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President Sirleaf Hails Judiciary for Cooperation

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has congratulated the Judiciary for the cooperation and coordination experienced between the two branches over the years with a call to make Liberia proud as the country goes through the period of transition since 1944. “Please make our country proud as we go to these elections,” President Sirleaf stressed.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf spoke on Monday, October 9, 2017 at ceremony marking the formal opening of the October Term of the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia. She was accompanied by several government officials including the Minister of Justice and Dean of the Supreme Court Bar Cllr. Fredrick Cherue.

The Liberian leader commended the Judiciary for working together in the spirit of cooperation something she refers to as cordial. She reaffirmed government’s commitment to peaceful, credible, free, fair and transparent elections.

She furthered that the October 10 elections remains very critical to the maintenance of peace and security as well the survival of the democracy in Liberia.

For his part, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor thanked President Sirleaf for taking steps aimed at strengthening the rule of Law and the empowerment of the Judiciary. “Madam President, we in the Judiciary want to congratulate you for strengthening the rule of law, which is better than what is used to be,” he said.

He made particular reference to improved salaries, renovation and construction of new court houses across the country, the provision of logistics, among others. Chief Justice Korkpor noted that President Sirleaf kept her promise made to the Judiciary when she took over the leadership of the country.

Speaking further, Chief Justice Korkpor reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s earlier decision not to go on break during the October 10, 2017 elections, but would remain at post to handle post- elections issues growing out of the elections.

He said out 30 cases were brought before the Honorable Supreme Court during the March Term of Court; of which 9 were pre-election cases. He noted that to date there are no pre-elections cases before the court.

He recommitted the Supreme Court to dispense justice without fear or favor for all adding: “We will remain focused and independent.”

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UP, CDC Again? . . . NEC Announces Provisional Results Today

 

 By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

“Unconfirmed statistics from various polling centers around the country is a glaring indication that the ruling Unity Party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change will certainly faceoff in a possible runoff,”

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to commence the release of preliminary results of the October 10, 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections today, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has said

NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, told a news conference Wednesday, October 11, 2017, that the process was freely conducted despite delays in opening polling precincts and verification of names in some instances.

Accordingly, the NEC has unequivocally reaffirmed that the commission is the only institution clothed with the constitutional authority to announce election results; thus warning political parties and candidates to desist from unilaterally announcing results.

Following the close of polling centers around the country, results were posted at various voting precincts in the presence of poll workers, local and international observers as well as the media.

However, as media correspondents around the country give unofficial results, the October 10, 2017 presidential elections might again showcase the old political rivalry between the ruling Unity Party (UP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The UP and the CDC were locked in a runoff in 2005 and 2011 respectively with the former emerging victorious in both elections under the political leadership of outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

In Southeastern Liberia, the CDC of former soccer icon, now Senator of Montserrado County George Weah is reportedly ahead of the UP of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander Cummings respectively.

Media correspondents reported that the CDC emerged top in some parts of the Southeast followed by the UP and the ANC, which has reportedly favored the UP in previous elections.

However, the UP firmly tightened its grip in some parts of Lofa, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Bong respectively, while Senator Prince Yormie Johnson remains potentially positioned in his stronghold of Nimba County as the Liberty Party (LP) of Cllr. Charles Brumskine struggles for votes in its stronghold of Grand Bassa County.

“Unconfirmed statistics from polling centers around the country is a glaring indication that the ruling Unity Party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change will certainly faceoff in a possible runoff,” said a NEC polling officer on condition of anonymity.

According to the NEC official, the final aggregated result is expected to again feature the usual political contest between the two most populated political parties.

Although the NEC will commence the announcement of provisional results today, however, unconfirmed results indicate that the Unity Party (UP) and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) will again prove political supremacy.

 

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Cllr. Gbeisay Takes On Media

By Yawah Jaivey in Kakata, Margibi County

 

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County, has lambasted the Liberian media for unwarranted attacks against him in the handling of the Sable Mining corruption case. Read more

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Female Law Enforcers End Retreat in Gbarnga

By Abel R. Okai, Bong County

 

The Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association (LIFLEA), in collaboration with UN Women, has ended a two-day national retreat for sixty female security officers in Gbarnga Bong County under the theme “Enhancing a Vibrant Female Security Network”. The retreat was conducted on May 5-6 2017, at the Development Education Network Liberia (DEN-L) Compound on the Dementa Road in Gbarnga. Read more

Above The Law?

By: Sobondo K. Fayiah/Intern

Several Liberians in Monrovia and its environs have complained of government officials including members of Liberia National Police (LNP) are usually seen violating the traffic laws by leaving their original lanes and riding on the opposite lanes with speed, emergency lights and blaring sirens.

They said these officials are usually seen during the morning and evening hours violating the traffic ordinance by putting on their sirens or emergency lights and taking the opposite directions while ordinary commuters and private vehicles are seen queued in long lines driving slowly, thus prompting Liberians to term their action as lawbreakers instead of being lawmakers and enforcers.

“Officials of government who violate the traffic rule feel that they are above the law, that’s why they keep breaking the law every time because of the power they have in the country so they are not to be punished if even they violate,” one commuter riding from Paynesville to central Monrovia, only identified as James, complained.

James remarked: “These officials use their power to intimidate the traffic police officers and also think they are superior to the ordinary people.”

The traffic rules dictate that vehicle operators should not leave their lanes for an opposite lane, except ambulances, presidential convoy and other VIPs as determined by state security.

Granted! -Parker Bond Sails

Criminal Court “C” Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh, on Tuesday ruled, accepting the US$1.2 million insurance bond filed by defendants Matilda W. Parker and Christiana Kpobor Paelay.

“A careful perusal of the insurance bond, filed by the defendants, shows that the said bond met the requirements to execute the criminal appearance bond in the case,” Judge Gbeneweleh ruled on Tuesday.

According to him, primary objective or purpose of the criminal appearance bond is to secure the appearance of the defendants before a court of competent jurisdiction.

The Criminal Court “C” Judge indicated that the surety during the examination answered in the affirmative that the defendants will appear before the court whenever needed, declaring that “the bond is therefore valid”.

Tuesday’s ruling followed arguments by prosecution that the bond was defective and grossly insufficient. At Monday’s arguments, prosecution however admitted that the bond met some of the requirements.

But they pointed out that the Insurance Company (Family Dollars and Universal Insurance Service), did not show any assets.

It can be recalled that defendants Matilda W. Parker and   Christiana K. Paelay were indicted by the grand jury for Montserrado County for the alleged crime of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy in the amount of US$ 837,950.00.

They obtained an insurance bond from the Family Dollars   Universal Insurance Company Service, as a surety in the tone of US$1.2M to insure their appearance before the court, which was filed before the court on July 21, 2015 and approved by the court.

Judge Gbeneweleh, further said the defense on the other hand filed a 25-count motion for justification on July 29,2015, contented  among other thing that the amount charged in the indictment is US$837,950.00 which  fall in the category of first degree felony punishable  by fine of US$10,000.00 and maximum imprisonment of ten years multiplied by US$ 25.00 per month which equals to US$3,000.00.

According to him, the surety  was  examined consistent with  law and justified before the court  that the Insurance Company  has US$400,000.00, and US$ 350,000.00 worth  of property  as requirement of the Central Bank to grant a certificate authorizing them to establish  as reinsuring entity value US$750,000.00 also  as requirement by the  CBL.

 

Judge Chenoweth Calls For Sustained Peace

The Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit in Kakata, Margibi County, Mardea Tarr- Chenoweth, is calling on Liberians to do everything to upholding the peace in Liberia as the country gradually moves towards another general and presidential elections

Judge Chenoweth said there can be no greater good for the country then for its citizens to maintain the current peace enjoyed for the last ten years with the support of the international community.

Judge Chenoweth made the statement on Monday in Kakata when she delivered the Judge’s charge at program marking the formal opening of court for the August Term.

Speaking on the topic: “Upholding the Peace”, Judge Chenoweth said in the wake of upholding the peace, Liberians must refrain from acts that provoke dissatisfaction, injustices and conflicts.

The female Judge further said the peace that Liberians are enjoying today comes as a great break of light “and therefore Liberians must be very sensitive to situation that tends to send us back to calamity”.

She also said in keeping the peace in the country, the Judiciary also has a very vital role to play in maintaining the peace in the country adding “Cases being adjudicated by the court are not properly done in accordance with laws and allow sentiments to permeate their minds, the court could render a wrongful judgment that will cause an aggrieved party to result to lawlessness that could cause a setback in upholding the peace.”

She used the occasion to call on judges, lawyers, magistrates and city solicitors across the country to always do the right thing within the ambit of the laws and not engage in acts inimical to the laws.

In responding to the Judge’s charge, the Dean of the local bar, Margibi County Acting County Attorney, Isaac Liverpool George said he was very much delighted to see another term of court.

Attorney George said his office will work along with the court to ensure the speedy adjudication of criminal cases on the trial docket for this August AD, 2015 Term of Court.

He also expressed the hope to see more cases tried before the end of the August Term of Court as during the last term, there were far less cases handled as a result of the absence of lawyers representing parties in most instances.

There are 26 cases including 17 civil cases and 9 criminal cases on the trial docket for the August AD. 2015 Term of Court.

 

Walhalla -As Lawsuit Awaits Nimba Authorities, If…

Reports say demolition exercise being carried out in Bahn, Zoe-Geh District, Nimba County, is creating uneasiness between the county’s authorities and citizens, mainly those whose homes are being destroyed without any benefit.

As a result, the Association of Civil Society Organizations in Zoe-Geh District, Nimba County, says it is prepared to lead a legal battle with the count’s authorities if the situation is not addressed.

The organization has accused the county’s authorities of demolishing homes in the name of development without any benefit to the owners; something it terms as human rights abuse.

In a statement issued recently, the organization’s Chairman, L. Joseph M. Menlor, said while citizens are eager for development, it is important for those who own properties being demolished to be compensated because they legally owned the properties and paid taxes for them.

“Considering these circumstances, we think that the failure of government to protect legally owned and taxable properties of individuals in the country would mean meting untold suffering and oppression against the poor especially women, children, widows, lactating mothers and the elderly,” Menlor indicated.

He called on other civil society organizations and advocates to join victims of the demolition exercise to intervene since it has not gone offhand.

“We in this light plead to the National Civil Society Organization (s) and all right advocates and lawyers and the United Nations to join us in this cry to make Nimba and Liberia Government respond to this crisis in respect of law and order.  Otherwise, the dawn of impropriety hangs over the county as its leadership boasts of precedents of destroying private properties in the county without benefit.  Failure this might be the beginning of generational legal battle between the county/government and the victims,” Menlor threatened.

The activist also called on elders of the county to meet and address the situation if peace must be maintained. He added: “We ask if Nimba County Council has to meet, it must meet now as a matter of emergency in order to address the alarming humanitarian crisis created.”

Besides, Menlor claimed that owners are made to demolish their own homes. In the demolition process, children are allegedly used due to the urgency; something he said is child labor.

When contacted via mobile phone on Thursday, August 6, 2015, Bahn City Mayor, Madam Angie Dopoe, said: “I am demolishing my own building now.” Madam Dopoe promised to respond the following day (Friday, August 7, 2015).

The Bahn City Mayor failed to call as she had promised until she was again contacted on Monday and she said her office has not received any complaints of such.

She declined to make further comment on the matter, saying “I am very busy right now”.

Judge Johnson Takes Lawyers To Task

By: Jacqueline Lucia Dennis

Criminal court ”E” Judge Ceaineh Clinton Johnson   has accused lawyers    of bravely telling their clients   that the Judiciary is corrupt, thereby creating and the perception that the judiciary is the one to take the blame.

She  made the statement  during  the opening  of the August Term  of  Circuit Courts  ”A”B”C”D”E,”  arguing that  the statement attributed to lawyers is unfounded as charges of corruption  against the place of the last hope  for man, “the court”  impugns on the dignity and majesty of the court.

Judge Johnson  further told  lawyers  that ” you  undermine  confidence in the Judiciary  and in the judicial  process, yet you come  to the court  in the preconceived state   of mind  negligently,  repenting  the causes  of your side  and when  you have failed, you dishonour yourselves by  making ugly statements, ”she blasted.

She continued: ” We  want you to know  that there are some of us  who  are working  assiduously  to ensure transparent justice  in our  land.  When you make a blanket statement like that you cast aspirations on all of our works.”

Judge  Johnson also  said  the lad man watches  and loses  confidence in the system  when  they( lawyers)  denigrate  the court, emphasizing that there  are times  when  the litigants  themselves  are aware  that they  are in the wrong, adding, “ but just to get money  lawyers  bring unjust  causes to court expecting  to manipulate the system.”

She warned lawyers to avoid bringing the lad man into the sacred place and before their (judges) eyes by doing things that make the public to lose confidence in the judicial process of the country.

Judge Johnson said the quality of the Judiciary determines the quality of justice, and the quality of justice determines the only place to create that quality of justice which she noted is in court, the place of last hope for man on earth.

Deficits Hit Cocopa! -Layoff Imminent

By: Fredrick P. W. Gaye & Gborontaye Gboron

Despite court ruling in favor of the Government to take over the Cocopa Rubber Plantation in Nimba County, situation at the plantation is said to be going from bad to worse; thus putting the workers at loggerheads with the caretaker company.

The Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI) was appointed by the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County, to take care of the plantation after GOL sued LIBCO for not performing consistent with the GOL-LIBCO Agreement.

It can be recalled that recently, workers of the plantation threatened to go-slow in demand of their four-month salary arrears that management allegedly owes them.

Speaking to the In Profile Daily in Ganta recently, the President of Cocopa Workers Union, Sarpah B. Mah, alleged that for the past four months, the company has not paid their salaries; something he said is creating serious hardship on workers and families. Mah put the number of workers at 1, 165 and tappers alone at 492.

However, he said management paid them only one month salary during the July 26 Independence celebration.

When contacted at his Congo Town Office on Saturday, August 8, 2015, Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI) General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Solomon S. W. Gaigaie, admitted that the company owes the employees four months’ salary arrears; but said management has paid one month, while the arrears of three months still outstanding. He named the remaining months as May, June and July of 2015. Gaigaie also said the NRI owes other vendors due to the situation.

He alleged that since the court ruled and turned the plantation over to the government, employees have been reluctant to work, thus affecting production.  “This reduction in production, coupled with the drop in rubber price on the world market, creates a condition where the company spends far beyond its sales, adding to accrued deficits,” Gaigaie explained.

According to him, NRI took over the company on October 1, 2013, at the time when previous company, LIBCO, had not paid employees for three months (July, August and September of 2013) and other vendors in the amount of US$1,180,057.00 (one million one hundred and eighty thousand fifty seven United States dollars).

The NRI head told this paper that negotiations are ongoing to settle the employees’ salary arrears by September 12, 2015.

He disclosed plans by management to pay off all employees due to overstaff in the face of drop in rubber price, coupled with reduction in production. For the payoff, he said it will be done in phases; though he did not mention how many phases.

Gaigaie claimed that the plantation was overstaffed by LIBCO when rubber price was high, but failed to reduce staff when rubber price started dropping on the world market; something he said has created serious problem for NRI.

He, however, said NRI will recruit manageable staff and employees following the payoff exercise in order to make the plantation profitable. “What we are doing now is like running an NGO. But we will recruit manageable staff and employees to make the plantation profitable,” he emphasized.

To keep the plantation from collapse, Gaigaie said government had intervened by paying US$411,087 to pay the inherited three-month salary arrears and supply rice to employees.

Since 2013 up to present, as indicated in its 16-month report made to the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in February 2015, Cocopa has not been able to pay employees and vendors, he said, adding, “So, as a management, we have always subsidized to settle salaries to employees and other operation expenses.”

In the report, which covered October 1, 2013 to January 31, 2015, Gaigaie explained that NRI, in collaboration with its partners, invested US$2,105,363.35 (two million one hundred five thousand three hundred and sixty three United States dollars thirty five cents), in addition to the US$1,588,554.00 (one million five hundred eighty eight thousand five hundred fifty four United States dollars) generated from rubber sales during the period under review.

The former, he said was a deficit after spending US$3,693,917.45 (three million six hundred ninety three thousand nine hundred and seventeen United States dollars forty five cents) on salaries, wages, benefits and other operation activities during the period under review.

Additionally, an NRI record covering February-July 23, 2015, indicates a down trend of monthly sales that were far less than salaries. NRI made a net sales of US$47,415.75 (forty seven thousand four hundred and fifteen United States dollars seventy five cents) in March 2015, with salary payment of US$128,884.60 (one hundred twenty eight thousand eight hundred eighty four United States dollars and sixty cents) in said month.