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.

 

DEN-L Outlines Achievements, Challenges

By Mafanta Kromah

 

The Director of the Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L), Ms. Dorothy Toormann, has outlined achievements and challenges of the network.

She made the outline over the weekend at her office on the DEN-L compound in Gbarnga, Bong County, saying the center for residential blocks, administrative building, a theater, a pub and training halls are available to the public.

Madam Toomann maintained that they have three core programs, which include the Civil Action Program (CAP), Gender Action Program (GAP) and the Outreach for Change Program (OFC) as well as agriculture program.

She said the purpose of the institution is to see Liberia at peace with its neighboring countries and to be a contributor to the peace building of the country through an empowered society at all levels.

She said DEN-L aspire to contribute to empowerment, human rights and equality of women and girls as citizens of the nation in all aspects of their lives and to strengthen and maintain the institution as an effective, efficient organization committed to a Liberia at peace with itself and nearing.

Madam Toomann explained that they are generating funding from partners and donor nationals and  international, such as UN Women, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), United States African Development Fund (USADF), Save the Children, European Union (EU), and among others organizations.

She said their training is include but not limited to community development, organizational development, conflict management and resolution, adult literacy, gender and development, and small business management particular rural appraisal.

She indicated that many of their trainers have visited and benefited from training conducted in South Africa, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Benin and among other countries in Africa.

Meanwhile, she named the provision of light energy as one of the main challenges faced by the institution, explaining that they use too much resource to maintain electricity in the facilities.

She appealed to the government to help bring the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) to the county so as to reduce the cost of electricity.

 

“My Condition Can’t Hold Me Back” -Physically Challenged At PQSJ Graduation

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

Success M. Zayzay (with crutches) and fellow graduates

On April 13, 2017, the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism (PQSJ) run by the MediaAid Foundation graduated its second circle of 45 trainees on completing a nine-month course of training in journalism. The graduates include 24 females and 21 males.

Among the 21 males who walked out with diplomas was physically challenged, Success M. Zayzay, who did not allow his condition to stop him from acquiring quality diploma in journalism.

Graduate Zayzay believes that being physically challenged is no bar to education. “I am proud today walking out of the walls of Peter Quaqua School of Journalism. My condition can’t hold me back. I have to persevere and that is why I am honored as ‘Most Courageous Trainee of the year 2016/2017,” he said.

Speaking at the program, Assistant Minister for Technical Services at Ministry of Information, Cultural and Tourism, Jacob Jallah congratulated the graduates for the remarkable field they have chosen.

Min. Jallah indicated that there is no way Liberia can have a vibrant, productive, and healthy governance of the environment without the essential contribution of the media.

He said the Government of Liberia remains committed to the development of the Liberian media stating that the media is an important component to the democratic processes of the society. “The Government’s commitment to the development of free and independent media to decriminalize free speech offenses remains solid,” he emphasized.

For his part, Peter Quaqua, in whose honor the journalism training project is named, explained that this is the second circle of graduation that the school continues to impart knowledge to the next generation of journalism.

He cautioned the graduates to be careful that there will be challenges especially during these elections. “We are in an environment that most of the media are owed by politicians. They have interests and those play into elections. You have ethics and you have to exercise your ethics to the extent of education you acquired from the school,” he notified.

At the same time, the Executive Director of MediaAid Foundation, Titus Togba stated that “out of the 53 trainees shortlisted for graduation, 45 qualified for graduation. Of the total figure, 24 are females. This indicates the growing interest of young women in journalism and that 25 of the graduates are actively involved in media work, he narrated

The Vice president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Octavin William, also graced the program.

 

 

 Media War Waged: Twist In Sable Mining Case? Criminal Court “C” Awaits S/ Court’s Opinion

By: Lewis K. Glay 0886469835/lglay.inprofile@gmail.com

“You don’t run the court in the media and judges are not politicians; they are lawyers who take oath to abide by ethical standards in prosecuting cases brought before them. There is nothing wrong which Judge Gbeisay has done in the proceeding but people are playing politics to taint his hard earned legal reputation…. Because   Judge Gbeisay is not reacting to the barrage of accusation does not mean that the insinuations in the media against him are true”

Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice appears to be hard hit by media war in the wake of the Sable Mining Case involving the state and high profile former and current officials of the Liberian Government.

Judge  Yamie  Quiqui Gbeisay,  one of  Liberia’s respected  Cllrs, who is presiding  over  the Sable Mining  Case  seems to be portrayed  in the media as someone who has done wrong in the proceeding.

Judge Gbeisay is being accused by prosecution lawyers in the case of  inadvertently erring  by marking the evidence (spread sheets, e-mails) temporarily, thus taking exception to such ruling.

The accusation which  scores of media outlets have amplified in recent weeks, has come in the wake of  the state lawyers’  appeal to Judge Gbeisay to give them the period of 10 days  to import their witnesses from abroad  to continue the trial.

Prior to this appeal, Judge Gbeisay denied state lawyers of a motion to rescind judgment for the suppression of evidence which is currently being used in the court to prosecute the defendants in the trial.

The  In Profile Daily has gathered from learned legal minds  that the court has insisted that as a doctrine, the accused should face the accusers in open court; as such, prosecution witnesses need to appear in court to face  the accused and answer questions.

“ You don’t run the court in the media and judges are not politicians; they are lawyers who take oath to abide by ethical standards in prosecuting cases brought before them. There is nothing wrong which Judge Gbeisay has done in the proceeding but people are playing politics to taint his hard earned legal reputation,” one lawyer who spoke to the In Profile Daily on condition of anonymity over the weekend indicated.

The lawyer said Judge Gbeisay cannot say anything on the accusation from state lawyers to the media now because the case has gone to the Supreme Court, adding, “ Because  Judge Gbeisay is not reacting  to the barrage of accusation does not mean that the insinuations in the media against him are true.”

It is recalled that prosecution’s decision to take the matter to the Supreme Court was based on Judge Gbeisay’s stance not to accept their request to have the controversial e-mails and spreadsheets marked permanently to be included as their oral and documentary evidences.

In his stance, Gbeisay declared that the spreadsheets and e-mails will be marked temporarily, pending the arrival of Heine Van Niekerk, who is the major participant in the alleged e-mails exchanges, who prosecution listed as one of its witnesses and informed the court, during argument that he would be brought to testify.

Gbeisay’s judgment indicated: “On the question of conversation referred in the e-mails between defendant Varney Sherman and Klaus Piprik with regards to co-defendant Alex Tyler, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, demanding a payment of US$250,000, making reference to Tyler, a third party, in his absence, it is a truth hearsay,” adding,” But, said statement may be admitted not necessarily for its truthfulness, but for the fact that such statement was made.”

These were some of the wordings in the judgment that prosecution relied upon to take their case before the Supreme Court, arguing that they were not interested having Gbeisay to continue with the matter.

Outlining their reservations, state lawyers argued that for the court to demand them to produce their own witness, Heine Van Niekerk to appear, “It means that Judge Gbeisay was in error; even, when he ruled that every precaution should be taken to ensure that the defendants have maximum opportunity to and prove their innocence.”

“The judge was also in error to say that Niekerk made a grave allegation against the defendants and that was an error for the court to accept that the alleged conversation between co-defendant Sherman and Klaus Piprik with reference to co-defendant Alex Tyler was a heresy.”

Prosecution had also argued that the e-mails and spreadsheets were voluntarily given to the government investigating team by Heine Van Niekerk, Sable Mining West Africa Director with whom co-defendant Sherman had the series of e-mail exchanges.

Sable Mining is a UK based mining company that Global Witness’s report claimed gave over US$950.000 to have the defendants including Tyler to change the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) to award the Wologizi Mountain to the company without going through the competitive bidding process.

In support to the argument, prosecution claimed their investigators obtained a notarized affidavit in which Niekerk confirmed the contents of the e-mails and disposed that he gave the documents to the Liberian Government under an immunity agreement.

Despite these arguments, Gbeisay maintained that Heine Van Niekerk should appear in person to testify about the documents, which prompted prosecution’s action to seek the Supreme Court’s intervention.