportunities that exist for them through Guangzhou’s business-friendly environment, and it has been our great honor to work closely with them to advance our two economies. We look forward to an even brighter, more interconnected and collaborative future with our Japanese counterparts.”

 

The Vice Mayor is in Tokyo this week keynoting a private forum on innovative cooperation between Chinese and Japanese enterprises. This event comes as an early precursor as the Chinese city readies to host the highly anticipated 2017 Global Fortune Forum in December. The Global Fortune Forum will convene world leaders and the heads of global business in Guangzhou to discuss the dynamic world of international commerce, creating an opportunity for CEOs of the  Fortune Global 500 to meet and engage with Chinese leaders from the public and private sectors.

 

In Japan this week, the Vice Mayor is joined by additional representatives from the Guangzhou government, the Consulate General of China in Japan, the Chairman of the Guangzhou Automobile Group, Mr. Zeng Qinghong, as well as representatives from the Fortune Global Forum, JETRO, Nomura Holdings and various Japanese Fortune 500 companies. Their locally-hosted forum will welcome 100 executives from major Japanese corporations to learn about and discuss collaboration and innovation between the two regions, and jointly address the best path forward for businesses.

 

Many of the world’s top 500 enterprises have set up stations in Guangzhou, with a broad investment portfolio ranging from electronics to automobiles, fine chemicals, food and beverage, electronic information, metal manufacturing, intelligent equipment and beyond. Already, Japanese auto giants like Honda, Toyota and Nissan have established automobile manufacturing plants in the city to capitalize on its progressive investment offerings and rapidly growing business landscape. In addition, Guangzhou has welcomed the likes of Honda TechnologyResearch, JFE, Denso and other related businesses; Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, Mizuho Bank and other modern service enterprises; as well as Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Hitachi and other advanced manufacturing enterprises.

 

The Guangzhou Automobile Group is a prime example of the kind of innovative collaboration taking place between the two nations. The Chinese group has successfully endeavored joint venture businesses with Japanese enterprises to form Guangzhou Automobile Honda, Guangzhou Toyota and Guangzhou Automobile Mitsubishi; through these joint ventures the group can hasten the localization process, develop more Chinese products and services and constantly enrich its product line, resulting in a mutually beneficial, win-win cooperation.

 

Foreign-funded enterprises in Guangzhou enjoy high level of localization in terms of management and technical personnel, and many foreign enterprises have established research and development centers in industrial parks of the city, which help them to understand and effectively cater to regional markets.

 

The city is also constantly raising the level of investment and trade facilitation, and developing reforms for entrepreneurs to foster a convenient investment, operational and development atmosphere. This includes the streamlining of administrative examinations and approval permissions. Guangzhou also continues to reduce the burden on enterprises, lowering operating costs and helping enterprises by reducing administrative fees, setting up government funds and implementing policies to reduce insurance rates. In recent years, the city’s talent introduction scheme has also enabled the region to attract more international talent with innovative spirit and drive.

 

As a comprehensive transportation hub, Guangzhou also allows for more global openness and interconnectivity via its vast port, rapidly expanding international airport, far-reaching railways and strong highway system.

 

“Beyond the incredible business environment blossoming in Guangzhou, our city serves as a welcoming cultural interchange, allowing people and enterprises to come together harmoniously,” Vice Mayor Cai added. “Our long summers and warm winters make our home even more welcoming, plus our fantastic food and beverage offerings make this one of the most ideal places to live and work, and that is only becoming more true as we usher in more talent and inspiration from our Japanese friends.”

 

Source: Guangzhou Municipal Government

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Victory for Change Party Eyes Merger

Cllr. Emmanuel A. Tulay, Nat’l Chairman

Victory for Change Party’s (VCP) National Chairman, Cllr. Emmanuel A. Tulay, has disclosed plans by the party to merge with other political parties ahead of the 2017 elections.

Cllr. Tulay said, during the party’s convention held on April 22, 2017, in Gbarnga, Bong County, the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) sought mandate to discuss collaboration with other political parties.

Speaking with the In Profile Daily on Monday at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia, the VCP Chairman revealed that discussions are being held with several political parties aimed at forming a coalition or an alliance.

He named the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress (ANC) and the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) as political parties with which the VCP has begun discussions while planning to meet the ruling Unity Party (UP) and others.

Commenting on the convention, Cllr. Tulay explained that delegates elected officers of the party, including him, for the next six years. He was re-elected Chairman. The elected officials include: Cllr. Emmanuel A. Tulay, National Chairman; Dr. Kettehkumuehn Murray, Vice Chair for Administration; David A. Kankalan, Vice Chair for Operations, Mobilization & Recruitment; Linda Kherkei, Vice Chiar for Gender & Social Services; Joe K. Williams, Vice Chair for Election Commission and A. Nyenpan Saytue, National Secretary General, among others and county coordinators.

According to him, the convention could not elect the party’s political leader because two persons who declared intention for the post did not turn out after former standard bearer, Cllr. Marcus Jones, told the party he was no longer interested.

As a result, Cllr. Tulay said the two persons in question will be notified in two weeks of a new date for the election as well as local primaries. He further noted that post for Vice Chairperson for Governmental Affairs and Vice Chairperson for Gender and Social Affairs remains vacant because nobody has applied for it.

Cllr. Tulay indicated that, if efforts to collaborate do not work, they will go to election, adding, “We will also go to the poll with our legislative candidates if we don’t get standard bearer.”

Meanwhile, the VCP Chairman said he was happy for the encouraging turnout at the convention, commending the convention committee, delegates and other invitees for making the event successful. Cllr. Tulay said 90 percent of the party delegates from across Liberia graced the convention, saying, “We could not reach the balance 10 percent due to drop in signals (mobile network) and other factors. But we are making sure to connect with them on the ongoing development of the party.”

Also during the convention, Cllr. Tulay said the National Executive Committee (NEC) made reports to the delegates on the working of the party and sought mandates to approve decisions, and amendments by the Committee.

 

Trucking Union President Detained -In Johnson Street Accident Case

By Yassah Wright

The Liberia National Police (LNP) has detained the President of the Trucking Union of Liberia, only identified as Sumo.

Police arrested Sumo on Wednesday at the LNP Headquarters for failure to present the owner of the truck that was involved in a tragic accident on April 8, 2017, killing at least five persons, injuring several on Johnson Street in Monrovia.

According to the LNP, Sumo has taken responsibilities of arrangements for the burial of those who died in the accident, without the consent of lawyers representing aggrieved family members. He has also decided to speak on behalf of the truck’s owner, only identified as Dukuly, who is said to be at large.

Before Sumo’s arrival and subsequent detention at the LNP Headquarters, families of the accident victims assembled on the grounds of the Temple of Justice with placards and chanted slogans for speedy justice. They had gone to lodge complaint with Traffic Court Judge, who told them the matter has not reached to the court yet.

For some hours, the aggrieved families were heard saying, “we want justice, our people getting rotten.”

On the other hand, lawyers of the family members have accused them (families) of reportedly making arrangements with the Trucking Union president without their (lawyers) knowledge.

The counselors averred that any burial arrangement should not have been done with the Trucking Union alone; but with the consent of the Liberia National Police and the court.

Mr. Clifford Kai, a family member of one of the deceased,  expressed disappointment in the Police for not being able to locate the truck owner up to present.

It can be recalled that the LNP reported three deaths and 11 injured persons in the accident.

An LNP statement said the accident occurred when a truck carrying two 20-foot containers lost control.

Mother Felecia Saoh, also a bereaved family member, told journalists she was very disappointed in the police to have an uninsured truck on the street of Monrovia and also allowing a “handicapped” driver to obtain a driver’s license.

Meanwhile, LNP authorities have assured of doing everything in dispensing justice in the matter.

 

USAID-LAVI/NRM Coalition Launches Info Gathering Report

By Mafanta Kromah

 

The National Resource Management (NRM) coalition supported by the United State Agency International Development (USAID)-Liberia Accountability Voice Initiative (LAVI) on Wednesday launched it’s Information Gathering (IG) Report.

Launched at the iCampus on Carey Street in Monrovia, with the theme ‘Building a Vibrant NRM and Concession Coalition’, the report is geared toward increasing public awareness among citizens and policy-makers to lay the basis for advocacy for necessary changes in the management and administration of County Social Development Fund (CSDF).

The USAID-LAVI support of the NRM coalition is made of eight civil society organizations to improve the management, governance and the participation of the citizens in the administration of the CSDF.

The organizations are Platform for Development and Peace (P4DP), Liberia Media Center (LMC), Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L), National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE), Institution for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI), Rural Human Right Activist Program (RHRAP) and Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL).

According to LAVI, the objective of the IG exercise is to identify issues surrounding the monitoring and management of CSDF in Liberia and to draw out challenges and opportunities related to advocacy, transparency, accountability and enhanced participation of citizens in CSDF decision making.

The Information Gathering Report was presented by three persons including the Executive Director of P4DP, Jimmy Shilue-Lead Presenter, the Executive Director of NAYMOTE, Edddie Jarwolo-Co Presenter and the Executive Director of IREDD, Harold M. Aidoo-Co Presenter.

They said the coalition came about because CSOs working in NRM and Concession sector in Liberia have challenges in coordination, collaboration and even advocacy thus creating hurdles in their ability to effectively articulate citizens’ voices in the reform processes as well as promote citizen’s participation in the NRM sector.

LAVI-NRM Coalition said, based on this consideration, following desk reviews, NRM Coalition partners, supported by LAVI, decided to focus their intervention on the management and monitoring of the county social development fund (CSDF).

Accordingly, consensus was reached in September 2016 to embark on information gathering process, in order to thoroughly understand what’s obtaining in the management and monitoring of the CSDF and design a tailored strategy to amplify the voices of the targeted beneficiaries.

“The majority 71% of respondents indicated they receive information through radio talk shows, few citizens received from local authorities or town hall discussions and out of 70% 69.9% of citizens feel very unsatisfied with how the funds are implemented when asked how they get news and information related to the use of CSDF in their communities, ” the report indicated.

Meanwhile, the official launch of the report put a public spotlight on the ongoing activities of the civil society NRM and concession project at the national level and engagement with key policy makers identifying different policy options to ensure the appropriate management of the CSDF.

 

U.S.-Based Liberians Donate US$4K To MTM Academy

Scene of presentation with MTMA students (beneficiaries) Tuesday

Some Liberians residing in the United States, under the banner, Liberian Association of Greater Houston (LAGH), have donated US$4,000.00 to the management team of the More Than Me Academy (MTMA) on Ashmun Street, Monrovia .

Madam Effua McGowan, a MTMA representative, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, presented the donation to the school in Monrovia.

Madam McGowan said the cash donation came from Liberians in the United States, particularly in Houston who saw the need to contribute financially to the work of More Than Me in molding the minds of Liberia’s future leaders.

“Liberians in the diaspora were excited for the level of contributions this American institution is making in Liberia by impacting sound education in the minds of Liberia’s youthful population, especially the girls children,” the MTMA representative said.

She lauded the efforts of the founder of the institution, Ms. Katie Meyler ,who she noted saw a  positive reason for the establishment of this very unique and important institution, catering to girl children of Liberia.

Madam McGowan speaking to the students of the Academy, said it was very important for them to take their lessons seriously if they are to serve as future leaders of Liberia, noting, “What is in your head no one can take it from you,” noting further, “I am indeed overwhelmed for the level of support being provided by More Than Me Academy, and those Liberian instructors who are selflessly impacting knowledge in your minds,” She told the students.

Speaking on behalf of the Founder of the institution, the Chief Academic Officer of the More Than Me Academy, Madam Alexandra Fallon thanked  members and leadership of LAGH for their support towards the education of the Liberian children, and promised that the amount presented to the institution will be used for its intended purpose.

For her part, the Principal of the institution, Ms. Oludrey Briggs expressed thanks and appreciation to LAGH for the cash donation to her school, and further said, the selection of her institution for the donation was amongst 200 other organizations who were vetted for this donation. “As God could have it, we were opportune to have been selected. We are grateful to this organization,” Ms. Briggs said.

More Than Me Academy (MTMA) is engaged with education in Liberia and a vocal advocate for girls’ empowerment, and is a tuition-free K-6 girls school providing high quality education and holistic services like healthcare, family planning, psycho-social support, and a feeding program for the most vulnerable girls in Monrovia.

MTMA says it committed to supporting its students through the 12th grade with tuition, basic healthcare, and tutoring.

The Academy also serves as an incubator for innovation and a research & development center to test initiatives that, if proven successful will be implemented in schools across Liberia.

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Police Raid “Zogos” In Ganta, Nimba County

By Gborontaye Gboron in Nimba County

 

Police in Ganta City, Nimba County have arrested several persons said to be drugs (narcotics) users. Some of the drugs users carry out criminal activities, thus giving them the name “zogos” in a Liberian parlance.

Police told this paper that the alleged drugs smokers were arrested in an area called “Congo” believed to be highly populated with criminals.

“We arrested some car loaders in the streets and in the  Congo community; but the LNP is questioning them to know among them who are the real zogos that people of Ganta City are talking about,” Ganta Police detail commander Adolphus Zuah said.

Zuah said Congo Community is considered a criminal hideout, pointed out that some residents in the community conceal information from security.

He said the LNP continues to call on the citizens to report any criminal activities in any part of Ganta if the city must be crime-free.

“We have in custody about eight men who were arrested by the Police; but we are investigating whether they are the notorious criminal that people are talking about before they can be charged,” Zuah maintained.

It can be recalled that citizens of the city appealed to Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman  to intervene in the alarming crime rate in Ganta, blaming it on the alleged drugs smokers and car loaders.

The citizens told the Police IG to ensure people referred to as car loaders are removed from the streets as they were posing threats to movement.

They also mentioned of possible violence during the pending national elections if the alleged criminals are not removed from the the streets because they could take advantage of any situation to cause havoc in the city.

“Please try to take the zogo boys from the streets of Ganta because crime rate in this city has creased since you took them from the streets in Monrovia,” said Old Man Freeman Goannue, during a town hall meeting between IG Coleman and citizens in Ganta.

No Arrest for Quincy “B” Again! -As Manager Cleared

By Yassah  J. Wright

Traffic Court Judge Jomah Jallah has dropped charges against the Manager of the Late Quincy “B”. Judge Jallah has also ordered the writ of arrest of Quincy “B” dismissed.

In his ruling on Monday, Judge Jomah said his decision was based on the Sheriff’s report to the court. “The sheriff return noted that the living body, for which the writ prayed for by the Ministry of Justice and issued by the Traffic Court, is dead.

It can be recalled recently that the Ministry of Justice prayed the court to arrest the living body of defendant (Quincy B”)  because he allegedly drove on March 3, 2017 in on 1st Street Sinkor Monrovia.

According to the Ministry, Quincy “B” had an accident that resulted into death, injuries, and property damage and was charged and sent to court.

Furthermore, Quincy B’s Manager, Louis McCarthy, was charged for Consent of Unregistered vehicle, and Failure to Maintain Proof of financial security.

However, Cllr. Beyan Howard, who defended McCarthy interest said that his client (McCarthy) should be released of the crimes against him because he has shown proof to the police that the vehicle does not belong to him, but to the late Quincy “B” and the Counsel further stated that, the Hand to Hand bill of sale, the passport of Quincy B are a clear evidence that the vehicle belongs to Quincy “B”.

Cllr. Howard told the court that the late Quincy “B” was under the duty to have registered the vehicle and maintain insurance policy before operating it as required by the Revenue Code of Liberia.

However the Counsel who represented the state interest did not oppose to Cllr. Howard

Since the state interposed no objection, the Judge ordered the case dismissed.

Since the court issued arrest warrant for the Late Quincy B, and charge his manager, there has been mixed reactions. Some said the government was going after a dead person.

However, it is clear that legal proceeding was taking its course as the court is aware Quincy B is dead and that his manager has proven that the vehicle involved in the tragic accident was no longer his (manager).

 

Boy, 17, Commits ‘Suicide’ in Nimba

By: Gborontaye Gboron in Nimba County

 

A 17-year-old boy identified as Nyanquoi has reportedly shot himself dead with a single barrel gun in Lao-Teayee Town in Nimba County. The incident occurred on April 11, 2017.

“We were sitting in the palava hut in the Town an heard a gun sound; and we rushed in the house. On our arrival, we saw Nyanquoi lying down in a pool of blood,” the deceased’s brother, William Tah, explained.

What led Nyanquoi to reportedly end his life has not been established. William told this paper that his brother resident of the town, living with his parents and that he was a 3rd grade student of the Lao Teayee Elementary Public School. “We don’t the reason for which Nyanquoi killed himself. What I can say is, we regret his death, we will miss him and may his soul rest in peace,” William cried.

According to William, police inspected the dead body and turned it over to the family for burial in the presence of the chief elders; probably there was no foul play. Lao-Teayee is a town in Electoral District #8.

This is the second suicide reported in the county in less than six months.

It can be recalled that in October 2016, a man believed to be in his 40s, reportedly hanged himself dead in Ganta, creating fears among residents in the county. A group of women discovered the man hanging dead to the roof.

Totota Residents Want Magisterial Court

By: Abel R. Okai In Bong County (Contributor)

 

Citizens and residents of Totota, Salala District in Bong County have expressed are calling for the establishment of magisterial court established in the town so that they have easy access to justice.

They told this paper that travel distances to seek legal redress in simple matters often deny parties of justice.

The House of Representatives recently passed an Act creating a Magisterial Court in Totota and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence.

It was unanimously passed on April 6, as a result of a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Judiciary, Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning and Internal Affairs.

The chair of the Joint Committee, Representative Worlea S. Dunah, told our reporter that administering justice has been and continues to be a concern to national peace and stability.

He said passing into law an Act that will establish procedures for the people of Bong County will be a boost to the justice system of the country.

Bong County District #6 Representative Adam Bill Corneh, who sponsored the bill also told In Profile that the long distance between Totota and the current magisterial area in Salala Town is posing serious challenges to access to justice.

Representative Corneh explained that the new magisterial area would lead to the establishment of a court which will be a relief for people who travel more than 37 miles to get legal help.

He said the establishment of the magisterial court would strengthen peace, create access to justice and promote human rights in the district.

The Bong County lawmaker said when completed, between 43,000 to 45,000 inhabitants of the district are expected to access justice services nearby.

He added that it would encourage citizens to live in harmony with each other and also help to reduce crimes in the district.