ALU’s Executive Director Stresses High Standards -In Educational System

Dr. Emmanuel Bravy Daykeay

The Executive Director of the Association of Liberian Universities (ALU), Dr. Emmanuel Bravy Daykeay, has described the provision of advanced and high quality education by learning institutions in Liberia as their best show of patriotism for the Country grappling with challenges of restoring a once wholesome functioning education system.

Dr. Daykeay says in order to achieve Liberians’ much-craved infrastructural and human resource development, decision makers in the education sector need to step up the standards of their programs and encourage studies in technology and the sciences.

Commending President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for strong efforts she has made towards educational advancement, the Liberian educator expressed optimism that the goal of making Liberia’s education sector viably competitive can be actualized.

He said this can be done by universities and colleges projecting innovative means of reforming the current weak system. According to him, there is a clear possibility of Liberian education ranking competitively high among counterparts in Africa by firstly making sure ‘there is no place or accommodation for grossly incompetent teachers’.

The ALU Executive Director said, there is no other time better than now, for government to exercise stern measures against unqualified teachers roaming classrooms of tertiary learning institutions whom he believes were instead ruining the future of the Country’s next generation of leaders by the obvious inability to impart knowledge by passing on the requisite instruction.

When the right teachers and educational administrators are given appropriate placement in learning institutions, Dr. Daykeay said Liberia can rise up from the current slow pace of advancement and establish a strong system that prepares the youth for job readiness in the world of work.

“Other nationals who have attained the best quality of education do not owe it to Liberia in terms of putting in place the best system that works positively for society’s advancement, they owe it to their respective Countries so we have to employ the right people to get the right things done,” he stressed.

Dr. Daykeay emphasized that other nations whose education systems are well on course are not waiting for Liberia to grapple with all of its challenges but are continuing to advance further. He observed that Liberians need to take more action and talk less about strategic and serious policy matters by tackling head-on, problems debilitating Liberian education.

With qualified and competent instructional staff, he said universities can play significant leadership and stakeholder roles in partnering with government through the Ministry of Education, the Commission of higher education and international funding organizations in ensuring school advancement, curricular reviews and amendment to meet current realities and effective advisement programs to produce professionals based on job market demands.

In President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s recent reshuffling of the Grand Bassa Community College Board, she appointed Dr. Daykeay as a member. In a four-month period since his return home, Daykeay has been providing volunteer services to some learning institutions in Liberia through his non-governmental organization – ‘Education for Liberia.’

He has provided professional capacity building services to secondary and primary schools including Maretha Preparatory School. He currently serves the University of Liberia Graduate School, and AME University as Professor at senior level. Prior to his return to the United States of America recently where he is defending his dissertation for his second Doctoral Degree in education at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, Dr. Daykeay served Starz College of Technology as Associate Dean for Research and School advancement.

He is said to be an applicant for the Presidency of the Bong County Community College located in Gbarnga City; even though he is yet to confirm or deny this.

China Is Liberia’s Development Partner -Amb. Zhang

By Macpherson C. Marbiah/0886442881-0777250370

Amb. Zhang with participants at the program

The People’s Republic of China, through its embassy near Monrovia, has reaffirmed its commitment in supporting Liberia’s developmental drive.

Speaking Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at programs marking the third edition of the Chinese Ambassador Cup Table Tennis Match Cum, Chinese Ambassador & Enterprise’s Scholarships awarding ceremony, held at the University of Liberia on Capitol Hill,  Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. Zhang Yue, said China is helping to build Liberia through various initiatives.

Amb. Zhang said as part of educational exchanges and partnerships, the Chinese government through the Confucius Institute program, has provided two hundred and twenty (220) scholarships over the past seven years to young Liberians to acquire advanced education in Liberia and China.

He said the Confucius Institute program is free of charge and is currently ongoing at the University of Liberia and two other institutions in the country. “It is intended to teach Liberian students how to speak the Chinese Language and in return benefit from numerous scholarships to advance their studies in China,” the Chinese Envoy added.

According to him, over one hundred and forty (140) Liberian students have benefited from its scholarship, disclosing plans for more scholarships next year.

He said the event reminds him of the ‘good old days’, the relationship between the two countries as well as the people-to-people interactions and activities are major part of the international relations.

“We are glad to do this for the third time. We share cultural value and sports and we have lots to play soccer, Chinese arts and other activities,” he said.

For his part, Liberia’s Youth and Sports Minister, Saah Charles N’Tow, recounted that China has helped Liberia in discovering some of its hidden talents as many of them were going away.

Minister N’Tow said the Chinese government, through its embassy, has done so many things for Liberia including the construction of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC), Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Ministerial Complex, Bamboo, Rattan & Weaving and Vegetable programs among others.

He said all of the initiatives undertaken by China help Liberia improve in its developmental quest, revealing that in the next six weeks the Youth and Sports Ministry and its Chinese counterpart will dedicate a newly renovated gymnasium at the SKD Sports Complex.

Also making remarks at the occasion, the Vice President of the University of Liberia, Dr. William E. Allen, said the relationship between Liberia and China has led to the Chinese opening the Confucius Institute at the UL so as to share its cultural exchange with Liberia.

Dr. Allen said through the Confucius Institute program, many Liberian students have benefited from scholarship to advance themselves in China.

According to him, the relationship between the two countries has promoted cultural exchange, adding that interaction helps to build long lasting relationships between nations.

The third edition of the “Chinese Ambassador Table Tennis Cup” grand finale also witnessed the honoring of several students at the Confucius Institute who have benefited from the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship and Enterprise’s Scholarship, with presidents from the various universities also receiving table tennis equipment from the Chinese Ambassador.

In the table tennis men’s single final, Holder Karbowhen of the University of Liberia defeated Armah Kamara of the Cuttinton University, while Lassana Weh won Jerry Zor three straight sets to zero in the Junior event and Celestine King Earge Lovetta Davies in the female category.

The event brought together government officials, Chinese Embassy staff, presidents of various universities, officials and students of the Confucius Institute as well as supporters of sports.

Edited By Fredrick P. W. Gaye, Editor for News & Editorial Services

“More Opportunities Await Liberians” -Chinese Professor

By Macpherson C. Marbiah/0886442881-0777250370

 

Prof. He Rundong (middle) with another Chinese teacher, presents certificate to a graduate

A professor of Confucius Institute at the University of Liberia (UL), Ms. He Rundong, has cautioned Liberian students to make use of the opportunities provided by the Chinese government through its Confucius Institute program to learn Chinese Language and culture. “More opportunities await Liberians if learn Chinese Language and culture,” she assured.

Ms. He asserted that if Liberian students can learn Chinese very well, they are going to benefit from scholarships to foster their studies in China, noting that it could be a great opportunity for them to go to China and open up their world.

The Chinese Professor made the assertion Sunday, July 2, 2017, at the second closing and first graduation exercise of the New Beginning School System in Jamaica Road Community, on Bushrod Island.

She said the importance of the program is to teach Liberian students Chinese and as well offer scholarships to help them study in China so they can in return bring back advanced technology to their country.

According to her, anyone who is interested in learning Chinese can go and register in their program as it is all about teaching Chinese and free of charge.

She recalled that since its establishment in Liberia in 2008, the Confucius Institute has been educating students of the University of Liberia (UL) as well as students from other institutions.

Apart from the UL, Ms. He revealed that the Confucius Institute program is currently at the Don Bosco and Heritage Model Primary Schools.

She further revealed that through one of her students, the Chinese Peacekeeping Force of UNMIL was able to visit the New Beginning School System and donated materials to the school.

“One of my students lives near this school and she asked me if I can come and teach the children Chinese. So we came to visit this place last year and we established this bridge between the school and the Chinese peacekeeping forces of UNMIL,” she explained.

According to her, the Chinese contingent of UNMIL donated to the school before it left Liberia in March 2017, adding that the children were very delighted to have the materials. Ms. He further said that the head master invited her to the program so that she can present certificates to the graduates.

She said they are hoping to open a classroom at the New Beginning School System in the near future when they have enough teachers because currently they have six teachers, which is very limited.

The female educator said it is her wish that Liberians can learn from China its lessons and technologies, assuring that China will do all it can in helping Liberia develop faster.

“We hope that Liberia can learn from China; because China is developing so fast and if Liberians can learn from us, our technology, I am sure it will help the country develop faster,” she said.

The Chinese Professor told the students that education is the key to the development of Liberia and expressed the hope that the Liberian government can put measures into place that will allow underprivileged children acquire quality education.

“I hope that they can always find a way to study and if their families are poor, they should also find a way to go to school because it is so important and I hope that the Liberian government can offer opportunities for underprivileged children to go to school,” she concluded.

Edited by Fredrick P. W. Gaye

AccorHotels expands in Ethiopia -With the signing of a new hotel in Addis Ababa

AccorHotels group and Tsemex Hotels and Business Plc are joining hands to finalize the construction of a new 218 keys MGallery by Sofitel hotel near the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

After the announcement of the signature of three other hotel management agreements (Mercure, ibis and ibis Styles) early this February, AccorHotels continues to reinforce its forthcoming position in Addis Ababa with this flagship hotel.

In line with the MGallery by Sofitel brand standards, the hotel will benefit from a unique modern design coupled with a strong African identity. The interior design of the hotel will be performed by DIAD, a renowned designer having already completed projects in Africa and in the Middle East.

The new MGallery by Sofitel Addis Ababa, which opening is estimated towards the second half of 2018, will feature 218 guestrooms and suites. It will also have some large meeting and event space, two restaurants (an all-day dining and a fine dining restaurant on the 8th floor) as well as three bars. In addition, clients will be able to enjoy a swimming pool, a gym and a spectacular spa.

The MGallery by Sofitel Addis Ababa, will benefit from its close proximity to the Africa Union’s headquarters, making it an ideal choice for business trips, conferences and other institutional events; but will also attract the increasing flow of leisure travelers to Ethiopia.

“We are delighted to sign this new management agreement in Addis Ababa, which brings our pipe of confirmed projects to over 1,000 keys across all market segments (economy, midscale and upscale). This project reaffirms our ambitious development strategy for Africa, with Ethiopia as one of the key-targeted markets. The new MGallery by Sofitel Addis Ababa will reinforce our role on the luxury segment by offering our clientele one of the best address in town.” said Steven Daines, CEO of AccorHotels for Africa & Middle East.

Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, has become a fast growing regional economic center. It is home to the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, foreign missions, regional NGO’s and the UN Conference Center.

ABOUT ACCORHOTELS

AccorHotels is a world-leading travel & lifestyle group and digital innovator offering unique experiences in more than 4,000  hotels, resorts and residences, as well as in over 2,500 of the finest private homes around the globe. Benefiting from dual expertise as an investor and operator through its Hotel Services and Hotel Invest divisions, AccorHotels operates in 95 countries. Its portfolio comprises internationally acclaimed luxury brands including Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, one finestay, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman, and Swissôtel; as well as the popular midscale and boutique brands of Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter and Adagio; the in-demand economy brands including ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget and the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel and hotelF1.

With an unmatched collection of brands and rich history spanning close to five decades, AccorHotels, along with its global team of more than 240,000 dedicated women and men, has a purposeful and heartfelt mission: to make every guest Feel Welcome. Guests enjoy access to one of the world’s most rewarding hotel loyalty programs – Le Club AccorHotels. AccorHotels is active in its local communities and committed to sustainable development and solidarity through PLANET 21, a comprehensive program that brings together employees, guests and partners to drive sustainable growth. Accor SA is publicly listed with shares trading on the Euronext Paris exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and the OTC marketplace (Code: ACRFY) in the United States.

ABOUT MGALLERY

MGallery by Sofitel is AccorHotels’ collection of inimitably enchanting, unique boutique hotelsoffering the excellence of hospitality “à la française”. MGallery by Sofitel has 85 unique and fascinating addresses in 24 countries around the world, all of which are havens for those who relish off-the-beaten-track experiences. Each address is remarkable for its singular personality and deep-rooted local history.

New Yourpea Youth Launch Association

Group photo following the program

Many citizens from New Yourpea Town in Kparblee Administration District, Nimba County, residing in Montserrado County and other parts of Liberia defied the heavy down pour of rain on Saturday, June 24, 2017, to grace the official launch of their youth organization and fund-raising program.

The launching of the organization, dubbed and styled: New Yourpea Youth Association (NEYOYA), took place in the Peace Island Community, Congo Town.

According to organizers, the idea of forming the association came 2015 having observed and seen the need to unite young people from New Yourpea for empowerment as well as to contribute to the development of their town. Titus Baryou, Acting Secretary of the Association, said the group is also established to foster peace and unity among young people of New Yourpea.

Addressing the occasion, the Editor for News & Editorial Services at the In Profile Daily Newspaper, Fredrick P. W. Gaye, challenged officials and members of the association to work with their mother organization, New Yourpea Development Association (NEYODA).

Journalist Gaye, who is also a citizen of New Yourpea, said while every human is a political being, political activities should not supersede the aims and objectives of the group.

He cautioned them not to involve in or to be used in violence during the pending elections. The Liberian journalist also urged the young people to take serious their education and other activities that will brighten their future.

Speaking on the theme: “Can this hatching bird be the first to fly,” he expressed the hope that the the New Yourpea Youth Association (NEYOYA) can be second to none in Kparblee District and Liberia at large if members and other citizens are willing to support the group.

Gaye said he was encouraged by the short time it took for few young people to organize such a program after deciding the official launch of the Association. “If few young people can take three months to launch such an organization, I believe NEYOYA can be second to none in our district if we support the Association with our whole heart,” he stressed.

The New Yourpea young people also used the occasion to raise fund for the upkeep and other activities of the program.

Also attending the occasion were officials and members of New Yourpea Development Association (NEYODAY), Nimba County District #6 representative aspirant and also a citizen of New Yourpea, Attorney Preston N. G. Karkerzeah, representatives of Aspirant Michael Wiles, and other prominent residents of Kparblee District, who made their contributions and pledges.

In his remark, Atty. Karkerzeah praised the young people for establishing such a youth organization that will foster unity among them. Kakerzeah declared himself as a full member of the group and pledged his unflinching support.

The youthful lawyer and representative aspirant also told the young people to fight for generational change, wherein the issues of young people’s empowerment will be prioritized at national level.

Karkerzeah recently won the Nimba County District #6 primary as representative aspirant on the ruling Unity Party’s ticket.

Acting leadership of the Association includes: Alexander G. Baryou, Chairman; Deekay Deah, Co-Chairman; Titus M. Baryou, Secretary; Angeles Kerslah, Financial Secretary and Samuel Youdee, Treasurer.

ORANGE Liberia Launches 4G LTE Outside Monrovia

The management of Orange Liberia says it has officially launched Liberia’s first 4G LTE network outside of Monrovia.  The company celebrated the launch of the LTE network in Kakata, Margibi County, over the weekend at a colorful program held in the City Hall.

Making the keynote address at the launching program, Orange’s Director for Government & Legal Affairs, Mr. William F. Saamoi Jr. told the audience that Orange Liberia was rolling out the high speed internet network in Kakata as part of a larger vision of Mr. Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange Group and Chairman & CEO of Orange MEA (Middle East and Africa). .   Said Mr. Saamoi: “During his speech at the launching, Mr. Mettling promised that Orange would begin to invest heavily to ensure that the LTE high speed network would be deployed in all major cities outside of Monrovia.  True to that promise, we are here today to officially launch the first ever 4G LTE network outside of Monrovia.”

Mr. Saamoi promised that the launch of 4G LTE network in Kakata would be followed by successive launches of new 4G LTE networks in cities across the country.   He stressed that Orange was investing in moving the technology, not only because of the company’s view that ‘Monrovia is not Liberia,’ but also because of the recognition of how the high-speed network will transform the way  people live and do business.   “Our dream is that the people of Kakata will now be able to connect with the world, in real time,  for business, agriculture, e-commerce, education, health and more without having to leave the comfort of their homes,” Mr. Saamoi said.

In response, officials of Margibi County praised Orange for its efforts.  Margibi County Superintendent John Buway recognized Orange’s many contributions to the city over time. He recalled support for the C.H. Rennie Hospital during the Ebola crisis as well as Orange’s ongoing support to the County’s community radio stations.   “Orange has always been there for us and this is another example of Orange going the extra mile for the Liberian people,” the Superintendent said.

Both the Mayor of the City of Kakata, Mr. Eddie Murphy and Margibi’s District #3 Representative, Stephen S. Kafi, hailed the launch of 4G LTE in Kakata City.  Mayor Murphy said: “We appreciate the effort and development. Your presence here today demonstrates that you are truly a company for the Liberian people. We know that this network will certainly make a difference for the people of Kakata.”

Rep. Kafi encouraged students in Kakata to take advantage of the 4G LTE service to better their education by using the internet as a library and research tool to enhance their education.

As promised, Orange has vowed to roll out additional 4G LTE sites across the country in coming weeks and months.

“China, Africa Can Fight Poverty Together” -Chinese Foreign Minister

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and AU Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the forum

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and AU Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the forum

 

A two-day Africa-China High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum has ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Chinese Government reaffirming its commitment to fighting poverty together with Africa.

Held at the African Union (AU) Headquarters, the forum focused particularly on the way poverty has been dealt with in China and in Africa in the past two decades. It drew lessons from the two decades of poverty alleviation experience of government and civil society organizations. Particular focus was given to rural poverty and to the type of policies and programs that have made the most impact. Selected case studies from Africa were presented to allow scholars, policy makers, and civil society organizations, to identify main features of policy directions in successfully alleviating poverty.

Making an opening statement, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and African nations can work together to eradicate poverty from the world.

He said that while Africa needs to lift 400 million out of poverty, China still has over 40 million living below the poverty line.

“This is the responsibility we should shoulder today for our future generations. This is also the common goal that Chinese and African people are working for,” Wang said.

A new book by President Xi Jinping has been central to the debate at the Africa-China High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum. The theme of the forum, is Fighting Against Poverty for Common Prosperity.

The book, Up and Out of Poverty, published in English at the end of 2016, is a collection of speeches and articles by the president when he was Party chief of Ningde prefecture of Fujian province almost 30 years ago.

When Xi went to the province in 1988 at the age of 35, the prefecture had a GDP per capita of $198. Last year it was $8,000.

“The thoughts and ideas of the book are important, such as the emphasis on clean government and the focus on the economy. They are as important today for China to eradicate poverty but also for developing economies,” Wang said in his keynote speech. “The book has been warmly welcomed in many, many countries, I believe it can also shed light on useful experience for our African friends.”

Wang also emphasized that the Chinese government remains committed to eliminating all poverty in China by 2020. This, he said, was a key part of its central goal to become a “moderately well-off society” by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in 2021. “Eradication of poverty is one of the important preconditions for this.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union, told the forum that China and Africa were united in their determination to eliminate poverty.“It is a two-way relationship and we can learn considerably with humility from one another,” he said.

The forum, co-chaired by the AU Leadership Academy and the Institute of African Studies of Zhejiang Normal University, was also addressed by Huang Youyi, who was responsible for the translation of Xi’s book.

The vice-president of the Translators Association of China said the book’s message is that poverty can be eradicated only by people not looking “to others for the answers” to their problems but to look to themselves to find solutions.

He added that Xi’s success in Ningde was about each village in the prefecture specializing in what it did best. Each village was to focus on a specialized product, whether it was grapes, tea, mushrooms or aquatic products,” Huang said, citing Xi’s book “Since the local industry was rather weak, he proposed they must develop the processing industry by using local resources.”

Arkebe Oqubay, inter-ministerial coordinator for Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, said the book had valuable lessons for countries like Ethiopia, which is trying to establish itself as a major manufacturing center.

President Sirleaf Dedicates LACE-implemented Projects

Pres. Sirleaf cutting ribbon to the building 

The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), has been featuring prominently in projects dedication and inspection by the Liberian Leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as she crisscrosses the Country district-by-district, appreciating citizens for supporting her two terms as President.

 

President Sirleaf has nicknamed her final tour of the Country as the ‘Last Mile’. Accompanying the President on these tours are development arms of the government in close consultation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

 

The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, which is implementing some basic infrastructural development projects of the Government, mainly the Legislative Support Project (LSP), has been in the limelight of the President’s tour.

 

In all 73 electoral Districts of the Country, LACE is implementing GOL Legislative Support Projects being facilitated by Senators and Representatives in the 53rd Legislature who play some key roles in project needs identification in consultation with their constituents.

 

On the latest leg of her ‘Last Mile’ appreciation tour of Lofa, Rivercess and Grand Bassa Counties, President Sirleaf dedicated and inspected a number of LACE-implemented projects. In Lofa, President Sirleaf cut ribbon to and dedicated the Sorlumba Market Building, Vezala Police Station and inspected ongoing construction works on the Dormitory to the Lofa County Community College.

 

According to structural design, each of the Dorms has a capacity to accommodate 32 students desirous of attaining higher education at the LCCC from the seven districts of Lofa County.

 

Finishing works are being carried out on the Foya Health Center, and Foya Youth Center projects under LACE’s implementation.

 

In Rivercess, LACE has completed the construction of a modern Women Center in Cestos. Also in the Capital of the County, the Agency has commenced construction work on a modern High School, and in Yarkpah Town a Youth Center project has met full completion.

 

In Grand Bassa, President Sirleaf cut ribbon to Gio Town Market fitted with Latrine and Water facilities as well as storage for goods, and later moved over to Compound #2 Youth Center where she also cut the ribbon to open the facility to public usage.

 

En route to Compound #2 where she held a Town Hall meeting with citizens before dedicating the Youth Center, the President cut ribbon to Buchanan City’s first modern Car Wash, and a Sports Academy, another historic infrastructure in the existence of Grand Bassa County.

 

All of these projects outlined are being implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) through Government’s budgetary allocation. Using updated PPCC regulations, the Agency vets accredited construction companies to sub-implement the Legislative Support Project.

 

The projects range from Markets to other public buildings including Magisterial Courts, Clinics, Schools, Commissioner’s Compounds, Presidential Palace, Nurses Quarters, Conference Halls, Youth Centers, Dormitories and Auditoriums.

 

Also included is the construction of Roads, Bridges, Culverts, WASH compact, Fencing of Football Fields and capacitating existing structures with needed equipment for functional operation.

 

The Legislative Support Project is allowing for smoother coordination and collaboration between the Legislative branch of government and the Executive, mainly the Office of the President in achieving the shared single goal of community empowerment through the provision of basic social services.

 

Linking Towns and Villages by constructing roads thus promoting unity and food security, and the provision of other basic social services are shared goals of both the Legislative and Executive branches of the government.

 

The Executive Director of LACE, Julius K. Sele, has led strategic delegations of the Agency to all project locations of the President’s tour. Through direct interaction with her, she expressed joyous impression in the quality she said can be clearly seen in the projects LACE is implementing on behalf of the government.

Civil Society Organizations Push for Referendum

By Mafanta Kromah

 

The Civil Society Coalition held a “multi-stakeholders dialogue” on June 2, 2017 in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County with Law Reform Commission and a cross section of Liberian Senate. The group is working to promote Nationwide Consultations on the Constitutional Review process with the intends to encourage an accelerated action on a joint resolution leading to the referendum bill by the National Legislature.

The dialogue was climaxed by critical review and procedural discussions on the propositions pending before the House of Senate and propounding possible steps for a Constitutional referendum bill within 2017 by the National Legislature.

The dialogue brought together 15 Senators, two Supreme Court Justices (Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks and Cllr. Kabineh M. Ja’neh) and the leadership of the Law Reform Commission, the Grand Bassa County Superintendent, and the Leadership of Civil Society Organizations on the Constitutional Reform, and local authorities of Grand Bassa County.

Speaking during the discussion, Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, made presentation on the topic: “Towards a Constitutional Amendment.  Justice Banks’ presentation inspired and motivated the Senators who promised to take timely action toward reviewing, discussing and working to get a Referendum Bill considering that they have better clarity to work toward amending the Liberia Constitution.

For his part, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, presented on proposals for Amendment, his presentation layout on the entire 24 recommendations from the Constitution Review Committee report with statistics on what were voted or and against during the national conference to assist the Senators deepen their understanding of what were the issues discussed around the country.

Some Senators who gave reasons for the delay in discussing the constitutional propositions, indicated that the delays were due to procedural error earlier observed from the Executive Branch, but based on the precision from the presentations made by constitution lawyers including Justice Banks and Cllr. Kanneh, provided the technical basis to precede discussions to amend the Liberian Constitution.

Following the presentations, the discussion session prompted series of questions and answers, which provided many Senators the opportunity to engage Justice Banks for clarity noting “we are now fully being prepared and equipped to move ahead in reviewing, discussing and presenting a referendum bill for the Liberian voters to decide,” one Senator said.

In addition, Grand Bassa County first female Senator, Yornblee Karngar-Lawrence, assured that a joint committee meeting with both the Houses of Senate and Representatives could be possible to review and discuss the propositions in which a report will be provided to the plenary for action.

On his part, Nimba County Senator Thomas S. Grupee, who is the Chairman on the Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation said the Liberian Senate will review and discuss all 24 recommendations which derived from the Gbarnga national Conference and make a decision through a report to plenary to resolve on a possible referendum bill and indicated that the senate could probably add new issues that will improve governance in Liberia.

Meanwhile, Grand Bassa County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, who is the Chairperson on the Committee on Executive, pledged to work with her colleagues to promote the process that will lead to a national constitution referendum that is overdue since 2015. “This will ensure that the Liberian citizens will have their voices heard through voting for or against final propositions,” she indicated.

The Constitution of Liberia is the supreme law of the Republic of Liberia. The current constitution, which came into force on January 6, 1986, replaced the Liberian Constitution of 1847, under a Military Regime, which had been in force since the independence of Liberia.

Liberian people desire a new and better constitution after 170 years of independence and on August 13, 2015, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf submitted the final Constitution Review recommendations to the Legislature through the President Pro-Tempore to be studied for possible legislative action that could constitute propositions for amendment through a national referendum. This process is still pending at the Liberian Senate.

This initiative is being undertaken by the the concerned Civil Society Organizations including (NAYMOTE, PMU, LDMI, IREDD and SAIL) supported by the United Nation Development Program in Liberia.

The five CSOs however recommended  the Law Reform Commission timely expedite to give all legal support to the House of Senate and the necessary documentation that will assist in reviewing, discussing and making decision for a National referendum bill leading to referendum.

That the Committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation as well as the Committee on Judiciary at the Liberian Senate, takes leadership actions in reviewing, discussing, reporting to the plenary for onward introduction on the floor for deliberations based on the presentations and lesson learned from Constitutional Lawyers including Justice Philip Z.A. Banks and Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairperson, Law Reform Commission during the dialogue.

They also requested that the Law Reform Commission and Civil Society Organizations continue working with the House of Senate and House of Representatives to pass a Bill of Referendum prior to their annual agriculture break in 2017.

Meanwhile, Eddie D. Jarwolo, member of the CSO organizations said, amendment of the Constitution through a referendum will contribute meaningfully in addressing some of the governance challenges facing the country including dual citizenship, reduction of tenure of elected public officials, decentralization, and the elections of local leaders.

The five CSO Coalition on Constitutional Reform commended the Law Enforcement commission, the Liberian Senate and Lawyers for honoring the initiative.

They affirmed that they are optimistic that based on the presentations by Justice Philip Banks and Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairperson, Law Reform Commission, the Senators will take needed responsible leadership role in formulating propositions for a national constitution referendum based on the current reality and would manage with the procedures error that was done realizing that since 1847 Liberians have never participate in any constitution reform process, this is therefore an opportunity that should not be missed

Debt Payment Fraud -Who’s Responsible To Refund Stolen Money?

MFDP building

In its reaction to two publications by the In Profile Daily Newspaper on the alleged financial improprieties surrounding domestic debt payments, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) on May 30,2017, issued a statement.

We began reporting on series of alleged financial indiscipline and stealing characterizing the debt payment process.

But the Ministry, according to the release, admitted of being aware of the alleged malpractices, without disputing any of the irregularities reported by this paper.

Also, the Ministry disclosed that it has taken administrative actions in the situation without disclosing the content (s) of investigations leading to the administrative actions and without explaining the administrative actions taken, though it said the Ministry of Justice has concluded investigations into the issue.

Be as it may, the dismissal of an official or officials in the Debt Management Unit (DMU) reportedly based on the issue at bars without telling the Liberian people who is responsible to refund the money stolen in the process creates more questions than answers. The Ministry has revealed the dismissal of DMU head.

Classified documents in our possession indicate that payments indented for many vendors landed in the wrong hands based on forged identities presented by unscrupulous individuals in collaboration with some officials at the Ministry.

One of the vendors is the Intestate Estate of the Late John Francis Marshall (The Nancy B. Doe Jorpken Town Market) on 9th Street in Sinkor, whose debt payment checks were issued to one Edmund B. Coleman, who is not the right person to collect the money.

The government had purchased a portion of the land from the Banks and Marshall Families and government owed them US$826, 000.00 (eight hundred and twenty six thousand United States dollars): US$300, 000. for the Banks, which the family has confirmed receiving and US$526,000.00 for the Marshall family which is still in limbo.

On February 11, 2016, the government allegedly issued a US$300,000.00 check to Edmund B. Coleman and on May 6, 2017, allegedly issued a US$226, 000.00 its equivalent of L$20,085,000.00 check to Edmund, totaling US$526,000.00.

Edmund Coleman presented a warranty deed to the government before receiving the money, when he is not the owner of the property. The deed is said to be fake because it was issued by Godwin Marshall, Mai Thompson and he (Edmund B. Coleman), when the property belongs to four sisters including Mary Marshall, Anna Marshall, Williette Marshall and Maud Marshall Smith. These four rightful owners have respective deeds in their possession.

In a communication to Finance Minister, Boima S. Kamara, dated October 10, 2016, the Taylor & Associates Law Offices representing the legal interest of the Marshall Family, told the ministry to intervene in the matter, indicating that Edmund B. Coleman had denied receiving money from the government.

Edmund Coleman has reportedly denied also of receiving the second check of US$226, 000.00 equivalent of L$20,085,000.00, at the Monthly and Probate Court. However, photocopies of check bearing his name, his Voter’s Card and ECOWAS Citizen Union-Liberia Chapter ID Card in our possession indicate he received the money.

The transactions started a year following the issuance of “Power of Attorney” on November 18, 2013, to Mr. Jefferson Douglas Coleman as administrator of the property. The family issued the Power of Attorney in the United States.

Despite this power of attorney, the Ministry sent payment authorization, along with the first check of US$300,000.00, bearing the name of Intestate of John F. Marshall/Edmund B. Coleman, dated March 11, 2016, to the Director of Banking at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to be encashed.

As far as Marshall family’s lawyers know, their clients have not received anything from the government since Edmund B. Coleman denies receiving the money and also since he is not the administrator.

On his part, administrator Jefferson Douglas Coleman, in a cell phone conversation with this paper on Wednesday, called on the government to go beyond mere dismissal by bringing to book those who allegedly received the money. He stressed the need to investigate family members who are claiming the property by issuing “fake deeds.”

Meanwhile, Senior Debt Analyst, Madam Patricia P. Dixon, has reiterated her calls for authorities at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to make public a comprehensive report of the entire domestic debt payment level so far if they must prove her wrong. Madam Dixon, who calls herself a “whistle blower” said she will continue to expose the alleged financial impropriety at the ministry until the Liberian people’s money is paid back by those who are responsible.

She considers the MFDP’s press statement issued on Tuesday as a complete admission to her allegations and thus calls for a full scale investigation into the matter and other alleged malpractices at the ministry, adding, “I want those who are stealing the Liberian people’s money to pay back and so I will continue to expose their deeds because my boss, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has told me and any other Liberians to expose corruption.”

Madam Dixon said the blocking of her account to the Commonwealth Secretariat and Debt Recording Management System (CS-DRMS), coupled with the admission by the Ministry as well as threats to transfer her, has reinvigorated her more to battle corruption at the Ministry.

She said the Marshall property is the representation of how the entire debt payment process was being marred by alleged corruption because many vendors are still claiming their money, after payments were done on consolidated list, fragmented list and in face-value forms of the same amounts.

Below is the MFDP’s Press Statement issued Tuesday, May 30,2017, in reactions to our previous two publications:

Communications Unit

Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP)

                             Cell: 0775059916 / 0886518209 Email: abwaritay@mfdp.gov.lr/abwaritay@yahoo.com

 

PRESS STATEMENT

 

MFDP REFUTES AND CLARIFIES IN PROFILE PUBLICATIONS

 

Monrovia – Tuesday May 30, 2017: The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Categorically Refutes the In Profile Daily Newspaper’s Publications of Thursday, May 25, 2017 And Monday, May 29, 2017 With Headlines: “Debt Payment Fraud” And “Finance In Huge Fraud”.

Accordingly, the MFDP informs the public that it is aware of a situation of breach of duty by the Former Director of the Debt Management Unit of the MFDP.  The said breach of duty (failure to follow established financial procedures and instructions from superiors) was reported to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) over four months ago – (January 16, 2017); while the staff involved was forwarded for investigation.

The MOJ concluded its investigation into the reported gross breach of duty by the then head of the Debt Management Unit.  The MOJ investigation established that the head of the Debt Management Unit was in gross violation of financial procedures relative to the payment of claims against the government of Liberia and sections of the Civil Service Regulations .

Consistent with the findings of the Ministry of Justice and in addition to the law pursuant, the MFDP hereby informs the public that it has taken administrative actions by terminating the employment services of said Director with the MFDP.

The MFDP assures the public that the Administration will not tolerate and condone or lend support to any fraudulent act of any of its employees as it has a duty to the Liberian people and the Republic of Liberia to protect the people’s resources.

SIGNED:_________________________________

BERNARD ABRAHAM WARITAY

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATONS

 

Our investigations continue…