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Senate Protempore Hints 2017 Challenges….Highlights Importance of Coordination In Govt.

Senate Protempore Armah Zolu Jallah has hinted at major challenges facing the nation as activities leading to the much coveted October 10, 2017, general and presidential elections gradually draws nearer. Read more

We stress sincerity in the fight against corruption to attract more investment

IN ITS SEPTEMBER 4, 2011 piece, www.globalissues.org maintained that corruption affects the poorest the most, in rich or poor nations, though all elements of society are affected in some way as corruption undermines political development, democracy, economic development, the environment, people’s health and more.

WE ARE WORRIED THAT Liberia is facing a very grave problem of corruption that threatens basic foundations of society. This is one of the most serious problems which are not natural calamity or disaster.

CORRUPTION IS THE cancer that gobbles up all the socio-economic and political achievements.

THE MAJOR REASONS of fast creeping corruption are political instability, poverty, unequal structure of society, unemployment, lack of accountability, weak political institutions and absence of rule of law.

THEY ARE AFFECTING political stability, equal distribution of resources and power, confidence of local and foreign investors and political institutions.

ALTHOUGH CORRUPTION HAS wide-ranging deleterious effects on society and governance, its most deadly impact is always on the poor. It undermines democracy, hinders in good governance and weakens the democratic institutions. It hampers the economic growth and sustainable developments. Increase in corruption in any society is inversely proportional to good governance.

THEREFORE, WE ARE stressing the need for sincere and holistic efforts by all to battle corruption in order to build trust aimed at attracting more investment.

IF THESE SUGGESTIONS and practical measures are taken, the cancer of corruption can be cured to reasonable extent. Institutions should be made strong for proper working of the democratic system.

PROPER SYSTEM OF accountability and check and balance should be implemented. Justice delayed is justice denied. In time justice can minimize corruption practices.

IT IS MULTIFACETED problem so we want it be countered on all possible fronts with sincerity. We must reform ourselves. We believe that only proper planning and strictly implemented policies with public support can put halt to this menace.

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Minister Nagbe Against Bad Criticisms

By Mafanta Kromah

The Minister of Information, Len Eugene Nagbe, has urged all Liberians to stop seeing everything Liberia does in the negative way. Read more

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Unfortunate, but…-Deputy Speaker Describes Tax Increment

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hans Barchue, has described as unfortunate the increment in taxes by the Legislature on basic commodities including water and called on stakeholders involved to work in mitigating the situation.

Speaking to journalists at the opening of the 6th session of the Legislature, the Deputy Speaker said though unfortunate, it is the reality of the time and hoped such decision would be inverted.

Barchue said the increment of tax on water was disheartening, looking at the challenges the country faces with regards to acquisition of safe water.

Recalling his action during deliberations on the amendment to the Revenue Tax Code, Deputy Speaker Barchue said while presiding over the deliberation, he resisted certain attempt to increase at certain level on some taxes, but surprisingly, these areas or commodities were reintroduced.

It can be recalled that the legislature in December 2016 during its extra sitting voted for taxes to be increased from 7% to 10% on tobacco, 35% on imported water and 2% for locally produced water and that taxes on residential buildings are increased from 0.083% to 0.25%.

The Grand Bassa County lawmaker indicated that his colleagues (lawmakers) also voted that taxes be increased on land within city or town limits which is currently at two percent an increment of 3.5 percent and that goods and services taxes increased from 10 percent and 5 percent. A 15 percent increment was also proposed to be levied on hotel services, gambling services and restaurant services.

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Post- Presidency: Ellen’s Wish (Part III)

“President Sirleaf knows what she wants. Over the years, there have been constant allegations that she has influence at the Capitol Building. The very Tyler that is crying foul today knows what they’ve done when he was favored.”

After 12 years of rule, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to live a private life; she will be the second former living President of Liberia whose liberty will be intact, unlike former President Charles G. Taylor.

Taylor, though a former living Liberian President, is serving a 50-yr jail sentence in Great Britain following his conviction by a Special Court in The Hague, Netherlands, for crimes he reportedly committed in neighboring Sierra Leone during its brutal civil war.

In Liberia’s pre elections’ year, the struggle to identify the successor of President Sirleaf is intensifying and the ruling Unity Party has already identified Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to succeed  Madam Sirleaf in 2017.

The tiny West African country is experiencing about 23 registered political parties to contest the presidential and legislative elections, which President Sirleaf as incumbent will remain pretty seated to watch while VP Boakai wrestles with opposition contenders.

However, with almost one year to the impending elections, a major power interplay has painstakingly been witnessed for months in the country with accusing fingers pointed at Madam  Sirleaf from critics’ circle; especially as leadership tussle erupted at the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill.

The finger-pointing at the President stemmed from a Global Witness report of corruption linking former and present officials of the UP-led government; dated since 2010, of which US$950,000 reportedly exchanged hands as bribe for concession deal to alter already legislated law under the Public Procurement and Concession Commission(PPCC) Act.

The Executive under the superb mandate of President Sirleaf swiftly constituted a probe committee headed by Cllr. Fonati Koffa (Minister of State without Portfolio) to investigate those implicated in the GW report, a move embraced by certain segment of the society while opposing segment criticized it, claiming that the attempt was a witch hunt.

Recused House Speaker Alex Tyler, Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman, former NIC Chairman Dr. Richard Tolbert, former Lofa Senator Sumo Kupee, Bomi Senator Morris Saytumah, NSA Director Fumba  Sirleaf, and others were captured in the GW report. Among the accused, Tyler and Sherman became the center of attraction when they resisted appearing before the Koffa-led probe committee, insisting that only a court they would appeal before, something that came to past and the accused were indicated and are undergoing court proceeding for economic sabotage, criminal facilitations, among other multiple charges.

The scenario later developed another scene at the Lower House when a group of lawmakers anti to Tyler called on him to recuse himself from presiding at Plenary until he is cleared of the charges levied against him at Criminal Court “C”  at the Temple of Justice.

As the recusal demand persisted, Tyler openly accused President Sirleaf of being the mastermind of his removal scheme, but the Executive Mansion debunked the accusation.

“ President Sirleaf knows what she wants. Over the years, there have been constant allegations that she has influence at the Capitol Building. The very Tyler that is crying foul today knows what they’ve done when he was favored,” a former lawmaker who preferred anonymity told In Profile Daily recently when Tyler finally recused himself from presiding at the Lower House.

In the wake of public focus at the National Legislature especially with the delay experienced over the passage of the current fiscal budget due to leadership crisis at the House of Representatives, the former lawmaker surmised that President Sirleaf appears to have the influence even while living a private life to have a stake in the state of affairs, particularly so if another UP-led government is elected in 2017, an observation other Liberians think is unlikely to happen; writes Lewis K. Glay 0886469835/lglay.inprofile@gmail.com

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Ex GT-Bank Employees Denied Acquittal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

W/African Anti-Corruption Chiefs Meet In Monrovia

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

By T. Michael Johnny, Macpherson Marbiah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Major Reshuffle!   -Pro Tyler Lawmakers Affected

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Liberian Peacekeepers Threaten To Block RIA?

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pastors Get Empowerment

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Citizens Advocate For Mental Illness Services

By Mafanta Kromah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Concerned Legislative Staff Wants Liberian Legislature 21st Century Compliance

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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