Govt, Opposition nominees to be known this week

first_imgLocal Government CommissionBy Shemuel FanfairThe management of local democratic organs will soon fall under the watchful eye of a Local GovernmentOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo Commission (LGC). This comes after months of delays, and repeated calls, for the body’s establishment as Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan will no longer issue directives on local government matters, rather, this will fall under the perview of the LGC.In light of his announcement that LGC will now be operationalised by early July, the Communities Minister told this publication Monday that nominees for the Government side will be known by Wednesday. Bulkan however pointed out that he has not heard word from the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on their nominees for LGC posts: “We have not received a response from him (the Opposition leader) as yet.”However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo told this newspaper on Monday that the PPP/C nominees will soon be chosen.“I suspect this matter will be dealt with tomorrow or alternatively on Friday, our nominees will be selected.”The opposition leader further related that he could not reveal the names of the nominees as the matter is under discussion among party members: “Once we discuss the matter conclusively, we will release the names.”PPP/C Chief Whip Gail Teixeira had earlier this month contended that although Minister Bulkan was “constantly reminded”, the Opposition Leader had not received a formal letter.“The Leader of Opposition by law, the President by law shall appoint a certain number of people. The Act talks about the minister responsible for local government triggering this. The Minister of Communities has to trigger the action to write the Leader of the Opposition to say according to section so and so of the Act, we require the following, I’ve raised this matter over and over again,” Teixeira had explained at a party press conference.At that time, she noted that three sittings had passed but there were no moves on the matter: “There seems to be no haste on the government’s side to get the motion into the Parliament.”It was after the return of Local Government Elections (LGE) that tensions and controversy surrounded the establishment of some of the local democratic organs. Even before that ensued, government had promised that the LGC would be functioning from early 2016.The commission will be tasked with monitoring and assessing the performance of the local government organs, administer disciplinary action, and implement policies such as tax collection.last_img read more

Defense Minister Lauds Nigerian for Support to AFL

first_imgDefense Minister Brownie J. Samukai,Jr., has lauded the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for its continued assistance to Liberia, particularly in the training of personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) at the Nigerian Defense Academy.Minister Samukai made the commendation when the visiting Nigerian Defense Attaché accredited to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Liberia, Colonel Stanley Nnaemeka Eze, paid him a courtesy call at his Barclay Training Center (BTC) office in Monrovia over the weekend. He informed the visiting delegation that Liberia is aware of the current security challenges Nigeria is faced with as a result of the Islamist insurgency of Boko Haram; a militant group that branded Western education as bad and anti-Islamic.He pledged Liberia’s readiness to assist Nigeria in combating this menace (threat) when the need arises.Minister Samukai further pledged Liberia’s commitment in fighting terrorism, which he noted, has no boundaries, adding, “What affects one country has the potential to spread to another.”He then praised Nigeria for assigning to Liberia one of its finest sons, the former Command Officer- in-Charge of AFL, Major General Suraj Alao Abdurrahman, “whose innovations and leadership skills contributed to the AFL becoming a citizen’s army and a force for good.”Defense Minister Samukai appealed to Nigeria through the visiting delegation to provide more support, training, and mentorship for the AFL.Making remarks, Colonel Nnaemeka Eze expressed gratitude to Minister Samukai for the level of improvement at the MOD. He stated that his visit was intended to introduce himself and his new assignment, as well as inform Minister Samukai and his staff about the new challenges Nigeria is facing with the issue of terrorism caused by the Boko Haram insurgency.He said his country is reviewing a plan to increase more training opportunities for the AFL in Nigerian Military Academies.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Nimba Education Office Trains Colleagues

first_imgThe Nimba County office of the Ministry of Education (MOE) has embarked on the training of fellow educators to prepare them to join the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD).A branch of the Liberia News Agency (LINA) in the county reported that Nimba Chief Education officer (CEO), Wleh T. Sailah, commenced training his colleagues, including district education officers (DEOs) and principals of schools from both private and public sectors from the 12 school districts about the danger of the disease and how to prevent it from attacking them and their students.Though schools remained closed, CEO Sailah said the daylong training, which was held last Friday in Sanniquellie, the county capital, was intended to empower the participants, who upon completion of the training would conduct awareness on the danger of the EVD in their respective school districts.He said his office had decided to decentralize the training by getting closer to DEOs and principals, who did not have the opportunity to attend the first session in Sanniquellie over the weekend.He said, the training series is being sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.Meanwhile, participants who completed the first day of the training have embarked on “house-to-house” campaign, creating more awareness about the existence of the EVD as well as telling residents to avoid their deep-rooted denial factor.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

House to Ratify US$ 27m Loan Deal

first_imgThe House of Representatives has mandated three relevant Committees to review a US$27.3m finance contract between the Government of Liberia and European Investment Bank for the renovation of the Roberts International Airport’s (RIA) runway.Members of the House reached the decision during the 11th day sitting of the 4th Session on Tuesday following the submission of the agreement for ratification by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.In the President’s communication, she informed the Lawmakers that the ratification of the Loan Agreement will address the urgent need to recondition the runway, which is in a poor state.President Sirleaf estimated the total cost for the modernization and rehabilitation project of the entire airport facility at US$ 60,300,000.00 (sixty million three hundred thousand US dollars).She further informed Lawmakers that the government has concluded arrangements for the project to be financed with US$20 million from the Saudi Fund for Development; US$10 million from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa; US$ 3million from the Government of Liberia; and US$ 27.3 million credit from the European Investment Bank.Rehabilitation of the airport’s runway will include improvement to the pavement drainage system, construction of Runway End Safety Areas (REAS) and replacement of the runway lighting, President Sirleaf stated.According to the Chief Executive, the project also includes the provision of assorted items of operational and safety-related airport equipment which include fire tenders, ambulances, firefighting equipment, forklifts, high loaders, conveyer belt loaders, passenger stairs and passenger buses.Following the reading and debate, a motion from Hon. Alex Grant of Electoral District 3, Grand Gedeh County, to turn the instrument over to the Committees on Ways, Means and Finance; Judiciary and Contract and Monopoly to review and advise Plenary in two weeks, was unanimously agreed upon.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cab, Cash Up in Flames

first_imgCab driver Boakai Fofana, in his late sixties, and sympathizers watched in horror as his taxi burst into flames on the corner of Benson and Clay Street, Monrovia late yesterday afternoon.Fofana told the Daily Observer that he had completed the day’s work and was going to park the taxi at Divine Parking Lot when his car caught fire.“I was about to reverse the car when I heard a big sound,” Fofana said, “When I looked it was fire in the engine.”He said he jumped out of the car and while outside he saw the flames increasing.“I could do nothing,” Fofana said, “so I moved away to safety.”He said he left a substantial amount of cash in the car. Neighbors who rushed to his aid fought desperately with anything they could lay their hands on.“I am just a driver because this car is not for me,” he told the Daily Observer.On the scene, our reporter saw sympathizers, mostly men hauling sand, and there were a couple of people who came with fire-extinguishers to help, but to no avail.As others fought to quench the fire without success, bystanders pulled out their mobile phones and began to take pictures.As the flames increased and it was apparent that all was lost, sympathizers pushed the car away from the center of the road.With fire having a field day, fire service truck, with siren blaring arrived on the scene, and immediately began to salvage what was left.Driver Fofana meanwhile was taken away by friends in the area.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LET’S LECTURE: The President’s Handling of NOCAL Crisis

first_imgAs the March Hare said in Alice in Wonderland, the NOCAL saga gets curioser and curioser. The President has placed the fox in the chicken coop. She wants those who ran the company into the ground to be the ones to rescue it. A more sensible approach I thought would have been to keep these jokers as far away from reconstruction as possible. They should be kept around just to answer questions.If she wants, the President has an array of Liberian professional talent here and in the Diaspora—lawyers, financial analysts, accountants, geophysicists, geologists—that she can call upon to come up with a rescue plan to guide her. She will probably get much better advice than from them than from these jokers. First off the bat, I can tell her that she does not need 50 people milling around two floors of the Episcopal Church building to man NOCAL and shepherd it into the future. She needs no more than 20-25 people right now. She can add people as an when the circumstances warrant it.Then there is the question of severance. Firing everybody and then re-hiring 50 from amongst the same group does not make much sense. I undertook a restructuring at LPRC in April 2006, 3 months after I took over the reins of the company, in which 400 dear souls volunteered to leave the company in exchange for healthy severance benefits. And there was not a murmur in town. The US$1.5 million we spent we recovered within 12 months from cost savings.At the time, there were 600 people on the company payroll. We did not fire all 600 and then re-hire 200. We got rid of the numbers that we felt were surplus to requirements and retained what we felt we needed to operate the company. This business of firing everyone and then re-hiring some is a coward’s way out. It is the mark of an age old Liberian disease: refusal to take tough decisions (so as not to hurt some people’s feelings) and instead seeking refuge in smoke and mirrors. It is also probably in violation of our labor laws. You cannot fire someone and then immediately re-hire that person.But before we even get to the issue of severance, President Sirleaf needs to address the issue of accountability for what went wrong. The board of directors and the senior management cannot be allowed to just take a walk without a full accounting of what caused the company to reach the place it did.I am told by reliable sources that at the end of March, NOCAL’s balance sheet showed cash reserves of US$80 million. By the end of June, three months later, that figure had dwindled to less than US$500,000. What happened in that short space of time to make almost US$80 million go poof! just like a Houdini magic trick?What needs to happen now is for President Sirleaf to commission an audit, not by those folks at GAC, many of whom are challenged just operating a calculator properly, but by one of the Big 4 international accounting firms. The terms of reference should go beyond the normal statutory audit to include a search for fraud. Then an only then will the Liberian people get to know what really happened.The next step should include a dose of retribution. Those who are found criminally liable should face prosecution and stiff jail terms if found guilty. By stiff jail terms I am not talking about people lounging around in South Beach Prison eating free government pussawa. I mean hard labour in Grand Gedeh, Nimba or Gbarpolu cutting rice and planting cassava.I am not convinced, and President Sirleaf will be hard pressed to find concurrence amongst the mass of the Liberian people, that senior executives and board directors who have robbed this nation of its inheritance—people who were spending US$25 million a year on self-indulgence and such foolishness as US$7 million on salaries and benefits, more than US$3 million on travel and US$1.5 million on board gallivanting and other undisclosed extravagance—-should get any kind of severance.But we will wait and see. What the President does in this crisis will be a true measure of her character. The writer is a certified public accountant and a businessman. He can be reached at .Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

President Sirleaf Applauds Swiss Confederation On 725th National Day

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message of congratulations to her counterpart Mr. Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, President, the Government and people of the Swiss Confederation, on the occasion of their National Day.August 1 is celebrated each year as Swiss National Day, the founding of the Swiss Confederation. Since 1891, the day has been celebrated as Swiss National Day. The date refers to a historic alliance concluded in 1291 by representatives of three cantons – Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden – to repel together the attacks of external enemies. This alliance was to become the focal point around which the Switzerland of today was built over the next 500 years.According to a Foreign Ministry release, President Sirleaf, on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in her own name, sent hearty congratulations and expressed satisfaction that Liberia and Switzerland have marked decades of close friendship and cooperation through which they continue to achieve mutually rewarding benefits to their two countries and peoples. “Our perspectives on issues of international affairs continue to converge, particularly as we remain committed to the continued pursuit and promotion of world peace and prosperity,” she indicated.She wished her Swiss counterpart continued good health and happiness, and for the Government and people of the Swiss Confederation, renewed peace and prosperity as they observe yet another milestone anniversary of the Federal Charter of 1291. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

President Sirleaf Congratulates President-Elect Van der Bellen of Austria

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message of congratulations to the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Austria, His Excellency Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen, on the occasion marking his election as President of that country. According to a Foreign Ministry release, the President, in her message, expressed how delighted she is to extend heartfelt congratulations and best wishes on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in her own name. She stated further: “I am confident that you bring to this very demanding office a wealth of experience, particularly after a decade-long spell as leader of the Green Party and a retired professor of economics at the University of Vienna.”“We anticipate that your ascendency will serve as a renewed momentum to enriching the bilateral ties already cordially subsisting between Liberia and Austria, thereby exploring new opportunities for increased cooperation in significant fields for mutual benefit of our people and countries.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Nimba Solidarity Threatened?

first_imgThe recent crossover of UP stalwart Harrison S. Karnwea to the Liberty Party (LP) has angered a cross-section of Nimbaians who feel Karnwea’s political decision has threatened the county’s solidarity (unity).Senator Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ) has meanwhile described Karnwea’s cross-carpeting to LP as ‘laughable.’“The whole thing still sounds funny to me on the grounds that my junior brother (Karnwea), who has been with a failed UP, will become one of those political bats masquerading the political terrain,” said Sen. Johnson.PYJ, the political leader of opposition Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), made his reaction clear during a mobile phone interview with the Daily Observer yesterday.His response to Karnwea’s decision to switch parties was prompted by calls from Nimba UP lawmakers that Mr. Karnwea should resign as head of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the agency overseeing the country’s forestry sector.“It is the will of Nimba lawmakers to decide on what is right, but I think Karnwea’s resignation has nothing to benefit our beloved county, neither the country, because he has nothing significant politically to offer the county,” Sen. Johnson countered.According to him, Karnwea “has no weight to present the county to any politician, least to mention a political party.”Johnson said he has gathered from a well-placed source that Mr. Karnwea wants to become a running mate to Cllr. Brumskine, a decision which he said “has no steam.”The multi-party system of governance calls for one to exercise free political will, “but the defection of former UP partisans is because of shame, and a complete misrepresentation of the culture of democracy,” Johnson opined.“Why jump from place to place like a bat only because the UP has failed to deliver on its campaign promises?” PYJ inquired, noting, “They will be paid for their good job at the ballot box on October 10.” A member of the UP Legislative Caucus, Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah, urged Karnwea to resign his post as Managing Director of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority (FDA) “without the least delay.”Like Senator Johnson, Rep. Dunah and Mr. Karnwea are prominent sons of Nimba County, hailing from Zoe-Geh Statutory District, a predominately Gio/Dan region. Mr. Karnwea recently resigned from the governing UP and joined the opposition, LP, of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine. The decision has been described by some politicians as a blow to the candidacy of Vice President Joseph Boakai, who is seeking the presidency at the October polls. VP Boakai has denied being frustrated, particularly by Karnwea’s defection.Meanwhile, Mr. Karnwea, speaking to our reporter from Geneva, Switzerland, where he is attending the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA2020) meeting at the World Economic Forum, questioned the political identity of those that are calling for his resignation. “Who are they that want me to resign my post in government? Do I owe them an explanation for my actions? If they have the power, let them fire me,” Karnwea challenged. But Rep. Dunah said his demand for Karnwea to quit, which is being misunderstood by Karnwea’s supporters, is intended to save him (Karnwea) and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from future political embarrassment.According to Dunah, Karnwea’s action has elevated former Senator Kekura Kpoto’s popular call to “Put your clothes where the sun shines.”“The FDA managing director’s position is a cabinet job and so for Karnwea to keep the job in the sunshine, while looking to secure the next sunshine, is tantamount to undermining the UP. By that, Mr. Karnwea is keeping his cabinet job to campaign against the very cabinet he is working for in an attempt to unseat that government and remain in the next government,” Dunah observed. He added: “Whatever the torrent contains, we are not interested, because it is elementary that intellectuals and factual scarcities invariably lead to mudslinging. So we resist such situation, because it undermines and exposes our candidate, VP Boakai, who is running on the achievements President Sirleaf has made.” According to him, the UP has some critical decisions to make, adding that, “If Karnwea should stay in the cabinet his role could be viewed as King David’s advisor Hushai in the Bible with the rebellious son Absalom.”Dunah recalled how the Trojans did not know what was in the belly of the wooden horse, but “here the UP saw the fanfare of Karnwea’s transfer,” and he questioned, “Should the party’s leadership pretend that this dangerous politics has no bearing on the upcoming elections?”“And so our call for Karnwea to resign is simply a call to save him and the President from embarrassment, a saving gesture not understood by him and his so-called followers. The murky waters of Liberian politics, which Kpoto epitomized is the historical shame to all of us. But in all honesty, to remain in a cabinet and become an opposition is an exhibition of the highest level of Kpoto’s sunshine philosophy that is only self-seeking, unanchored and reveals a desperation of a kind of power greed politicians percieve.”He further noted that it is desperation and greed that lead man in different ways, adding, “If the Karnwea conundrum is allowed to stand, it will not only make Liberia the laughing stock of global politics, but will be recorded in the Guinness Book (of Records).”Dunah said that as a follower of Christ Jesus, who said “no man can serve two masters,” he will not want to be Karnwea in that cabinet room “where everyone knows that whatever policy decisions they make and issues considered are not protected from the opposition, represented by Mr. Karnwea.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

New Apostolic Church Members Decry Injustice, Lack of Accountability

first_imgElder Anthony Armah (pictured), who has spent decades with the church, said for about 16 years now, only Apostles, Bishops, and their supporters have been paid salaries and given benefits from offerings and other money generated by the church.A group under the banner of ‘a new day has come’ from the New Apostolic Church in Liberia, with headquarters on Mechlin and Front Street in Monrovia has decried injustice and lack of accountability by the Apostle Alexander Wreh and his deputy Evangelist Samuel M. Hayfrom for the past 16 years.Elder Anthony J. K. Armah, head of the group, alleged that District Evangelist Hayfrom has ruled the church for the last 16 years performing alone as the ‘manager, accountant, paymaster, logistic and procurement officer, data clerk and warehouse keeper in a church with about 10,000 members.According to elder Armah, Evangelist Hayfrom alone makes administrative decisions and gives meager cash to ministers or pastors as transportation fare to collect offering, tithes, and October Thanksgiving Offering.“There is no financial report of the church from Apostle Wreh and Evangelist Hayfrom for decades. We don’t know what the money generated in the church is being used for. As a church, we need to know on a yearly basis how much is generated and how was it used,” Armah said.He also frowned on why only Europeans are given the opportunity to occupy the office of the Chief Apostle, leaving out Africans, Americans, Asians, and Indians.Elder Armah, who has spent decades with the church, said for about 16 years now, only Apostles, Bishops, and their supporters have been paid salaries and given benefits from offerings and other money generated by the church.“This cash that he pays was designed since 2000; meaning if the transportation fare was L$150 from Voinjama to Foya; the church is still paying, in 2019, the same amount to ministers. He buys and sells alone for the church,” Elder Armah claimed.He said the financial situation of the church has been in secret with no report to its members, a situation that many of them have frowned on for years.Elder Armah said at present, uniforms, bicycles or motorbikes that are provided to help ministers to do evangelical work are no longer forthcoming, and no alternatives. “He is only conducting seminars with few selected persons and for some years, no seminars have been held in many congregations.However, Elder Armah remains thankful to God for the opportunity to establish 37 congregations in Lofa with 27 active, which brings L$80,000 to L$100,000 as offerings on a quarterly basis to the church’s central administration.He said while taking care of the members’ souls remains cardinal, their physical bodies also deserve to be properly taken care of by the church through money generated from their members.According to Elder Armah, Apostle Wreh and Evangelist Hayfrom continue to use funds from the church to enrich themselves at the detriment of the members.“When we grumble Evangelist Hayfrom, he often says we are envious and jealous of him, because he is educated.“Women in the church have not been given key positions, a situation that affects the church in recruiting more members.In response, Evangelist Samuel Hayfrom did not deny or confirm the allegations, but said, “We will come to the media if need be. We have decided to sit as a family and talk about all these allegations.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more