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News Extra pg 7 TOP STORIES

MARCH PLANNED FOR THURSDAY


QUIET PROTEST OVER AMENDED CBL ACT

IM SORRY
CHAIR OF LIBERIAS NATIONAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION ADMITS MISSTEPS, APOLOGIZES TO LEGISLATURE OVER UNAUTHORIZED SPENDING

LEGISLATIVE BEAT

pg 8

CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA


MARKET BUYING AND SELLING RATES LIBERIAN DOLLARS PER US DOLLAR

FrontPage
www.frontpageafricaonline.com
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 2014

BUYING MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2014 SATURDAY, MARCH 1, 2014 MONDAY, MARCH 3, 2014 L$83.00/US$1 L$83.00/US$1 L$83.00/US$1

SELLING L$84.00/US$1 L$84.00/US$1 L$84.00/US$1

These are indicative rates based on results of daily surveys of the foreign exchange market in Monrovia and its environs. The rates are collected from the Forex Bureaux and the commercials banks. The rates are not set by the Central Bank of Liberia.
Source: Research, Policy and Planning Department, Central Bank Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia

VOL 8 NO.547

EPS BOSS DESIGNATE MAKES REVELATION AT CONFIRMATION HEARING

PRICE L$40

LIBERIA IS BOKOHARAM HIDE-OUT


Terrorism is spreading now. Nobody needs to tell you that Boko-Haram is next door Nigeria. Some are using Liberia as a sleep-out where they come and sleep when they do their thing, they come as Nigerian businessmen to sleep after a period of time they are lost and return to Nigeria". Mr. Frank Nyekan, Executive Protection Service (EPS)

LEGISLATIVE BEAT pg. 6

See PG 2

F
Monrovia -

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ormer Liberian President Charles Taylor is currently serving 50 years imprisonment in the United Kingdom for aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone but the trauma that accompanies his long term prison sentence continues as his wife and children have been denied British Visa which could permit access to Mr. Taylor. Victoria Chaima Addison Taylor, who has been married to the now-imprisoned former Liberian leader for over 11 years resulting in three daughters, request for a three month visa to visit her husband has been rejected by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration Services but Mrs. Taylor has indicated her desire to pursue the issue with national and international human rights organizations. A copy of an unclassified UK Visas and Immigration document denying Mrs. Taylors request, obtained by FrontPageAfrica, marked refusal of entry clearance states that the British government could not interview Mrs. Taylor based on financial and employment information as declared, passport and travel history, family circumstances and other supporting documents. The UK Visas and Immigration stated in the conditions of denial that in order to access the intentions of Mrs. Taylor, it had to consider her circumstances in Liberia based on the information she provided with her application. The document states: You have provided limited evidence of your circumstances in Liberia. You state that you are a housewife and at questions 80 of your visa application form you have neglected to provide details of your total monthly income. At questions 81 and 82 you claim to receive monthly money from other sources, including friends and family. You state that you have savings, properties and other incomes. At question 83 you state that $2000 US (1,209 at exchange rate of 1:$1.65 US of your total monthly income is used to support your family members, but as you have failed to declare a monthly income your financial circumstances cannot be assessed. The only documentation provided is what appear to be photocopied property documents which cannot be verified as the originals have not been provided. You have therefore failed to provide any credible evidence of a regular income or any credible evidence to substantiate your claimed circumstances in Liberia. The UK Visa and Immigration declared that there is risk that Mrs. Taylor and her family could remain in the United Kingdom when granted entry Visa based on their current circumstances in Liberia. But family sources told FrontPageAfrica that the British governments fear could not be more further from the truth. Mrs. Taylor has no reason to remain in the UK, her only intention of going there with the children is to enable them to see their father and her husband. Despite the former presidents wife assertions, the UK Visa and Immigration counter: The purpose of your trip is to visit your husband. I am aware that your husband, Charles Taylor has been sentenced to 50 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting the commission of war crimes and he is currently serving his sentence in the UK. The attraction for you and your family to remain in the UK having gained entry is a risk that needs to be weighed up against your current circumstances. You have now lost the security that your husbands presence provided and on the basis of the very limited information about your circumstances, I am not satisfied that you are living in settled circumstances in Liberia. UK Not satisfied with Mrs. Taylor entry The responsible officer at UK Visa and Immigration Services declared that Mrs. Taylor could not be granted entry into the UK because her presentation was not satisfactory. You stated that you will be staying in Newcastle United which I have taken to mean Newcastle. Your husband is currently serving a long sentence at HMP

I have therefore refused your application because I am not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities that you meet all the requirements of the relevant Paragraph (s) of the United Kingdom Immigration Rules, the final refusal decision stated.
Frankland which is in Durham. You have failed to provide any evidence of available accommodation or indeed an estimate as to the cost of staying in private rented accommodation for three months. You have provided one photocopied bank statement. With the other limited documentation submitted with your application, it cannot be verified as the original has not been provided. The statement is dated from 29/04/2013 until 30/09/2013. Taken of face value the only deposit into this account has been has been the source of this cash on 27/07/2013 for 29,900 US$( 18,088). There is no credible evidence to establish regular monthly income. As I am not satisfied as to the source of the funds, I am not satisfied that the funds will be available to you. In view of this, I am not satisfied that you will be adequately maintained and accommodated in the United Kingdom, or that you can meet the cost of your return or onward journey. Paragraphs 41 (vi) & (vii) of the Immigration Rules, argued the responsible UK Visa Officer. The Officer declared that taking into account all the documents submitted by Mrs. Taylor to support her request to visit the UK, she was not genuinely seeking entry as a visitor and that she intends to leave the UK at the end of her visit in keeping with Paragraphs 41 (i) & (ii) of the UK Immigration Rules. I have therefore refused your application because I am not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities that you meet all the requirements of the relevant Paragraph (s) of the United Kingdom Immigration Rules, the final refusal decision stated.

Katie OByrne, Doughty Street Chambers in an advice on appeal document indicated that Mrs. Taylor has the rights to appeal and could have good prospects of a successful appeal on human rights grounds which should be submitted online by 31 January 2014. Mrs. Taylor and the children have good prospects of a successful appeal on human rights grounds based on the arguments set out in this advice. Evidence and documents will need to be collated within the next few days and the appeal notice submitted online by 31 January 2014 to be in time. Further instructions will need to be taken to obtain relevant information as outlined above, Katie OByrne stated in the advice on appeal. Loyalists ill-treatment claim Loyalists to the former Liberian president and family members have constantly complained that he is being subjected to inhumane treatment in his prison cell. Spokesman for the Taylor Family, Sando Johnson Senator (Bomi County, NPP) recently stated that Taylor is being "ill-treated" in his British jail. Information we got revealed that he is not given food and even water ... If this continues for the next two days, Taylor may die in jail, family spokesman Johnson said at a press conference in Monrovia. But a Spokesman for the British Prison Service dismissed the claims as total nonsense. Taylor was sentenced on Wednesday, May 30, 2013 to 50 years in prison for his role in atrocities committed in Sierra Leone during its civil war in the 1990s. Mr. Taylor was found guilty of aiding and abetting, as well as planning, some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history, said Richard Lussick, the judge who presided over the sentencing at the international criminal court near The Hague. He said the lengthy prison term underscored Mr. Taylors position as a governments leader during the time the crimes were committed. Leadership must be carried out by example, by the prosecution of crimes, not the commission of crimes, the judge said in a statement read before the court. The sentence means that Mr. Taylor, 64, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

FrontPage COMMENTARY EDITORIAL BRANDING THE LEGISLATURE THROUGH


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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frontpage

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Commentary

PRESIDENT SIRLEAFS RELATIVE MUST TAKE THE LEAD HERE

AN UNHERALDED incident on Valentines Day, February 14, this year has resurrected the debate over an unheralded war in post-war Liberia, the issue of rape which which is rapidly taking away innocence of scores of young girls, falling prey to predators hiding under the cloak of darkness. THE INCIDENT IN QUESTION involves a 12-year-old girl, whose name is being withheld because of the nature of the case. The incident so happens to have taken place in the home of a close relative of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who happens to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. HER ALLEGED perpetrator has mysteriously slipped through the hands of law enforcement authorities and her family, particularly the grandmother, is refusing to cooperate with the police. THE RELATIVE of the President is considered to be the victims granddaughter but is actually caring for the girl because her actual mother is dead. SIRLEAF, Africa's first female president, came to power in Liberia promising to tackle the problem of rape, which had become increasingly common during the previous 14 years of conflict in the country. Sirleaf drew attention to the issue during her 2006 inauguration when she said: "I know of the struggle because I have been a part of it. I recall the inhumanity of confinement, the terror of attempted rape." THIS MYSTERY comes on the heels of a number of highprofile cases involving young girls who died mysteriously under similar fashion. Young rape survivor Olivia Zinnah of Liberia was buried 22 December 2012 after suffering years of pain and surgeries following a rape when she was only 7 years old. According to the Liberian Ministry of Gender and Development, Olivia was the fourth girl to die of raperelated injuries in 2012. The ministry covered the costs of her funeral. Olivia Zinnah is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled Small Small Thing to be released this spring. In an article published by Front Page Africa only a few days ago, the producers expressed hope that the documentary will raise awareness about rape and gender violence and also put pressure on the government to find and prosecute the perpetrator. IN MARCH 2010, Defendants Hans and Mardea received a Verdict of Guilty and were sentenced to death by hanging. The ruling was made by Judge Blamo Dixon, presiding judge of Criminal Court B at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill in Monrovia. The Supreme Court of Liberia is yet to rule on the appeal. The pair was arrested in January 2008 by the Liberia National Police (LNP) after the death of 13-year-old Angel Togba, a relative ofMardea and who until her death, lived with the couple as a foster daughter. The case remains a mystery for many as its verdict lingers in the high court. MANY SEE the election of Sirleaf and a government inclusive to the most women since the founding of Africas oldest republic, as perhaps the last hope for the abuse of young Liberian girls. In contrast, the issue of rape remains a dogging concern. In 2012, the ministry of gender and development reported a total of 2,493(TWO THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE) sexual and gender-based violence crimes across Liberia, up from 2029 cases in 2010. A majority of these (58 per cent) were rape cases, of which 92 per cent or 1,348 involved rapes of children between the ages of three months to 17 years. In the first six months of 2013, four referral hospitals in Monrovia alone treated 814 rape cases, 95 per cent of which were children. In 2012, a total of five child deaths were recorded as a result of rape. So far this year, ten children have died as a direct result of being raped. The incidents are rising and becoming more brutal. MORE THAN a decade after the war, rape remains an issue. A total of 1,475 rape cases were officially reported in 2011, according to a recent gender-based violence statistics report prepared by the Norwegian Refugee Council. But most rapes, many sources there said, go unreported. The high level of abuse of children marks a troubling change in the nature of the violence, experts said. During the war men systematically raped women who were unknown to them. Now most of the

DO NOT LOSE THE WAR ON RAPE, TOO

B. McCarthy Weh, II, bmwlis2011@gmail.com, Contributing Writer


In my last electronic submission, I promised that the next anticipatory research/legislative article would center on Political Will in the Public Sector: a look at the Legislature- case study on the Legislative Information Service. While compiling research materials and notes for this article, I tuned in to my radio one bright morning a fortnight ago and the Legislature was under discussion. As I listened religiously, I heard callers making inputs. I counted the callers one after the other. In the end, when I tabulated my results as to the, for and against, out of thirteen callers there was one individual who called to speak positively of the Legislature; although he sounded positively, yet he also slammed the August Body in some areas. However, I counted that caller as the only person who said anything positive in favor of the Legislature. I began to ponder on what to do in helping to assist to improve on the Legislatures reputation and image. My mind triggered towards nation brand, a concept I got acquainted with during my graduate studies at GIMPA; in a professional development lecture series. How can we brand the Legislature? I thought! I concluded that if there is nation brand, then there can be institutional brand legislative branding. Considering the gravity and level of heightened public sentiments, I felt convinced that a much more tangible and meaningful solution was required. I of course concluded on reforms I mean critical or, as the case may be, radical reforms. Supporting clues for reforms are detailed on pages 5-9 of the main document. Nation Brand vis-a-vis Legislative Brand Nation branding has become a popular and desired phrase since coined by Simon Anholt in 1996. Anholt, a British expert, is referred to as the founder, champion and proponent of the Nation Branding and Place Branding terms, concepts and field of study and practice. However, before delving further into nation branding vis-a-vis legislative branding, let us look briefly at branding from an economic or marketing standpoint. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a name, term, sign, symbol or design; or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. Nation branding is a field of theory and practice which aims to measure, build and manage the reputation of countries (closely related to place branding). Some approaches applied, such as in increasing importance on the symbolic value of products, have led countries to emphasize their distinctive characteristics. The branding and image of a nation-state Branding the Legislature through Critical Reforms Abridged Version of the LIS (11-page) Anticipatory Research Article Branding the Legislature is to ensure it works more effectively and attracts an improved public image and the successful transference of this image to its exports is just as important as what they actually produce and sell.
v

CRITICAL REFORMS

The concept of branding the Legislature If there is nation branding, it is as safer to talk of legislative branding in certain context. The nation is considered a whole set while institutions within the nation are subsets. The Legislature is a subset of a whole, the nation. Therefore, the (53rd) Legislature being a subset of the Liberian nation-state can execute a branding project. Hence, ejecting tip from the concept of nation branding as well as individual and organizational branding, the concept of Legislative branding suffices. Drawing cue from the AMA perspective of brand, in context, branding the Legislature would mean getting the people of Liberia to see the Legislature as a cardinal medium through which social and economic solutions are derived in addressing their many confronted problems. Legislative Branding being considered as a sub-notch to Nation Brand, can be understood as building the reputation and integrity of a Legislature, its members and general institution; the decision or policy it makes the action it takes and whatever it does and the way it does them. Legislative branding embodies a connect between it and that of Jeremy Benthams Greatest good for the greatest number. This means that legislative actions, decisions/ policies be carved and harnessed for the greatest good and happiness for the greatest number reducing pain and suffering and maximizing happiness, or if you may, producing the greatest amount of pleasure and accounting for minimum amount of suffering. Legislative branding implies that individual and collective (lawmakers) values are driven less in the interest of personal aggrandizement and more by national interest. To address what seems to be a torn-apart reputation and blurred image, the process of branding the Legislature must commence; and I mean must, by firstly undergoing critical reforms, which is sine qua non to effectively branding the Legislature. Areas for reforms1 as commencement to branding the Legislature include: Commissioning of periodic audits of the secretariats of the Legislature at most twice a term; at the middle and end of a given legislative term; Establishing/Strengthening internal audit departments at the Legislature with semi-independence status backed by full technical, administrative and logistical supports; Making Electronic Voting System mandatory in both chambers to enhance the countrys level of parliamentary democracy; Introduction of Administration and Management for inclusion of Departmental budget lines exclusive and distinct from budgetary allotments for Members in the National Budget; Branding the Legislature through Critical Reforms Abridged Version of the LIS 3 Branding the Legislature is to ensure it works more effectively and attracts an improved public image Extraction of Administration from Rules, Order and Administration to be called Committee on Rules and Order
was also anchored in the fact that little ones as old as 7 years who are raped by men of age should be blamed on dress code. In similar tone and fashion, she looked in the face of Justice Wolokollie and said "Madam Associate Justice, I respect your views, but we will do this through the courts." MONTHS AFTER THE rhetoric, rape cases continue to linger and predators continue to escape the law. This has to stop. This is why we are challenging the high-profile women in the Sirleaf administration to wake up, stand up and do something about rape now when they have the power and influence to make a difference. WE CANNOT AND MUST NOT allow powerful predators to ruin the lives of our young women and escape the wrath of justice. Making rape a non-billable offense is not enough, the government must take the fight a step further and bring those powerful predators to book. THIS IS why we are calling on the Presidents relative, whose name we are withholding to protect the victim to help authorities, including the Liberia National Police and the Ministry of Gender, get to the bottom of this mystery. IT IS NO SECRET that Liberia, under President Sirleaf, has lost the war on corruption. We must not sit by and lose the war on rape, too. This nightmare must come to an end.

perpetrators 85% according to Doctors Without Borders know the victim first hand. THE ISSUE WAS highlighted with much fanfare last year at the launch of Liberia's 2013 anti-rape campaign amid some disagreements between Sirleaf, Associate Justice Jamesetta Wolokollie and Chief Zanzan Karwah, head of the National Traditional Council of Liberia. WOLOKOLLIE acknowledged that courts dangled over cases because "at times evidence adduced is either not sufficient or immaterial to establish the gravity of the case as depicted in a lawsuit filed." Amongst issues dived into is the involvement of hospitals in getting needed record relating to a particular incident of rape. CHIEF ZANZAN KARWAH committed his group to spreading the message about the danger associated with rape but suggested a balance in the equation in that parents should get involved in the process by stopping their girls children from engaging in indecent dressing. Most men including women are of the conviction that indecent dress code by girls children is a principal source or case of rape. PRESIDENT SIRLEAF, in contrast said: "Chief Zanzan Karwah, this is not about dress; this is total wickedness and must stop," the president said. The Presidents disagreement

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WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR STORIES ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

COMMENTS FROM FPA ONLINE


THEOPHILUS G. GLAY HEALTH TEAM SUPERVISOR AT MUTUAL BENEFITS ASSURANCE COMPANY Considering the many roles that Mr. Woewiyu has played in our national history: I mean dating back to the brutal war that has ended us this far, having served as erstwhile president pro tempore during the Taylor's regime, and former Washington spokesman of the defunct NPFL, I personally wonder what new ideology he has got to offer the Liberian people in this present era? Or are these older generation telling us that besides governmental jobs, they got nothing else to do? Folks, before I end, is he still a citizen of this country considering the " Level of Double Consciousness and Heritage " person like Tom has been enjoying? I think the likes of Tom should be thinking about going into investment that would help to providing jobs for some of our citizens other than vying for a position he once served in. MADINKA LEE Liberians are so war traumatized, bereft of any semblance of dignity, critical thinking and conviction of decency to say NO to perpetrators of serious human rights abuses? The "yana boy" down at Waterside has more decency and credibility than this "'Thomas Smith" guy who fled the Ducor Hotel by strapping himself into a mattress and jumping down into Rock Crusher area during an attempted robbery. Stand UP and say "no" to all war mongers in the next election, for once! Grow some balls, Liberians! BEN NMAH You are so right. Our people and land needs to be healed...A case in point...Sister Lauren commission report...This government is unprincipled as all reports never see the light of the day...The are used as tools to manipulate our people and is a national shame. SYLVESTER MOSES Mr. Worweiyu would do much better proving to the NEC that he is qualified, and convincing the voters in Bassa County into electing him their senator. But calling the loss of over 250, 000 lives in a country then of about 2.5 million a legitimate uprising is the most heinous ever heard anywhere in recent times. He was the Minister of Defense, and directed the war, so to talk about unforeseeable consequences demonstrates the danger of every Tom, Dick and Harry with guns believing that they are Napoleons. The 1980 coup was illegitimate, so too was the NPFL insurgency, and the leaders of both shared the guilt of seeking power outside the constitution. Let the nightmarish lesson of our tragedy be that henceforth Liberians will resist redeemers and freedom fighters claiming to eradicate rampart corruption or free the people from dictatorships. When elephants fight the grass suffer is a truism worth remembering. Of course, the poor are always the victims; the contestants eventually share the spoils of war. EDWARD ROYE, LIBERIA COLLEGE Let Tom participate in the ensuing senatorial elections, was about it? today others who physically participated in the civil war are masquerading unharmed and they are in top places, why can't Tom participate? Gen. Alhaji GV Kromah is lecturer both at the Babangida school of int'l relations and the Foreign service institute - may be he is there to teach how to commit mass murder and go free, Gen. PYJ leader of of the INPFL is senator, gen. Isaac Nyenabo , director of war of LURD is senator and bragging about owning two master degrees with 4.00 GPA even though his attendance in those classes remain mystery, Alex tyler, Abel Massalay all members of the defunct INPFL are legislators, gen. Zoe Pennue and countless others are in the house. let all the generals of the LURD, NPFL, ULIMO, MODEL and the countless others run for any post. the voters in Liberia are even weary of the so-called clean people because these clean people threw rocks and hid their hands. those who confessed to their evil deeds are better than those who are in the business of blackmailing others. NYEMADE WANI, AVERAGE JOE AT POWER TO THE PEOPLE He cant participate because he has nothing new to say. And yes, there are many others but you watch this election. We wil kick every one of them out. 99 days for rogue. JAY WION, WORKS AT NPRC Although I am not a fan of this man who has admitted to being a being a player on TEAM NPFL, if the master tactician who conceived, planned and financed the 14-year genocide is rewarded with the gold medal prize (President of Liberia), then why not Tom Woewiyu If he is who the Bassa people want to represent them?

The Editor: It has been quite a time I have articulated my opinion on the evolving political happenings in our country Please permit me a space as my conscience finds it appealing to react to a stupefied legislation targeted at one of Liberias dependables. Ever since the inception of the Madam Sirleafs regime, we continue to witness the implacable wave of unprecedented corruption de-escalating our development drives. This deceptional display of bad governance has shredded and eroded every effort by international donor organization in transforming Liberia into a better economy. Until we see the Renaissance of Liberias hope, mustering through the patriotic consciousness of a man send by God to rescue his children from the rule of SIRLEAFISTOCRACY, we must fight back. This empowering policy which has so much effected positively the lives of many Liberians is first of its kind over 167 years. If anyone thinks that Liberians will sit and allow such barbaric and demonic laws disparage their hopes into frustration and bewilderment, I am afraid that they will be playing with fire. We should by no means accept such a gag, for in this political charade, there is much more than fundamental rights of Dr. Mills Jones at stake. Constitutional matters of principle are being debated here, the right of a citizen of Liberia to freedom to political participation, the right to a better life are the very foundations of our existence as a democratic nation are in the balance. These selfish and power, greed morons of contemporary Liberia have vowed to impoverish the masses in conditions that are excruciating and appalling. When I think about this trickery up of the wicked past of Liberia history when the oligarch ruled like their forefathers on large plantation farms in the Americas, my heart is filled with a salient difference that reveals itself. The tradition of all tyrants weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the oppressed. And just as they seem to be occupied with self-aggrandizement, creating wealth for their families that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of Economy quagmire, they anxiously juggle up the spirits of resilience. Notwithstanding, we are convinced that at one time chairman of the governance commission; she has always supported legislation that improves the lives of every Liberian. She has taken an oath to defend and protect the constitution of the Republic. It is now time that she MUST send a message of veto. This bill must be vetoed by the president in all its entirety. It is segregative, anti-democratic, violates the supreme laws of Liberia and a proposal to send Liberia into utter backwardness. Finally and most obviously, well match to victory fearing no foe, defending the sacredness on which our country was founded. Gabriel M.J. Nyanti nyantigabriel@yahoo.com

THE PRESIDENT MUST VETO THE 4G DIRECTED AT DR. MILLS JONES

AMENDED CBL ACT DEBATE

Mr Darius Dillon, I read your recent statement wherein you stated that you have been accused of being a "gay" because of your "friendship and connections with Mr. Robert Sirleaf.." You furthered stated, "for whatever reasons best known to them, I'm not gonna be bothered over that." If your statement was a press statement issued for the media, I can say with all fairness, as a journalist, that you felt far below the belt. According to you, you've been accused of being a "gay". Whether or not you have "connections" or "friendship" with Mr. Sirleaf is not an issue and no one cares about it. Why would you chose to mention his name in your statement knowing very well that the issue you are responding to is a controversial one? Based on what you wrote and from what I read, you are saying that Mr. Sirleaf is a "gay" and you're not but yet you're enjoying the spoils of his friendship. Your statement is a case Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus when Caesar uttered those words, "Et tu, Brute" It also reminds me what novelist C. S. Lewis said about friendship and I ought to share it with you: 'Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: What! You too?' Yes, you too, Darius Dillon? Sincerely, Gboko John Stewart gboko90@gmail.com

YOU, TOO, DARIUS DILLON?

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EDITORIAL TEAM

The Editor, Mr. Tow Juconte Woewiyu a war crime culprit and one time Charles Taylors former Defense Minister of the Charles Taylors NPFL killing machine which as a means to grab money and power, knifed and opened pregnant women, chopped up babies, tortured and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and destroyed the country have stated that: Rumors that I refused to come to testify during the TRC hearing are false, said Woewiyu. I was blocked, deliberately blocked from coming to testify. Whatever the reason was for the Commissioners of the TRC is their business, but I did not get the chance to express myself about the Tragedy in our country; so this is that opportunity. For us this categorical statement by someone who supervised over the massive and gruesome massacres of innocent civilians and the destruction of the country is seriously confusing to say the least. Accordingly, we like to call on the former Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia, Cllr. Jerome Verdier or one of his fellow Commissioners to ascertain what this erstwhile ally of the war criminal Charles Taylor has said regarding his Woewiyu being "blocked, deliberately blocked from coming to testify" at the TRC hearing in Monrovia not long ago. We are confident that such clarification is absolutely necessary, given the fact that Mr. Woewiyu, who is widely known for his notorious supervision over the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians has bounced back into national politics and aspires to become a senator again after proving that he is no other but like his fellow hypocritical and greedy money seeking politicians who conceal their greed for wealth and power behind public service and ideological conviction. Thanks exceedingly, Dortu-Siboe Doe

WAS TOM WOEWIYU FROM TESTIFYING AT THE TRC?

Sports Reporter, A. Macaulay Sombai,macaulay.sombai@ FrontpageAfricaonline.com, 077217428 COUNTY NEWS TEAM Grand Bassa, Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, 0777432042 Bong County, Selma Lomax, selma.lomax@ frontpageafricaonline.com, 0886-484666 Sinoe County, Leroy N.S Kanmoh, leroy.kanmoh@ frontpageafricaonline.com 0886257528 BUSINESS/ADVERTISING Kadi Coleman Porte, 0886-304-178/ 0777832753, advertise@ frontpageafricaonline.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

PAGE RONT

CORRUPTION WATCH

Frontpage

Page 5

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY


Rodney D. Sieh, editor@frontpageafricaonline.com; rodney.sieh@frontpageafricaonline.com
investigation into corruption surrounding a proposed deal involving forest So when the Ministry of Justice recently came down with an indictment of Wogbeh and others, eyebrows were raised at the omission of Chenoweth and others, whose names were on the original documentations which led to the indictment. Interestingly, the grand jury came down with the following indictment, discovering that Wogbeh and others did conspire to, and did do and commit the crimes of Economic Sabotage and Criminal Conspiracy, in violation of Chapter 15, Subchapter F, Section 15.80(a)(b)(c)and Chapter 10, Section 10.4(1)(2)(3)(4) respectively of the New Penal Law of Liberia, Title 26, Liberian Codes and Chapter 18, Section 18.9(b)(c)Economic Sabotageof the National Forestry Reform Law (NFRL)(2006), The other indictees include: Jangar Kamara, former Manager, Commercial Forestry,of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA),

PUP INDICTMENT LEAVES MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Monrovia ost in the recent indictment of Mr. Moses Wogbeh, the former head of the Forestry Development Authority and several others involved in the Private Use Permits controversy, was the name of Dr. Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture. Last September, the watchdog group, Global Witness reported that in the span of only two years, companies had used a legal loophole to secretively parcel out dozens of logging contracts covering a quarter of the countrys land area roughly 26,000 km2 once again threatening Liberias forests and the people who depend upon them. The new licenses termed Private Use Permits, according to GW, contain no sustainability requirements and therefore would essentially allow companies to clear 40 percent of Liberias forests, including almost half of Liberias primary intact forests. Private Use Permits provide much less revenue to the Government than other types of logging licenses. While the report found no evidence that officials were involved in corruption or the forging of land deeds, GW reported that evidence collected showed that the following individuals played a role in awarding permits: Those officials included: Minister of Agriculture Florence Chenoweth: The Chairwoman of the Forestry Development Authoritys Board of Directors, Minister Chenoweth signed all of the Private Use Permit contracts for which we GW had signature information. GW reported: Under the Ministers direction in February 2012 the Board ordered a moratorium on the activation of all Private Use Permits except the four then operating. This ban has been repeatedly violated, and in June 2012 it was reported that the Forestry Development Authority had authorized the activation of 13 Private Use Permits. The Minister remained the Board Chairwoman during the period that the February moratorium was violated. Wogbeh was head of the FDA, the government agency responsible for approving and allowing operations in Private Use Permits. Wogbeh, like Chenoweth, reportedly signed all of the Private Use Permit contracts for which GW had signature information and has rigorously defended the licenses legality. The report also cited FDA mapping staff including Augustine Johnson and John Kantor authored documents validating most Private Use Permits. Our investigation identified one case where a verification document signed by Kantor appears to have been falsified as it is virtually identical to another verification document. Johnson was fired from the FDA following a Liberian Government

with a history of illegal logging in both its home country and around the world. A follow-up audit of the General Auditing Commission borne out of the FDA-PUP saga for the period January 2006 to April 2012 to the National Legislature and the President of Liberia recommended among others, the dismissal of the managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, Mr. Moses Wogbeh and the to Reprimand the Chairman of the Board of Directors Madam Florence Chenoweth who is also the Minister of Agriculture. Chenoweth was never penalized or cited by the president. Many political and legal observers see the indictment of Wogbeh as a clear sign of selective justice and a signal of the Sirleafs government reluctance to take the fight against corruption to the status quo. The indictment did come down hard on Wogbe who along with Kamara deliberately connived to defraud the Government of Liberia and make an opportunity for the PUP holders to defraud the Government of Liberia, purposely and knowingly disregarded the President of Liberias moratorium placed on all PUP activities and instructed that shipment of logs that had been harvested under the illegal PUPS from the Port of Buchanan must be allowed as long as all requisite financial obligations are settled. As the result of Co Defendants action, over 40,000cm3 of logs were Shipped. of the City of Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Benedict Sagbeh, The indictment went a step further to conclude that between the former In House Legal Counsel of the Forestry Development period April 2010 to December 2011, that two other co-Defendants, Authority(FDA) of the City of Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, Mr. Augustine B. M. Johnson and TorwanYanty whilst serving as John Kantor, former Technical Manager of the Forestry Development Manager of GIS and Expert and GIS Coordinator/Acting Manager Authority(FDA), Augustine B. M. Johnson, former Manager GIS of respectively, knowingly and purposely did generate false and the Forestry Development Authority,TorwanYantayformer Acting misleading verification reports wherein the reports predated the Manager for Geo Information System of FDA, David Blayee, former application for Private Use Permit (PUP) and their alleged visits to County Surveyor, Grand Bassa County, of the Ministry of Lands the field, and arbitrarily increased land areas than the areas contained Mines & Energy, of the City of Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, and in the deed of the applicants which served as a basis for the issuance Maxwell Gwee, former Director of Cartography, Ministry of Lands of PUPs over areas larger than those contained in the deeds of the Mines & Energy. applicants and over area that were designated as proposed protected Ironically, an investigation by GW, Save My Future Foundation areas in violation of Section 18.9(b)( c) the National Forestry and Sustainable Development Institute also uncovered evidence of Reform Law(2006) with intent to defraud and make an opportunity Permits awarded in violation of the countrys Community Rights for the PUP holders to defraud the Private Prosecutor, the affected Law, suspected forged documents and systematic neglect for due communities, and the Government and people of Liberia. process in the allocation of Private Use Permits. While some 66 While Chenoweth continue to serve in her capacity as minister, Private Use Permits were awarded to a range of companies, by far Wogbeh and other accused are bracing for what could be a long and the largest beneficiary is Atlantic Resources. Atlantic is registered in rugged trial likely to be dogged by claims of selective justice. Liberia but is linked to logging giant Samling, a Malaysian company

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LIBERIA IS BOKO-HARAM LEADERS HIDE-OUT


POOR MATHEMATICS SKILLS
Terrorism is spreading now. Nobody needs to tell you that Boko-Haram is next door Nigeria. Some are using Liberia as a sleep-out where they come and sleep when they do their thing, they come as Nigerian businessmen to sleep after a period of time they are lost and return to Nigeria. They commit the act when they are being search for they run to Liberia from Liberia to Nigeria is not far. You have to look at it critically because election is coming; you need protection here and at home there is a need for some kind of legislation that will protect legislators.
HENRY KARMO (0886522495) HENRYKARMO47@GMAIL.COM

EPS BOSS DESIGNATE MAKES REVELATION AT CONFIRMATION HEARING

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LEGISLATIVE BEAT

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bong County Superintendent Laments lackluster Performance of Students in Math

Selma Lomax, selma.lomax@frontpageafricaonline.com

Gbarnga, Bong Countyhe superintendent of Bong County, Selena PolsonMappy, has described as unacceptable the lack of interest in the study of mathematics and science related courses by students in Liberia. Polson-Mappy who stated this in Gbarnga Saturday during an interactive forum with students of primary schools said the trend must be checked if the country has to move forward. She expressed sadness that Liberia has remained largely a consumer nation because of lack of investment in science and technology in the past. She said there could be no meaningful progress in the country without promoting the study of mathematics and sciences. She added that the government would continue to support any efforts aimed at enhancing the performance of students in Mathematics and the revamping of the teaching and learning of mathematics at all level of the education strata in Liberia. The Bong County Superintendent commended the effort of the teachers of Bong County School system at demystifying and popularizing mathematics, saying it was in tandem with the transformation agenda of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Polson-Mappy said that for Vision 2030 to be a reality, efforts must be vigorously pursued toward science education, research and development which she described as the bedrock of national development. She added the very existence of any area of human endeavor was based on Mathematics and mathematical science saying even IT which is a product of mathematics has taken over on the global stage. She expressed the need to motivate and encourage upcoming mathematicians, saying For the nation, Liberia to keep abreast with global trends of technological advancement, and for our pupils and students to achieve international recognition; our secondary school students and upcoming mathematical scientists should be motivated to participate in the mathematics improvement programme. She added that for Liberia to achieve her quest for sustainable economic growth and development there was the need for collective promotion of excellence in science and technology because investment in science is vital for developing nations and a country that neglects science education for its citizens does so at its own peril. Polson-Mappy said: It is an established fact that sustained public investments in science in the developed nations generate impressive returns; but reverse is the case in Africa as lack of investments has robbed her of scientists who feel alienated from their own societies who now ply their trade elsewhere in the industrialized world. Former Bong County Chief Education Officer (CEO), K.G.S. Kapu, disclosed that the declaration of 2014 as Bong Mathematical Year was to underscore the importance of mathematics in development of the county. He said various activities have been lined up to popularize and promote the study of mathematics nationwide.

Monrovia he Director designate of the elite security guard, the Executive Protection Service (EPS) Mr. Frank Nyekan has revealed that Liberia is being used as a hide-out for leaders of Nigeria Islamic terrorist group Boko-Haram. Mr. Nyekan made the revelation Tuesday when he appeared before the Senate committee on security and intelligence for confirmation. Boko Haram is an Islamic militant and terrorist organization based in the northeast of Nigeria. Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the organization seeks to establish a "pure" Islamic state ruled by Sharia Law putting a stop to what it deems "Westernization." The group is known for attacking Christians and government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, kidnapping western tourists, but has also assassinated members of the Islamic establishment. Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2001 and 2013. Boko Haram Next Door Speaking before the Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence Tuesday, the EPS boss-designate alarmed: Terrorism is spreading now nobody needs to tell you that Boko-Haram is next door Nigeria some are using Liberia as a sleep-out where they come and sleep when they do their thing, they come as Nigerian business men to sleep after a period of time they are lost and gone back to Nigeria, they commit the act when they are being search for they run to Liberia from Liberia to Nigeria is not far. You have to look at it critically because election is coming you need protection here and at home there is a need for some kind of legislation that will protect legislators. The EPS director-designate made the comment as he sought to convince members of the national legislature of the need to institute good security measures for their safety, through training of a special group that will be charged with the responsibility of providing that August body with security.

Said Nyekan: Anybody can walk here now with a pen Knife to attack any of you legislators. Even if you cannot give them weapon, give them advanced training in anti-terrorism and crowd control. This place is vulnerable; this Capitol Hill holds the three branches of government. Asked why the EPS is not providing protection to the Legislature the EPS directordesignate said: The act creating the EPS does not call for EPS to provide security for any other person besides the President and the Vice President and their immediate relatives unless the President agrees that certain individuals in the government should receive executive protection. Mr. Nyekan craved the indulgence of the Senate to see his wealth of over 30 years of experience in the security sector of Liberia and confirm him as head of the elite protection service of Liberia. He also promised to promote reconciliation between the Media and officers of the EPS learning from experience of his predecessor, Othello Warwick, who took swipes at the media during last years World Press Freedom Day, that he would use his guns against the media while protecting the elites. Response to SATU involvement

Responding to allegations about his involvement in the Lutheran church massacre during the regime of former Liberia President Samuel Doe, while serving the Special AntiTerrorist Unit, Nyekan dismissed the allegations as false brought on by petty jealous people, as he professed his innocence. Though he confirmed being a member of Does Special AntiTerrorist Unit (SATU), Nyekan said, he was not a member of the group when the massacre was carried out at the Lutheran church. Making reference to a specific allegation from Mr. Eric Bracewell, a former Deputy Director of the SSS, Mr. Nyekan said: I forgive Bracewell for what he is doing, because I know whatever he is saying, he is saying them without evidence. They are all baseless allegations without evidence. I have evidence to disprove Bracewells allegations. I have a letter in my possession from the Brigadier officer of the AFL relieving me from the SATU on the 17, of November 1986 and transferring me to the A-company of the 4th battalion in Maryland County. I was not with SATU up to 1989 the year the Massacre was carried at the Lutheran church. Responding to the issue of imprisonment for inciting the SATU against Doe, Nyekan also

said, it was false because he was sent to jail by the late President Doe on allegations of wanting to overthrow the government after his return from Israel where he had gone to receive training in Anti-Terrorism for one year. The SATU under the Leadership of President Doe was referred to as the Death squad of former President Doe. The unit was charged with the responsibility of carrying out special security operations. The group was reportedly put on a Mission by Doe to arrest Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, now President of the Republic of Liberia because of her outspokenness against the Doe leadership. Bracewell who claimed to be a former colleague of Nyekan accused the EPS boss designate, of misleading him against two ex-director of the than Special Security Service (SSS) whom he said included Chris Massaquoi, and Victor Helb because of his (Bracewell) close relationship with Madam Sirleaf. He also accused Nyekan of being behind a plan that turn all the US advisors against Former EPS director Sam Brisbane as a result of what Bracewell referred to as his constant lies as well as one of the masterminds behind the killing of journalist Charles Gbenyon in 1985.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

he recent passage into law of a bill amending provisions of the act creating the Central Bank of Liberia banning Central bank of Liberia Governor, Mill Jones and other executives of the CBL from contesting political offices while serving in their current positions continue to receive bitter reactions from spheres of the Liberian public. Conglomerate of civil organizations are planning a quiet protest at the National Legislature Thursday against the recent amendment in a bid to pressure the lawmakers to rescind their decision and withdraw the amendment which has been forwarded to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for signing into law. The civil society organizations are expected to march at the Capitol Building, protesting what they termed the action of the lawmakers to pass into law a legislation they described as segregative, targeting Governor Jones whom many politicians have seen as a political factor in the ensuing 2017 general and presidential elections. A senior member of one of the civil society organizations planning the protest told frontpageafrica that they have decided to carry out the protest calling on their lawmakers to rescind the decision as it is not in the best interest of the country and reconciliation Since the bill was passed by the Legislature dozens of civil society groupings, prominent Liberians and the business community have all weigh in support for the CBL Governor against the bill. One group named and styled Conglomeration of Civil Society Organizations in a release recently stated that the National Legislature has ignored the huge economic impoverishment that continues to deprive thousands of Liberians and has willfully resolved to prioritize a proposition that is of absolutely no significance to the transformation of the ordinary Liberian. The statement signed by Kesseley Q. Barzah, representing Concern Students Movement of Liberia, Jallah Barmony of the Progressive Students Alliance of Liberia and James Pyne of the Patriotic Intellectuals of Liberia said they strongly believe that this harbored intention is self-serving, unpatriotic and therefore exposes the naked political ambition by some Senators, evident by one half of the Senate seeking re-election with subsequent mere presidential ambition. Also a consortium of civil society organizations (CSOs) and communities strongly condemned the decision of the National Legislature. The groups spokesperson described the move as an unproductive action, which should not be allowed by well-meaning Liberians as it contravenes international best practice and undermines the independence, credibility, powers and functions of the CBL to intervene in the economy and implement monetary policy. Samuel McGill, who is also the executive director of the Liberia

MARCH PLANNED FOR THURSDAY

QUIET PROTEST OVER AMENDED CBL ACT

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National Empowerment Network (LNEN), said the legislature, in pursuit of their personal and selfish political agenda, took unto themselves the responsibility of the impeachment process as was spelled out in the act for the executive governor, the board of governors and deputy governor. Under the umbrella of Peace Loving &Concerned Liberian Organizations and Communities, he added that the bill is unconstitutional as it disenfranchises any executive governor from being elected to a public office. McGill said enacting laws that are unconstitutional, as the amendment is, has the propensity to drive the 10 years of peace Liberians are enjoying into flames of confusion, political discord and anarchy, which will compel the international community to leave the country. With bleeding hearts, we and in line with our constitutional rights, have unanimously resolved to take the following civic actions in support of our request to Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and the National Legislature. The Liberia National Student Union (LINSU), has also taken serious exception to the Senates decision to pass a bill that seeks to bar the Governor Jones from contesting for political office. The student group noted that the decision is in clear violation of the Liberian Constitution and the right of the individual to free association and participation. Article 18 of our Constitution declares "All Liberian citizens shall have equal opportunity for work and employment regardless of sex, creed, religion, political affiliation, status, ... and all shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work, stated LINSU. In view of Article 18, we maintain that Dr. Jones and other Duty Governors and Board members of the CBL are entitled to the right to a job, irrespective of what a senator or group of Senators may perceive as 'future political treat' from Gov. Jones. Prominent Liberians including Dr. Amos Sawyer, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe have all described the law as segregative and targeting an individual. Cllr. Gongloe argued that the action taken against Governor Jones and other Executives of the CBL by the Lawmakers was discriminatory and breached Article 11 section (C) of the Constitution. The Constitution states that all persons are equal before the law and therefore entitled to equal protection under the law. Laws should not be discriminatory, laws should be for all, said Gongloe. Gongloe added that when Lawmakers breach the constitution, the citizens have the right to take the issue to court. He threatened to join the bandwagon in defense of the CBL Governor if called upon, but added that it will not be on the basis of politics. The control and supply of money in the country are the sole priority of the Central Bank, Gongloe stated. He said what the Lawmakers should have done was to remove that portion of the Act that allows the Central Bank to provide loans from the countrys reserve since indeed the issue of loan given out by the Central Bank is causing uneasiness. What will happen when the Maritime Commissioner announces that he will provide fishing boats to all fishermen in the country from Cape Mount to Maryland Counties? Will the Lawmakers say the Commissioner is politicking and amend an act creating the Maritime Authority? Gongloe asked. Dr. Sawyer who heads the Governance Commission of Liberia described the CBL amendment as an apartheid law. Said Sawyer Also in the news last week it was reported that the legislature passed into law, at lightning speed, a bill amending the Act establishing the Central Bank of Liberia. "This development of many aspects of the bill seems reminiscent of the Mandela laws of the Apartheid era in South Africa, where the laws of exclusion were individually targeted to control the actions of a single individual. Such laws are typically designed to be retroactive in their effects and with grave implications for the function of governance institutions and creating uncertainties for office holders even after the expiration of their tenures." In passing into law, an amended provision of the March 18, 1999 Act authorizing the Establishment of the Central Bank of Liberia, the Legislature decision aims to prohibit the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and members of the Board of Governors from contesting political office(s) while serving in their respective offices and shall not be qualified to contest any elected office within three years consecutively after the expiration of their tenure with the CBL. The passage of the bill was a result of a report submitted to plenary by a special committee established by the Plenary of the Liberian Senate chaired by the Ways, Means and Finance committee. The special committee chaired by Senator Isaac Nyenabo, Chair of the Senate ways, Means and Finance Committee included members from the Judiciary committee, chaired by Senator Fredrick Cherue of River-Gee County. The committee was mandated by the plenary of the Liberian senate to investigate the CBL on its Micro Credit Loan Scheme plans to print and supply legal tender banknotes by the CBL Governor Jones to ascertain facts if the governor had the power under the Liberian constitution and the CBL act of 1999. Sub-Section 3 of Part IV. Section 13 of the CBL amended Act calls for the removal of the board of governors from office upon a bill of impeachment by the House of Representatives, Upon finding by a majority of the Board of Governors and the recommendation of the President, for several reasons which include; Gross Breach of Duty, Misconduct of Office, Conviction of a Felony and Being declared Bankrupt and Violation of paragraph (a) and /or (b) of subsection 1 of section 13. Part IX Section 44 which prohibits the Central Bank of Liberia from engaging in trade or participating directly or indirectly in the ownership of any financial, Agriculture, Commercial, Industrial, or enterprises was also amended.

elebrations were everywhere today in Kenya, after their own hometown girl, Lupita Nyongo, took home the prize for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars. Nyongo, born in Mexico but raised in Nairobi, comes from a prominent Kenyan political family. She gave a shout-out to her roots with her dazzling Prada Oscar dress, calling it Nairobi Blue. The 12 Years a Slave actress made headlines across the continent, including in Nigeria and South Africa, as the first African woman to win an Academy Award. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta tweeted his congratulations, calling her the Pride of Africa. Kenyatta also issued an official statement praising the Kenyan actress. In keeping with the African tradition of honoring community elders, Kenyatta congratulated Nyongo's parents as well for their role in her achievement. Excellence inspires and deserves emulation. Lupita reminds us of all that is possible for the youth of this nation when they set their hearts and minds to a great task in her own words, No matter where youre from, your dreams are valid. We, their parents, must take these words to heart; ours is to help our young people fulfill their potential, the statement reads. Kenyatta announced that in Nyongo's honor, his administration will establish new opportunities for the arts, such as a new Kenya film school. Its been a banner year for African actors in Hollywood. Barkhad Abdi, who originally hails from Somalia was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a Somali pirate in Captain Phillips, his first acting role. British born Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played the lead character Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, was up for Best Actor. Ejiofors parents are from Nigeria, where he spent much of his childhood.

THE PRIDE OF AFRICA

OSCAR WINNER LUPITA NYONGO IS

DATE SET FOR LIBERIA MUSIC AWARDS


Foundation which recognizes Liberian Musicians around the world pencils in June 14th 2014 at Gwinnett Performing Arts Center for gala

ATLANTA he Liberia Music Awards Foundation will be hosting for the first time a music awards ceremony in Duluth, Georgia which will bring together Liberians from all over the world. The mission of the Liberia Music Awards Foundation is to show and prove that music is not just for entertaining, but also for education, uplifting, reconciliation and healing. With the mission being as such, the foundation is gearing towards uplifting rising stars for tomorrow's entertainment world. The LMA will help educate musicians through voice training, instrumental skills building and through all and keeping fit though physical exercise. All will be done while unlocking potentials for them to become world reknown musicians of tomorrow. The idea of the awards is to help facilitate the exposure, promotion and celebration of the art of music and the fusion of Liberian artists. To Make African Liberian Music a mass appeal genre. To identify, and recognize hidden musical talents in order to give mentorship and needed exposure. To provide opportunities to learn about the rich musical heritage of Liberia. To promote moral values through the medium of music. Embarking on community development program and supporting deprived community through collaborative action. Liberia today enjoyed freedom after having gone through 15 years of civil war, so many people used music for uplifting themselves and others. Through music, many people found the courage to stay alive and fight for their lives. Post-war, musicians made music for inspiration, spirituality, love, comedy and much more. Even though lives were lost, music made a huge contribution as far as encouragement and uplifting spirits. The Liberia Music Awards Foundation exist today to congratulate and thank those with these musical talents. The Liberia Music Awards Foundation and it's owners are the sole owners of the names Liberia Music Awards. Liberia Music Awards is registered and trademarked in Liberia. They are also the sole register owners of the Liberia Music Awards in the United States of America. There is an ongoing registration process in the United Kingdom allowing the Foundation to stage the Liberia Music Awards in the near future with its Chairman Christabell Peters based in the United Kingdom.

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LIBERIA IS BACK
U.S. Delegation on Policy Partnership Dialogue asserts in meeting with Defense Minister Samukai

CONVINCING THE WORLD

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INTERVIEW

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LIBERIAN ARMY CONTRIBUTOR TO REGIONAL SECURITY

Investors need not just look at what we do as a country but at the whole region. There are many opportunities. For example, we have concluded arrangements whereby Guinean iron ore will be shipped through the Liberian port of Buchanan, which is good for both countries, a win-win.- Augustine Ngafuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mae Azango, mae.azango@frontpageafricaonline.com

Monrovia visiting US delegation on policy Partnership Dialogue between the United States headed by Department of State Counselor, Thomas Shannon, on Tuesday met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Ministry of National Defense to discuss Border Security and Regional Peace. Following an hour-long meeting with the Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, US Department of State Counselor, Thomas Shannon, said the delegation had gone to the Ministry, to meet with the Minister of Defense and the new Chief of Staff of the AFL to express their support of the ministers work and for the work of the AFL. Said Shannon: The policy partnership addresses the process of Agriculture productivities, Energy and Human Development. So we came to say how proud we are of being a part of the renewal of the AFL as an important national security force and an important contributor to regional security. Counselor, Shannon asserted that the bilateral partnership Dialogue was a very important moment for the AFL and for Liberia and that the delegation had come to extend their congratulations to the AFL. We are very proud of our relationship with the AFL and we want to highlight and underscore the importance of this relationship, And not just for the security well-being of Liberia but the security well-being of the region. And the fact that you all have been able to contribute troops to the UN mission in Mali at the moment when you are still in transition, I think underscores how well you understand what is happening in the Region. Minister Samukai during his briefing with the visiting delegation, said the AFL has begun its first recruit training and the training is about to graduate the first batch in June. That will be the first time since 2006 and 2010 since the last training was done by our foreign partners PAE and DANCO, so we think this is a mile stone for the AFL. Other members of the delegation, included US Ambassador Deborah Malac, Department of State West Africa Director Steve Schwartz, Embassy Political/Economic Counselor Chris De Angelis, Staff Assistant to the Counselor Jared Goodman and Office of Security Cooperation Chief Major Kris Kvam. Military cooperation between Liberia and the United States goes as far back as 1912 when the U.S. Army assigned an African American officer and other U.S. soldiers to train the Liberian Frontier Force. In 1945, after the United States entered World War II, RobertsField became a major wartime transit point for thousands of American soldiers and for Allied operations in North Africa and Southern Europe. Liberia. On August 6, 1990, President Bush reported that a reinforced rifle company had been sent to provide additional security to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, and that helicopter teams had evacuated U.S. citizens from Liberia. Under President Kennedy, the U.S. also established Peace Corps and economic and military assistance programs. From 1962 to 1980, Liberia received $280 million in aid from the U.S., the greatest level of U.S. aid to any African country on a per capita basis at the time. In exchange for this aid, Liberia offered its land free of rent for U.S. facilities. Under Liberian president William V.S. Tubman, Liberia voted with the U.S. on most Cold War matters at the United Nations, supporting, for example, the U.S. in its position on Vietnam. This relationship enabled the U.S. to maintain a strong foothold in a region otherwise struggling to rid itself of colonial domination, as countries such as Guinea and Ghana fought for their independence from France and Britain.

ugustine Kpehe Ngafuan has been involved in Liberian politics since student days during his country's long period of conflict and civil strife in the 1990s. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tapped him to join her first Cabinet in 2006 as budget director. In 2008, she named him minister of finance and in 2012 made him foreign minister. In an interview, conducted in Dubai last November during one of his diplomatic missions abroad, he discussed the government's foreign policy priorities. Excerpts: The overarching thrust of our foreign policy is development diplomacy, economic diplomacy. I try to get significant support for the country in our rebuilding effort, whether it's in education, health or energy, where we have a serious situation to deal with. We have one of the highest [electricity] rates in the world at 54 cents per kilowatt-hour. And so we are inviting people who can address the energy sector. We are also looking at our petroleum sector. There was a discovery of oil; we are now trying to ascertain the commercial viability. Big players have come in, like Exxon Mobil, Chevron and others, but we are inviting others because we still have some blocks [available]. We have laws that are transparent and competitive. So we are drifting a little bit from the normal concerns of foreign affairs to assist the country on its path of economic progress. Do you encounter skepticism about Liberia and the reality of the recovery? Definitely. The Liberia of 10 years ago is a far cry from Liberia today, and we have to update investors and governments because, evidently, the images from our war were traumatizing. If people remember those images, they are afraid to come to Liberia. But it's not just Liberia. The Mano River Region was a crisis hotbed Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea. Now all of these countries are on a solid path to democracy. Sierra Leone ended their war. Democracy is thriving. There was difficulty in Cote d'Ivoire, but democracy is being restored, and they are on a path of reconciliation. Guinea had parliamentary elections, although with challenges. So the region has turned a corner. Investors need not just look at what we do as a country but at the whole region. There are many opportunities. For example, we have concluded arrangements whereby Guinean iron ore will be shipped through the Liberian port of Buchanan, which is good for both countries, a win-win. These are partnerships that we are starting to help our countries to integrate regionally. We are telling the world that we have a different story across our region. It's a good story. We are saying: come and be a part of the progress. Does your previous role as Finance Minister assist as you undertake development diplomacy? Yes it does. Maybe because of our foreign policy trust, the president thought to shift me from finance to foreign affairs. But let me say that the minister of finance has to represent the country also. In my former capacity, whether in Washington, DC, meeting people at the IMF or the World Bank or the U.S. Treasury, I represented the country. And I made it my business to always carry the Liberian ambassador with me. One of things that engaged a lot of attention in my former capacity was seeking debt cancellation for Liberia. We had been buffeted with more than $5 billion in external debt. Our debt-to-GDP ratio was one of the worst in the world. When President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power, our budget was just about U.S. $80 million. So obviously our capacity to pay that debt was completely nonexistent. We did lot of shuttle diplomacy from one capital to another, putting forth the case for debt cancellation. And in 2010 we achieved that. So all those things, all those skills that we used are very useful for foreign affairs. As Foreign Minister, when I have met investors, they were not talking politics. They were talking business; they were talking economics; they were talking country risks; they were talking guarantees. They were talking issues that only someone with economic/financial background could address. And so it makes for effectiveness, it makes for concreteness in our diplomatic approach. Liberia seems to be on good terms with all the major powers. How do you manage relations with the countries that want to be your friend? I think Liberia has done a wonderful job pulling in all the significant partners in a win-win way, whether it's the U.S. government or China or many others. The U.S. government is in Liberia big time. China is in Liberia big time supporting other sectors. They are a major partner.

Japan is also in Liberia big time. One of our highways in Monrovia will be done by Japan. They are going to extend a two-lane road to a four-lane road. I signed that agreement amounting to about U.S. $50 million. The Japan-Liberia friendship hospital has been rehabilitated. It helped a whole lot in the 80s, so they are coming back in a big way. Japan always gives us a food aid grant that we monetize. We sell the food, and they also provide petroleum aid. We sell the petroleum. And monies generated from there we use for economic development. We invest in education and social services. Regarding the very strong relationship with the United States, one of the things that happened is the institutionalization of the relationship through the Liberia-U.S. Partnership Dialogue. As President Sirleaf has said, this will outlast presidents who are now in office. We now have an institutional framework of engaging. But besides that, the U.S. government has been with us through thick and thin. Most of the assistance we received for the rebuilding of our army came from the U.S. government. USAID is assisting a lot of sectors. Whether it's the economy, agriculture or education, their presence is ubiquitous in a positive way. The Peace Corps have returned to Liberia and are rendering significant service to our people. So the U.S. government continues to be Liberia's significant partner, though we have other partners that are helping us. The colossal nature of the challenge we face requires partnerships from across the world. That's why we are positioning ourselves to receive the world, though we don't forget our old friends. Would you share your story and how you came to where you are now? I was a student leader from high school. I attended a technical and vocational high school called the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata. At the time we had President Samuel Kanyon Doe. We stood for the rights of students, and we had our fair share of challenges. Then the civil war came and took us off course. As a young man, I spent a decade pursuing an undergraduate degree when I should have spent just four. But it was a period when we learned the hard way. We were not just in the classroom, but we were in the real room of the world getting to know the hard story of Liberia. I was elected president of the student union of the University of Liberia in one of the toughest periods of our history when President Charles Taylor was president. And at a point the entire society depended on the student community to speak out because many political leaders had fled for their lives. We had to fill the gaps. What year did you become president of the student union? It was 1998. I entered university in 1990. I spent a decade because there were intermittent closures. As I said , the entire society depended on us to stand up and advocate, not just for students but for the country in general. That was an onerous responsibility, but I think we rose to the challenge, speaking truth to power in peril of our lives. Today democracy has been restored. This comes from the sacrifices of many, some of whom are dead. We say peace to their ashes. Some of us now have the opportunity to be government.

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lection management service is essentially about the supervision of the personnel and infrastructure required to support the democratic process of elections. Successful elections do not happen without preparation and planning. They are huge and costly events entailing the completion of a myriad of tasks and sub-tasks in an electoral cycle, involving huge numbers of people and logistics. As the Liberian experience shows, election management is a sophisticated enterprise. Among other necessities, it requires professional staff; the management body must be well-equipped and well-funded; and crucially, the election management body must be autonomous. In this respect, its administrative and budgetary independence must be legislated and strictly adhered to so that it can discharge its constitutional and statutory duties without interference from any branch of government. This is essential because the electoral management body is only worth its name if it has integrity and is seen by the electors and the international community as neutral, nonpartisan and fit to organize free, fair and credible elections. In recognition of this credibility and integrity prerequisites for passing the validation test of international best practices, the National Elections Commission(NEC), under the watch of Counselor Jerome Korkoya, has been striving to work at all times within the framework of the law. Objective observers including international partners agree that in the past year, the NEC has been able to shed any specter of ignoble image resulting from wobbling in malfeasance and misfeasance, and the persisting perception of lack of credibility that had been associated with the Commissions work. Just in four month after the inauguration of the current NEC Board of Commissioners, the election management body conducted the Grand Bassa County Senatorial By-election with distinction - with no party or candidate interposing any formal objection. This feat was achieved in spite of the limited time framework of 60 days prescribed by the New Elections Law for such purpose and the constricting national financial environment purveyed by global austerity. Although success often breeds complacency, the managers of the NEC have avoided this trapping. Ask NECs international partners (UNDP, IFES, ECOWAS and EU); they will tell you that a program of reform aimed at enhancing the efficiency at the Commission is well-underway. Among other reform measures taken so far are the injection in the election management body a dose of highly qualified and reputable personnel ; publication of an administrative manual to guide operations at the Commission; institution of structural adjustment to ensure accountability and transparency; conduct of intensive professional training for staff; beefing up of security; acquisition of modern equipment for the efficient compilation of data for the conduct of elections, and imbibing a culture of strict adherence to all procurement procedures as prescribed by law. At this material time, NEC is braced to conduct the Special Senatorial Election in October 2014. As far the records show, this will be probably the first time an election of this magnitude is being conducted in the country. It is also worth noting that this is the first time in postwar Liberia that an election is been fully funded by the Liberian government. The senatorial election is mandated by the Constitution to fill in 15 senatorial seats which will be vacant throughout the country by October. Although the special Election is a legislative election, it is equal to the presidential election schedule for 2017 in that all of the 1,780 polling centers will be open, the same amount of logistics will be required, and all eligible voters are expected to participate in the exercise. It must be stressed that this is not a by-election which is always restricted to a constituency or in a limited geographical area. The signs are already in the air that Liberia is preparing for elections. This is good. This outlook does not only show that Liberians are coming to grips with the hard reality of the importance of elections, but they are also becoming very aware that successful elections do not happen without preparation and planning. An irresistible signal of this new trend is manifest in the sudden focus of massive attention on the NEC in recent times. In the past weeks, newspaper headlines have been screaming about preparations at NEC for the voter roll update. However, this enthusiasm has been characterized by misunderstanding and misapprehension of what is really going on. Well, since election management is a specialized field and this concept is relatively new in this country, such misgivings are not unexpected. However, in this instance, one cannot help but blame the media for the spread of misunderstanding and the sorry state of affairs. In recent times, the stories in newspapers have focused on how much NEC has spent to acquire logistics for the voter roll update exercise. A survey of newspaper contents will attest to this fact. One headline reads, NEC Spends US$1.9m to Rent Vehicles... Another newspaper says: Lavish SpendingHouse Raises Alarm on US$1.9m Rented Vehicles. Still, another shouting headline reads: NEC IN Big Trouble. Now, imagine the disorienting impact of these headlines! It is obvious that these headlines impugn on the credibility of NEC. For a people facing the crucibles of austerity, the alleged lavish and wasteful spending of US$1.9m, is an unforgiveable mortal sin.

NECS VEHICLE RENTAL CONTRACT A VIABLE OPTION

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POLITICS

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Without belaboring the issue, it suffices to say that in keeping with the ethics of their profession, media practitioners owe it to their honor to divest themselves from publishing falsehood and hate messages with the propensity of plunging the country into a whirlpool of crisis. No one is saying that journalists should not exercise press freedom. What is of utmost importance is journalists should always strive to be credible, as their profession thrives on credibility, by cross-checking the facts of their stories to ensure their veracity before going to press; knowing that falsehood could tailspin the country into a deep inferno of crisis. Reality Check: In economics, the utilitarian and market place concepts of want and spend have definite meanings. These words approximate a demand backed by money. You cannot want or buy in the economic realm without money either in cash or fee simple. This is also the sin qua non in e-buying. And so, to say NEC spends suggest there was an exchange of money for goods and service. Did NEC actually spend US$1.9m on vehicle rentals, when it is a fact known that up till now the Commission the Ministry of Finance has not remitted such money in its accounts? No! Less you forget, it is important to recall that NEC submitted a budgetary projection of US$15.3m to the National Legislature for 2013/2014. This amount was intended to cover NECs recurrent expenditure and the 2014 Special Senatorial Election project. However, in their wisdom, the legislators slashed NECs budget and approved a paltry US$3m for the Commission. Worst, the approved allotment was not made available until December, 2014 four months into NECs timeline for electoral activities. Consequently, the Commission could not conclude its international procurement requirements for election-related materials on time. As a result, the Commission had to postpone and defer the commencement of the voter roll update exercise by two weeks. When the allotted amount of US$3m was finally disbursed, the Commission secured the PPCCs approval for the international procurement, but it could not complete the first phase of the pre-election activity because the Commission still needed US$2.6m more. Time and tide wait for no man. And so, as the Ministry of Finance was trying to source funding for the shortfall in NECs budgetary requirement, the timeline for voter roll update was fast whiling away. NEC had to do something extraordinary to save the state from plunging into constitutional crisis as a result ofthe looming failure to conduct the Special Election as mandated by the Constitution. In the process the Commission had to fulfill the guidelines set by PPCC for such contracts. Among other arrangements, NEC conducted an open bid; NEC solicited the input of the Ministries of Finance and Justice and thereafter sought and got the approval of the PPCC before the pre-finance contract was signed. This is how the decision to enter apre-finance contract for vehicle rental service evolved. The Commission had no money to acquire vehicles and other logistics, yet it had been mandated by the Constitution to conduct the Special Senatorial Election on the fixed date of October 14. Should NEC have abandoned its constitutional and statutory duties? Could Liberia afford the unintended consequences of such damaging negligence and omission? Now, lets evaluate the vehicle rental service contract: Rent Versus Buy Analysi As it is with all election exercises, the voter registration is expensive. The major financial demand in this exercise is incurred through the acquisition of vehicles and other logistics. Given the timelines developed by NEC against the backdrop of the late passage of the 2013/2014 Budget, NEC must complete the vote roll update by April 2014, if it must procure the required election materials and conduct

the Special Senatorial Election on the constitutionally fixed date of October 14, 2014. RENT OPTION Towards this end, the NEC needs to rent 200 vehicles for 200 mobile teams who would cover 1,780 update centers in approximately 45 days. As stated below, the rental projection is US$200 per vehicle per day plus the rental of 23 trucks to distribute materials from the NEC central warehouse at its Headquarters in Monrovia to its 19 magisterial warehouses across the country. Embedded in the pre-finance rental contract, the vendor would be responsible for the following: -Provision of 200 road-worthy pickups or jeeps -DSA and other allowances to drivers -Provision of fuel during the entire exercise -Maintenance of vehicles; in case of breakdown, it would replace the said vehicle within three hours -Insurance of NEC personnel and materials onboard vehicles

BUY OPTION The Ministry of Finance informed NEC that it has in its budgetary allotment US$1.9m for the voter update logistics. The NEC requires 200 vehicles at US$30,000 per unit to complete this task in time for the conduct of the October 14 Special Election. US$1.9m cannot procure 200 vehicles as needed by the NEC for the update project .It would cost about US$6m to purchase durable vehicles or US$4m for low quality vehicles. Even with cash on hand, it would take no less than six weeks to complete the procurement of the required number of vehicles. Assuming the US$1.9m could procure 100 vehicles (Chinese made for an average US$20,000.00 per unit), there would be a shortage of 100 vehicles. In this case, the logical thing to do would be to reduce the teams to 100, but that would also mean the teams would have to work twice the time allotted or 90 days for the completion of the update process. Unfortunately, because our election date is set by the Constitution, the NEC cannot extend the update period and still meet the timeline of conducting the Special Senatorial Election on October 14, 2014. The imperative of voter registration cannot be overemphasized. Apart from satisfying a constitutional requirement, the voter roll update would also provide the NEC with critical data on the number of registered voters so as to make informed decisions relative to the hiring of polling staff and quantity of materials to be procured for Election Day (ballot papers, indelible ink, etc.). Furthermore, given that these procurements are all international, the NEC needs at least four months prior to October 2014 to carry out its procurement processes as set out by the PPC Act to ensure timely delivery of materials. A recent case in point was the postponement of the commencement date of the Voter Roll Update from January 13, 2014 to January 29, 2014 partly due to late arrival of materials caused by delay in procurement processes as a result of late passage of the national budget. In order to begin a timely procurement process, the NEC needs final voter update figures to conclude its procurement plan for Election Day materials four months prior to October 2014. NEC had a bit of luxury of time to postpone the commencement date of the voter roll update, but Election Day cannot be postponed without creating a constitutional crisis. Assuming the choice of the 90-day scenario, let also consider other accompanying costs associated with the procurement of vehicles: I. Hiring of Drivers There would be a need to hire at least 100 drivers for a period not less than three months with an estimated compensation of each driver at US$150.00 monthly for three months; that will cost US$45,000.00.

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REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FOR TWO YEAR EXTERNAL FINANCIAL AUDIT OF THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR EDUCATION BASIC EDUCATION PROJECT (GPEBEP) FOR THE PERIOD JULY 1, 2013 JUNE 30, 2014 AND JULY 1, 2014 JUNE 30, 2015
I. Provision of Fuel The NEC would have to provide adequate fuel to cover the operations of these vehicles in the field during the 90 days period. Given estimates from the NEC past and current operations during similar election exercises, each vehicle would require approximately 150 gallons of fuel on a monthly basis for about three months. The vehicles would need 15,000 gallons monthly, costing US$195,000 for three months. II. DSA for Drivers Drivers assigned to these vehicles would be given DSA for the period of this assignment. Given that 2/3 of the vehicles would be assigned out of Monrovia, about 66 of the drivers would be paid US$35.00 per day for 90 days, totaling US$207,000.00 III. Repair & Maintenance of Vehicles Assuming these vehicles are brand new there would be little or no need for maintenance during the period. However, given the NEC experience with its current fleet of vehicles coupled with the terrains in which most of these vehicles would be operating, there would be significant cost associated with maintaining them over the 90 days. IV. RISK /ACCIDENTS With about 100 vehicles engaged in operations across the country the likelihood of accidents is quite high. Should such occur, the NEC would be forced to speedily repair or replace damaged vehicle(s) bringing about additional cost. Having presented the above challenges associated with procuring 100 vehicles for the update process, the Commission realized that there is already this option is laden with an additional US$500,000.00 plus other costs due to unforeseen events. One can fully understand and appreciate the underlying factors associated with the NEC decision to rent rather than buy vehicles for the exercise. COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF PAST VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISES Voter Registration is the single most expensive component in any electoral exercise. It is not only a technical exercise but political and holistic one. Logistics, the timely movement of personnel and materials forms the bedrock of any successful electoral activity. Renting of vehicles of this magnitude and size is a normal electoral event across many other electoral management bodies in the sub region and other parts of Africa. 2005 Voter Registration During the conduct of the 2005 voter registration (30 days period), UNMIL through its Electoral Division embedded at the NEC Headquarters supported the process with the entire Chinese Military Transport Unit of over 30 trucks for the distribution of materials from NEC central warehouse to its 19 magisterial warehouses. Additionally, UNMIL had over 200 United Nations Volunteers deployed across the country supporting the NEC with over 75 Nissan Patrol vehicles to assist in the delivery and retrieval of personnel and materials from magisterial warehouses to the registration centers. UNMIL also made available its helicopters for the delivery of materials and staff to inaccessible areas. Also, ECOWAS made available on loan 19 pickups and one jeep for use by NEC magisterial offices. If one would place a cost tag on the logistical operations only in support of the 2005 voter registration, it would possibly exceed US$4m. Unfortunately, the NEC does not have in its possession expenditure reports from UNMIL regarding this exercise. 2011 Voter Registration UNDP Elections Project through the Basket Fund covered most of the logistical cost in support of the 2011 Voter Registration Exercise. A total of 157 vehicles were rented for a period of 37 days; UNDP paid for 110 while the NEC paid for additional 47 vehicles. The total cost at an average of US$200 a day was approximately US$1.2m. This did not include rented trucks and UNMIL air support. While the total cost of rental in 2011 for voter registration is less than that of 2014 voter roll update, (US$1.2m versus US$1.9m), I must hasten to say that the accompanying cost associated with the methodology of 2011 (using permanent teams) compared with that of 2014 (using mobile teams) cannot be compare in terms of total saving accrued to the Commission. Personnel cost in 2011 was over US$2.7m while for 2014 is estimated at US$542,000.00; Materials cost in 2011 was at US$2.5m while in 2014 is about US$700,000.00. Therefore, the adoption of the mobile system is cost efficient. Please see below comparison of costs associated with 2011 Voter Registration and 2014 Voter roll Update. ACTIVITIES 2011 VOTER REGISTRATIONS LOGISTICS US$1.2m US$1.9m PERSONNEL US$ 2.7m US$542,000.00 MATERIALS US$2.5m US$700,000.00 TOTAL US$6.4M US$ 3.1m 2014 VOTER ROLL UPDATE

PROJECT ID: P117662 IDA GRANT ID: TF097456 REFERENCE: MOE/GPEP/SA/17/12 1. The Republic of Liberia has received a Grant from the International Development Association forthe Global Partnership for Education Basic Education Project (GPEBEP), and it intends to apply part of the proceeds of this Grant to payments under the Contract for External Financial Audit of the GPEBEP. 2. Objectives of the Consultancy The primary objective of the audit of the project financial statements is to enable the auditor to express a professional opinion on the financial position of the GPE Grant for Basic Education Project (GPE-BEP) at the end of each accounting period and of the funds received and expenditures incurred for the accounting period as reported by the Project Financial Statements (PFS). In addition, the audit will provide a professional opinion on the Statement of Expenditures and Designated Account activity, with each audit covering the period of one fiscal year during which withdrawals were made. The various professional opinions may be captured in a single Audit Opinion by the Auditor. The assignment is expected to commence August 15, 2014 for the 2013-14 Audit and August 15, 2015 for the 2014-15 Audit. 3. The Ministry of Education now invites eligible consulting firms to indicate their interest in providing the required services. Interested firms must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (brochures, description of similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, availability of appropriate skills among staff, etc.). The shortlisting criteria are: i. Core Business in provision of Audit Services and number of years in business; ii. Experience in Audit of World Bank and/or Donor-funded Projects; iii. Technical and Managerial Organization of the Firm; iv. Availability of Competent Staff with relevant qualification and experience to undertake the assignment; v. Experience in the Region. 4. The attention of interested Consultants is drawn to paragraph 1.9 of the World Banks Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants by World Bank Borrowers, May 2004, revised October 1, 2006 and May 1, 2010 (Consultant Guidelines), setting forth the World Banks policy on conflict of interest. 5. Interested firms should acquaint themselves with the act that created the Liberia Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) before submission of expression of interest. 6. Consultants may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or a sub-consultancy to enhance their qualifications. 7. A consultant firm will be selected in accordance with Least Cost Selection (LCS) methodset out in the Consultant Guidelines. 8. Interested consultant firms may obtain further information from the address below during office hours 0900 to 1700 hours GMT. 9. Expressions of interest must be delivered in a written form,clearly marked: Ref: Statutory Audit of the GPEBEP, intotheTender Box situated on the Ground Floor, Room 020at below address by2.00pm local time onMonday, March 17, 2014. EOIs may also be submitted by email. Ministry of Education 3rdStreet, Sinkor Monrovia, Liberia. Attention: David W. Baysah,Project Coordinator/GPEBEP EmailLbaysah.fti.cf.moe@gmail.com cc:fabu.fti.moe@gmail.com, cftumbay@gmail.com

NOTE: As you can see from the chart above, the 2014 voter roll update cost US$3.3m less than the same exercise carried out in 2011. There is therefore a saving of US$3.3m resulting from the adoption of the current mobile voter roll update exercise. CONCLUSION Logistics is a cardinal component and the most costly venture in any electoral event. Rental of vehicles is an ordinary and normal operation of any Electoral Management Body especially in a country with serious challenges in terms of roads infrastructure. What has helped to alarm the current rental exercise is the fact that this would be the first time the government of Liberia through the NEC is actually paying for logistical cost under full scale operations. In the past, this huge cost has always been underwritten by donors; hence the current reaction to the rental contract of US$1.9m is not surprising. This trend is not unique to Liberia. Sierra Leone next door spent over US$1m through the Basket Fund managed by UNDP in 2007 for its voter registration. NEC Sierra Leone enjoyed support from their military with the provision of army trucks and ECOWAS supported that process with the provision of pickups; yet over US$1m was spent on rental of vehicles. (See ANNEX IV). Similarly, in Ghana, the electoral commission budgets funds for rental of vehicles by local supervisors across the country for the deployment and retrieval of materials and personnel. In Rwanda and the rest of South Africa, the Commissions have no vehicles of their own, so they outsource all their logistical needs. Under the prevailing circumstances, the decision by NEC to rent 200 vehicles for it voter roll update exercise at the cost of US$1.9m is the most prudent decision that ensures value for money. It is my fervent hope that this analysis would provide you the additional information you need on the Commissions decision to rent 200 vehicles for the voter roll update exercise.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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LEGISLATIVE BEAT

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Media Issues

Chair of Liberias National Elections Commission Admits Missteps, Apologizes to Legislature over unauthorized spending Henry Karmo (0886522496) henrykarmo47@gmail.com

IM SORRY

TURNING POINT?

CHIEF JUSTICE KORKPOR VOWS TO UPHOLD PRESS FREEDOM; MEETS PUL LEADERSHIP
Kennedy L, Yangiankennedylyangian@
frontpageafricaonline.com 077296781

C
Monrovia-

Monrovia llr. Jerome Kokoya, chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Tuesday admitted to unauthorized spending of over one million United States dollars by the commission. Cllr. Kokoya told members of the House of Representatives during plenary session that the amounts spent by NEC on the voters roll process was not approved and signed by the Public Procurement and Concession Commission and the Justice and Finance Ministries. The NEC chairmans appearance was a result of a communication written by Maryland Representative James Biney requesting plenary of the House Representatives to invite the NEC chairman to answer to questions of unauthorized spending of over one million United States dollars. In a communication to the House plenary on Thursday, February 27, James Biney, Representative (NPP-District#2- Maryland County) claimed that the NEC Chairman and Executive Director should be invited for awarding a contract to a local Car rental company, Efficient Logistic Service for the provision of vehicles rental and lease services for a period of 45 days to conduct Voters role update. Rep. Biney also claimed that the PPCC, in its response to the NEC for the contract as submitted by the Election Commission on January 15, 2014, told them that the contract is very costly, considering that portion of said amount could have been allocated toward the purchase of new vehicles for the NEC, which could have been used for subsequent election-related activities. The PPCC also advised the NEC according to Biney to request the General Services Agency (GSA) to retrieve operational and other vehicles from the Government of Liberia for logistical purpose during the period of the voter roll update as was done in January 2013 during the high-level panel meeting held in Liberia but they refused. After the communication was served by the chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, Cllr. Kokoya wrote the plenary of the House of Representatives informing them that they were in no position to quarry the NEC on spending. The legal practitioner also filed a petition to the Supreme Court

of Liberia against the legislature to keep out of the business of the NEC, the body responsible to conduct election activities in the Country. On Tuesday, however, Kokoya made a 360-turn, admitting that NEC was in the wrong and asked for forgiveness from the plenary of the House of Representatives. He also told plenary that he has withdrawn the petition filed by the NEC to the court. Said Kokoya: The process that is on now could not start on time because we did not have the money here, so the PPCC could not approve our procurement plan. The Ministry of Finance later wrote a letter to the PPCC informing them that NEC had certain amount in its account and advise them to go ahead to approve our procurement plan. The NEC chair continued: The PPCC approved our procurement plan based on the increment in the budgetary line by the Ministry of Finance that is why we went ahead with the contract. The NEC chairmans apology was met with mixed views as some lawmakers saw the chairmans apology as an earnest and a true admittance of guilt while other saw it as a new attitude developed by officials the Executive to deliberately disrespect the Legislature and later apologized when they are called to answer. One of those who totally opposed the NEC chairs apology was Representative Edwin Snowe (IND-District#6 Montserrado Count) who said it has become a norm by members of the executive branch of government to disrespect this body, go to their pubic relation officers and launched attacked on the legislature on regular morning show, only to come back later and apologize. I want Kokoya to tell members of this plenary whether his action to sue this legislature to the Supreme Court for seeking accountability was based on legal reliance or political accommodation, this is not fair. After several minutes of questions and answers, a motion was filed by Representative Munah Pelham Youngblood (CDC-District#7 Representative) that the issue be turned over to the House public Accounts Committee for further investigation, and that Kokoya be made to write a letter of apology printed in few local dallies, and that he pay an amount of LD$ 499.00 into government account as fine.

hief Justice Francis Korkpor Tuesday renewed his administrations commitment to working with the media in the discharge of their respective duties amidst public outcry over outdated libel laws that continues to haunt media houses and practitioners some of which has led to the detention of journalists. He made the call during meeting held at his office with the new leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) headed by its president Abdullai A. Kamara , along with the Vice President Jallah Greenfield, Secretary KaihenehSengbe, Assistant Secretary General Daniel Nyakonah and members of the Judicial Reporters Association. At the start of the meeting PUL President Kamara indicated that the PUL being an umbrella organization in the country it was incumbent upon the organization to engage the government and people who run the country though there are disagreement that exist at times. Our purpose of this meeting is to seek cooperation from the judiciary on how best to move our country forward, said Kamara. Responding, Chief Justice Korkpor thanked the leadership for the visit adding that he was aware of some of the dis-agreements that exist adding that dis-agreement was also healthy for society. He claimed that the lawmakers make the law and it was the responsible of the Judiciary to interpret the law. Chief Justice Korkporsaid laws are made to guide society in order to have peace and harmony therefore people should learn to understand the context in which laws are made because it is good for society. Commenting on the role of the media the Chief Justice indicated that the media is a powerful tool that can be used to save the country and society but what the media needs is to say the truth at all times. The truth is your defense, say the truth at all times, if you hold on to the truth, we will know how to hold you, he said. I am a Chief Justice who has fought for social Justice, I will not be one person that will step on press freedom. He said when journalist say something about someone, you have put that person in a difficult situation especially when what have been said has been proven not to be the truth; therefore journalists should learn to say or write the right stories. With the judiciary being criticized by many as being corrupt withjudges allegedly receiving bribes to dispense justice, chief Justice Korkpor indicated that an information section has been establish at the judiciary so that the public are not misinformed about happenings at the Judiciary.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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GOVERNMENT NEWS

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JOINT STATEMENT
2nd ROUND OF THE U.S. - LIBERIA PARTNERSHIP DIALOGUE
The Second Session of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership dialogue was held on March 3-4, 2014 in Monrovia to build upon the special historical ties and bilateral relations between the Republic of Liberia and the United States of America; and to convene two of the Partnership Dialogues working groups: Human Development and Agriculture and Food Security. The Liberian delegation was led by H.E. Augustine KpeheNgafuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, led the U.S. delegation. Both heads of delegation affirmed their shared commitment to fostering deeper bilateral relations and encouraging cooperation on a variety of issues. Discussions during the Second Partnership Dialogue in Monrovia focused on two of the three Partnership Dialogue themes, namely, Human Development, and Agriculture and Food Security. The Human Development Working Group was co-chaired by Hon. Etmonia David-Tarpeh, Minister of Education of Liberia and Mr. Charles North, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment, USAID. The Agriculture and Food Security Working Group was co-chaired by Liberias Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Florence A. Chenoweth, and U.S. Acting Special Representative, Office of Global Food Security, Mr. Jonathan Shrier. Following fruitful and in-depth Working Group discussions in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2013 on Energy and Power Infrastructures and Agriculture and Food Security, and a separate panel discussion on Economic Growth, both governments renewed their call to deepen these discussions with the focus on specific areas of cooperation and direct U.S. support within the Framework of the Partnership Dialogue. In recognition of the importance of Human Development in improving and expanding the human conditions, Liberia and the United States reviewed and discussed potential reforms within the sector with the goal of addressing existing policy challenges, as well as actions already taken to ensure improvements. The two governments affirmed the importance of education to Liberias economic, social and political development. Accordingly, the United States affirmed strong support for undertaking a number of measures to help Liberia address institutional and policy issues in the education sector, and to address other key human development issues vital to the sustenance of economic growth and national recovery. Both countries acknowledged that Liberias ability to compete in the regional and global knowledgebased economy depends significantly on improving the quality of education in the country. They also acknowledged that the improvement of higher education delivery in sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences is indispensable to the general wellbeing of Liberia. Liberia and the United States will exert greater efforts to connect private educational institutions, universities, foundations and companies from their respective countries to invest responsibly in Liberias human development sector. Such investment could include the reinstitution and/or resumption of important U.S. Government educational programs in Liberia, including the Fulbright Scholarship Program which many Liberians benefited from in times past. Recognizing the importance of agriculture in increasing food security and nutrition, and rebuilding Liberias economy, Liberia and the United States reviewed discussions from the Inaugural Meeting of the Partnership Dialogue in the area of agriculture and food security, and the steps already taken regarding reforms that address existing policy, infrastructure, and institutional constraints in the sector. The Working Group reiterated that in order to ensure efficient land use and address land tenure reform, greater efforts must be exerted to improve the availability of high quality inputs and ease farm-to-market access, which are key steps to promoting private sector-led development in Liberias agriculture sector. The two sides reviewed various joint initiatives in the sector and pledged to continue collaboration to improve Liberias policyenabling environment for food security and nutrition, including, but not limited to, the Feed the Future initiative. Both governments agreed to convene the third session of the USLiberia Partnership Dialogue in Washington, D.C., later in 2014, and intend to follow-up on the action items discussed in the Human Development and Agriculture and Food Security Working Groups during the intervening months. The two countries agreed to strengthen their cooperation to improve Liberias power and energy sector. They also affirmed the importance of expanding Liberians access to education and employment opportunities, and noted the plan to meet again in 2014. Done in the City of Monrovia, this 4th Day of March AD 2014. _________________________ Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. Department of State United States of America ________________________ Augustine KpeheNgafuan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Liberia

IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE LIBERIA-USA PARTNERSHIP DIALOGUE LOOKS AT NEW


Wade C. L. Williams, wade.williams@frontpageafricaonline.com

WAYS TO STRENGTHEN TIES

Monroviahe Government of Liberia and its American counterpart Tuesday concluded the Monrovia Version of United State-Liberia Partnership Dialogue focusing on Agriculture and food security, energy and infrastructure development and human development. Speaking during the event the lead delegate on the US government side Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. said the high-level participation from both governments during the dialogue demonstrates the significance of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue the two counties places on their bilateral relationship. Throughout the day, we have advanced the U.S.-Liberia bilateral relationship-one already deeply rooted not only in our historical ties, but our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, and economic advancement, said Ambassador Shannon. Briefing the audience made of public officials, educators, the US delegation, the media and students from various Universities and civil society groupings, Ambassador Shannon said the Agriculture and Food Security Working Group led by Agriculture minister Dr. Florence Chenoweth discussed ways in which Liberia could address the policy, infrastructure and institutional constraints to private sector investment in agriculture. We also considered customs and tax incentives to support greater private sector investment in agriculture. And together, we explored opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation to increase food security and nutrition, especially under the Feed the Future initiative, he said.

Commenting on the human development aspect of the dialogue, Ambassador Shannon said it involves wide range of issues that basically is about improving peoples quality of life which touches health care to education to employment opportunities. The first Human development Working Group he said focused on education adding:Rebuilding Liberias education systemaftermore than a decade of civil war is critical to ensuring that new generations learn the skills necessary to lead productive lives, support their families, and grow Liberias economy. We look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can work together to improve the education sector through institutional reforms, and how we can increase youth access to higher education and vocational and technical training. Energy Though the working group on energy and infrastructure development did not have a working session, th group released a document affirming the two countries commitment to partner in improving Liberias

energy infrastructure. This document reaffirms the United States of America and the Republic of Liberias shared commitment to partnering with one another to meaningfully advance modernization of Liberias energy sector to achieve the development goals outlined in the Government of Liberias Agenda for Transformation, stated the group chaired on the Liberian side by Lands and Mines minister Patrick Sendolo. As a Power Africa Initiative focus country, and through ongoing discussions enabled by the Partnership Dialogue working group framework, we will continue working together to review Liberias efforts to meet its growing power generation, transmission, and distribution requirements; encourage modernization of Liberias energy sector by improving regulatory policies and implementation; and accelerate the development of a well-governed and inclusive energy sector. It said to unlock the potential of the private sector to serve as an engine of broad-based growth;the two countries

affirmed their commitment to working bilaterally and with like-minded donor and private sector partners to expand urban and beyond-the-grid access to power. Our goal is to provide reliable and affordable electricity to Liberians as quickly as possible, no matter where they live, it stated. The focus of our near-term collaboration in the energy sector is to advance incrementally policy and institutional reforms designed to enable long-term market-driven economic growth and development. Both governments will convene the third session of the USLiberia Partnership Dialogue in Washington, D.C., later this year. The to countries said they intend to follow-up on the action items discussed in the Human Development and Agriculture and Food Security Working Groups during the intervening months. Augustine KpeheNgafuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs led the Liberian side while Ambassador Shannon, Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, led the U.S. delegation, led the Liberian delegation.

Page 14 | Frontpage

Did the LFA elections committee exercise due diligence in its latest pronouncement?
Danesius Marteh, danesius.marteh@frontpageafricaonline.com

AN IRONY OF SITUATION?

Sports

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HISTORY! LEBRON NETS 61, HEAT TOP BOBCATS 124-107

SPORT BRIEF

he elections committee of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) threw a pleasant surprise with what it called the final list of those qualified to contest the ensuing elections. The LFA is expected to hold its 19th ordinary congress in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County from March 2122. Chairman Malcolm Joseph, however, told a news conference on February 27 that few candidates have been temporarily disqualified and could be cleared once the issue(s) surrounding their qualification is(are) resolved. Lemuel B. Sherman, Bishop Allen Klayee, Samuel Y. Karn, Ansu V.S. Dulleh, Rochell G.D. Woodson, Adolphus G. Harmon, Matthew Smith, Samuel Ashley, Wilmot Smith, Nyanqueh S. Borsay, Urias Glaybo, Mustapha I. Raji, Doris Sheba Browne and Wallace G. Weiahwere qualified to contest for one of nine executive committee members (ECMs) slots while Ciatta A. Bishop is the lone candidate for the female representative to the ECM. Temporarily barred? Cyrus N. Wright, Dee Maxwell S. Kemayah and Korpu Beatrice Kpoto were temporarily banned from contesting as ECMs for various reasons. According to Malcolm, the committee found inconsistencies with the signature and letterhead of one of the letters of nomination from Earth Angels as was submitted by Wright and Kemayah. Wright, Kemayah and Angels have been cited to a conference to reconcile the irregularities.

eBron James clearly isn't ready to concede his MVP award to anyone yet. Dazzling from inside and out, James put on the best scoring show of his NBA life Monday night, pouring in 61 points a career high and franchise record as the Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 124107. It was the eighth straight win for the two-time defending champions, who are starting to roll as the playoffs get near. James made 22 of 33 shots from the field, including his first eight 3-point attempts. "The man above has given me some unbelievable abilities to play the game of basketball," James said. "I just try to take advantage of it every night. I got the trust of my teammates and my coaching staff to go in there and let it go."

PUYOL TO LEAVE BARCELONA AT END OF SEASON

The committee also wants clarifications regarding some inconsistencies on the curriculum vitae and diploma of Kpoto. Bah out? Former Fulani FC President Alieu Bah was disqualified in keeping with chapter 21, article 45.4 of the LFA statutes. It says... the 10 other members of the executive committee must have been president, vice president or secretary-general of one of the members of the LFA in the last two years before the elections LFA President Musa Hassan A. Bility was cleared to seek re-election while incumbent Musa Eugene Shannon and BYC President Sekou W. Konneh were cleared to contest as vice president for administration or first vice president. FC Fassell President Cassell A. Kouh could run unopposed as second vice president or vice president for operations because incumbent Adolph Akwe Lawrence and ex-Invincible Eleven vice president Alfred Sayon submitted nomination papers from Gardnersville FC and have been temporarily disqualified. A conference has been called by the

committee with the clubs and applicants to give clarifications. How were the applicants cleared? The Malcolm Joseph committee had more than seven days to review each applicants qualification documents and flag all discrepancies with him/her at a meeting of the minds. The Committee used a press conference to cite the clubs and applicants to give clarifications. Three of those temporarily barred Lawrence, Sayon and Kemayahhave emphatically stated that they learned of their disqualification from the news conference and journalists seeking their reactions. Many sports followers are wondering how did press conference become the best remedy to question the eligibility criteria of the applicants when they didnt equally use the media to announce their candidacies. Some sports commentators say those who ran to the press to announce their candidacies must have formally applied to the Election commission before going public because press conferences or media interviews werent part of the laid down procedures.

Barcelona (AFP) arcelona captain Carles Puyol, 35, announced on Tuesday that he will leave the club at the end of the season after a decorated 15-year career at the Camp Nou. Puyol, who did not reveal whether he will continue playing elsewhere, has been plagued by injuries over the last couple of seasons and has undergone three knee operations. "At the end of the season I will leave FC Barcelona. The club are aware of this and we are in agreement," he said. "We will rescind the final two years of my contract that were still to run." Puyol signed a new deal with the club in January last year, but admitted in June that he would not stay if injuries continued to prevent him from playing a significant part on the field. And having featured just 10 times this season in all competitions, he said it was time for a new challenge in a less physically demanding environment. "After the last two operations it has been difficult for me to recover the level I need to be able to continue here, more than I expected and more than surgeons said. That is why I have taken this decision."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NIGERIAN ARMY LOSING GRIP ON NORTHEAST AS ISLAMISTS RAMPAGE

IN BRIEF

ABUJA (Reuters) igeria's military is losing control of swathes of the largely Muslim northeast to radical Islamist insurgents who are killing civilians almost daily, and the run-up to elections next year risks aggravating the violence further. Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed thousands since it launched an uprising in 2009 in a bid to carve out an Islamic state in the West African country of 170 million people, divided roughly equally between Christians and Muslims. More than 150 civilians have died in Boko Haram attacks in the last four days, adding to the 300 killed last month, according to Reuters figures and security sources, one of the worst periods in the northeast since the sect intensified its insurgency three years ago. A security source, who asked not to be named, said 2,100 people were killed in Boko Haram violence in the last six months.

CAIRO (Reuters) gyptian armed forces chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has sent the clearest signal yet that he will run for president, saying he cannot ignore the demands of the "majority", the state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday. Sisi, who ousted Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July, said "official procedures" concerning his candidacy were expected in coming days. Sisi, widely expected to win the presidency of the Arab world's most populous country, was speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Cairo war college. MENA quoted him as saying he could "not turn his back on calls by the majority of Egyptians for him to run for president". Most Egyptians regard him as a decisive figure who can end the political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since a popular uprising backed by the military toppled autocratic president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

EGYPT'S SISI GIVES CLEAREST SIGN HE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT

MOSCOW (Reuters) resident Vladimir Putin delivered a robust defense of Russia's actions in Crimea on Tuesday and reserved the right to use force in Ukraine as a last resort, but he sought to ease EastWest tension over fears of war in the former Soviet republic. Russia could use all options to protect compatriots who were living in "terror" in Ukraine, Putin told his first news conference since the crisis began, but force was not needed for now. His comments lifted Russian bond markets after a panic sell-off on Monday. Putin said Western sanctions under consideration against Russia would be counterproductive. A senior U.S. official said Washington was ready to impose them in days rather than weeks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev on his first visit since the overthrow of Russian-backed President Victor Yanukovich, describing the experience as "moving, distressing and inspiring". He announced a $1 billion economic package and technical assistance to support for the new government. Putin said there had been an unconstitutional coup in Ukraine and Yanukovich, who fled to Russia last week, was still the legitimate leader. No Ukrainian government elected under current circumstances, with "armed terrorists" in control, would be legitimate, he said. The February 22 ousting of Yanukovich after months of street protests in Kiev, and Russia's bloodless seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region, have prompted the most serious confrontation between Moscow and the West since the end of the Cold War. Western governments have been alarmed at the possibility that Russia may also move into eastern and southern Ukraine, home to many Russian speakers, which Putin did not rule out. "There can be only one assessment of what happened in Kiev, in Ukraine in general. This was an anti-constitutional coup and the armed seizure of power," he said, looking relaxed as he sat before a small group of reporters

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Page 15

at his residence near Moscow. "As for bringing in forces. For now there is no such need but such a possibility exists," he said. "What could serve as a reason to use military force? It would naturally be the last resort, absolutely the last." Earlier on Tuesday, Putin ordered troops involved in a military exercise in western Russia, close to the border with Ukraine, back to their bases. He said armed men who had seized buildings and other facilities in Crimea were local groups. But in a sign of the extreme fragility of the situation on the ground in Crimea, a Russian soldier fired three volleys of shots over the heads of Ukrainian airmen who marched unarmed towards their aircraft at a military airfield surrounded by Russian troops at Belbek, near the port of Sevastopol. After a standoff in which the two commanders shouted at each other and Russian soldiers leveled rifles and rocketpropelled grenade launchers at the Ukrainians, the incident was defused and the Ukrainians eventually dispersed. No one

Putin Ponders military force in Ukraine


was hurt. TENSIONS STILL HIGH Russian dollar bond markets rebounded on Tuesday, encouraged by Putin's comments. Russia had paid a heavy financial price on Monday for its military intervention in Ukraine, with nearly $60 billion wiped off the value of Russian firms on the Moscow stock market. Despite Putin's more conciliatory comments, Russia has shown few signs of de-escalating its conflict with Ukraine so far, NATO said on Tuesday as its members held emergency talks on the crisis. Other incidents showed tensions remained high. Turkey on Monday scrambled eight F-16 fighter jets after a Russian surveillance plane flew along its Black Sea coast, the military said. Kerry's visit to Kiev comes as Washington and its Western allies step up pressure on Moscow to withdraw its troops from Crimea or face economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. A senior U.S. administration official said Washington would work with Congress to approve $1 billion in loan guarantees to help lessen the impact on Ukrainians of proposed energy subsidy cuts. In further pressure on Kiev, Russia's top gas producer Gazprom said it would remove a discount on gas prices for Ukraine from April. Putin secured parliamentary backing at the weekend to invade Ukraine if necessary to protect Russian interests and citizens after Yanukovich's downfall. Russia's Black Sea Fleet has a base in Crimea, a peninsula which has an ethnic Russian majority. The military exercises in central and western Russia, which began last week and raised fears that Russia might send forces into Russian-speaking regions of east Ukraine, were completed on schedule. The announcement that troops and their headquarters were returning to barracks sent a more conciliatory message than much of the rhetoric from Russian officials. Putin is dismayed that the new leadership in Ukraine, the cradle of Russian civilization, has plotted a course towards the

LAST RESORT

European Union and away from what had been Moscow's sphere of influence during generations of Soviet Communist rule. Ukraine said observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a panEuropean security body, would travel at its invitation to Crimea in an attempt to defuse the military standoff there. WESTERN RESPONSE Ukrainian officials say Moscow has poured additional troops into Crimea, a region which former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 when both republics were part of the Soviet Union. The United States has begun spelling out its response to Russia's incursion, announcing a suspension of all military engagements with Russia, including military exercises and port visits, and freezing trade and investment talks with Moscow. President Barack Obama met national security advisers on Monday to discuss how the United States and its allies could "further isolate" Russia, a White House official said.

WITNESS CRIES AT PISTORIUS MURDER TRIAL ON 2ND DAY


PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) he first witness in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial broke down in tears Tuesday, saying she still remembers the terrified screams of a woman on the night the double-amputee athlete killed his girlfriend by shooting four times through a toilet door. Michelle Burger, who lives near Pistorius' home and who had been composed through two days of grueling cross-examination, wept as she finished her testimony by speaking about how she had reflected on the early hours of Valentine's Day last year. "When I'm in the shower, I relive her shouts," Burger said of hearing the woman screaming before the sound of gunshots in the pre-dawn hours of that night.

Burger lives about 177 meters (193 yards) from Pistorius' house Earlier, the trial was interrupted and the judge ordered an investigation into allegations that a South African television channel was broadcasting a photograph of Burger during her testimony against a court order guaranteeing privacy to witnesses who request it. Toward the end of Burger's testimony, Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor, asked her about her emotions at the time when she made her statement to police regarding what she heard that night. "It was quite raw," Burger said, her voice breaking. Nel asked her how she was coping. "I'm coping fine," Burger insisted. "It's been a year." Burger's testimony about events on the night of Feb. 14, 2013,

contradicts the Olympian's story. Pistorius says he shot four times through the toilet cubicle door, hitting Steenkamp three times in the head, arm and hip or side area after thinking she was a dangerous intruder. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge lodged by prosecutors, who say the world-famous athlete intentionally killed Steenkamp after a loud argument. Burger's husband, Charl Johnson, and another Pistorius neighbor, Estelle van der Merwe, also gave testimony on Tuesday. During cross-examination of Burger, defense lawyer Barry Roux insisted the university lecturer was mistaken in saying that she heard a woman screaming and that she actually had heard Pistorius screaming for help in a high voice after accidentally shooting

Steenkamp. Giving sometimes grisly details of the 29-year-old model Steenkamp's killing, Roux said Steenkamp had been shot in the head, which would have resulted in brain damage and "no cognitive function" and so she wouldn't have been able to scream just after the last bullet struck, as Burger testified.

Roux said that an expert would later testify in the trial that "with the head shot, she (Steenkamp) would have dropped down immediately." Burger disagreed. "I heard her voice just after the last shot," she said. "It faded away." Pistorius took notes during testimony and huddled with lawyers during adjournments.

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THE NEW AGE OF EVANGELISM L

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Spot News
iberian Men Of God At Every Street Corner Never Leave Behind The Offering Bag Residents of Monrovia and parts adjacent are often faced with a situation where they have no choice in what they hear while boarding public and private transport, or while going about their normal business on a daily basis. Men of God or street preachers as they are called are often seen vigorously spreading the word to the public, not caring to know what their religious orientations are. On the various buses that transport people from one point of the city to the other or at every street corner, these preachers are seen and heard almost out of breath shouting out salvation to the public. Most of the time the message they bring is one of prosperity; how God is going to bless you with abundance in a short time, setting giving to the needy as a precondition. But the needy in this case are only known by them, as they raise offering when they conclude their sermons. An observer was stunned the other day when he bumped into this street preacher on Gurley Street. The most striking part was that this preaching was seen with this large bag asking the audience to put in their widows might. He promised the more they gave, the more they would receive Gods blessings. Under the scorching sun with a little girl as his singer he rallied the crowd to give more. The question asked by the observer was: Do these men ever use the money they collect from the public everyday for the needy or is it a new way to make money due to the rise in unemployment?