ANC-Liberia Legislative Candidate Adopts “Dillon Doctrine”; Will Take Pay-Cut If Elected

Monrovia, Liberia, August 27, 2019: The candidate of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) in the Cape Mount senatorial by-elections, Mr. Simeon Boima Taylor, will on Friday, August 30, 2019, declare his commitment to abide by and uphold the “Dillon Doctrine.”

A press statement issued by the Liberian political party early on Tuesday said citizens of the administrative district of Grand Cape Mount County have invited Mr. Taylor to an endorsement and honoring program in Manor River Kongo, Grand Cape Mounty County.

ANC-Liberia Logo
ANC-Liberia Logo

“At the program, Mr. Taylor will announce support to the Dillon’s Doctrine and declare to the great people of Grand Cape Mount County that he will take a pay cut, and will not take a salary more than US$5,000.00. He will take whatever is above US$5,000.00 and place it in an escrow account for county development projects. Furthermore, Mr. Taylor will declare his assets on the first day of him taking office, and subsequently publish them. He will work hand-in-hand with Senator Darius Dillon, Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence, Senator Steve Zargo, Sentaor Daniel Naatehn and other senators of the opposition bloc. Mr. Taylor will also launch a scholarship fund-drive in honor of his late godfather and mentor, Senator Edward Boakai Dagosseh, the father of Cape Mount politics. He will also pledge to complete all projects started by Sen. Dagosseh. In addition, he will also launch a small-business initiative to support struggling market women and petty traders in the county…,” ANC-Liberia said.

The party is fielding a candidate in the open legislative seat predicated on the passing of Senator Edward Dagosseh. The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who, in the last Senatorial by-elections for an open seat in Montserrado County, suffered a drubbing by the opposition coalition bloc, has announced that it would forego contesting for the seat in Grand Cape Mount County.

Liberia Grand Cape Mount County
Liberia Grand Cape Mount County

ANC-Liberia disclosed in its press statement copied to West African Journal Magazine that,”… its candidate has done more for the people of Grand Cape Mount County than any of the other visiting and passer-by candidates in the county. For example, he contributed to the construction of the Konja Bridge in Porkpa District with US$30,000,00; rehabilitated the road from Tienii to Mano River Kongo 2007/2008 with US$50,000; jointly constructed the Lorlia Bridge between Fornor Town and Kawelahun Town in 2016/2017 with US$200,000; constructed a five bedroom guest house and turned it over to the residents of Mano River Kongo in 2008, worth US$10,000; paid 75 students tuition for 3 academic years 2014-2017 with LD$750,000…”

The party enumerated a list of philanthropic contributions of its candidate to various communities in the County and says, “Mr. Taylor remains committed to a united collaborating political parties network, and calls on all partisans of the ANC and all supporters of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to join the winning team and deliver  Cape Mount from the wrong hands.”

Liberia NEC Chief Jerome Korkoyah.jpgMeantime, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced that it will hold a limited re-run of by-elections in electoral district 15 on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. The limited re-run was occasioned by disputes and complaints filed by legislative candidates against poll workers.

Following a review of the complaints, the NEC issued a decision to hold a limited re-run in 20 polling places. After a rather brief appeal against that NEC decision, the ruling CDC candidate Mr. Abu Kamara agreed to participate in the limited re-run in the heavily contested District 15. He is being challenged by opposition-supported Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP).

By Our Political Correspondent in Monrovia

West African Journal

 

Poem: Is This The Flag I Know?

In Commemoration Of National Flag Day In Liberia – August 24,, 2019:

Waving high above Africa was this flag I know

A flag of symbolic pride

The cradle of hope and heroism

A valuable treasury of common purpose

An impetus of valor

The only flag Africa and Africans knew

It was indeed a continental insignia

Is This The Flag I Know?

As this flag flew high above Africa

The promise of independence was echoed

It inspired the budding spirit of brotherhood

No one could resist its captivating fragrant

Deep in it was a bond of common vision

An aspiration for a New Dawn

What an evoking emblem of resilience it was

Is This The Flag I Know?

Shinning so bright was a glowing Star

The Lone Star of Liberia

Its beaming radiance infused life into Africa

Hence, this Dark Continent came alive

This Rising Star gave Africa a new meaning

A sense of self-determination and self-worth

A sense of belonging and perseverance

No Star could have even done this

Only The Lone Star could stand up and shine

Even colonialism couldn’t stop its piercing force

Its brightness defied imperialism

By becoming a spring of enthusiasm

And a castle of dynamism

This White Star was an ensign of purity

It was a fountain of pan-Africanism

From it, morality rolled like a waterfall

Rising from the plain of the West Coast

There came this GREAT SYMBOL

A bequest of gallantry and bravery

An enviable legacy of Africa’s first Republic

A Republic once seen as THE LONE HOPE

And an epitome of justice and equality

Not bowing down to fear, this symbol rose

Is This The Flag I Know?

Amidst daunting challenges, a new nation was born

Out of this nation’s birth, Africa was inspired

The chorus for independence became so loud

Self-autonomy was a fulcrum of this melody

Nothing could prevent this mass revolution

Pan-Africanism became a bonding catalyst

Africa and Africans owe it to this FLAG

This red, white and blue flag have done so much

This flag bears an emblem of nationhood

It carries within it a fresh memory of sovereignty

In its colors, we renew our allegiance

Firmly holding unto those values of liberty

And vowing to protect a nation of indivisibility

This flag shall forever reign in stardom

What a venerable symbol to hold so dearly

It represents a small nation with rich history

Africa knows this flag

The World is a witness to its evolution

This ‘Lone Star’ will shine

Over all else, it shall prevail

This flag shall make us proud again

And Liberia will rise forever

All hail Liberia – All hail…

Is This The Flag I Know?

In memory of this heritage

Deeply engraved in freedom

We must salute this FLAG with humility

Reaffirming our utmost pledge and loyalty

Bequeathed by this unmatched inheritance

We must pride ourselves with this NATIONAL SYMBOL

It is your flag – it is my flag – it is Africa’s flag

The homage it deserves must transcend ethnicity

The design of this ensign has no link to disunity

Its true essence forbids religious intolerance

It is a replica of patriotism, solidarity and diversity

In abiding love, this flag is our collective image

Under it, we seek self-confidence, assurance and harmony

This symbol is a canopy of our collective destiny

Idolizing its iconic features is an imperative

Is This The Flag I Know?

Is This The Flag You Know?

Today is August 24 – a public holiday

O! Let us host this flag with audacity and delight

Why aren’t you hosting yours?

Why aren’t you resounding “I Pledge”?

Has this vow lost its essence or purpose?

Is this holiday losing momentum?

Why isn’t our flag flying on a lot of homes?

Where have you placed this national emblem?

Is it in your heart or in hiding?

Are you still proud of this flag?

Where is Susannah Lewis’ flag?

Where is Africa’s first flag?

Is it still THE FIRST FLAG after 171 years?

Even Liberians seem to be losing faith in this flag

I am weeping for my flag – Only resilience is holding me up

The flag of our forebear is not revered like before

Its value and significance are being diminished

Did school-going kids parade today?

Are rural communities celebrating this day?

As our collective PRIDE gradually erodes

Almost everyone seems too busy to recite “I Pledge”

Increasing hardship can account for this complacency

Illiteracy and inequality remain harsh realities

But blame this on leadership deficit

Blame it also on injustice and impunity

History may not forgive our generation so easily

Our flag deserves better than this

It abhors dishonor and disloyalty

We cannot forsake our flag

For it is our NATIONAL PRIDE

The least we can do is to salute it and recite “I Pledge”

Amidst rising displeasure, The Lone Star must shine

We must make it shine in unison and fraternal love

By abandoning this cherished idea of our founding fathers

We shall remain guilty to our conscience, country and history

We will also be discrediting those 7 women who made our flag

It is time to use those 11 stripes to heal our wounds

We must use them to end corruption and internal bitterness

We must use them to make our people smile again

Is This The Flag I Know?

A symbol once loved, revered and cherished

This flag must take its rightful position in Africa

The red, white and blue flag must fly sky-high

Patriotism is what matters

Good governance is indispensable in this pursuit

Let us now stand and wave our flag

With it, we shall rise together as a nation and people

Is This The Flag I Know?

The flag I know is a flag of honor and veneration

Is This The Flag I Know?

The flag I know is a flag that promotes genuine peace

Is This The Flag I Know?

The flag I know is a flag that unites for prosperity

Is This The Flag I Know?

The flag I know frowns on injustice and impunity

Is This The Flag I Know?

Yes, it is this flag I know –THE LIBERIAN FLAG.

With standing ovation, I wish all peace-loving Liberians a Happy Flag Day. May this Flay Day unite us for a BETTER and PROSPEROUS LIBERIA.

About The Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is a youth and student activist who hails from Bong County. He currently studies Economics at the University of Liberia.

Int’l Justice Group Warns That Liberia Is Risking Sanctions

Washington DC, USA – August 8, 2019:

“That Liberia is a kleptocracy, this we know, but overwhelming tendencies of criminality, impunity, autocracy, banal disregard for human rights, and the elementary principles of good governance are worrying signs that, if corrective measures are not taken to reverse this trend, Liberia may slide back to the pariah state status it once was…”  – Cllr Jerome J. Verdier, Sr.

IJG Executive Director and Former Liberia TRC Head Cllr Jerome Verdier Sr.
IJG Executive Director and Former Liberia TRC Head Cllr Jerome Verdier Sr.

Perversion of Justice

Speaking with journalists Thursday from Washington DC, Capital of the United States of America, a press statement of the IJG quoted the learned Counselor at Law as condemning the acts of criminal elements within government to pervert the ends of justice which got Cllr Varney Sherman off the hook in the Sable Mining bribery scandal case in Liberia.

 Criminal Conspiracy

The IJG statement said the Justice advocacy group has reliably unearthed that the presiding Judge in the Sable Mining case, His Honor Judge Peter Gbenewelee, the prosecution team headed by the Honorable Justice Minister, Cllr F. Musah Dean, Solicitor General, Cllr Cyrenius Cephas, County Attorney, Cllr Edward Martin and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Honorable Nathaniel McGill constituted themselves into a criminal syndicate to pervert justice in order that Cllr Varney Sherman be let of the hook and set free by minimizing evidence, executive coercion, diminution of records and other artifices to guarantee the acquittal of Cllr Varney Sherman on all charges. To ensure this, without let, His Honor Justice Nagbe posited himself in court at the acquittal verdict to demonstrate solidarity with the scheme in pledge of loyalty to the Chief Executive.

 “Tit for Tat”

According to the international Justice advocacy group statement, copied to West African Journal Magazine, it noted that the Varney Sherman/Sable Mining conspiracy to subvert the justice process was cooked up by the Executive Branch of Government led by Honorable Nathaniel McGill, who criminally solicited and enlisted the help of Cllr Varney Sherman, Senator Grand Cape Mount County, to overtly violate Article 73 of the Constitution of Liberia in order to facilitate the  unsavory impeachment of  Justice Kabineh Ja’neh through a kangaroo trial, in return for a promise by Honorable Nathaniel McGill, guaranteed by his boss, to get him acquitted of all charges in the Sable Mining Bribery Case, thus making way for Justice Joseph Nagbe’s enrollment.

Justice Kabineh Ja’neh was impeached for judgment he rendered in his judicial and official capacity as “Justice in Chambers Presiding” contrary to the expressed provisions of Article 73 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, providing:

“Article 73 No judicial official shall be summoned, arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried civilly or criminally by or at the instance of any person or authority on account of judicial opinions rendered or expressed, judicial statements made and judicial acts done in the course of a trial in open court or in chambers, except for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor or breach of the peace. Statements made and acts done by such officials in the course of a judicial proceeding shall be privileged, and, subject to the above qualification, no such statements made, or acts done shall be admissible into evidence against them at any trial or proceeding.”

Justice Ja’neh, having been impeached, however illegal and unconstitutional it was, Cllr Varney Sherman has performed his part of the deal and was accordingly acquitted, as promised, following the visit of Justice Joseph Nagbe, at court under the gavel of His Honor Judge Peter Gbenewelee, said to be the stepson of Cllr Varney Sherman. The Honorable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Liberia, Cllr Frank Musa Dean, was one of Cllr Sherman’s Defense Counsels initially when the case was docketed in court.

Important also, is that the Honorable Minister of Justice, Cllr. Dean began, in earnest, his legal career at the Sherman & Sherman Law Office, and for many years was a member of Cllr Varney Sherman’s Law Office corps of lawyers and were for a long time publicly known to be buddies and inseparable craft masters.

Spiraling Violence

The IJG asserted that the introduction of violence and thuggery into the political space is abhorrent and ridiculously reminiscent of the ruthless era of the National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) Youth Wing Task Force of the late President Samuel K. Doe.

“As ruthless as the NDPL era was, what is obtaining in George Weah’s Liberia is the euphoric escalation of violence, thuggery and lawlessness, threatening the democratic space and thereby constituting a major threat to our democratic aspirations for a free, open and competitive society without fear or intimidation but with security, protection and equal opportunity for all.”

What started as an isolated event with Honorable Yongblee Karngar Lawrence and the opposition Liberty Party (LP), spilled over to Honorable Yeke Kolubah who complained on diverse occasions of attempts by government operatives to kill him and some children within his electoral district.

Liberia President George M. Weah
Liberia President George M. Weah

Now, violence and gangster-style killings have taken on a national fervor, law and order is rapidly breaking down and a state of anarchy and lawlessness is brewing in Liberia and the Weah Government as yet remains silent spurring widespread suspicions that the President, is without doubt, behind the violence by his CDC’s goons to intimidate and coerce the opposition into submission and clamp down dissent as part of his political ambition to become a dictator in power for 27 years or more, surpassing President William V.S. Tubman.

Weah to be blamed?

  1. While it is true that all the problems of Liberia are not attributable to Mr. Weah, his non-chalant disposition on corruption and human rights and his seeming condonement of the violence is a flaw of his presidency, pointing to a leadership deficit demanding attention.
  2. The President is indecisive, demonstrating a lack of authority and capacity over his men and cannot rein them in to follow the law or operate within the confines of the law. Asset declaration is a case in point.
  3. The social life of the president is more of a priority to him than the welfare of the poor people who voted him to office.
  4. The President, wanting in knowledge and sophistication has surrounded himself with low life figures who have no vision or love for the country.
  5. The President and his team have failed to adopt any appreciable policy approach to address the issues confronting the country. They have no plan for redressing the economy, stimulating national development or national reconciliation.
  6. To date, the President and his team have failed to embrace or appreciate the mammoth demands for the establishment of the War Crimes Court in full implementation of the TRC Report and in furtherance of US House Resolution HR 1055.
  7. The President is giving lip service to accountability and corruption issues. Neither Mr. President nor his officials have been audited or complied with the assets declaration requirements of law. Just as the both the National Legislature and the Honorable Supreme Court have never been audited, Continuing the policies of Former President Sirleaf, rendering these venerable branches of government as now national institutions of corruption and disgrace.
  8. The President granted a construction contract to his friend he claimed offered him a plane as gift without making full disclosure to the national legislature or the people of Liberia directly as to the nature of the gift as is customarily the case. Bribery is an impeachable offense against the integrity of the state.
  9. The President presided over the criminal misapplication of US25m intended for a mapping exercise to remove excess liquidity from the Liberian market. With the explicit consent of the President the money was diverted for private, instead of public use, and a parallel market in foreign exchange was created to exchange missing Liberian banknotes with the US banknotes, bordering on exchange rate manipulation, insider dealing, money laundering, embezzlement, misappropriation of entrusted property, theft of property and fraud.
  10. The President and the Chief Justice presided over a bribery scheme to illegally and unconstitutionally remove a sitting Justice of The Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, in express violation of the Constitution of Liberia, which OATH all elected and commission officers swore to defend and protect, the expressed violation of which renders the House of Representatives, The Chief Justice and President of Liberia unfit to hold office, hence, an impeachable offense.
  11. The President has directly supervised the stealing of public money for personal causes but without accountability. The President withdrew US$80m out of the Liberian International Reserves in New York. Out of this amount only US$55 could be accounted for at the Central Bank. The difference of US$25m was commandeered from the airport to the Rehab Residence of the President. This deliberate, blatant act of thievery by the President is a felonious transgression that renders him unfit for the public trust and office he occupies.
  12. The President, for repressive and dictatorial purposes, embarked upon rearming ex-rebel chiefs of staff that the International Community spent millions of US Dollars to disarm in furtherance of the Comprehensive Accra Peace Accord. This singular act by the President undermines the peace and security of the nation and is against the spirit of Security Sector Reform, and the Demobilization and Demobilization Rehabilitation (DDR) and also against the drive of the nation to move beyond the war experience in pursuit of National Reconciliation:
  1. General Ofari Diah – Asst. NSA Director for leeward Counties, former Chief of Staff, LURD;
  2. General Augustine Nagbe, INPFL
  3. General Daniel K. Bracewell, NPFL
  4. General Ciapha Norman, NPFL
  5. General Charles Bright, NPFL
  6. Other Generals and fighters, remobilize by the President includes Prince Toe, Sam Saryon, Sampson Nieger, Benjamin Taylor, etc

Risking Sanctions and International Isolation

The justice advocacy group is advising the Government of President Weah to be mindful of the precarious situation the country is in now and urgently adopt realistic proactive policies on human rights and justice; corruption and impunity; and good governance to project Liberia as a burgeoning democracy and a success story post UN intervention.

Liberia-Political Map
Liberia-Political Map

The statement further said that the posturing of an autocratic state does not portend well for the country. Manipulating the ouster of a Justice of the Supreme Court because of opinions or judgement rendered during active duty on the bench is unconstitutional and therefore illegal, unpatriotic and immoral, the IGJ statement warned.

The IJG statement further lamented that corruption in government is at an all-time high while essential social services, including hospitals, education, schools, healthcare, sanitation, hygiene and other public services are left wanting as the living standards of the Liberian people continue in rapid decline.

The IJG Statement further decried the government for turning a blind eye to massive human rights abuses, especially against women and the girl children. The alarming rate of murders from rape and other forms of sexual assaults and abuses throughout the country is a cause for condemnation underpinned by the callous indifference of the government, especially the President to condemn these brazen acts of criminal cowardice or demand swift and prompt investigations that will redress the wrongs against our precious women and help to restore their dignity.

The statement called for strong governmental actions from all branches of government against these wanton acts of human rights abuses including the recent deaths of two prison inmates in Nimba County, which sad incidences occurred unnoticed by government or its functionaries and the society at large.

“We condemn this state of affairs in the country and calls on all civil society actors and the international community to deplore government’s lack of action and indecisiveness over human rights, corruption and important national issues including the issue of justice, war crimes court and the full implementation of the TRC Report.

The absence of a well-articulated, conspicuously pro-people policies on changing or strengthening rape laws, like castration of perpetrators, public interest, transparency in government and proper stewardship of scarce resource and justice is a pro-impunity, pro-corruption and anti-people policy, a stance this Weah Government must consider moving away from. Otherwise, our government risk international sanctions and the isolation of the state to the detriment of our people and regression of gains already realized, the statement from the IJG signed by its Executive Director Counselor Jerome J. Verdier Sr. concluded.

By Our International Affairs Correspondent in Washington DC

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

Liberian Student Activist Martin K.N. Kollie Writes Opposition Bloc

Monrovia, Liberia-July 3, 2019:

Dear Political Leaders: 

With optimism for a new era of an egalitarian Republic and in pressing pursuit of a fresh beginning which offers genuine hope for millions of peasants who remain very vulnerable to peril and despair, I bring you patriotic greetings during such a difficult time as this when our nation is fast descending into an abyss of economic paralysis, creeping dictatorship and mass looting of public resources. 

Leaders of Liberia’s Opposition Bloc (l-r) Cllr Walter Brumskine (LP), Alexander B. Cummings Jr (ANC), Joseph Boakai (UP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (LP) and Benoni Urey (ALP)

The future seems scaring and cloudy under footballing President George M. Weah as a result of massive leadership bankruptcy and increasing hardship. Vision is lacking – no concrete agenda – no realistic strategy – and an unquenched greed to amass illicit wealth are new normal under this ruling CDC clique. The “Change for Hope” mantra is yet to offer any real hope firmly built upon those cherisheddemocratic values of justice, equality, civil liberty and prosperity for all. 

Such failed slogan especially under a domineering presidency is a reflection of a PROMISE BETRAYED. Liberians are left alone in a state of obscurity and beggary after 16 months of participating in a historic democratic transition. The CHOICE made in 2017 has proven futile so far. Such barren decision has made them even more vulnerable, miserable and hopeless. 

Amidst these harsh realities virulently crushing Liberia and Liberians, there are two (2) fundamental questions to ponder over: 

1. Do Liberians still have hope? If yes, where can they turn for relief/reprieve? 
2. Can 2019 Montserrado Senatorial and Representative By-elections offer any real hope or change for Liberians especially ahead of 2020 and 2023? 

Of course, all is not lost – there is still hope far beyond prevailing odds. The Republic can be rescued from this national tragedy or nightmare only if revered patriots begin to unite in words and deeds. This rescue mission MUST begin with these 2019 senatorial and representative elections in Montserrado County – The hotbed or powerhouse of politics in Liberia. 2019 is a defining moment. In fact, it is a litmus test for 2020 and 2023. 

Beyond this end, I thought to pen this open letter to you as key opposition leaders in Liberia who command huge following and influence/affluence in our body politics.  This is a form of caution and a call to action. The nation needs you most to rekindle a unifying spirit of solidarity during these challenging times especially in these impending 2019 senatorial and representative elections. 

It is not enough to channel such deep sense of resilience, patriotism and urge for CHANGE through audio and video recordings. Though endorsed as senatorial and representative candidates by UP, LP, ANC and ALP, but it appears like candidate Abraham Darius Dillion and candidate Telia Urey are left alone to woo voters and canvass for opposition victory in vote-rich Montserrado, which in my opinion seems unpredictable and unfair.  

Ruling CDC Logo

Like Weah as president of Liberia and political leader of CDC is frantically campaigning almost everywhere for candidate Paulita Wie and candidate Abu Kamara, how I hope Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey as prominent figures of The Opposition could go all out to campaign for Dillon and Telia. This could seal THE DEAL and send a resounding caveat to President Weah and CDC ahead of 2020 and 2023. Lest you forget that vote-rich Montserrado holds the key to the presidency, and any elected seat won in Montserrado is a plus or political boost. 

These elections are about Weah as President/CDC/NPP/LPDP and MDR on one hand versus UP, LP, ANC and ALP on another. These elections are not about Dillion and Telia. Mr. Weah is taking these elections very personal evident by his outburst against the opposition during his party’s campaign rally on June 22, 2019. It was good to have endorsed Dillion and Telia but it would be far better to roll up your sleeves and begin to canvass for them in trenches and hamlets. A lot of your supporters who are eligible voters would be far more inspired to vote for Dillon and Telia just by seeing you (Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey). 

Opposition Candidates In Bye Elections Abraham Darius Dillon and Telia Urey

This is why ‘physical presence’ counts more than audio and video recordings in a process such as this. 

If Weah along with collaborating parties wins (Worst-case Scenario): 

1. The opposition (UP, LP, ANC and ALP) would be rendered ‘impotent and weak’
2. Weah would have his way and even break more laws andamass more wealth (domineering presidency)
3. Weah’s claim of having exclusive ownership of Montserrado would be justified/proven
4. It would appear like Weah is doing well. This could validate his performance rating
5. It would place CDC in a better and stronger position for 2020 senatorial elections and 2023 presidential elections.

If Opposition Collaborating Parties (UP, LP, ANC and ALP) claim victory:

1. This will send a clarion message against misrule and bad governance (especially corruption, dictatorship, and increasing hardship) under ex-Soccer Star George Weah and CDC
2. It would render CDC as a ‘frail and unpopular’ ruling clique in vote-rich Montserrado after a period of just 16 months
3. Weah’s popularity in his ‘political stronghold’ would be deflated/diminished. This would further disprove Weah’s wild claim of having absolute control/ownership of Montserrado
4. It will strengthen opposition parties and solidarity forces to unite even more ahead of 2020 and 2023 elections in order to SAVE Liberia
5. The people’s hope and aspiration for a new future would be reawakened through an alternative and opposition victory. 

Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey, I admonish you as key opposition political leaders to consider “The Montserrado Factor” as an indispensable political capital you could leech and/or lane on for future elections. With just 5 more days to these upcoming by-elections, I encourage all ofyou to leave your comfort zones and move across Montserrado to canvass for your candidates (Dillon and Telia). Yet another opportunity has been made available for you to resist Weah’s overly ambitious plan of consolidatingexcessive power ahead of 2023. You must prevent this moribund semblance of fascism and authoritarianism. 

Ruling CDC candidates Abu Kamara and Paulita Wie

You have all it takes to WIN in 2023 as opposition collaborating parties (UP, LP, ANC and ALP). But such victory begins now in 2019 and beyond! Yes, you can win Weah and his Coalition of Desperate Crooks (CDC, NPP, LPDP and MDR). Let me dig out some NUMBERS quickly: 

2017 Elections: 

1. Weah and his Coalition:
a. CDC, NPP, and LPDP – 596,037 votes (38.4%)
b. MDR – 127,666 votes (8.2%)
c. Total – 723,703 votes (46.5%)

 

2. Opposition Collaborating Parties:
a. UP – 446,716 (28.8%)
b. LP – 149,495 (9.6%)
c. ANC – 112,067 (7.2%)
d. ALP – 24,246 (1.6%)
e. Total – 732,524 (47.2%) 

So this means that the four (4) opposition collaborating parties stand a better chance to win in 2023 if they remain on this plinth of unhindered unity, honesty and loyalty. But victory in 2023 is largely dependent on 2020 and 2019 elections. This is why all four political leaders MUST consider these senatorial and representative by-elections very crucial. Getting fully involved with this process could even avert or discourage any form of electoral fraud/malfeasance (November 2018 Sinoe County Senatorial By-election is a case to reference and a lesson learned). 

Out of two (2) senatorial seats in Montserrado, CDC is already occupying one. You must not allow CDC to win this other seat. Even the late Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who later became a prominent political figure in the oppositionbloc and vigorously campaigned against CDC in 2017 won’t be happy if this happens. The Late Senator didn’t campaign or canvass through audio and video recordings. She wore her boots and moved into the trenches. Amidst a declining economy coupled with high unemployment, inflation,corruption, rape and mysterious deaths, this could be an easy victory for opposition political parties. Such victory is only possible if your physical presence (full involvement both in words and deeds) is with Dillon and Telia. The people are looking up to you for guidance and direction. 

Using White-collar approach (speaking to voters through audio and video recordings) in order to woo voters may yield less impact. Had these voters and stalwarts of your parties used similar approach in 2017, you wouldn’t had accumulated thousands of votes. If they do in 2023presidential election, your support-base would dwindle. The nation is in dire need of transformation and visionaryleadership. Paulita and Abu are far from possessing such quality or trait. But they could be imposed through whatever means if you keep a distance from this crucial process. 

The country is in a state of trance (subconscious state) and its image is being ruined. The democratic gains made so farare fast diminishing while corruption is being institutionalized under Mr. Weah and his cabal of kleptocrats. No foreign appointment or interest is greater than Liberia’s interest right now. Acting too busy to campaign and abandoning this 2019 senatorial and representative elections could cause you a lot. So far, I have only seen ALP Political Leader Benoni Urey in mass rallies campaigning and directly interacting with voters. All of you must muster this courage to do same if an opposition victory is to be secured in 2019, 2020 and 2023. You cannot be too busy or overly tight with personal matters during these very critical times. 

Remember, any form of defeat for Dillion and Telia is a defeat for you (Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey). And this could likely spill over or become a big blow in future elections. It now appears in some quarters that if it is not about you, it can’t be about anyone, which I still do not want to believe. Therefore, I caution you to disprove this public notion and move into action with urgency for an opposition victory in these elections. Stand up and act now for our nation needs you more than ever before. You cannot spectate or play a laissez-faire role during these very criticaltimes. Doing so would certainly make Weah overly powerful and ambitious to further ruin our Republic. 

Out of love for Country, this is a caution and a call to action from a young patriot. 

Yours in pursuit of a New Liberia, 

Martin K. N. Kollie 

Youth and Student Activist 

 

Cc: Mr. Wilmot Paye, Chairman, Unity Party (UP)

Sen. Steve Zargo, Chairman, Liberty Party (LP)

 Sen. Daniel Naatehn, Chairman, Alternational National Congress (ANC)

 Mr. J. S. Theodore Momo, Jr., Chairman, All Liberian Party (ALP)

Candidate Abraham Darius Dillon and Candidate Telia Urey 

West African Journal Magazine

 

Liberia: ANC-Global Org To Launch In Atlanta This Saturday

Atlanta, GA USA June 25, 2019: A single coordinating organization known as ANC-Global Diaspora Network has been formed to serve as the umbrella and anchor for various support organizations of the Alternative National Congress(ANC) political party in Liberia, West Africa. 

Senator Daniel F. Naatehn Sr, ANC-Liberia National Chairman

According to a source, the formation of ANC-Global is the direct result of the lack of coordination resulting in overlap of efforts and efficiencies among Liberians and groupings in the Diaspora who support the political leader of the ANC-Liberia Mr. Alexander B. Cummings Jr. and the party. 

 Various Liberian communities around the world have shown interest and enthusiasm in supporting local ANC organizations in the Diaspora and have formed auxiliary organizations in Australia the US and Europe over the last few years. 

“This single organizational approach is intended to ensure a streamlined and unified process for messaging, mobilizing and fundraising while giving Liberia a single point of coordinating Diaspora support activities…,” ANC-Global said in a statement over the weekend. 

 

ANC-Global Launch Flyer

According to the organizers, ANC-Global the will formally launch on Saturday, June29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia USA with a retreat session and fundraiser.

Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, Political Leader of ANC-Liberia and the newly elected Chairman Congressman Mr. Daniel F. Naatehn Sr. are expected to attend the program and engage with attendees and partisans. 

Hundreds of Liberians from across the US, Africa and a Europe are also expected to attend the formal launch of ANC-Global.

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: Senator Alphonso Gaye Flexes Muscles With Justice Ministry In Audit Reports

Capitol Hill, Monrovia, Liberia – June 20, 2019: A lawmaker from the sub political division of Grand Gedeh County in southeastern Liberia G. Alphonso Gaye is challenging the country’s Ministry of Justice on what he believes is a wrongful procedure being used to indict former and current government officials implicated in prior audit reports.

Senator S. Alphonso Gaye

This week, authorities of the Justice Ministry released past audit reports to the public saying, the Ministry reserved the right to invite anyone of interest that is named in the reports. 

The action by the Liberian Justice Ministry comes barely three weeks after President George Weah declared that his government will audit past government transactions.  

The Weah Administration is facing pressure to address several financial scandals.

But Senator Gaye, in an apparent reaction to the Ministry on Thursday, June 20, 2019 wrote the Senate Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie informing him of the ‘wrongful’ procedures being applied by the Justice Ministry to indict individuals named in the General Auditing Commission (GAC) audit reports. 

“My attention is drawn to media reports naming former and/or current officials of government that are either indicted or to be indicted by the Ministry of Justice based on GAC reports that they may have in their possession. This is wrong and it should be halted immediately”, Senator Gaye’s letter is quoted as telling the Senate leader.  

Letter From Senator Gaye

According to him, while he applauds the Ministry of Justice for performing its duties and responsibilities in keeping with statute, such action should be done in the framework of the law and established procedures. 

Therefore, he said, “…the Ministry should not be in the business of looking for cases to prosecute, rather it should wait for cases forwarded to it for prosecution.

The Senator, in his letter reminded his colleagues that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is obligated by law to report to the National Legislature upon the completion of audits. 

After GAC completes an audit, the report is submitted to the National Legislature who in return mandates the Public Accounts, Audit and Expenditure Committee for scrutiny through a public hearing conducted by the Joint Public Account Committee (PAC)”, he further stressed. 

Liberia Minister of Justice Cllr Frank Musa Dean

Senator Gaye said, “it is upon completion of the scrutiny and validation by the Committee that validated repot is submitted to the Plenary of both Houses for endorsement. 

After the endorsement by both Houses of the Plenary, Senator Gaye divulge that the endorsed report is then submitted to the President who now forwards same to the Ministry of Justice for action based on the findings and conclusion contained in the validated report.

Against this backdrop, the Grand Gedeh Senator concluded that GAC report that is not validated by the Legislature and cannot be used as an instrument to indict anyone, be it former or current government officials.  

Former Information Minister Lewis G. Brown

Former Deputy Finance Minister James Kollie Jr.

Meantime, a former Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning James Kollie Jr and a former Minister of Information and UN Ambassador Lewis G. Brown are also challenging the inclusion of their names in the GAC Reports saying they were not contacted during the mentioned audits.

Reporting By Paul Kanneh in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

 

Liberia, Ghana, EU-NSA Project Share Perspectives

he European Union Non-State Actors (EU-NSA) Project teams in Ghana and Liberia on June 3, 2019 met and shared perspectives on project implementation with emphasis on progress, lessons learned and way forward in the two countries.

Meeting with the EU Delegation to Liberia
Meeting with the EU Delegation to Liberia

According to our correspondent, the meeting was held in Monrovia when the Ghanaian team comprising of representatives from Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) and Tropenbos International Ghana paid a week working visit to its Liberian counterpart, Volunteers To Support International Efforts In Developing Africa (VOSIEDA).

The EU-NSA project, “Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa”, is being implemented since 2016 in Liberia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, with funding support from the European Union.

The overarching goal of the Ghanaian team visit, according the head of team, was to share with their Liberian counterparts the establishment of an independent forest monitoring framework in Ghana using a “real time” online portal that tracks issues from the forest with their Liberian counterparts, and as well as take notes on the establishment of “Forest Hour”, a radio advocacy program launched by the Liberian EU NSA team for use by the Liberian CSOs.  The Ghanaian team also wanted to have knowledge on progress made by Liberia in the establishment and management of community forests.

During the meeting, the Liberian team hailed their Ghanaian counterparts for developing a proactive internet platform use in forest monitoring, and promised to replicate same for Liberia’s forest sector monitoring. The team was also acknowledged to have taken lead on national level engagements ahead of Liberia.

The Ghanaian team praised their Liberian counterparts for taking the lead on advocacy and community level engagements, and also promised to replicate same in Ghana, especially the ‘forest hour’.

While in Monrovia, the team met and interacted with members of the NGO Coalition, Civil Society Independent Forest Monitor (CS-IFM), the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC), and National Union of Community Forest Management Body (NUCFMB) as well as the Liberia Timber Association (LibTA).

As part of their visit, the Ghanaian team appeared on the Forest Hour, a radio advocacy platform to share their perspectives on forest governance as it relates to process leading to acquiring forest contract, compliance to legal agreements by contract holders, performance of forest contract and benefit sharing mechanisms, penalty for violations of forest laws and other legal agreements, level of community involvement in managing forest contracts and IFM to ensure accountability and transparency in forest contract management, etc.

The team also met and briefed the EU Delegation to Liberia on progress made thus far in Ghana, and also shared differences and similarities between the two countries.

In response, the EU-Delegation focal person on natural resource governance, David Palacios urged the two teams to see collaboration as a major vehicle for success on the EU-NSA project.

Paul Kanneh Reporting From Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia & France Collaborate To Investigate Alleged War Criminal, Civitas Maxima Says

Geneva – June 12, 2019: In spring 2019, the French and Liberian authorities collaborated on a fact-finding mission relating to proceedings that were commenced in France following the arrest, in September 2018, of Kunti K. for acts committed during the First Civil War in Liberia between 1989 and 1996. This mission required significant logistical resources and took place in Lofa County in northwestern Liberia.

Ex Liberian Warlord Alhaji Kromah and some fighters of the disbanded ULIMO-K Militia - File Photo
Ex Liberian Warlord Alhaji Kromah and some fighters of the disbanded ULIMO-K Militia – File Photo

Civitas Maxima, in a press statement issued Wednesday in Geneva say, this was the first time since the end of the Second Civil War in 2003 that Liberian authorities have proceeded, along with foreign authorities, to undertake crime scene reconstructions relating to war-time crimes. These reconstructions took place in the presence of the French prosecuting authorities, investigating judge, defense lawyers, and the civil parties. Throughout this one-week mission, the contribution of the Liberian authorities was exemplary.

Civitas Maxima and the Global Justice and Research Project, in its statement said, it  acknowledges the quality of the work undertaken by both French and Liberian authorities and congratulate them for taking this step in fulfilling their international obligations. This, Civitas Maxima and GJRP believe, is an important development in the fight against impunity for crimes that were committed in Liberia during the two Liberian Civil Wars.

Civitas Maxima and Global Justice & Research Project
Civitas Maxima and Global Justice & Research Project

Civitas Maxima and the Global Justice and Research Project have been collaborating since 2012, and together represent hundreds of victims of the two Civil Wars which killed more than 250,000 people between 1989 and 2003.

Civitas Maxima, represented by the lawyer Simon Foreman, stands alongside Liberian victims and takes part as a civil party in the proceedings against Kunti K. in Paris, the statement concluded.

Political Map of Liberia
Political Map of Liberia

No one has faced prosecution in Liberia for human rights and atrocities committed during the country’s devastating civil wars in the 1990s.

International and local rights organizations are coordinating efforts to ensure that recommendations of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which include the establishment of a war crimes court are established.

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: Day One Of Mass Protest Ends; No Petition Presented

Day one of what appears to be several days of planned protest has ended in Monrovia with no compromise reached between the government of Liberia and Protesters under the banner, Council of Patriots (COP).  

Liberian Protesters On June 7th

The much publicized protest began Friday, June 7, 2019 with the protesters demanding that they can only deliver their petition to President George Weah or Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.  

Earlier, President George Weah designated his Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor to be the one to receive the petition from the Council of Patriots.

Is not clear why the Vice President did not show up as expected, but multiple sources close to the office of the VP said, she was unable to show up due to illness. 

Protest Organizers Henry P. Costa (in white top) Marching With Protesters

However, the government requested the leadership of COP to hand deliver their petition to Foreign Minister Gbezongar Findley – a decision protesters vehemently rejected, saying, they cannot present their petition to an appointed official. 

Among other demands, the protesters are demanding that Finance Minister Samuel Tweh and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray be dismissed and turned over to the Justice Ministry for prosecution for their roles in the mismanagement and misapplication of the US$25 million allocated for a mop up of excess Liberian dollar liquidity.

The protesters also want the government to find solution to the persistent skyrocketing of the US dollar against the Liberian dollar.

The protesters further indicated that they want an immediate end to what they described as massive corruption and bad governance, which, according to them have hampered Liberian’s image abroad. 

ECOWAS Official Addressing Protesters

The protest which has been described by many including international media outlets as the most peaceful post war protest, was by monitored by both local and international observers including Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS). Local officials of ECOWAS in Monrovia were seen working alongside their Liberian counterparts to ensure peaceful and orderly protest. 

Liberian Security Officers

Elites forces of the Liberian joint security were also seen posted at various points to ensure that things were under control. 

Observers say this was the first time in several years in Liberia that a mass protest has been held without any scuffle between the police and protesters, even though tension heightened between the police and supporters of one of the leaders of the protest a day prior to the much publicized June 7 protest.

Liberian Protesters

Meanwhile, after several failed attempt to deliver the their protest petition, the leadership of the protest appealed to their supporters to go home and prepare themselves for the next course of action, which will be announced on Monday, June 10, 2019.  

By Paul Kanneh in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

Mass Citizens Protest Underway In Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia – June 7, 2019: The day is finally here.

Hundreds of  thousands of dissatisfied citizens in the small and poor West African country of Liberia have invoked their constitutional right to “petition” their Government over several grievances and the economic malaise the country is enduring under the Weah Administration.

Early Friday, West African Journal Magazine observed protesters assembling at various agreed designated points to begin their peaceful march to Capitol Hill, the seat of the national government, where, they say, they will submit their 19 count list of “grievances” to the Weah Government for a commitment to redress. President George M. Weah is not expected to receive the petition but has designated a proxy instead.

Shadowed by armed Liberian security forces in riot gear and vehicles, the protesters converged from points in the east and west of the city Monrovia. They chanted anti-government slogans. “We are tired, We are the masses but we can get tired, We want change”. One banner with the photo of President Weah and  carried by protesters read, “Generational Traitor”.

Supporters of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberian President have criticized the protests as an attempt to unseat the Government.

Monitors from ECOWAS and the international community are also keeping an eye on the march. The organizers Council of Patriots (COP) are leading the march and have assured that the exercise will be peaceful.

On Thursday, the eve of the protest, Liberian security forces mounted a “show of force” of vehicles, weapons and riots gear. Some observers have termed the “show of force” as unnecessary and an attempt at intimidating the protesters while others say Government is leaving nothing to chance given the history of violent protests in Liberia.

Masses of peaceful protesters have been pouring into the city center and heading to the Capitol Hill area, the seat of National Government which houses the National Legislature, the Presidency and the Supreme Court. Protest organizers including Mo Ali, talk show Henry P. Costa and Abraham Darius Dillon are also marching with the protesters.

The demonstration has been peaceful so far.

Protesters are heard chanting anti-government slogans and accusing President George M Weah of massive corruption and ineptitude. Scores of protesters who are appearing in live video feed are narrating their displeasure with the Government and the harsh economic climate.

West African Journal Magazine is receiving reports that the internet in Liberia has been spotty  and off in some instances. Supporters and organizers of the mass protest are accusing the Government of Liberia of blocking internet access. Meantime, Virtual Private Network links are being shared and forwarded by internet and social media watchers to families and friends to allow them to broadcast scenes from the protest.

No arrests or major incidents have been reported. Security was augmented  by the Government on Thursday.

The Movement Justice in Liberia, an advocacy group in the United States is gathering in front of the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC in support of the mass protests back in Liberia. Organizers say they will also present a position statement to the Liberian diplomatic mission calling for reforms in the country.

The protest in Liberia is a major blow to the image of President George M. Weah whose popularity is fading quickly over his inability to address grinding poverty and economic issues since coming to power nearly one and half years ago. President Weah recently announced a series of economic policy initiatives to address concerns of citizens but they appear not to regain the confidence of citizens who are demanding immediate relief.

The protest is an embarrassment to the Administration, which, in the past, has boasted of massive support especially from the poor.

In anticipation of Friday’s protest, western embassies in the Liberian capital have advised their nationals to adopt a low profile and be alert.

Speeches are being made by protest organizers on Capitol Hill as thousands of citizens watch and listen.

By Our Correspondent in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

 

OSAC Assessment – “Liberia Demonstrations Underscored Grievances & Limited Government Capacity”

Monrovia, Liberia – June 6, 2019: The United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security (OSAC) on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 issued an assessment on Liberia entitled Liberia Demonstrations Underscored Grievances & Limited Government Capacity

Executive Summary

“The Council of Patriots,” a coalition of five major Liberian opposition parties has called for large-scale “Save the State” demonstrations on June 7 to demand government reforms to improve living conditions and good governance as the country grapples with economic stagnation and widespread corruption. Although protest organizers have stated their non-violent intent and clarified that they are not calling for President George Weah’s resignation, many who oppose the demonstrations claim that they could serve as a ploy to force the President to step down just a year into his term. A number of civil society organizations have discouraged participation in the demonstrations, including Yana Boys and Girls clubs (panhandlers associations) and some religious leaders.

As routine, the government has augmented security in Monrovia. Pro-government actors might call on supporters to stage counter-rallies, which could increase the potential for clashes with security forces and rival protest groups. Local security force and emergency response to large-scale and widespread demonstrations remains largely un-tested in Liberia’s post-conflict era, and local capabilities are already limited. Reports indicate that the government and opposition leaders are engaged in negotiations, but it appears they have yet to reach an agreement.

Monrovia’s Capitol area will likely be the main gathering point for June 7 demonstrations, but protests could occur elsewhere in the city or the country. According to some estimates, participants could number in the thousands in Monrovia – a size which is unprecedented in Liberia’s post-conflict era. Sources suggest that protest leaders may have traveled throughout Liberia to promote support for demonstrations in other parts of the country as well. Large gatherings can materialize with little notice and escalate to violence in Liberia, and vigilantism and mob justice is common in Liberia particularly in rural areas. Members of the Liberian diaspora are reportedly organizing a June 7 protest in Washington, DC in solidarity, which could raise the profile of these protests and sustain their momentum.

Security managers should review their security measures and ensure they account for potential for protests to turn confrontational, be prolonged, and increase future tensions. The government’s reaction and demonstrators’ orderliness will play a major role in determining scale, duration, and escalation to violence of these protests. There are some private-sector concerns about the potential for June 7 to prompt sustained or recurring unrest, given their potential to tap into a confluence of economic and political trends that could cause potential regional spillover or prompt ghosts from Liberia’s conflicted past to reemerge.

Could Protests Transform a Political Turning Point into a Tipping Point?

Joint calls for demonstrations could mark the opposition’s attempt to galvanize rising and increasingly widespread popular grievances against the President and his party. So far, the central government has largely avoided addressing the looming protests publicly. The government has barred the media from reporting on the progress of government negotiations with the opposition. Open sources indicate that the government’s silence has augmented public anxiety.

The current president, George Weah, was elected in Liberia’s 2017 Presidential election, beating then-incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai, in a run-off. Weah ran as an outsider and championed a platform of poverty reduction, economic growth, infrastructure development, and anticorruption. As a result, protests could serve as a one-year review of Weah’s performance in office and ability to meet his campaign promises. In addition, former VP Boakai is one of the leaders of “Save the State” protests; his active role in organizing the demonstrations could indicate his intention to establish himself as the opposition frontrunner for 2022 Presidential elections, as well as the opposition’s desire to continue sparring with Weah over the course of his first term. The 2017 election also marked the country’s first postwar peaceful transition of power, which could mean that sustained unrest against Weah could escalate into a referendum on the success of Liberia’s post-conflict democratic progress.

How unified the opposition becomes, and whether the coalition is able to galvanize widespread and sustained support remain to be seen. Unarticulated grievance-based and/or antigovernment movements can be prone to volatility and devolution; opposition leaders have provided participants with an outlet to express their grievances, but limited guidance on how to direct this expression. In such cases, score settling, scapegoating, predation, mistargeting, and/or indiscriminate violence could occur – all of which have implications for private-sector security, as they could lead to organized or ad hoc targeting as well as indiscriminate violence. In addition, there is concern that political elites could tap into criminal elements, youth gangs, vigilantes, and/or armed groups resurrected from Liberia’s past conflicts – any of which could morph into an armed political opposition.

Rising Economic Desperation Mixes With Unmet Expectations and High Crime

Liberia’s economic situation is the worst it has been in the past decade, as the country struggles with high unemployment, price inflation, and fuel price hikes which have caused commodities to skyrocket. The exchange rate has been the highest and most volatile it has been during peacetime. One of the largest foreign direct investors and employers in Liberia has announced layoffs due to lackluster profitability. The layoffs could result in backlash, and could hurt the nation’s economy even more. All of these developments exacerbate economic instability and desperation as Weah pushes economic growth and poverty-reduction agendas, which were major pillars of his 2017 presidential platform.

On May 28, Weah announced a massive reshuffle of the central bank – a move that could be an attempt to mollify the public in advance of June 7. Systemic corruption in government (including the central bank) has become a growing source of discontent under both the previous and current administration. In September, Liberians staged “Bring Back Our Money” protests after more than $100 million in newly printed bills vanished; and the suspicious incident undermined anticorruption efforts. Austerity may also be on the horizon for Liberia, which would impact Weah’s ability to meet his campaign promises and constrain public services further, likely resulting in public outcry.

Worsening poverty and a lack of any social safety net has led to upticks in crime and the proliferation of gangs, as people turn to illicit activities for sources of income. Opportunistic criminal actors may exploit periods of heightened uncertainty, particularly outbreaks of unrest and changes in security force posture, to expand their activities. The myriad of criminal elements also provides political leaders with potential armed wings to tap into for support, some may have access to weapons – albeit typically homemade ones. Crime generally increases during the rainy season (May-September) and has the potential to become more prevalent during periods of unrest. (For more information on crime trends, see Liberia’s OSAC 2019 Crime and Safety Report.)

Upcoming protest activity notwithstanding, the U.S. Department of State currently assigns Liberia a Level 1 Travel Advisory, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions in the country; however, there is a serious risk from criminality in Monrovia, and travelers should exercise increased caution in urban areas due to crime.

Liberia’s two civil wars between 1986 and 2003 destroyed 90% of its economy and damaged a large portion of its infrastructure, while the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak overburdened what infrastructure remained – particularly the country’s health system – and sapped revenue that could have driven development and furthered post-conflict recovery. Although increased international attention during the Ebola crisis brought a momentary uptick in private-sector presence and investment, this was primarily health- and emergency response-focused and largely disappeared with the end of the epidemic. International aid initially resuscitated Liberia’s economy, but systemic improvements have been lacking due to institutional weakness and corruption. The Liberian government continues to rely on international assistance for two-thirds of its expenditures; commercial investors driven off by the outbreak remain leery of re-entering the market, inhibiting economic diversification and capacity building.

Reemerging Ghosts from Liberia’s Conflicted Past Could Contest for Its Future

The legacy of Liberia’s civil wars continues to loom large in politics. Anti-government unrest could rekindle unresolved ethno-political tensions that may be exploited by political opportunists. There are concerns that Charles Taylor, Liberia’s president during both civil wars, maintains significant influence in Liberian politics, despite his conviction for war crimes and incarceration in the United Kingdom. Well-known associates of Taylor, including those who held key positions during his administration and were implicated in abuses, continue to hold prominent positions in Liberian politics. Such figures include Taylor’s ex-wife, who was Weah’s running mate and is now the Vice President; and Prince Johnson, an on-again off-again Taylor ally who won third-place in the 2017 presidential election, despite calls for him to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. Prince later endorsed Weah in the run-off and continues to give him support. Johnson urged his followers not to join the opposition in protest, but they could participate in counter-rallies; however, this relationship may fray if Weah heeds more vocal calls for Johnson’s prosecution.

Large-scale, sustained unrest could present heavyweights from Liberia’s conflicted past with opportunities for intervention and posturing to exact concessions and expand of their influence. Liberia’s main political figures and parties – including Boakai, Taylor, and Johnson — maintain strong support bases often along ethno-political and geographic lines. What made Weah’s campaign successful was its broader appeal– which is now under pressure. As a result, there are concerns that “Save the State” could prompt power shifts and realignments that could disrupt current alliances and potentially undermine Liberia’s post-conflict trajectory, which has remained politically stable despite lingering tensions.

Sisters in Struggle: Liberia’s Woes Could Spill into Sierra Leone

OSAC has received a number of inquiries from private-sector organizations operating in Liberia as well as Sierra Leone due to constituent concerns about implications of June 7 protests on Liberia’s stability and potential for spillover into Sierra Leone. The two countries possess similar risk factors (e.g. lackluster economic performance, endemic corruption, and institutional weakness) and shared histories (e.g. interrelated civil wars and the Ebola outbreak).

In addition, President Julius Bio in Sierra Leone took office in 2018 as a successful opposition candidate by running on a poverty reduction and anticorruption platform but is facing economic challenges, similar to Weah.

On June 3, the UK government updated its advice for Sierra Leone warning of a general increase in demonstrations; such activities are probably not directly related to the June 7 protests in Liberia, but are likely fueled by antigovernment grievances over similar issues such as prolonged economic declines.

Successful demonstrations in Liberia could lead to copycat demonstrations in its neighbor. Ethnic and kinship ties also extend across Liberia and Sierra Leone’s shared frontier, which experiences high volumes of daily cross-border transit and commercial activity, rendering borders extremely porous. Such factors played major roles in the spread of Liberia’s second civil war into its neighbor. French guidance currently advises against non-essential travel along the border with Sierra Leone since March 2018 due to potential instability, despite improvements in the security environment.

Local Security Force Response

June 7 demonstrations could overwhelm host nation capacity including local security force response, emergency services, and medical infrastructure which are already limited – even in Monrovia where they are concentrated — due to years of under development and repeated crisis. Response in Monrovia and particularly outside the capital could become even more attenuated or delayed during June 7 protests. Security forces face chronic shortages in manpower, equipment, and training – particularly within the Liberian National Police (LNP).

This lack of resources stems from Liberia’s civil wars, after which its entire formal security sector — including military, police, and intelligence — was dismantled and reconstituted from scratch due to the prevalence of human rights abuses committed during the conflict. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) oversaw the reform of Liberia’s security and justice sectors, but fully withdrew from the country in 2018. Further government-driven capacity building in the security sector has been slow.

In response to possible unrest, security forces have set up frequent checkpoints in the city–particularly in upscale neighborhoods such as Sinkor while constituents have reported that shakedowns have become more common and aggressive. Checkpoints could proliferate around June 7, which could increase the prevalence of extortion. Public confidence and trust in Liberia’s security forces is extremely low, largely due to perceived corruption and ineffectiveness. Additionally, the government could implement movement restrictions and curfews if it perceives a threat to law and order.

It remains unclear how well Liberia’s security forces will be able to modulate their use of force – particularly in the face of largescale, multi-location gatherings and/or provocations (stone-throwing, barricading, rioting, and looting). To date, the Liberia National Police (LNP) has only had to manage localized demonstrations involving a few hundred, mostly-compliant participants including during the “Bring Back Our Money” demonstrations; “Save the State” participation may dwarf these earlier protests.

The UN Special Representative for West Africa expressed concerns about the capacity of Liberia’s security forces to handle longer term protests during his May 24-25 visit to support dialogue between the government and opposition leaders.

Heavy-handed response to the June 7 protests, or even the perception of such a response, may further erode confidence in security forces and enflame anti-government tensions; as a result, the margin of error for the government is narrow.

Maintaining cohesion and professionalism will be more difficult in rural areas of the country where security force densities are lower. Frequently, reinforcements from Monrovia must respond to even routine incidents. Police officers frequently end up becoming victims themselves when responding to incidents. Once reinforcements arrive, the victimized police officers may carry out reprisals. Due to limited police response, many communities have turned to vigilantism and extrajudicial measures. In the last two months, there have been at least two reported incidents outside of Monrovia in which vigilantes have targeted police, possibly signifying rising popular discontent with government responsiveness; security forces are often the most visible and accessible embodiment of the central government.

U.S. and Foreign Government Response

The U.S. Embassy has warned that while gatherings will start in the morning, protests could last into the next day. The Embassy has also advised personnel to avoid the area, including rescheduling flights in or out of Roberts International Airport on June 7 and 8, as traffic jams may affect travel to and from the airport (see June 3 security alert). The UK government updated its travel advice on May 23 to alert travelers of June 7 protests, and the Canadian government has incorporated similar changes. The U.S. Department of State currently assigns Liberia a Level 1 Travel Advisory, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions in the country, however travelers should exercise increased caution in urban areas due to crime; this guidance remains in effect.

Private-Sector Response

Security managers should monitor local information sources and networks for developments and review organizational risk assessments, contingency plans, and mitigation measures in case of outbreaks or sustained unrest. In the wake of U.S. government advice to avoid the airport, organizations should consider the criticality of air travel around June 7; some organizations have deferred travel around this time. Large gatherings and elevated security force presence may impede airport access and traffic flow around Monrovia and other locations affected by protests.

Given limited or even reduced local security and emergency response capabilities, organizations should review their duty of care to both foreign and local staff including what organizational resources they can provide to protect their personnel and operations. Ensure sufficient supplies including food, water, and fuel in case of prolonged unrest or disruption of commercial services; reports indicate that locals are stockpiling radios and food.

Contingency plans should include accountability protocols; shelter-in-place scenarios; use of redundant communications systems; crowd avoidance techniques. Many in-country private sector organizations have bolstered physical security measures to deter crime during the rainy season and are reviewing these in light of potential unrest. Private sector personnel in Liberia should expect a visible increase in local security force posture particularly around administrative buildings, key infrastructure including the airport, and major transit arteries. However, heightened security force presence may not mean increased ability to respond to incidents and emergencies.

Travelers may encounter more frequent checkpoints; review how to avoid security issues around checkpoints and road blocks, interact with security forces, and handle shakedowns during times of heightened tensions.

US Federal Government Disclaimer: The contents of this presentation in no way represent the policies, views, or attitudes of the United States Department of State, or the United States Government, except as otherwise noted (e.g., travel advisories, public statements). The presentation was compiled from various open sources and (U) embassy reporting.  

West African Journal Magazine

Students To Resist “Ban On Politics” At University of Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia – June 4, 2019: A fierce critic of the Weah Administration Martin K.N. Kollie is vowing to resist the ban on student politics at the state run University of Liberia.

Main Campus of University of Liberia In Capitol Hill
Main Campus of University of Liberia In Capitol Hill

In an interview on Tuesday, the vocal student leader confirmed that “on the direct orders of President George M. Weah, the University of Liberia issued a ban on all political activities on campuses of the institution.” This is the second time in the last 6 months that the Government of Liberia has moved to curtail political activities on at the University.

Kollie warned that the action of President Weah was what he described as “dictatorial” and warned that the Liberian President was treading on “dangerous ground. According to him, the authorities of the University have given no reasons for the “ban on politics” not did they back in last January when the first ban was issued.

Kollie accused the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of dispatching “thugs” to the Capitol Hill campus on Monday, June 3, 2019 to intimidate and harass students who are opposed to the policies of the government. The incident, he said, led to the disruption of normal academic activities. The student leader further charged that in the run up to the June 7th protest, the Government was “importing former rebels” to attack protesters.

June 7th Protest Flyer
June 7th Protest Flyer

West African Journal Magazine is unable to independently ascertain the charge of Kollie. The UL Administration blamed the ban on the disturbance  on Monday. “ Accordingly, no political group shall assemble or hold meetings or engage in any politically related activities on any of the UL campuses during this period of suspension,” a UL official said in issuing the ban on student political activities.

He further disclosed in the interview that the student leadership of the University of Liberia was mobilizing about 50,000 students in support of the June 7th Protest which he described as “the beginning of the revolution” against the Weah Government.

According to him, he is being followed by state security personnel because of his advocacy and critical views against the Government. “For the last 2 months, I have not lived at home for fear of my life”, he emphasized.

Liberian Student Activist And Leader Martin K.N. Kollie
Liberian Student Activist And Leader Martin K.N. Kollie

Kollie disclosed further that it was his information that the Government was planning to issue a “State of Emergency” on June 6th, a day before the protest to block the massive anti Government demonstration which is being organized by a group known as the Council of Patriots (COP).

The Liberian Constitution provides for the issuance of State of Emergency in Article 86 (a) and (b):

Article 86

I a

The President may, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, proclaim and declare and the existence of a state of emergency in the Republic or any part thereof. Acting pursuant thereto, the President may suspend or affect certain rights, freedoms and guarantees contained in this Constitution and exercise such other emergency powers as may be necessary and appropriate to take care of the emergency, subject, however, to the limitations contained in this Chapter.

b

A state of emergency may be declared only where there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic amounting to a clear and present danger.”

But the student activist said critics of the Government are prepared to ignore any “unorthodox and illegal imposition of a State of Emergency” by President Weah.

By Our Correspondent

West African Journal Magazine

 

Governor Jackson Paye Distances Himself From BWI Board’s Decision To Suspend Principal

– Says Resolution Shrouded In “Secrecy”

(Monrovia, May 24, 2019) A former Board Chairman and member of the Board of Governors of Booker Washington Institute (BWI), Jackson J. Paye has distanced himself from a decision to suspend the Principal of the nation’s premiere vocational and technical institute Mr. Harry Fomba Tarnue.

Booker Washington Institute
Booker Washington Institute

He is terming the decision as “preconceived, non-transparent, and strong-arm tactics” by some members of the Board.
It can be recalled that, the Board through a resolution on Friday May 17, 2019 suspended and subsequently replaced Mr. Tarnue with one James W. Walker as Officer-In-Charge of the school.
Our Correspondent reports that suspended Principal Mr. Tarnue has termed his suspension as “preconceived and political witch-hunt” by the Board.
However, following the suspension, a board member and Former Public Works Minister Jackson Paye disassociated himself from the Board’s decision, describing it as an act of injustice against the suspended principal. “In the instant case, it is my opinion, that the Board of Governors, BWI, did not  do justice in the  manner it had  approached the suspension of Principal Tarnue,” he said.
According to him, though his stance may not make a difference, but it would be good for the public to know where he stands as a member of the Board, noting, his interest in his Alma Mater is second to none.

He explained that he was constrained to publically speak out because
of the many telephone, and email queries he has received from friends and fellow alumni both home and abroad about the Board’s decision.
“I am constrained to make my position public due to the many calls and email quires I received since the decision was announced on Friday, May 17, 2019”, he emphasized.
The former Nimba County Superintendent reiterated that while his dissenting view may not matter nor reverse the course of action taken, it will dispel the notion that the decision to suspend the Principal was unanimous as was reported in the local media.
Mr. Paye further said that the Resolution, expressing Vote of No Confidence” in the Principal was shrouded in secrecy, and circulated among select members of the Board and kept away from Statutory Members including him as the Immediate Past Chairman and a prominent alumnus.

He stated that his name was attached to the Resolution without his signature, and that some of the issues raised in the Resolution as ground for the Principal’s removal were not carefully adjudicated by the Board in keeping with the principle of due process.
This, he said, creates doubts in many minds that the suspension was preconceived; adding, since the re-constitution of the Board of Governors by President George Manneh Weah, the Chairman, John S. Youboty has consistently violated the Charter of the Institute; specifically Article III, Sections 4 and 5 by allowing a non-proxy in keeping with the Charter, to continue to act as such.

In a press statement released in Monrovia on May 21, 2019, Mr. Paye said, he has, on
numerous occasions raised the constant violation of the institute’s chapter in the presence of the Member Ex-Officio, the Minister of Education.
According to him the, the Powers and Duties of the Board, and those of the Principal are clearly spelt out in Articles IV and V of the Charter with the Chair Ex-Officio (President of the Republic)
and Member Ex-Officio (Minister of Education) playing overarching roles.
Therefore, he said, while it is the prerogative of the President of Liberia and the Minister of Education to make national decisions including the hiring and firing of individuals in the government sector, this privilege can be better utilized with advice from the Board of Governors of BWI.

BWI is one of Liberia’s premier vocational and technical training institutes that has produced some of the finest professionals in engineering, architecture, agriculture, politics, and other fields that have contributed significantly to the overall development of the country.

By Paul M. Kanneh In Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Opinion: Why Leaders Should “Eat Last”

In a previous paper, I underlined possible trends impacting Liberia economy in 2019 and proposed series of recommendations which preceded the IMS report.

In this article, I focus on leadership and why it is important for leaders to “eat last”.

Political Subdivision Map of Liberia map
Political Subdivision Map of Liberia Map

This is important because the circumstances unfolding in Liberia is disquieting and shocking.  The  lack of leadership is why we have economically and socially fallen of the cliff. It is unfortunate, because it doesn’t have to be this way. For over a century, we have failed to educate and improve the standard of living for our people. That is why the ability to make decisions that benefit them or know right from wrong is limited.

We cannot blame our people for the lack of social insecurity and failure. It is because of this confusion and indecisiveness that Liberia is in a chaotic state and given rise to the Yekeh Kolubah, Abraham Darius Dillon and Henry Costa of the world. It is because most Liberians under 30 (majority of the voting age population) feel they have no future and these individuals feel their pain, even if they are in it for themselves. And so I predict that we are in it for a long haul.

To correct the gross social imbalances of the past, individuals who aspire to leadership must understand Liberia’s  lessons from a historical context and correct it. Neither this current government nor the previous ones have done anything to turn the tide; so history is destined for reappearance.

First, I’ll conceptualize leadership.

One can equate a leader to being a parent. He or she is the core of the family, who makes sacrifices to see that his or her child interests are advanced so that, later in life, they would follow the right path and become successful. So, in the process sacrifices are made by the parent; lot  of them.

It is this kind of leadership Liberia requires to move forward. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The CDC lead government under President George Weah came with all the hope and aspiration that they had the magic wand to solve Liberia’s problem only to drop the ball, because they were not prepared and had no plan; all talk and no substance. So, they are stuck.

Here is  why I think that John C. Maxwell had a right when he said “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”  Similarly, Dwight D. Eisenhower the 34the President of the United States once said “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity.” The rationale is that without trust and honesty first to yourself and others, success isn’t possible. You cannot force it.

Leaders Eat Last Module By Simon SinekIn Simon Sinek’s book “Leaders Eat Last” he laid out evidently that leaders should create the environment that allow people to feel a sense of purpose, fulfillment and self-actualization from what they do and why leaders must build trust so that people can thrive. In order to build trust, a leader must be transparent and everything he or she does. When they have nothing to hide, they are challenged less because people are aware of what they do and there are no hidden skeleton in their closets. He or she is a teacher and a coach, not a dictator. They communicate what they want to do so the vision is clear.

A leader that eats last is selfless, self-sacrificing; not driven by honor and power with the single-mindedness upon making everyone better. Your success as a leader must come from the vision and accomplishment of your people. Put your people in the spotlight and you will shine. Surround yourself with the best and brightest and you will gleam and standout. A leader that east last is careful of abuse of public office for private gain, since it impacts economic growth and livelihood.

One writer sums it this way with respect to how leaders must eat last  “…Although leaders may not be asked to risk their lives or to save anybody else’s, they should be glad to share their glory and help those with whom they work, succeed. More importantly, in the right conditions, people with whom leaders engage with should choose to also share their glory and take risk. And when that happens, when those kinds of bonds are formed, a strong foundation is laid for the kind of success and fulfillment that no amount of money, fame or awards can buy.”

This is what it means to work in a place in which the leaders prioritize the well-being of their people and, in return, their people give everything they’ve got to protect and advance the happiness of one another; a kind of shared purpose.

This is why we all owe it the opposition in Liberia as well as well Yekeh Kolubah, Abraham Darius Dillon and Henry Costa  because leaders must be checked or you will breed monstrosity and gargantuan.

I have been fortunate to engage with many organizations and have determined that those that are exceptional, whether public (government) or the private (business), are ones in which leaders set clear visions and where people implement those visions. And so, they push harder and harder, take risks to achieve shared-objectives and better the lives of their people. You can only achieve this  if there are empathy and compassion for individuals; not self. People!.

Leaders that eat last see aggrandizement and braggadocio as obstacles to progress and not the other way around. This is fundamental to creating a culture in which folks effortlessly pull together to advance the public good; not  the good of an individual.

Leaders that eat last create a sense of belonging that limit stress and reduce threats.  Everyone feel a part of something bigger; a greater purpose. They give their all, more time, and energy to protect others from the constant dangers outside and seize the big opportunity to impact lives. Smart leaders can accomplish this because it is not about them. Unfortunately, most of our leaders don’t see it this way. They are mostly driven by tittle-tattle, scuttlebutt and gossip.

This is why we need leaders; good ones – Leaders who would look out for people on both sides of the political spectrum (ruling and opposition) and the willingness to sacrifice their comfort for others, even when they disagree with you; a kind of trusted leadership. Trust is not simply a matter of shared opinions. Trust is a biological reaction to the belief that someone has others well-being at heart. Trusted leaders are those who are willing to give up something of their own for others. Their time, their energy, their money, maybe even the food off their plate. When it matters, good leaders choose be the last to take from the plate; Not the first.

In addition, a leader that eats last encourage others to do the right thing even if it is popular. When human-beings feel that they have the control to do what’s right and supported, even if it sometimes means breaking the rules, they will more likely do what’s right. Audacity and courage comes from good leaders. Chaos and uncertainties exist from those that are unscrupulous and immoral. A person’s’ poise and timidity to do what’s right is determined by how a person trust his or her leader. A leader that eats last isn’t often fooled because he or she uses common sense and moral judgment.

It is often said that the environment has an impact on the individual. Sometimes if respectable and honest people work in a bad culture, one in which leaders do not relinquish control, lack respect for the law, immoral, shady and corrupt, then the odds of the good habits go down and bad habits go up. Individuals will be more likely than not,  to follow the bad rules out of fear of getting in trouble or getting in trouble with the boss, losing their jobs rather than doing what needs to be done.

Market in Liberia
Market in Liberia

The current global economy will continue to see stock market volatility, decline in commodity prices, trade wars, falling oil prices, hyper-inflation, and the depressing economic prospects for Sub-Saharan Africa. The challenges of reducing poverty and the impact of high inequality across the region will continue to dampened progress and economic activity. And so the challenges of poverty reduction can only be realized through robust economic growth and equitable distribution of the national pie which would require effective and efficiency leadership.

We have by our own nature created a country that is politically and economically out of balance for ourselves and generation to come. It has been so for over 170 years. It will soon self-destruct unless we are smart enough to correct it methodically and with a sense of urgency. Given our inclination for instant enjoyment, satisfaction, pleasure and the weaknesses in our organizations, nevertheless, our leaders may not have the poise or patience to do what needs to be done even if it is the right thing.

For some reasons, there’s this strong feeling that Liberian leaders don’t see their people as individuals but rather pawn in a chess game; a means to an end and why empty promises are often made and they often take the bit and fall for the trap from individuals who are only in it for their own concealed motives. Now more than ever, the Liberian people live daily in a society in which they are total strangers in their own land; in which they struggle to make ends meet.

Liberia is in an imbroglio. How the current government overcome the current entanglement needs to be seen, but leadership should be at the core because effective policies requires sound thinking and facts based on the data to inform policy and drive decision-making.

I have always argued that good governance and effective headship is essential for success in any organization and for implementing policies whether fiscal or monetary. In most instances, crafting effective policy option takes time and requires weighing the pros and cons so that prescriptions drive results and outcome.

So my recommendation for every Liberia leader is to do the following:

  1. Fight to bring people together
  2. Create balance between selfish pursuits versus selfless pursuits
  3. Encourage integrity
  4. Talk less and listen more
  5. There’s always two sides to a story. Listen, listen, listen
  6. Share struggle
  7. Get the job done

To sum, leadership is not about doing less. It is striving to do more. And that’s the dilemma. Leadership takes effort and work. It takes time, energy and a ‘get-up-and-go’ attitude. The effects are not always easily measured and they are not always immediate. Leadership is always a commitment to people to do the right thing.

This is the change Liberia yearns  for; – “A leader that eats last, not first.”

Dr. A. Joel King
Dr. A. Joel King has a doctorate in Management and a diploma in Public Policy Economics from Oxford and Executive Coaching from Cambridge.

Is Firestone Liberia Ending Rice Provision To Workers?

Firestone, Kakata, Liberia – May 21, 2019: It appears that the Management of Liberia’s largest concession companies Firestone is eliminating the provision of rice to its employees as the company cuts back on its expenses due to the global fall in rubber prices.

Firestone Rubber Trees
Firestone Rubber Trees

In March, Firestone Liberia announced the layoff of about 13 percent of its workforce.

 Almost since its operations began in Liberia, the concession had been providing the much preferred American parboiled rice at a reduce price to its employees to supplement the low wages it pays them. Payment for rice is deducted from the salaries of employees at a steep discount. Rice is the staple in Liberia.

According to a source, Firestone switched to an indian variety of rice almost a year ago and resumed provision. But it now appears that this benefit is being curtailed.

When contacted to ascertain the veracity of this suspension of price provision to employees, a public relations officer at Firestone told West African Journal Magazine in a statement on Monday that, “ We cannot comment on ongoing (CBA)Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.”

 All indications point to some kind of negotiations current underway over the issue between the Workers Union and the Management team of Firestone.

In 1926, Firestone entered into a 99 year countract with the Government of Liberia signed a 99-year contract with the Liberian government for operations of a rubber plantation which  covers almost 200 square miles east of the capital Monrovia.

 By Our Reporter

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: Massive Turnout To Welcome Protest Leader & TalkShow Host

Thousands of supporters, on Thursday, May 16, 2019 came out to welcome the man who is seen by many including the government of Liberia as the “instigator” of the much publicized June 7 protest. 

Supporters Of Liberian Talkshow Host Henry P. Costa

According to our correspondent in Monrovia, the Liberian popular talk show host and political commentator, Henry Pedro Costa returned to Liberia from the United States of America to join his colleagues to lead the June 7 protest in demand of change. Many supporters who spoke to West Africa Journal Magazine said, they came out in solidarity with the planned June 7 protest. 

Speaking to our Monrovia Correspondent, scores of supporters, mostly young men and women said, their courage to welcome Henry Costa is driven by what they term as the “unprecedented economic hardship” being experienced under the George Weah government. 

Banner Carrying Supporters of Henry P. Costa

A motorcyclist who identified himself as Nathaniel said he parked his commercial motorcycle only to come and welcome the man he called his hero. According to him, his motivation to stand in the hot sun for hours waiting for one man is based on the message that he (Costa) preaches on the radio about corruption. 

“I am motivated to stand in the Hot sun because Costa is the voice of the voiceless”, said Nathaniel. 

He told our reporter that he will be part of the June 7 protest, and called on other well-meaning Liberians to join what he termed a campaign for “emancipation of the poor people.”

Chelsea William, a lady who joined the welcoming crowd from the Monrovia suburb of Chocolate City told President Weah to see the momentum of Costa’s arrival as a clear message.

“George Weah must see this as a message for our desire for change”, she intoned. According to Ms. William, she was tired of the difficulties and would appreciate if President George Weah could see reason to resign if he is not capable of leading the country. 

Young Liberians Welcoming Henry P. Costa

Bystanders who trooped in from their various quarters were heard describing the crowd as a prelude to June 7 protest. The arrival of Costa was characterized by parade from just outside of the city center In Sinkor to Central Monrovia where he addressed crowds of supporters.

Political spectators described the euphoria surrounding the welcome of a “common” talk show host as a display of frustration by the young people who are said to be feeling the difficulties associated with the country’s economy. 

By Paul Kanneh In Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Pres Weah Curtails Public Policy Comments of His Govt Officials

Monrovia, Liberia –  In the wake of comments from allies and Government officials which have embarrassed the President and Government, the President is now moving to instill some control of the narrative of his officials, especially on issues of national concern.

President Weah Addresses the Lawmakers
President George M. Weah – File Photo

Late on Wednesday the Executive Mansion in Monrovia issued a press statement in which it said, “The President of Liberia, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, has issued an Executive Memorandum directing all Ministers, Deputies and Assistant Ministers, and Heads of Agencies and Commissions, and their deputies to refrain from making public comments on policy issues of national concern on both conventional and social media without first seeking authorization from the appropriate authorities. The President’s Executive Memorandum, issued Wednesday, May 8, 2019 through the Director General of the Cabinet, Hon. Jordan Solunteh, also instructs all government Ministries and Agencies to direct their communications on public policy matters to the Minister of Information or his designee. The Memorandum further indicates that there would be grave consequences for any member of the Executive Branch of Government found in violation of the directive. The President therefore cautions all members of the Executive Branch to take heed and govern themselves accordingly…,” the statement concluded.

Earlier during the week, the U.S. Embassy chastised some Government officials and lawmakers over their public comments. “…It is unacceptable for Senator Prince Y. Johnson, Representative Yekeh Kolubah, “ex-generals” or other former actors in Liberia’s civil wars to incite unlawful acts through ill-considered rhetoric that could jeopardize Liberia’s hard-won peace and security. It is equally irresponsible for people within leadership positions in government or the ruling party to promote such division as Deputy Minister Eugene Fahngon has done on social media. To take such a public stance and suggest it is a private opinion or a personal right reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of public service in a democracy…,” the U.S. Embassy said.

The Chairman of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Mulbah Morlu and Representative Kolubah have both welcomed the statement of the U.S. Embassy.

The Presidential directive does not cover the ruling CDC but observers say they expect the fiery rhetoric and accusations against the opposition of Chairman Morlu to be toned down.

Some observers say the action by the Liberian leader may have come following a closed door meeting with members of the Senate on Tuesday in which they made some suggestions to address the political tension in the country.

By Our Reporter

West African Journal Magazine

 

Is There An Alleged “Scheme” To Violently Disrupt June 7th Protest In Liberia?

Monrovia, Liberia – May 8, 2019: The West African Journal Magazine has heard and is in possession of an audio recording of a telephone call which discloses an alleged ominous scheme to violently attack and disrupt the June 7th peaceful protest organized by some Liberians under the banner of Council of Patriots. (COP).

 

Monrovia Mayor Jefferson Koijee
Monrovia Mayor Jefferson Koijee

The undated audio recording which cannot be independently authenticated is that of an unidentified female  informing an unidentified male on the other end of the call in which she states, “ …Please take it down. Jefferson Koijee have crossed  over 200 men at Lugatuo…They crossed over 200 persons yesterday…Lugatuo. They used a guy by the name of Steven,. His real name is Kesselly Mulubah. He is the one they used to bring the men in from Cote d’Ivoire. They intend to give them uniforms to attack protesters in the form of police officers…. I’m not in town. They just called me and give me the information and so I say let me call you right away so I can’t keep it to myself…,” the female is heard concluding the call on the audio recording.

Liberian-Ivorian Border Area

Liberian-Ivorian Border Area

The town of Lugatuo is a porous immigration crossing point between, Nimba County, Liberia and neighboring Cote d’Ivoire. Nimba County was the beach-head for Charles Taylor led rebels who launched an attack on Liberian soil in December, 1989. The devastating war led to the deaths of over 250,000 and the international and external dislocation of nearly 1 million others.

It is unclear if the release of the contents of the audio recording is diversionary or real. A source told West African Journal Magazine that the alleged scheme may also have others involved in the planning of the importation of the men from Cote d’Ivoire.

Jefferson Koijee is the current Mayor of the city of Monrovia and was appointed by President Weah when the new Administration took office over a year ago. He is a former Youth leader of the now ruling Congress For Democratic Change (CDC).

Earlier on Wednesday, four opposition political parties announced their support for the peaceful protest organized by the Council of Patriots (COP) and scheduled for June 7th. There have been some threats issued against the protesters and which have not been disavowed by the Government of Liberia. Organizers of the protest say they remain resolute and will exercise their constitutional right to protest against poor governance and the deteriorating economy.

Protest organizers say their action is not designed to call for the resignation of President George M. Weah but to demand redress for the deteriorating conditions in the country.

The contents of the audio recording are being discussed on various Liberia social media fora. Neither the Government of Liberia nor Mr. Koijee have responded to this development.

By Our Security Correspondent

West African Journal Magazine

IMF Concludes Economic Review Mission To Sierra Leone

Freetown, Sierra Leone – May 7, 2019: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) just concluded a Review Mission to Sierra Leone in West Africa and has published a report of its findings:

Sierra Leone Finance-Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa
Sierra Leone Finance-Minister Jacob Jusu Saffa
  • The Sierra Leone authorities and IMF mission concluded discussions, ad referendum, on economic policies to pave the way for consideration by the IMF Executive Board of the first review under the ECF-supported program.
  • Continued actions to mobilize revenue and manage public finances remain key priorities to reduce public debt and create fiscal space for investing in people and infrastructure.
  • Stepping up structural reform efforts will be crucial to managing fiscal risks, ensuring greater accountability, and diversifying the economy for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.

 

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Karen Ongley, visited Freetown during April 23-May 7, 2019 to conduct the first review of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement approved by the Executive Board on November 30, 2018.

At the end of the visit, Ms. Ongley issued the following statement:

“The economic landscape in Sierra Leone remains challenging. Yet, the authorities navigated these difficulties well in the year since taking office, helping to stabilize the economy. Real GDP looks set to pick up this year to 5.1 percent, thanks in part to the resumption of iron ore mining. After peaking above 19 percent last September, inflation moderated to 17.5 percent in March and is projected to continue tracking down over 2019.

“Faced with serious constraints on budget financing, the authorities kept the budget in check through stronger‑than‑programmed revenue performance and spending well below the budget. As a result, the overall deficit narrowed from 8.8 percent in 2017 to 5.8 percent in 2018. However, delays in donor receipts and uneven liquidity in the banking system, posed challenges for deficit financing and monetary policy, and impacted program performance.

“While program performance is broadly on track, slower than expected progress on structural reforms reflects the magnitude of policy challenges. Nine of the ten quantitative targets were met for end‑December 2018 and end‑March 2019. However, the Net Domestic Assets of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) at end‑December 2018 exceeded the program target (performance criterion), partly due to BSL’s credit to government and continued foreign exchange market sales to stem depreciation of the Leone. Moreover, three of five structural benchmarks—the forensic audit of the BSL, developing a strategic plan for the two state-owned banks, and a strategy for clearing domestic arrears—have been delayed, as the underlying issues are proving to be more complex than anticipated.

“With this in mind, the Sierra Leonean authorities and the mission reached understandings, ad referendum, on economic policies aimed at enhancing accountability in managing public resources, diversifying the economy and promoting more resilient and inclusive growth. The authorities’ commitment to mobilizing domestic revenue and improving expenditure management to achieve a gradual reduction in the deficit will help ensure that public debt returns to a sustainable path. Notwithstanding pressures on the budget, the authorities will safeguard poverty-reducing spending and other priority spending under the Government’s National Development Plan. Limiting the recourse to domestic financing will also reinforce the BSL’s objective of bringing inflation down to single digits by the end of the program. Maintaining a flexible exchange rate system and increasing foreign exchange reserves will boost resilience to economic shocks.

Sierra -Leone
Sierra -Leone

“The authorities have calibrated their policies to address longstanding vulnerabilities, but this also requires maintaining policy discipline and stamina. Notwithstanding their ambitious revenue goals, the program reflects a more cautious revenue assumption as a buffer to deal with fiscal risks, such as reliance on donor financing, the large outstanding stock of domestic arrears, and high prospective debt service payments. Stepping up efforts on the structural reforms underpinning the program is crucial to the goals of managing fiscal risks and ensuring greater accountability for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans.

“The IMF’s Executive Board is expected to consider first ECF review by end-June 2019. Completion of the review would make available SDR 15.56 million (US$ 21.5 million), bringing total disbursements under the program to about SDR 31 million (US$ 43 million).

“The mission met with Vice President Jalloh, Minister of Finance Jacob Saffa, Deputy Minister of Finance Patricia Laverley, Governor of BSL Kelfala Kallon, Finance Secretary Sahr Jusu, other senior government and BSL officials, representatives of the financial sector, civil society, and development partners. Mr. Kingsley Obiora, Alternate Executive Director representing Sierra Leone, also joined the concluding meetings.

“The mission wishes to thank the Sierra Leonean authorities for their warm hospitality, and the constructive and rich discussions during our visit to Freetown.”

Source: IMF Communications

Opposition ALP Withdraws From Dialogue With Liberian Government

Monrovia, Liberia – May 7, 2019: A major opposition political group in Liberia, the All People Party (ALP) says it is suspending all talks or dialogue with the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Government.

All Liberia Party Press Statement

In a press statement issued on Monday in Monrovia, the political party said its decision to suspend dialogue is, “…until the Government fosters reasonable, fair and respectful approach towards the opposition, especially the opposition and the Office of the Chairman of the collaborating Political Parties…”

Mr. Benoni Urey heads the Coalition of Collaborating Opposition Political Parties in Liberia.

The 4-page statemment cited instances of unproven accusations made by the the Chairman of the CDC Mr. Mulbah Morlu, now suspended Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon and Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel McGill against the ALP and others of the Coalition that they were plotting to assasinate President Weah. “The Leaders of the Collaborating Political Parties challenged President Weah and his party’s chairman to provide evidence to what the leaders described as false, malicious and baseless accusation, The CDC and President Weah failed to do so…”, the ALP said.

According to the party, President Weah, at a church Conference in Bong County, central Liberia earlier this year, confirmed the accusation.

The statement which was approved by the party’s National Chairman said, “The ALP believes in the face of rising economic challenges resulting to the growng tension in the country, the CDC led Government lacks better approach to finding remedy to the country’s current problems. As a result, the CDC and President Weah have embarked upon a campaign of scapegoating and diversionary futile political activities by engaing in slanderous attacks on the reputations of Hon. Benoni W. Urey, Cllr. Charles Brumskine, Ambassador Alexander Cummings and Ambassador Joseph. N. Boakai.”

The opposition party led by businessman Urey charged that its “…leadership therefore is of the conviction that both Chairman Morlu and President Weah’s Actions are anti-peaceful and hence a recipe for distrust and lack of confidentialty. The ALP believes what is being prematurely uttered by Chairman Mulbah Morlu, Ministers Nathaniel McGill and Eugene Fahngon is a direct reflection of President Weah’s instruction. Otherwise, we challenge President Weah to have Chairman Morlu removed and subsequently dismiss Ministers McGill and Fahngon immediately…”

All Liberia Party Logo
All Liberia Party Logo

In closing, the ALP announced its endorsement of the June 7 peaceful protests and called on ‘well-meaning Liberians” to join in. A major anti-government protest has been called for June 7th by organizers under the banner Council of Patriots to petition for redress to economic and political issues facing the poor West African Country.

The statement is the first response of the ALP to a series of attacks and accusations against its leader and his business by the CDC Chairman Morlu and allies of the Government. At a recent gathering at the CDC headquarters, Chairman Morlu gave an ultimatum to the telcommunications company Lonestar Cell MTN to distance itself from Mr. Urey or face “citizens withdrawal from the company services.”

The Weah Government is under serious political and economic pressures to provide relief for struggling citizens.

By Our Correspondent In Monrovia

West African Journal

Trump Administration To Limit Visas To Several African Countries

New York, U.S. – April 16, 2019: The Trump Administration is reportedly planning a crackdown on several countries whose nationals overstay their visas in the United States.

US State Department
US State Department

The Wall Street Journal newspaper citing Administration officials say as part of a toughened immigration policy, the Trump Administration is moving to limit the number of visa offered to nationals from Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Chad and Eritrea. The Administration may also offer shorter visa stays.

The Wall Street Journal quotes an official White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley as saying the Trump Administration is considering prioritizing the plan “to reduce overstay rates for visas and the visa waiver program—and it’s well known that the administration is working to ensure faithful implementation of immigration welfare rules to protect American taxpayers.”

The countries are said to be “on notice” unless there is a change in number of their nationals who overstay their visas.

If implemented, the curb in issuance of visas to nationals to the African countries named means it will become harder to obtain such visas. Globally, countries are already seeing denial of visas from U.S. Consular offices for travel to the United States. A popular destination of nationals of the African countries named is the United States where large populations reside as permanent residents or have become U.S. citizens.

By Our Correspondent in New York

West African Journal Magazine

Editorial: Mr. President, Speak To Your People

Monrovia, Liberia- April 15, 2019: The worsening economic reality in Liberia needs no amplification.

President George M. Weah of Liberia

In the local parlance, “People are sucking air”.

In a recent video shared widely on Liberian social media sites, desperate marketers openly voiced frustration with the Weah Administration and its inability to curb the economic downward spiral; especially the declining Liberian dollar. The marketers are simple and good indicators of the local strength of supply and demand which drive the economy.

No one is “buying” because of the lackluster economic environment and the diminishing purchasing ability of the ordinary Liberian.

The sentiment of economic disappointment expressed by the marketers is a reliable representation of the view held across all sectors of the Liberian society that the hard time is too much.

It is reasonable to establish that Liberians are making the effort to speak to President Weah and his Government about their concerns; whether it is through angry marketers, the position of Coalition of Opposition Parties, peaceful marches and protests, mob violence or silence.

The fundamental question is whether Government is listening and, if so, what is its response.

What is baffling to Liberian citizens, and perhaps to the international community of economic observers is the “loud silence” from President Weah to the “status quo” of frustration, hard time and hopelessness ordinary citizens are enduring under his Administration.

In challenging times, citizens expect leaders to step up and inspire, motivate and lead. The President is not speaking nor is he motivating or leading.

This business of the Administration’s silence is clashing with confidence in Government. That confidence was the “Hope For Change” and blank check that some desperate Liberians, who, against their better judgment, as it is becoming evident, gave to the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and President Weah when they elected him in December, 2017.

The blank check of “political capital” that the CDC led Government obtained from the people of Liberia, was, in the real sense, a “credit” which needed to translate to tangibles that will put food on the table, a job and escape from poverty.

The crises of confidence in Government are not just localized to the home theater. International business analysts and observers see a direct correlation between poor governance and Government’s inability to attract investments and infrastructures which are critical drivers of any economy; Liberia being no exception.

Liberia is identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as one of several sub Saharan countries with slower growing countries and where “there is a need to pursue reforms to facilitate economic diversification, and address remaining economic imbalances, many of these cases, private investments remain weak, and a strong focus is needed to address the constraints that are holding such investments back…”

A successful Liberian international business executive Mr. Sage Thomson, in an analysis of the Liberian situation, says, “…with our current inflation rate north of 30%, my goodness… why would any investor or bank want to do business with us? We don’t have a great story to tell the world. The President is jetting off without a serious business pitch. And that pitch starts with stability in your country. But guess what…food inflation is at 31% as of December 2018 and it is fair to say that it is very much higher currently in Q2 19.

Basically, government officials consume our GDP without understanding that you cannot run a nation or have any serious currency without productivity! Growth is driven by capital, labor and productivity… and productivity is 60% of what determines if a country is going to succeed or not.“

Thomson also cites the contributory challenge of uncontrollable “urbanization”. According to him, “another area of massive concern is urbanization.. Monrovia is tremendously overcrowded without any plans, for a secondary city for people to migrate to, for example, Ganta, Nimba County, Gbarnga, Bong County, Zorzor, Lofa County, etc…”

He attributes this uncontrollable factor to the frantic free -fall situation that Liberia is experiencing.

The series of anti-government protests in the last two years are indications that non- Administration supporters are effectively controlling the narrative to the disadvantage of Government. Control of the narrative that the Administration is corrupt and ineffective is winning over independents and some supporters of the Government who see confirmation everyday of some of the questionable actions or inaction by Government.

The once popular CDC is being openly challenged in debates in the public square and electoral contests for public office. Some Liberians are even accusing the Weah Administration of choosing to violate the Constitution rather than face the public embarrassment of losing by-elections due to its declining popularity; case in point being the delay in formally informing the National Elections Commission (NEC) about the vacancy in the Senatorial seat in Montserrado County in order to trigger preparation for and holding of a by election.

While it may be true that the Weah Administration may have simply forgotten to inform the NEC of the vacancy, equally, so, they’ve created room for opposition and independents to point to ineffective governance. This lapse contributes to sustained erosion of confidence and the desire to find an alternative leadership to the present Government.

It is no secret that political and social tensions and divisions are rising due to the economic malaise. And the creeping realization is that Liberians are slowly but surely reaching the point of no return when they would rightfully and peacefully call for a change in Government by invoking Articles 1 and 7 of the Constitution.

Article 1 says,  

“All power is inherent in the people. All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require. In order to ensure democratic government which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such period, and in such manner as provided for under this Constitution, to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments…”

Article 7 maintains that, “…freedom and social justice enshrined in this Constitution, manage the national economy and the natural resources of Liberia in such manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under conditions of equality as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia…”

The Weah Administration must “speak” credibly to citizens and begin to lead in all areas. It will require making some difficult choices which would include discarding some entrenched economic and political positions, realization that government critics are not “enemies of the state” but patriots; and even adopting some solutions offered by the opposition bloc.

If Liberia wins in the end, regardless of who is in the Executive Mansion, it will validate that Liberia is greater than any one person or political party.

Mr. President, citizens are trying to get your attention. They are suffering! Speak to them!

West African Journal Magazine

Former TRC Head And IJG Executive Director Cllr Jerome Verdier Calls For Implementation of TRC Report

Washington DC – April 12, 2019: The Executive Director of The International Justice Group (IJG) and Chairman of the erstwhile Liberia’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) says he is delighted and is lauding the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) and the Transitional Justice Working g Group (TJWG) for recognizing the need for entrenching Justice into the country’s body polity.

Executive Director of IJG and Former TRC Head Counselor Jerome Verdier
Executive Director of IJG and Former TRC Head Counselor Jerome Verdier

He is also welcoming their courageous calls for the full implementation of all the recommendations of the TRC, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Economic and War Crimes Tribunal for Liberia.

In an statement to West African Journal Magazine on Friday, Cllr Verdier reiterated that the call for the full implementation of all TRC recommendations is in keeping with law and section 46 of The TRC Act when it clearly stated that “The Independent Human Rights Commission shall be seized with the responsibility to ensure that all the recommendations contained in Report of the TRC are implemented and that and that civil society organizations and moral guarantors of The CPA shall be seized of the responsibility to monitor,  and campaign for the scrupulous implementation of all recommendations  contained in the report”.

Liberia President George M. Weah
Liberia President George M. Weah

And Section 48 which also provides that “The Head of State shall report to the National Legislature within three (3) months of receipt of the report of the TRC, and on a quarterly basis thereafter, as to the implementation of the Commission’s Recommendations. All recommendations shall be implemented. Where the implementation of any recommendations has not been complied with, the Legislature shall require the Head of State to show cause for such non-compliance.”

Chairman Verdier charged that both the Liberian National Legislature and the Liberia President George M. Weah are in open violation of the laws of Liberia and the Rule of Law principle which places the law far above individuals and institutions created by law. The former TRC Chairman said maintaining the Rule of Law is important for maintaining a stable and more peaceful society and acts as the number one incentive for attracting international trade, commerce and foreign investments to the Country.

Liberia TRC
Liberia TRC

“That the Liberia Chief Executive, President Weah, to be in open violation of the law without any plausible excuse or justification is a non-starter especially for a new Government,” Cllr Verdier said, adding that “the President and his CDC- controlled Legislature are undermining the viability of the State and setting very wrong precedence for security, stability and peace of the State because soon the citizens will realize that if these important institutions of State are lawless and disrespectful of the laws then they too as citizens have the right to refuse to obey the laws of the land, pointing to chaos, a breakdown of law and order and the eventual unraveling of our fledgling democratic process.”

The Executive Director of the IJG Cllr Verdier, in his statement, noted Liberia should recognize, as the international community has long since recognized, that the rule of law above all men is imperative because it stabilizes our environment and societies.

“It is very Central to maintaining our modern global social, political and economic order the pursuit of which we all must submit to the rule of law whether it pleases us or not or runs contrary to our intrinsic interest, he maintained,” he said

The learned international human rights advocate and outspoken campaigner for social justice and peace said that “the Rule of Law is our best hope for peace, equity, justice and a civilized society in which the rights of the people are protected and at all times guaranteed.”

Members of the Legislature
Cross Section of Liberia National Legislature

According to him, “President George Weah and the National Legislature are failing and disappointing the Liberian people too early on in their leadership and ignoring the Rule of Law. It is to their own peril because when they stand in need of the law most, the law will fail them, having undermined the law and our institutions of law.”

Verdier emphasized that the full implementation of all the recommendations of Liberia’s TRC Final Report, including the establishment of an Extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia is “sine qua non” to the attainment of sustainable national peace, national  unity, national security and national reconciliation in in a non-threatening society that offers equal opportunity to all.

“President Weah must not disappoint the Liberian people. Too many hopes were hinged to his ascendency. He must take the moral high ground in service to state and abandon petty parochial interests, recognize that he took an oath and made a sworn declaration to put Liberia first, hold Paramount national interest and uphold sacrosanct the Constitution and Laws of the Republic; otherwise, he will be an ordinary and failed leader and admiration by the people will soon diminish and will leave office soon forgotten as a son of the soil and a “man of the people” without a legacy and a champion “without a cause”, Cllr Verdier in his statement said.

Meanwhile, the IJG Executive Director has condemned the recent removal of Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, describing it as a “shameful cowardly act orchestrated by a band of political malcontents without any well-founded basis in law or the Constitution by an overly ambitious Executive branch aspiring to become a dictatorship, a rueful House of Representatives, an ignorant Senate and a highly compromised Chief Justice in a Kangaroo forum that flagrantly violated the Constitution of Liberia, which they neither understand nor appreciate; thus bringing shame and disgrace to our beloved patrimony.”

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor

Cllr Verdier, a veteran and successful senior Liberian lawyer and member of The Honorable Supreme Court Bar, went on to say of all the reasons in law and the Constitution that the co-conspirators could use to effect their cowardly and unpatriotic act, they chose to woefully, shamefully and disgracefully violate the Constitution when in Article 73, the Constitution provides that “NO JUDICIAL OFFICIAL SHALL BE SUMMONED, ARRESTED, DETAINED, PROSECUTED OR TRIED CIVILLY, OR CRIMINALLY, BY OR BY THE INSTANCE OF ANY PERSON OR AUTHORITY ON ACCOUNT OF JUDICIAL OPINIONS RENDERED OR EXPRESSED, JUDICIAL STATEMENTS MADE  AND JUDICIAL ACTS DONE IN THE COURSE OF A TRIAL IN OPEN COURT  OR IN CHAMBERS, EXCEPT FOR TREASON OR OTHER FELONIES, MISDEMEANOR, OR BREACH OF THE PEACE. STATEMENTS MADE AND ACTS DONE BY SUCH OFFICIALS IN THE COURSE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE PRIVILEGED, AND SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE QUALIFICATION, NO SUCH STATEMENTS MADE OR ACTS DONE SHALL BE ADMISIBLE INTO EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM AT ANY TRIAL OR PROCEEDINGS”

In his view, Cllr Verdier held that Justice Ja’neh was under-represented, and his lawyers should be subject to disciplinary hearings and punished or sanctioned, while those lawyers for the prosecution must be disbarred and the Chief Justice deserves to be removed or similarly impeached or made to resign.

Associate Justice Kabineh Jan'eh
Associate Justice Kabineh Jan’eh

Since the case is not over yet, the international lawyer, former TRC head and Executive Director of the IJG called on the Liberian Senate to NOT move to confirm removal of The Honorable Justice Ja’neh until the full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia disposes of the matter by appeal.

“Advocates or lawyers for Justice Ja’neh must perfect an appeal to the full bench of the Honorable Supreme Court. In which case, the Compromised Chief Justice will be compelled  to recuse himself and the remaining Justices will decide the appeal,” Verdier concluded in his statement.

West African Journal Magazine

 

Arcelor Mittal Bats Down Claim of 1000 Job Creation In Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia – April, 12, 2019: The international iron ore conglomerate Arcelor Mittal, which is operating in Liberia, has denied that it is creating 1,000 new jobs in the sub-political divisions of Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.

Assistant Information Minister David B. Kolleh

The claim was pushed on social media a few days ago by an Assistant Minister for Technical Services at the Ministry of Information in the Congress For Democratic Change(CDC) led- Government David B. Kolleh and a Deputy Director General for Rural Services at the state run national broadcaster – a ruling party operative Boimah J.V. Boimah whose profile identified himself in January , 2018 as a  CDC Chief of Social Media & Communications Strategies.

Deputy LBS Director General Boima J. V. Boima

The social media post listed the job creation as part of Government’s achievements for the people of Liberia. Mr. Kolleh was appointed in February, 2018 shortly after the inauguration of President George M. Weah.

West African Journal Magazine conducted a scan of various social media sites and found the claim on Facebook which credited Mr. Kolleh. He has been promoting the  Weah Administration on various social media platforms. Kolleh joined Twitter in July, 2011.  His last post was on September 9, 2018 in which he was promoting the Government run New Liberian newspaper which featured articles on the Liberian President.

In response to an inquiry into the job creation claim by Assistant Minister Kolleh, a media representative of Arcelor Mittal told the West African Journal Magazine ion Thursday in an email that, “This information is untrue. Arcelor Mittal Liberia has not opened new employments. We will continue operating as normal.”

This is the most recent account of Government operatives attempting to lie about actual events in the country. In March, an aide to President Weah Sekou Damaro Kalasco was caught red-handed posting a fraudulent photo  to show Government of Liberia road construction development in Lofa County, northeastern Liberia.

The photo was stolen from an African Development Bank (ADB) project in Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Kalasco later apologized for the mistake.

Liberian Presidential Aide Sekou Damaro Kalasco

In another social media post discovered from February, 2017, one Alieu A. Swaray challenged a prior post by Kalasco in which he erroneously charged that the annual budget of former Liberian Vice President Joseph Boakai was more than that of the U.S. President.

The claim by Kalasco was untrue.

Social Media Posts from Feb. 2017

The Government is under pressure to produce tangible results to change the current dire economic situation and operatives have been trying to paint a positive outlook of Government to citizens; sometimes by embellishment or non-factual information.

By Our Correspondent In Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

GOL Spending Millions To Lobby In US; No Deliverables Yet

 

Washington DC – April 11, 2019: The Government of Liberia spent $4.5 million USD in 2018 on foreign lobbying fees in the U.S.

National Coat of Arms of Liberia
National Coat of Arms of Liberia

According to documents seen and in possession of  the West African Journal Magazine, the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR LLC) based in Virginia, the U.S., acting as a foreign agent on behalf of a foreign principal – the Government of Liberia (GOL), reported income of $4,545,648 (Four Million, Five Hundred and Forty Five Thousand Six Hundred and Forty Eight dollars) for lobbying and influence in Washington DC  with the Government of the U.S. on behalf of the West African nation. The Liberian Registry is managed by the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a privately owned U.S. company operates globally.

A second lobbying firm that represented the interest of the GOL was the Friedlander Group which was paid $40,000 (Forty Thousand dollars) upfront and whose contract was canceled unilaterally by Government shortly after it was consummated in early 2018. The firm says no reason was given by the Liberian Government and monies are still owed by the Government to Friedlander Group.

KRL International LLC 5788-Exhibit-AB-20180822-24

In August, 2018, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley signed for the Government of Liberia to secure the services of another lobbying firm known as KRL International LLC on K Street in Washington DC. Activities of that agreement were “to set a strategic framework for a visit of the Government of Liberia to the U.S. and “to reach key public and private sector stakeholders to support the Liberian Government’s strategy for economic growth”.

KRL in its filing with the U.S. Department of Justice, said it is assisting the Liberian Government of Liberia in ensuring continuing bilateral support from the U.S. Government.

Two emails to KRL International LLC to disclose the status of and the amount of its lobbying contract with the Liberian Government went unanswered.

The Weah Administration has been approaching various individuals and lobbying firms in the U.S. Government through lobbying firms to get to powerful and influential bi-partisan stakeholders for face time and continued international financial aid and support.

Greenberg Traurig-GOL Agreement Letter

The latest consulting firm whose services has been secured is Greeberg and Traurig, LLP to provide,  “ advice and counsel related to foreign relations issues, as well as educating the government and opinion leaders regarding same.” Signed by Liberia’s Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah on September 30, 2018, the agreement with Greenberg Traurig for representation before Congressional leaders in the U.S. is for $300,000 (Three Hundred Thousand Dollars) for a 12 month period beginning October 1, 2018.

Greenberg Traurig US Government Reporting Form

The Liberian Government, according to the agreement, is paying Greenberg Traurig, LLP $25,000 (Twenty Five Thousand dollars) monthly. Per the agreement, as of April, 2019, the Liberian Government would have paid $175,000 (One Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand dollars) with another $125,000  (One Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand dollars) remaining to be paid by September, 2019. The firm also operates a Political Action Committee (PAC), which donates to candidates from both Republican and Democratic political parties in the U.S.

A source who is knowledgeable of the efforts of U.S. based advocates and individuals who successfully appealed to the Trump Administration for an extension to the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for thousands of Liberians dismissed any talk that the Liberian Government lobbying efforts were responsible for the approval of the one year extension.

It is still unclear what “deliverables” the latest lobbying effort is producing since the Liberian President is yet to be invited to the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump and U.S. aid and support remain basic, with just five months to go before expiration of the current contract with Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

US Congressional Seal
US Congressional Seal

According to an “Outlook” Report from May, 2018 prepared by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS), a nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and Members of Congress which works under the direction of Congress, “…Weah appears to be enjoying a political honeymoon, but its duration may be limited, given the pressing nature of the challenges the country faces. His success is likely to depend on his ability to prove—both to Liberia’s citizens and to the international community—that he can govern competently, transparently, and accountably. Still, while he inherits many problems from the Sirleaf administration, he is also the beneficiary of extensive and ongoing donor-backed development and capacity-building assistance, including from the United States, initiated under Sirleaf. The prior government also proposed a range of reform legislation and policies that were not enacted or implemented that the new government may be able to adapt and pursue. For the time being, the United States appears set to continue to support Liberia’s current development trajectory, albeit with assistance allocations lower than those provided during recent past years…”

By Our International Affairs Correspondent, Washington DC

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: Top Security Official Reinstated At NSA

A senior security official at Liberia’s National Security Agency (NSA) has been reinstated. The Executive Mansion in Monrovia announced Monday that Deputy NSA Director Jones Blamo has been reinstated with immediate effect.

No reason was given for the reinstatement of Mr. Blamo who was suspended indefinitely in February.

NSA-LOGOSources indicated that the Liberian President took the decision following news of an “argument” between a Protocol Officer in the Office of the President Ms. Finda Bundoo and Mr. Blamo.

Mr. Blamo’s suspension was broadly termed as “administrative reasons”.

It remains unclear what exactly the “argument” was about and whether it was security related or personal. The Executive Mansion did not elaborate on reasons for the reinstatement.

Code named “202”, Blamo remains the number two at the NSA which is the lead intelligence agency of Liberia that reports directly to the office of the President.

By Our National Security Correspondent in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

U. S. Sanctions Liberian Flagged Shipping Company

A shipping entity connected to the South American Government of Venezuela and with offices in Liberia has been sanctioned by the Government of the United States.

U. S. Pres. Donald J. Trump

The U.S. is locked in a bitter diplomatic spat with the Nicolas Maduro government in Venezuela which it describes as “illegitimate” and has, instead, recognized, the leader of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Mr. Juan Guaido who has declared himself interim President.

Pres. Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela

As part of pressuring the Maduro Government, the Trump Administration, through the Treasury Department, slapped Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons (SDN) economic sanctions on the state owned oil company and two international companies that are engaged in the transport of Venezuelan oil.

Petroleos de Venezuela is the country’s state-run oil company.

Venezuela National Oil Company

The Maduro Government is kept afloat by the proceeds of the country’s oil shipment and sale and Washington is working to strangulate the Government.

The Venezuelan Company operating out of Liberia is Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated with an address at 80 Broad Street in Monrovia.

The address listed for Ballito Bay Shipping is tied to the Liberia International Ship And Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a private U.S. owned and globally operated company that manages Liberia’s lucrative ship registry.

LISCR Offices

LISCR,

The LISCR Trust Company (“the Registered Agent”) on its website says, “ it has been appointed by the Government of the Republic of Liberia to serve as a sole registered agent for all Liberian non-resident corporate entities. The principal role of the Registered Agent is to receive filing instructions, issue annual invoices, notices, etc. and to provide a registered office address for receiving service of process, or legal notices, on the entity’s behalf. The Registered Agent can also serve as the official depository for any document that a Liberian entity voluntarily records outside the public register.

The Registered Agent’s address for all non-resident Liberian entities is 80 Broad Street, Monrovia, Liberia…”

The Liberian Government receives fees collected by LISCR which are deposited in its account at the Federal Reserve in New York.

The identification number of Ballito Bay Shipping with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is 5804961.

Crude Tanker Despina Andrianna

The Despina Andrianna vessel owned by Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated is part of the Liberian registry and is engaged in transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba.

West African Journal Magazine tracked the Despina Andrianna crude tanker and the vessel’s global position currently has it sailing in the Caribbean to an unknown destination.

The sanctions prohibit any citizen of the U.S. or entity from transactions involving Ballito Bay.

The LISCR will now be restricted from further business with the named company in the Liberian registry which it manages , according to the terms of the U.S. sanctions.

Liberia Business Registry Application Form

On its website, the LISCR notes, “…A non-Liberian corporation can re-domicile into Liberia and will become a Liberian Corporation upon filing the application with required attachments, including the Articles of Incorporation of the corporation as a Liberian corporation. The corporation will continue its existence as a Liberian corporation; the existence date of the re-domiciled corporation is the date of incorporation of the corporation in the jurisdiction of its origin.

Liberian nonresident domestic corporations are governed by provisions of the Business Corporation Act, The Associations Law, Title 5, as Amended, of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised, (the “BCA”).

Under Liberia’s Business Corporation Act, Ballito Bay Shipping would be considered a “Foreign Corporation” which is

(o) “Re-domiciled” doing business for profit in Liberia.

It is unclear if Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated which is registered with the Liberian Business Registry (LBR) at the Ministry of Commerce or Liberia National Investment Commission

There are eight (8) other shipping companies with Liberian flagged ships tied to Iran and Hizballah that are sanctioned by the US Government and listed on the Treasury Department’s SDN, according to the Office of Asset Control (OFAC).

West African Journal Magazine has reached out to LISCR Trust for comment on its future relationship with Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated.

By Our International Affairs Correspondent

West African Journal

Liberia: Central Bank and Govt Locked In “War of Words”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – March 5, 2019: The Swedish based currency manufacturing company involved in the biggest financial scandal in the West African country of Liberia is pushing back strongly against Economic Sabotage charges by the Liberian Government.

Crane Currency
Crane Currency

In a 13 – page consolidated response to the charges, a copy of which is in the possession of the West African Journal Magazine, Crane Currency explained that it negotiated and entered into two currency printing contracts on May 6, 2016 and July 28, 2017 with the Government of Liberia through representatives of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

According to the company, “Crane entered into both contracts in reasonable reliance on the CBL’s apparent authority to lawfully award and enter into the subject contracts. At all points, Crane worked with officials from the CBL to enter into and perform under the contracts and to agree all changes in writing. Each contract was subsequently amended by mutual agreement in writing between the aCBL and Crane to include the delivery of additional over-produced banknotes and to reflect changes in CBLs shipping requirements9e.g.) by overnight rather than by sea, to accommodate the CBL’s accelerated schedule.) All changes were memorialized in exchanges of letters, emails and invoice statements…,” the company said.

On April 1, 2019, the Government of Liberia, through its Department of Justice, issued a statement in which it said that it “… categorically rejects claims made by Crane Currency in a statement issued on March 21, 2019, that it has not been charged with any crime in Liberia. To the contrary, Crane Currency and officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), both current and past, were charged and indicted on March 4, 2019 for Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy and Criminal Facilitation, in the printing of excess Liberia Dollar Banknotes…”

Crane Currency said it fulfilled contractual agreement to the CBL as set out in the two contractual delivery agreements and in documented proof for the printing of additional banknotes which the Liberian Government is alleging in its indictment. The total contractual payment to Crane for the printing for the banknotes was $15,867,270.43 (Fifteen Million, Eight Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy Dollars and Forty Three cents). In denying any impropriety in the fulfillment of its contractual obligation to the CBL, the currency printer disclosed that the 2016 Contract contained the following:

Denomination Quantity (pieces)
L $5 15,000,000
L$10 10,000,000
L$20 10,000,000
L$50 20,000,000
L$10 26,250,000
L$500 2,000,000
Total $83,250,000

Crane further disclosed in its statement that the original 2017 Contract contained:

 

Denomination Quantity (pieces)
L$5 6,000,000
L$10 35,000,000
L$20 50,000,000
L$50 15,000,000
L$100 50,000,000
L$500 5,740,000
Total 161,740,000

Crane is insisting that, “The agreements in writing for additional ‘good banknotes’ increased these originally contracted quantities to the totals actually delivered, as set out in the consolidated response…” and provided copies of signature pages for the two contracts with the CBL.

Liberia Justice Minister Counselor Frank Musa Dean
Liberia Justice Minister Counselor Frank Musa Dean

But the Liberian Government, in its statement, held that, “During the investigation by the Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), the airway and seaway bills, along with the packing lists clearly established that Crane printed 18.6 billion Liberian dollars banknotes, over the 15 billion Liberia dollar banknotes it was contracted to print…” At issue in the biggest financial scandal is the question of who authorized senior bank officials to amend the contract for the printing of additional banknotes totaling $18.6 billion LD.

“The Ministry of Justice also states that Crane Currency’s claims that it did not print and deliver excess Liberian Dollar Banknotes to the CBL is not supported by the facts, as contained in the Reports of The Presidential Investigation Team (PIT) and Kroll Associates, In (Kroll). These claims by Crane are totally without merit, not made in good faith, not supported by the records at the CBL and Crane Currency’s own records, submitted to the PIT and Kroll, ” the Government of Liberia said.

But Crane Currency rejects the PIT REPORT SECTION 5.2.2d and says after conducting its own forensic examination, it was able to identify areas where shipping records do not support the conclusions made in the PIT report. “Crane has conducted a forensic examination of Packing Lists (produced by Crane to notify the customer of what is in the shipment leaving the prints works), Air Way Bills (produced by the Airline to record what should be transported) and Air Cargo Manifests (produced by the Aircraft crew to record what has actually been transported on a particular aircraft)…”

In its attempt to explain the discrepancy in the shipping data, Crane said, “…for the 2017 Contract, the PIT report counts deliveries by two Brussels Airlines flights that were in fact canceled. As a result, the report double counts deliveries (the flights that were canceled and the flights that actually happened) and overstates the total number of banknotes delivered to Liberia by 2,645 (Two Million, Six Hundred and Forty Five Thousand) Liberian Dollars. Records of Air way and sea way bills were included in Crane Currency response to buttress its assertion that it undertook the two contracts as agreed.

Between 2016 – 2018, a total of twenty shipments which included the physical movements of Liberian banknotes to the CBL were conducted. There were six shipments for the 2016 Contract; 2 by air and 4 by sea and 14 shipments for 2017 Contract: 7 by air and 7 by sea. On the question of whether the CBL received the twenty shipments of banknotes, Crane Currency explained that freight company would be the entity to confirm delivery to the destination in Liberia.

Accused and Indicted Liberia Central Bank Officials
Accused and Indicted Liberia Central Bank Officials

A former Executive Governor of the Bank Milton Weeks and a current Deputy Charles Sirleaf along with another CBL official Dorbor Hagba were arrested and jailed shortly after the release of the Kroll and PIT forensic reports and implicated in the overprinting. They are free on bail pending trial.

“The Ministry of Justice wishes to emphasize that after receiving Crane Currency’s reaction to their Reports, both Kroll and PIT have stated that they stand by their Findings regarding the printing of excess Liberian dollar Banknotes by Crane Currency,” the Government of Liberia said.

The big financial scandal has damaged confidence and reputation of the Government of Liberia and Central Bank. The case goes to trial in May at the Criminal Court C in Monrovia.

It is unknown if Crane Currency will appear to answer the charges laid by the Government of Liberia.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: CBL Quietly Appoints New Executive Director

Monrovia, Liberia – April 3, 2019: The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has a new Executive Director.

Jay Gbleh-bo Brown of CBL
Jay Gbleh-bo Brown of CBL

He is a bank insider who was promoted from the position of Deputy Director of Insurance in the Regulations and Supervision to the position of Chief of Staff equivalent to the rank of Executive Director.

A press statement issued on Tuesday by the country’s Central Bank says Mr. Jay Gbleh-bo Brown has held other positions at the bank including Deputy Director for Policy & Regulation (2017), Assistant Director – Regulations & Supervision Department (2015-2016), and Bank Examiner (2009-2014).

Mr. Brown has also served as Chair of the Financial Inclusion Working Group and represented CBL at various regional and international meetings, including the statutory meetings of the West African Monetary Zone and the IMF/World Bank Spring.

The CBL says his duties will include ensuring “that all meetings, programs and other activities of the Executive Governor are properly arranged, and appropriate follow-ups made, while as Deputy Officer-in-Charge for Operations, he has the authority to co-sign with the Officer-in-Charge for Operations on CBL’s operational and administrative matters.”

Building of Central Bank of Liberia (CBL)
Building of Central Bank of Liberia (CBL)

The appointment of the Bank official follows the disastrous recruitment attempt earlier this year of a ruling Congress For Democratic Change (CDC) party political appointee Hamed Sifonic , formerly known as Sidiki Fofana.  He was appointed as Executive Director.

But the West Africa Journal Magazine, through extensive investigation, discovered Sifonic submitted fraudulent academic credentials to the Management of the Central Bank which also conducted its due diligence Since Sifonic was still in his probationary period, the Bank quietly revoked his appointment. The position had been vacant since until now with the appointment of the new Chief of Staff and Deputy Officer-in-Charge for Operations Mr. Brown.

The Liberian Central Bank’s image has been battered by a major scandal which it still trying to recover from. Two individuals, including a former Governor and a current Deputy, were indicted, arrested and detained briefly following the release of two forensic audits in which they were allegedly implicated. Former Bank Governor Milton Weeks and Deputy Governor Charles Sirleaf are out on bail pending prosecution by the Government of Liberia.

The new Bank official Mr. Brown’s appointment takes immediate effect, the press statement said.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

 

“Appointment” At Liberian Embassy In Washington DC; Embassy Unaware

Washington DC and Monrovia – April 2, 2019: Reports are coming into West African Journal Magazine of the consideration of appointment of a non-experienced Liberian diplomat at a strategic international diplomatic  location.

Ms. Anita Jallah

According to a source at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, the daughter of a senior Protocol Officer in the Liberian Presidency Norah Finda Bundoo is being preferred for the position of Third Secretary at the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC.  Her name is Anita D. Jallah. The 20 year old is a recent graduate of the St Teresa’s Convent Catholic High School in Monrovia and has no professional experience in diplomacy.

Social Media Profile of Anita Jallah

On her social media page, she identifies herself Anita Ramelavanitaspendid Jallah – CEO AT Awesomely Spendid.

According to the source, Ms. Jallah left the country about a month ago to take up assignment at the Embassy in Washington. She was picked up at the airport taken to the Embassy and briefly introduced to mission staff but has not been seen since. She had also been seconded at the Liberian mission in New York prior.

The source explained that her position falls within the category of those non-career appointees who are conferred diplomatic status to facilitate their work.

If approved, Ms. Jallah will enjoy diplomatic privileges.

In keeping with the Vienna Convention, the U.S. State Department, the receiving State, has to be informed of the arrival of a member of the Liberian diplomatic mission Washington DC. It is not yet known if the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia has formally notified the U.S. State Department of Ms. Jallah taking up assignment.

The recruitment for the position of Third Secretary at the Embassy is the first step towards a more senior position.

Embassy of Liberia In Washington DC

The Liberian Diplomatic mission in Washington DC, in a statement to the West African Journal Magazine Tuesday, said it was not aware of the assignment of Ms. Jallah nor does she work there at present.

There has been no confirmation of the assignment of Ms. Jallah from the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.

By Our Diplomatic Correspondents in Monrovia and Washington DC

West African Journal Magazine

U.S. House Bill Amendment Will Provide Reward For Arrest-Conviction for War Crimes

Washington DC USA – April 1, 2019: A Bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to, “Amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to provide for rewards for the arrest and conviction of certain foreign nationals who have committed genocide or war crimes.”

Former Liberian Militia Leaders
Former Liberian Militia Leaders

Known as H.R. 1819, North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District Republican Virginia Foxx introduced the bill on March 18, 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

There are direct implications for Liberian warlords, if the proposed Bill, becomes law in the United States.

Several major war actors named in Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are yet to face prosecution for their roles in gross human rights abuses during the wars in the West African country in the 1990’s. A TRC Final Report was submitted to the Government of Liberia in June 2012 but recommendations contained therein have since been ignored.

The TRC, in its Final Report catalogued location, victims and types of violations committed by the various militias in Liberia’s civil war as follows:

County Victims Violations
Montserrado 14,980 22,094
Bong 12,546 22,175
Lofa 11,296 18,863
Nimba 7,784 12,794
Bomi 5,970 9,840
Gbarpolu 7,285 13,574
Grand Bassa 6,227 10,739
Margibi 3,394 5,154  
Sinoe 5,706 9,266  
Maryland 3,934 6,162  
Grand Kru 3,296 5,568  
Grand Gedeh 4,010 6,569  
River Gee 4,030 6,839  
Rivercess 2,315 3,566  
Grand Cape Mount 5,768 ,9354  
Unknown 781 1,058  
TOTAL 93,322 163,615  

Of the various violations cited by the TRC Final Report, the top five included Displacement, Killings, Assault, Abduction and Looting by militias.

88 % of Violations were committed by the NPFL, LURD, Liberia Peace Council, Militia, ULIMO, MODEL and the Armed Forces of Liberia during the wars in the 1990s; the NPFL and LURD being the top two, according to the TRC. 19 Perpetrators were named  for cooperating with the TRC process and not recommended for Prosecution.

The Leaders of the 8 major warring factions recommended for Prosecution included:

Charles G. Taylor – NPFL

Prince Y. Johnson – INPFL

Roosevelt Johnson (Deceased) – ULIMO & ULIMO-J

Alhaji G.V. Kromah – ULIMO & ULIMO-K

George Boley – Liberia Peace Council

Thomas Yayah Nimely – MODELl

Sekou Damate Konneh – LURD and

Francois Massaquoi (Deceased) – Lofa Defense Force

TRC Head Cllr Jerome Verdier
TRC Head Cllr Jerome Verdier

Those named as bearing the greatest responsibility for extra judicial excesses included leaders of the various militias, some of whom presently serve in the Liberian Government.

Former rebel leader turned former President Charles G. Taylor is serving a 50 years jail term in the UK following his conviction for his role in the war in the war in neighboring Sierra Leone. Prince Y. Johnson is a Senator from Nimba County in Liberia’s National Legislature. No one has been prosecuted in Liberia for their role in war and economic crimes.

Other war actors who fled Liberia are being being identified, arrested and prosecuted in the United States and Europe.

U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee

The latest Bill is an attempt by the U.S. Congress to hold accountable perpetrators in Liberia and others elsewhere around the world for their roles in genocide and war crimes.

The major perpetrators have been identified in Liberia and their arrests will facilitate prosecution in a court whose location is to be determined, once it is up an running. The TRC Final Report recommended the mechanism for the establishment of a War Crimes Court.

Additional Congressional Bills are also making their way through Committees in the U.S. for the setting up of a War Crime Tribunal in Liberia. Once the H.R. 1819 becomes law in the U.S. the State Department will work with various U.S. agencies to implement the  provision of the reward for the arrest abnd conviction of those foreign nationals who have committed genocide or war crimes.

Recently, two Liberian rights groups – the Movement for Justice in Liberia (MOJL) and the International Justice Group (IJG) visited the office the U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington DC to offer support for, “House Resolution 1055 among other things seeks to affirm strong United States- Liberia ties and support for democratic principles. The Resolution also calls for the full implementat ion of the Truth and Reconci l iat ion Commission recommendations, including the establishment of an extraordinary Criminal Tribunal for Liberia…”

The Weah Government in Liberia is refusing to committ to implementation of the TRC Report, inspite of urgings of local and international rights organizations, the United Nations, European Union and the U.S. Government.

By Our International Affairs Editor

West African Journal Magazine

 

Two-Day FPIC, Land Rights Training For Civil Society Orgs and Oil Palm Affected Communities Open In Monrovia

A two – day capacity building workshop for Oil Palm Affected Communities and Civil Society Organizations in Free, Prior Inform Consent and Land Rights has opened in the Liberian capital, Monrovia with call on participants to pay keen attention to lessons being taught for the benefit of their respective communities.

Conference Participants
Conference Participants

The theme of the workshop is: “Improved Technical Capacity of CSOs To Effectively Engage In The Oil Palm Sector”.

According to our Monrovia correspondent, the workshop which is organized by the Civil Society Oil Palm Working Group (CSO-OPWG) is sponsored by Tropenbos International and Rights & Resources Initiative. Participants were drawn from 6 counties where oil palm concessions are actively taking place. The counties include Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, Bomi, and Grand Cape Mount.

Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development’s Coordinator, Daniel Krakue said the objective of the FPIC and Land Rights training is to empower local civil society actors and community leadership on how to engage oil palm companies on basic human rights principles in line with FPIC and community land rights, which focuses on the newly passed Land Rights Law for the general good of the communities. “The main objective of the workshop is to build the capacity of CSOs working in the oil palm sector in basic  human rights principles and community land rights”, Mr. Krakue said.

Speaking on the importance of the FPIC process, Mina Beyan said, FPIC is an international legal standard that is protected by both Liberia’s national law and the legally binding human rights treaties to which Liberia is a party.

She said, during FPIC process, communities have a right to decide their own future, and not for someone to decide for them relating to the usage of their lands. According to her, FPIC is covered under both national and international instruments which protect or provide clear guidelines for communities during negotiation for land for concession purposes.

The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia and the Liberia Land Authority are both serving as facilitators for the training. Also making presentations are Chris Kidd of Forest Peoples’ Programme (FPP) and James G. Otto of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI).

The introduction of FPIC and land rights training in the Liberian oil palm sector would not have come at better time when affected communities and civil society organizations are struggling to combat non compliance to social agreements and illegal clearing of vast forest land by concession companies mainly Golden Veroleum and Sime Darby.

The processes leading to these concessions have been described by right groups including Global Witness as illegal and detrimental to communities. For instance, Liberian Land Rights Act encourages the allocation of land for concession purposes for 50 years. But the agreement with GVL says 65 years while the agreement with Sime Darby is 63 years.

In addition, these agreements do not meet the principles and criteria of the Round Table Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Free, Prior Inform Consent (FPIC), which are internationally agreed standards for operating oil palm concession. With the coming into play of the FPIC and RSPO, it is expected that communities will not be forced into inducement, coercion, intimidation or manipulation during negotiation of land for concession purposes.

By Paul M. Kanneh reporting from Monrovia, Liberia

Correspondent, African Star

 

 

 

 

Accused Liberian War Criminal Indicted In Switzerland: To Face Trial

Geneva, Switzerland, March 26, 2019: It appears that a former Liberian rebel and war actor will face prosecution in Europe, Switzerland after all.

Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber
Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber

The SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) reports that after nearly five years of investigation, the country’s Swiss Attorney General has issued an indictment of Alieu Kosiah for war crimes he allegedly committed during Liberia’s back-to-back wars and his case will now goes to trial.

A statement from the Office of the Swiss Attorney General seen on Tuesday by the West African Journal Magazine says, “The defendant is accused of having ordered the murder respectively murdering or participating in the murder of civilians and soldiers hors de combat, desecrated a corpse of a civilian, raped a civilian, ordered the cruel treatment of civilians, recruited and employed a child soldier, ordered several pillages and ordered and/or participated in forced transports of goods and ammunition by civilians.”

Accused War Criminal Alieu Kosiah
Accused War Criminal Alieu Kosiah

Mr. Kosiah was picked up and detained in Switzerland since 2014 and he is the first person to be held for prosecution on charges brought by the Office of the Swiss Attorney General.

Following criminal complaints filed by several Liberians in 2014, the accused Mr. Kosiah was identified as a former rebel commander with the United Liberation Movement of Liberia (ULIMO). He has been a resident of Switzerland. The Attorney General then launched an investigation into criminal charges that Kosiah was responsible for committing war crimes in Liberia.

According to the Office of the  Swiss Attorney General, the collection of evidence against the accused was complicated by what it called the “lack of cooperation from Liberia and long period of time which had elapsed since the events in Liberia.”

About 25 witnesses have given testimonies to the Office of the Swiss Attorney General which has also received legal assistance from several international organizations.

Former Warlord Turned Senator Prince Y. Johnson
Former Warlord Turned Senator Prince Y. Johnson

Liberia was wracked by  horrendous civil wars in the 1990s. Various militias are accused of committing gross human rights abuses against unarmed civilians including the intentional dislocation of large sections of the populations.

Following the wars, belligerents agreed to the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which completed its work in June, 2012, submitted its Final Report to the Liberian Government and among several recommendations called for the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal to prosecute those identified as responsible for gross war and economic crimes.

But The Government of Liberia has been reluctant to implement recommendations of the TRC.

Accused Agnes Taylor and Tom Woweiyu
Accused Agnes Taylor and Tom Woweiyu

Some of those accused in the report including former rebel warlord turned Senator Prince Y. Johnson of the Independent National Patriotic Front (INPFL) have angrily rejected any attempts to bring them to justice and have vowed to resist the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal in the West African country. The main rebel leader Charles Taylor turned former President Charles Taylor was forced from office, later arrested, prosecuted and convicted on 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity for supporting rebels who carried out atrocities in Sierra Leone in return for “blood diamonds”. He is presently serving a 50 year jail term.

The reluctance of the new Weah Government to commit to fully implementing the recommendations of the TRC, in spite of calls the local rights groups and the international community, has led to a campaign to support the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal in Liberia.

President George Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor - File Photo
President George Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor – File Photo

Support for proposed Congressional House Bill 1055 is growing in the U.S. for the establishment of a War Crimes Tribunal.

Seal of International Justice Group
Seal of International Justice Group

Last week a rights groups including the Movement for Justice in Liberia (MOJL) and the International Justice Group (IJG) led supporters to the office of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and presented a statement in which they said, “… we are equally optimistic that Resolution 1055 will be a reality, War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia will be a success story, and corruption and impunity will become history. It is only when we achieve these milestones, will we become an economically, socially and politically vibrant nation..”

Seal of Movement For Justice In Liberia
Seal of Movement For Justice In Liberia

Already, some supporters of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) led Government are accusing rights groups of supporting the “economic strangulation” of the Weah government by their statement to U.S. House Speaker Pelosi.

Several Liberian war actors including former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Tom Woweiyu, Agnes Reeves Taylor and Martina Johnson are facing international justice. Mohammed “Jungle Jabbah” Jabateh, a former ULIMO rebel commander, is currently serving a 30 year prison term on immigration fraud charges in the U.S.

Sealed indictments have been drawn up against some Liberians which have been accused of war and economic crimes in Liberia.

Political Map of Liberia
Political Map of Liberia

Others accused of committing atrocities and who fled the country are living under assumed names in parts of Africa, Europe and the United States. One of such persons is a former commander in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) who, in the early days of the rebel invasion in Liberia, led a death squad that murdered a prominent Liberian architect and Mayor of the suburban city of Clay Ashland, Mayor Mr. R. Vanjah Richards. At the time, the Defense Ministry in Liberia said Major Johnson and his men “deviated from their mission”. Johnson later disappeared from Liberia.

West African Journal Magazine has been reliably informed by credible sources that the accused, Henry K. Johnson, is hiding out in the U.S.

International investigators say they will continue to pursue accused Liberia war and economic criminals and bring them to justice or bring justice to them.

By Our Correspondents in Europe, Liberia and the U.S.

West African Journal Magazine

 

 

 

Liberian Presidential Adviser Threatens Weah Critics

Monrovia, Liberia – March 25, 2019: An Ivorian national in the orbit of Liberian President George M. Weah is threatening a talk show host and Liberian opposition member and good governance advocate on social media.

Ousman Bamba’s Facebook Posts

In a Facebook post seen by West African Journal Magazine over the weekend, Ivorian businessman, politician and Liberian Presidential advisor Ousmane Bamba wrote the following in French under a video presentation of Darius a Dillon: “Henry Costa et touts des petit garçons. Cos n’etespas use menace pour le President du Liberia.”

Radio Talkshow Host Henry Costa

English Translation: “Henry Costa and all the little boys. Your days are numbered. You are not a threat to the a President of Liberia.”

In a second post under the same name of the poster which was automatically translated into English, Ousmane Bamba writes, “You should be grateful to have King George Weah at the position of a President, instead of being hateful. as Ivorian, I wish a George to be president of cite d’Ivoire.”

Second Facebook Post of Ousmane Bamba

Mr. Bamba’s threatening posts have drawn wide condemnation among some Liberians across social media platforms.

Who Is Ousmane Bamba?

Facebook Profile of Ousmane Bamba

In his social media profile, Bamba says he works for the Government of Liberia, lives in Monrovia and is from Abidjan,Cote d’Ivoire He does not indicate what portfolio he occupies as an employee of the Liberian Government but has photos of himself: in a suit and the national colors Côte d’Ivoire and one dressed in white traditional outfit and cap and seated on the left next to President George M. Weah.

Ousmane Bamba

West African Journal Magazine has been looking into the Ivorian businessman’s past in his native Côte d’Ivoire.

In 2016, Ousmane Bamba, a member of the ruling Rally of the Republicans (RDR) political party of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, tried to challenge the establishment when he contested a legislative seat as an independent to represent Lomokankro, Molonou, Tiébissou and Yakpabo-Sakasou political districts.

He is a former Mayor of Tiebissou and a party Secretary of that area but was suspended after he made his independent bid for the Ivorian Legislature in a December, 2016.

His known desire to settle some past political and economic scores against “perceived enemies” in the ruling establishment sank his chances to become a legislator.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattarra

It is a known fact that President Ouattara is a “close friend” of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who had been indicted in the Final Report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and was at risk of potential prosecution if Weah came to power.

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

So any known associates of Weah, including Bamba, were not not seen in a favorable light by Ouattara who did not want anyone to “trouble” his friend Ellen.

In January, 2017, Bamba was jailed at the Abidjan House of Arrest and Correction (MACA) and faced prosecution on charges of the misuse of social goods, forgery and use of false in private writing of trade and banking. The case related to $9 billion French Francs, an equivalent of about $17.2 million USD in a company known as I-Com Technology that Bamba and his business partner René Yédiéti were involved with. The company provided computer accessories services to the Ivorian Legislature.

Ousmane Bamba Seated Next To President George M. Weah – File Photo

But he was released from incarceration in March, 2017- just in time for him to transition to Liberia to play a critical role in the Weah Presidential Campaign for the elections which swept the President a Weah to power.

The prominent businessman from the town of Tiebissou in central Côte d’Ivoire, handled the finances (bagman) of the Weah campaign.

Ousmane Bamba And President George M. Weah – File Photo

Bamba, as Weah’s campaign Treasurer, was instrumental in making connections with his French business partners and important “friends” in the sub-region to attract much needed campaign funding and face-time with Weah.

Candidate Weah Visiting President Faure Gnassingbe in Togo – File Photo

During the campaign, the connections paid off and Weah visited the Presidents of Togo, Ghana, Niger, Mali and Gabon to be seen as burnishing his international credentials.

He was reluctantly received by Ouattara in Abidjan and although their meeting was cordial and diplomatic, it was was mechanical and not substantive. Ouattara was keen on extracting commitments from Weah that he protect former President Johnson Sirleaf.

The fraud case involving Bamba and his business partner was resolved two years later in January, 2019 when a magistrate ruled that he was not culpable in the matter.

Pres. Weah And Ousmane Bemba File Photo

Sources in Weah’s orbit say he is very loyal to those who helped propel him to power including Bamba. At the inauguration of the new Mosque in Tiebissou sponsored y President Weah in the hometown of Bamba, on a July 6, 2018, Bamba accompanied him.

Pres Weah And Adviser Bamba – File Photo

Bamba always features prominently in photo ops with President Weah at various occasions locally and internationally including his visits to France, Senegal and Israel and is seen as firmly entrenched as an influential member of President Weah’s inner circle.

Ousmane Bamba In File Photos With President Weah

French President Emmanuel Macron And Ousmane Bamba – File Photo

Dillon and Costa have not officially responded to Bamba’s threat against them.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia Cancels $80K Lobbying Contract With US Based Firm; Owes Firm Owner

New York, New York USA – March 14, 2019: A lobbying and public relations agreement with a New York based government and public relations firm in the United States has been unilaterally cancelled by the Government of Liberia.

The Friedlander Group Logo
The Friedlander Group Logo

In an interview on Thursday with West African Journal Magazine, Mr. Ezra Friedlander, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of the Friedlander Group, disclosed that he no longer represents the Liberian Government and that his representation ended in the first quarter of 2018.

According to Mr. Friedlander, he was informed by former Liberian U.S. Ambassador Lois Brutus that the Government of Liberia was no longer interested. An agreement between the Liberian Government and the Friedlander Group was signed on February 5, 2018.

The agreement stipulated that the “ Friedlander Group will organize the establishment of the Friends of Liberia Congressional Caucus that would act as the “voice” of the nation of Liberia in coordination with the Embassy of Liberia to provide, translate and highlight the Pro-Poor Agenda of the Government of Liberia.”

Part of the effort of the lobbying agreement stated, “ It is discussed and agreed that the Caucus Chairs will extend an invitation to by the Caucus as well as facilitate an official White House invitation to President George M. Weah to visit Washington on a State, official or working visit by mid-year 2018…”

Friedlander CEO Ezra Friedlander and Former US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton - File PhotoThe CEO of the Friedlander Group said his organization had begun lobbying work and even established a bi-partisan group of Congressional Caucus known as “Friends of Liberia” and that a date, hall and time of the announcement of the launch was scheduled to be made in Washington DC when he received word from the Liberian Embassy to halt everything. Mr. Friedlander said it was explained to him that the decision of the Liberian Government to halt the official launch of the Caucus was due to “technical issues” such as inability of members of the Liberian Senate to attend due to visa issues in Liberia.

Influential bi-partisan members of the U.S. Congressional Caucus would have organized meetings with their Liberian counterparts, as part of the lobbying efforts which were to be undertaken by the Friedlander Group, the agreement said.

He said he was only paid $20,000 out of the $80,000 agreed payment and the Government of Liberia has refused to pay the balance after abrogating the contract. Mr. Friedlander said he decided not to pursue legal suit against the Liberian Government because of his deep admiration for the people and country.

According to the CEO of the Friedlander Group, during negotiations for the lobbying contract, former Ambassador Brutus explained that Liberia was not an affluent country and needed help on the contract fee and the two parties settled on a fee of $80,000 for the duration of the contract which was for a year and half of lobbying work beginning in 2018.

He dismissed any assertion that the contract was worth millions of dollars.

Mr. Friedlander said his firm would have engaged the U.S. Government on the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)expiration which thousands of Liberians are current facing come March 31, 2019. His firm was prepared to make the case to Congressional Caucus members to assist Liberia as part of its “moral obligation”, given the historical ties that both the U.S. and Liberia share.

He said it was his hope that the GOL would re-consider its decision to abrogate the public relations and lobbying contract and re-engage with his firm in-order to begin the process of helping Liberia reach out to influential members of Congress. According to Mr. Friedlander, this was a “missed” opportunity for Liberia.

Ezra Friedlander Meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.pngLieThe Friedlander Group represents over a dozen profit and non for profit entities in the legislative, world, city, state and federal levels. The firm recently met in Cairo with Egyptian President and current Chairman of the African Union Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

According to the Open Secrets.org website, The Friedlander Group in 2018 raked in $71,800 with the highest income from Liberia for $40,000. Documents in the possession of West African Journal Magazine show that the Government of Liberia spent $10.29 million in 2017 and $4.5 million in 2018 on Lobbying efforts in the U.S. but it is unclear what the tangible returns were for the poor West African country for payments of such amounts.

The lack of strategic inroad in the Trump Administration  explains why Liberians have been questioning the “delay” in President Weah’s official visit to the United States since his inauguration in January, 2018. Liberians and supporters of the CDC led government view such a visit as one visible signal of support for the Weah Administration.

The Friendlander Group Documentation
The Friendlander Group Documentation

There were several hints of pending official visit of the Liberian President to the White House last year which ultimately did not materialize and it is unclear when such a visit would occur and under what conditions.

Economic and scandalous financial challenges are now dogging the Weah Administration which is struggling to attract much needed international assistance and investors.

 By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: New Dubai Billionaire Investor Has “Controversial Past” In Ghana

Dubai and Monrovia – March 13, 2019: A would-be investor from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates who is reported by the Government controlled Liberia News Agency (LINA)  on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 to have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding investment agreement with Liberia in the areas of “energy, mining, infrastructures and other crucial sectors” is linked to a report of controversial dealings involving then former Ghanaian President John Mahama.

Sheik Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of Ameri Group LLC

In an investigation conducted by the West African Journal Magazine into the business dealings, it was uncovered that a Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang( VG) reported in November, 2017 that former Ghanaian President John Mahama, in July, 2017, traveled to the southwestern African nation of Namibia to meet representatives of Sheik Maktoum. 

Former Ghana President John Mahama

The paper reported that, “John Mahama brought the two men representing the sheikh to Namibia – seeking to clinch possible energy deals with yet another African nation: Namibia.

This July, Mahama travelled to the Namibian capital, Windhoek, with employees of the “private office” of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmouk al Maktoum of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This company now owns the Ameri Group, also known as the Africa Middle East Resources Investment Group LLC.

According to Namibian officials, Mahama claimed he was in Windhoek as an advocate for the African Development Bank.

At a news conference after Mahama’s meeting with Namibian President Hage Geingob, the former Ghanaian leader appeared with two men professionally based in Dubai.

Until now, it has not been officially known who these men were.

But VG can now reveal their identities:

One was Ameri Group CEO Maher Al Alili, who is also CEO of the sheikh’s private office.

Prior Reporting By Verdens Gangs Newspaper

The other was Mustafa Ahmed, who left behind a business card in Namibia embossed with the logo of the sheikh’s office.

…Not until Mahama’s delegation arrived in Namibia were his mysterious companions presented to the Namibian government, according to Aocham:

– The two gentlemen were introduced by Mr John Mahama (as working for) The Private Office of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook al Maktoum. They were introduced as Mr Mustafa Ahmed and Mr Maher Al Alili. The names of the two gentlemen or the name of the company were not mentioned in the letter from former President Mahama.

– Among his delegation were these two gentlemen, as well as the former ambassador of Ghana to Namibia, Alhaji A. R. Haruna, Aocham adds, then continues:

– Mahama informed President Geingob that he was in Namibia in his capacity as an AfDB (African Development Bank) advocate for African energy self-sufficiency, and brought UAE representatives to Namibia after they identified the country as one of the most attractive destinations for electricity infrastructure investments.

Since July there has been no further contact between the parties.

One of the men, Mustafa Ahmed, denies to VG that he had a role in the Namibia visit.

– I do not work for his highnesses private office,” he says.

– So what happened in Namibia?

– I advise several groups, not just them, he replies.

– Nothing happened in Namibia, so if you want to make a big story, that’s up to you.

– But the sheikh’s logo and your number appear on the same business card. How do you explain that?

– I don’t know what you are talking about. I have nothing to hide. I know him. I have advised him and advise him, but I do not work for him. I do not have an official position with him, insists Ahmed.

A few days later, the company’s CEO, Maher Al Alili, contacted VG and threatened a lawsuit. In 2015 the company had threatened to sue VG for USD 150 million for its reporting on the controversial electrical power deal between Ghana and Ameri Group.

The company said VG had published false claims about Umar Farooq Zahoor, the man who signed the Ameri agreement and is still wanted internationally.

– Who gave you the right to write about Umar? asks Al Alili, the CEO of Ameri Group, by telephone from Dubai.

– If there is anything wrong with the story we have the option of suing you, he says.

– The company does not want to be open with information or grant interviews with the media.

Al Alili nevertheless confirms that he was in Namibia working for the sheikh’s office.

He refuses to comment on Mahama’s ties to the Dubai company.

– You’ll have to ask Mahama about that, says Al Alili.

For seven weeks VG has tried to make direct contact with Ghana’s former president in order to obtain comment.

His special advisor, the lawyer Joyce Bawah-Motare, confirms that Mahama has received VG’s inquiry.

– Of course. Mr Mahama sees any request that arrives. I am telling you he is not available, and that I will get back to you if he becomes available, the special advisor told VG in mid-October.

VG’s many queries have not been well received by the ex-president’s inner circle.

– He has no obligation to give you an interview. You can’t force Mr Mahama to talk to you. Can you force the King of Norway to give you an interview?

The Ameri Group has repeatedly denied that Umar Farooq Zahoor, the man who signed the controversial energy agreement with Ghana in 2015, is a wanted internationally by law enforcement authorities.

That is not the case.

He is still wanted by the police internationally, Norwegian district attorney Carl Graff Hartmann, confirms to VG.

– We have received a response from the United Arab Emirates stating they will not grant our request for the extradition of Umar Farooq Zahoor, he continues.

That means the UAE refuses to turn over the internationally wanted man, who has a Pakistani passport, to Norway.

Zahoor himself has claimed he no longer works for Ameri Group, though VG has disclosed that he still plays a key role in the sheikh’s private office, which owns Ameri Group.

This was also confirmed by a PR officer at the sheikh’s office.

– Yes, he is working there, said Ahmed al Baloushi to VG.

In September, Zahoor travelled to Pakistan with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmouk al Maktoum and CEO Maher Al Alili to further discuss yet another Ameri-related deal with Pakistani company FWO.

 Zahoor has declined to comment on his professional affairs in Dubai.

– He sees no reason to comment on his working relationships or assignments to a Norwegian newspaper, and it is beyond my mandate as a Norwegian defence lawyer to express an opinion about this,” his Norwegian lawyer, John Christian Elden, writes in email to VG on Zahoor’s behalf.

Zahoor also points out that the Ameri-deal is still ongoing in Ghana.”

The African Development (ADB) at the time denied that former President Mahama was representing them in Namibia, according to the Norwegian newspaper. 

As part of the former Ghanaian President’s engagement with associates of Sheik Maktoum, the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) also reported in August, 2016 that former Ghanaian Power Minister Kwabena Donkor signed a $510 million dollar deal with one Umar Farooq Zahoor, a Pakistani Norwegian individual from Oslo who the paper alleged “was wanted by Norwegian and Swiss police for spectacular acts of fraud committed the last ten years…”

Former Ghana Power Minister Kwabena Donkor

The paper reported that when it showed a photo of Mr. Zahoor to the Ghanian Power Ministry official, he responded, “I know him; he is the Chief executive of Ameri Group”.

In a press statement issued later the Ghanaian news website Citifmonline reported that, “UAE-based Ameri Group LLC, has rejected claims that its former CEO, Umar Farooq Zahoor, is a criminal who is on the wanted list of Interpol for financial crimes in Norway and Switzerland.”

A statement signed by His Royal Highness, quoted Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Emirati Company and a member of the ruling family of UAE, as saying Umar Farooq Zahoor,  “is not the same person who signed as witness in the Ghana and Ameri power deal.“

The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang alleged further that Umar Farooq Zahoor is a well-known name among investigators at the Financial Crime Section of the Oslo Police District.

Citifmonline website reported that, “The deal brought ten turbines to Ghana to generate electricity in order to mitigate the power challenges in the country.

However, the Newspaper suggested a possible inflation of the cost of the turbines by more than 200 million dollars, adding that Ghana is paying $510 million for ten power turbines when the market value of the turbines is $220 million”

But the statement from the Ameri Group said Mr. Umar Farooq served as CEO of the company until lst August 2015, but was never a shareholder or a partner of the company, adding that “Mr. Farooq resigned as CEO in order to pursue other bigger business opportunities. Mr. Ziad Barakat was appointed as CEO of the company and is working in this position to date.”

“The tabloid article targets Mr. Umar Farooq, only wrongly portraying him as the owner of the company, but also tries to malign his character. Moreover, it states that Mr. Farooq attempted to swindle the Government of Ghana through this transaction by inflating the price of the contract. A ridiculous claim since the contract was agreed upon by the Ministry of Power and thereafter, ratified by the Ghana Parliament with full pricing transparency.”

“Another falsehood is that Mr. Farooq, on his own caused the transaction to occur. It is a matter of record that the sole owner of the above mentioned company is His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Juma Al Maktoum, member of the ruling family of Dubai UAE” the statement added.

Research Documents Compiled

The Ameri Group  company of Sheik Maktoum was apparently angered by the reporting of the Norwegian newspaper and had threatened legal action. 

LINA reports that, “…The agreement covers foreign direct investment in Liberia and further enhances the bilateral relationship between both countries.

During the International Defense Exhibition Conference last month, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, said President George M. Weah holds a “special place in the hearts of my compatriots,” while also expressing his country’s interest to explore investment opportunities here…”

President George M. Weah

The Weah Administration is under serious pressure to halt the deteriorating economy and attract foreign investors who can generate much needed hard currency and jobs for Liberians. 

However, attempts to attract investors have been dismal and two major loans from non-traditional lenders ETON and EBOMAF have failed to materialize. 

West African Journal Magazine has not linked Sheik Maktoum to any illegal activity and can report that the allegations contained in the Norwegian Newspaper Verdens Gang  against Sheik Maktoum have been denied.

The UAE Billionaire has termed reporting of The Norwegian newspaper as “unfortunate”. 

With the heightened focus on dealings of the Liberian government by ordinary citizens, and the controversial business history of Sheik Maktoum, from the reporting of the Norwegian newspaper, any formal business deal with the Liberian Government will be heavily scrutinized for probity. 

By Our Investigators In Dubai and Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia’s Offshore Accounts May Be At Risk Of Potential Compromise

The West African Journal Magazine is in possession of a document entitled Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Offshore Accounts Funds Transfer Details which was easily found on a Miinistry of Finance  Revenue page.

Seal of Liberia
Seal of Liberia

The highly sensitive document details the Government of Liberia account information for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and account details for Credit Suisse Bank in Zurich Switzerland. Details include routing numbers from each account and Swift Codes.

A Swift Code is an international bank code that identifies particular banks all over the work and it is also known as a Bank Identifier Code (BIC).Usually a Swift Code has 8 or 11 characters. West African Journal can confirm the following:

The GOL Swift Code for its Federal Reserve Bank of New York Account consists of 8 characters while that of its account at Credit Suisse consist of 11.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Federal Reserve Bank of New York

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York which, according to its website says, “As part of our core mission, we supervise and regulate financial institutions in the Second District. Our primary objective is to maintain a safe and competitive U.S. and global banking system…”

Building of Credit Suisse Bank
Building of Credit Suisse Bank

Credit Suisse based in Zurich, notes on its website that, “Our strategy is to be a leading wealth manager, with strong investment banking capabilities. We seek to follow a balanced approach to wealth management, aiming to capitalize on both the large pool of wealth within mature markets as well as the significant growth in wealth in Asia Pacific and other emerging markets. Founded in 1856, we today have a global reach with operations in about 50 countries and 46,840 employees from over 170 different nations.”

GOL Offshore Accounts
GOL Offshore Accounts

West African Journal Magazine cannot independently verify the offshore accounts document in its possession and has redacted identifiable information as a precaution and to protect the accounts of the Government of Liberia.

But a U.S. based Liberian financial expert with background and knowledge in and of the U.S. Banking and Financial sectors, who reviewed the off shore accounts document, termed them as “legitimate”.

It is unclear if the Government of Liberia through the Central Bank is aware of the exposure of this sensitive information and whether the information contained in its accounts are still valid.

POTENTIAL RISKS TO LIBERIA

Hacking: The exposure and access of the GOL Offshore accounts information are at risk of hacking by shady individuals and institutions who can then drain the entire account of the Government.

Default: The Government of Liberia is at risk of defaulting on payments  its local and international obligations, if its accounts are compromised.

Terrorism: Terrorists seeking access to funds for facilitate their operations could utilize Government of Liberia compromised accounts to wreak death and destruction against Liberians and allies,  including the United States and European countries.

Credit Risk: Liberia could face years of international credit denial and access to conventional loan facilities due to its poor banking systems and management.

Reputational Damage: Liberia’s image could be further tainted as a risk to the international banking and financial management systems to which Liberia’s banking systems are connected.

Mega Financial Loss: Liberia may lose its entire critical offshore revenue from its compromised accounts.

According to another financial expert whom West African Journal Magazine contacted to review the document, the GOL through the Central Bank is now under obligation to adopt sound practices to address the following areas which pose significant risks to the country’s financial systems and management regime.

  1. Establishment of an internationally acceptable an appropriate credit risk environment;
  2. CBL operating under an internationally acceptable sound credit granting regime;
  3. Installation of a new, credible and untainted Finance and Bank Management administration to begin develop international confidence and good will for Liberia and d
  4. Maintenance of the requisite credit administration, evaluation and strict monitoring process to ensure adequate controls at the Central Bank
Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah
Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah

It can be recalled that last December, a fraudster from Sierra Leone attempted to transfer millions of dollars out of the account of the Government of Liberia because he was able to trick the country’s Finance Minister Samuel Tweah into disclosing Government’s swift code and account information.

It is unclear how many senior government officials have system access, security, authority and clearance to Government’s Swift Code and Account information to avoid the potential for theft of Government’s offshore accounts.

Central Bank of Liberia Governor Nathaniel Patray
Central Bank of Liberia Governor Nathaniel Patray

The reputation of the CBL is in tatters following a series of damning scandals including the “missing billions”, the publication of incorrect financial information on its website and the arrest, detention and pending prosecution of some former and current officials for the roles in the “overprinting of banknotes” and the inability of the bank to account for missing monies.

The Kroll forensic audit indicted the CBL for having poor financial and record keeping systems.

Widespread corruption and lack of proper financial defense mechanisms have plagued the impoverished country Liberia for decades.

A second investigation has been ordered by the Liberian President into the “mop-up” exercise during which the country’s Finance Minister Samuel Tweah admitted that about $25 million USD was infused in the Liberian economy using untraceable and un-registered local money changers.

 

By Our Economic Correspondent in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: GOL Final Report On Importation of 16 Billion LD By CBL

Monrovia, Liberia – March 1, 2019: West African Journal Magazine is in possession of the Government of Liberia Final Investigative Report Into The Alleged Printing of Sixteen Billion Dollars Banknotes By Authorities of the Country’s Central Bank.

The 57 page Report is included in its entirety for the convenience and information of our readers.

GOL PIT Final Report

 

Editor

West African Journal Magazine

Nigeria: Buhari Re-elected To 2nd Term

Abuja, Nigeria – February 26, 2019: Nigeria’s incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party has been declared the winner of the February 23  Presidential election.

Map of Nigeria
Map of Nigeria

The country’s Independent National Electoral Commission  announced the final results on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

The main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, is already rejecting the officials results and is calling the vote count to be stopped following unconfirmed allegations of electoral irregularities across Nigeria during polling over the weekend.

The vote margin was a little under four million with Buhari’s All Progressives Congress taking 19 of 36 States. The BBC reports that turn out was the lowest in 20 years with only a 35% turnout of registered voters.

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia Blacklisted As An “Offshore Tax Haven”

Monrovia, Liberia – February 19, 2019: The West African nation of Liberia has been named as one of thirty countries worldwide on the European Commission (EU) Offshore Blacklist.

Political Map of Liberia
Political Map of Liberia

West African Journal Magazine can report that according to the Crystal Worldwide Group, the list created by the EU Commission and recently released is composed of countries that have refused to cooperate with tax matters.

“…To be registered on the list, a country must had been reported by at least ten EU member countries….” Crystal Worldwide said.

The only other African country blacklisted in the report is the Indian Island Ocean country of Mauritius. It has been disclosed that Liberia is among other countries that have asked to be removed from the list.

Crystal Worldwide Group says it is an international business consulting firm which specializes in tax planning and asset protection for its clients.

Liberia has long been named for inclusion on the EU list of countries whose weak laws allow for the setting up of secret offshore companies. The small West African country  appeared in the “Panama Papers” a few years ago when it was revealed that a secret Liberian company connected to the family of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was used to move funds. The Africa Report published by Jeune Afrique reported in 2016 that in the particular case, “… there was no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Sharif’s family.”

Offshore-Bank-Account
Offshore-Bank-Account

The “Panama Papers” is a report by global investigative reporters on the offshore links of some of the world’s most prominent figures which include leaders and celebrities and their “wealth” which are stashed away in secret tax havens abroad to avoid legal taxation and law enforcement scrutiny.

The African Report publication wrote in 2016 that, “ For a few hundred dollars, and in a matter of hours online, anyone in the world can set up a tax free Liberian company that offers total anonymity to its owner. Such anonymity allows individuals to hide their assets from tax and law enforcement agencies…”

A former Liberian Maritime head Mr. Binyah Kesselly, in February, 2013 said he expected Liberia to be removed from such black lists of international “tax havens” because of active measures the Government was taking.

The measures included passage of Amendments in the national Legislature to provide transparency in the ownership information and full compliance with peer review recommendations for accounting records of offshore companies which use Liberian laws to skirt international oversight.

It is unknown if Liberia is now in compliance since the latest EU Commission Report lists the country as one of many countries which can be used to set up secret offshore companies.

A Global Witness campaigner Jonathan Gant notes that “Secret companies have been used to hide ill-gotten money from drugs, corruption, and terrorism.”

By Our Economic Staff Editor

West African News Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government of Liberia Failing To Support Fight Against Corruption, LACC Says

Monrovia, Liberia – February 18, 2019: The fight against public corruption in the West African country of Liberia appears to be a losing exercise in addition to lackluster support from the George M. Weah Administration. 

Liberian President George M. Weah – File Photo
Since it’s inauguration over a year ago,  no public official has been prosecuted nor convicted of graft by the Administration.  The Liberian Government’s pronouncement of fighting corruption in public service has not been matched with concrete support and funding. 
Embarrassing National financial scandals including the alleged “missing 16 billion dollars” from the Central  Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the bribery and extortion saga at the National Housing Authority (NHA) involving the former head take top manifestations of pervasive graft which are yet to be checkmated by government. 
Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as, “…the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.”
In spite of his call to his own underlings to comply with law and declare their personal assets, President Weah has yet to hold his officials accountable for their failure to do so.  Citizens of the poor West African country are yet to receive confirmation of public officials complying with the law.

LACC James Verdier

According to the country’s Anti Corruption Agency (LACC), “The government of Liberia printed into handbill on June 20, 2014, “An Act of Legislature Prescribing a National Code of Conduct for All Public Officials and Employees of the Government of The Republic of Liberia” in line with the 1986 constitutional requirement to curb certain vices which are inimical to the economic and social wellbeing of our common patrimony. Specifically, Article 90 a) & b) of the Constitution highlight those vices while article 90 c) quoted below echoes the antidote to eradicating them: Article 90 c) “The Legislature shall, in pursuance of the above provision, prescribe a Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees, stipulating the acts which constitutes conflict of interest or are against public policy, and the penalties for violation thereof.”  The legislation of a national code of conduct after twenty-eight years, since the coming into force of the Liberian constitution, finally created a legal framework through which the conducts of public officials could be monitored, examined and punished in relation to the use and management of public resources. In Part 10, of the Code of Conduct, it is required that every Public Official and Employee of government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types sign performance or financial bonds and in addition declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter:

  1. At the end of every three years;
  2. On promotion or progression from one level to another;
  3. Upon transfer to another public office; and
  4. Upon retirement resignation.”
President Weah’s own asset declaration was held behind closed doors and sealed after; a clear failure to be a transparent example. Public officials have openly ignored the asset declaration law and the President. 
“Corruption corrodes the fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, institutions and leaders. It can cost people their freedom, health, money – and sometimes their lives,” TI says of the cost of corruption. 
The LACC’s Investigations of alleged acts of corruption  by public officials or recommendations to the Justice Ministry are oftentimes never started, aborted and abandoned; and where cases are prosecuted, lost in court. 
Recently, the head of Liberia’s anti graft agency James Verdier, in an interview with a Radio France International, and in a rather bold move, accused the Weah Administration of “undermining ” the fight against corruption. 
“ The experience we’ve had in the first half is a bit terrible because we’ve not had funding. We have actually struggled to actually have this Administration put its stamp behind the stamp of corruption and make some bold statements regarding transparency, accountability and ensuring that we can fight corruption.”
In less than a year and while there has been no public disclosure of his assets, President Weah is facing scrutiny and questions over his massive construction of houses in a poor country. 
The country which emerged in 2005 from back-to-back wars in the 1990s is struggling to attract and retain critically needed foreign investors and resources to jumpstart the flailing economy. 
 In 1980, a violent coup d’etat carried out by non-commissioned soldiers was sold as a radical solution to address “rampant” corruption. The civilian President William R. Tolbert was murdered by soldiers led by former junta head and former President Samuel K. Doe.
Flag of Liberia
Nine years later, another charge of runaway “corruption” was laid as the basis for a rebel insurgency against the Doe Government. The war which quickly devolved into an ethnic conflagration was prosecuted by former rebel turned former a President Charles G. Taylor who was eventually forced out of power by rebels opposed to his government and pressure from the international community. 
Taylor is a convicted war criminal serving out his fifty year sentence in prison in the UK.  
An estimated 250,000 people lost their lives and nearly 1 million others were displaced internally and externally. 
The NHA extortion scandal is still pending prosecution after the accused posted bond and were released. Unconfirmed reports, however, say the suspects have jumped bail and have either fled the country or cannot be found. 
During his State of the Nation Address to lawmakers and citizens on January 28, 2019, President Weah disclosed that the Investigation Report on the “missing billions” will be released by USAID by the end of February, 2019.
 “If it is established that there has been any willful act of criminality, negligence, or malfeasance by anyone implicated in the reports, the full weight of the law will be brought to bear”, President Weah warned.  
Transparency International
Just prior to the inauguration of the Weah Administration in January, 2018 Transparency International (TI), the global organization leading the fight against corruption, advanced several recommendations to the Congress For Democratic Change (CDC) led government to tackle endemic corruption and included the following:
1. Ensure the independence of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and give it direct prosecutorial power to quickly investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
2. Establish specialised anti-corruption courts for prosecuting corruption without delays.
3. Enact a Corrupt Offences Act to clearly define and provide sanctions for various forms of corruption.
4. Enact a Whistleblower Protection Law to encourage more Liberians to freely report acts of corruption and other integrity-related issues.
5. Require all public officials, including the president, to declare their assets, irrespective of their positions or connections to superiors in government. The government must independently verify and publish these declarations of assets.
5. Review and impartially implement reports and recommendations by integrity institutions in a timely manner, and establish dedicated committees and bodies for investigating fraud and other forms of corruption.
6. Audit the legislature just like any other branch of government or institution that receives public funds. The 52nd and 53rd legislatures in particular should be audited and any recommendations from the audit report fully implemented and
7. Increase financial support to integrity institutions and enable them to properly function.
A year later, the Weah Administration is still delinquent in the adoption and implementation of TI’s recommendations. 
IJG Principal Deputy Executive Director Luigi Spera
Last September, the International Justice Group (IJG) announced that it was putting in place a mechanism to ensure that all those in Liberia accused of war and economic crimes, money laundering etc. will be exposed to the international justice system for tough punitive actions, including asset tracking and confiscation, international arrests, trial, and imprisonment if prosecuted and found guilty.
By Our Economic Editor With Contribution From Our Justice Correspondent In Monrovia
West African Journal Magazine

Liberian President & Legislature Violating Constitution; 2018 Expenditure Reports Missing

Capitol Hill, Monrovia Liberia – February 12, 2019: An investigation conducted by the West African Journal Magazine reveals that, in violation of the Liberian Constitution, the Executive branch of the Liberian Government has failed to provide expenditure reports to the National Legislature since the inauguration a year ago of the George M. Weah Administration.

Members of the Legislature
Members of the Legislature

The specific Constitutional provision Article 34 states that “…(ii) no monies shall be drawn from the treasure except in consequence of appropriations made by legislative enactment and upon warrant of the President; and no coin shall be minted or national currency issued except by the expressed authority of the Legislature. An annual statement and account of the expenditure of all public monies shall be submitted by the office of the President to the Legislature and published once a year…”

Members of Liberia’s Legislature are failing in their Constitutional duty and oversight to hold the President accountable for provision of the reports which are due quarterly. Four expenditure Reports are now delinquent.

Earlier this month and in open protest, a lawmaker from the southeast administrative district of River Gee County Francis Dopoh II, staged, a “walk out” of legislative plenary session at the Capitol. He later fired off a letter to the House Speaker in which he charged that “…the importance of these financial reports are intended to give this Honorable House an understanding of the performances of various budget lines and to help us guide the direction of the government’s fiscal stance…”

2018 CBL Revenue Sources Report.jpgExcerpt of CBL 2018 Revenue Publication

The Liberian Ministry of Finance and Development Planning oversees the budget preparation, execution and reporting processes, in close collaboration with the National Legislature; but has failed along with other government agencies to report to the President and National Legislature for over a year.

Meantime, an inside source at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), has disclosed that revenue collected over the final quarter of 2018 is still unaccounted for on the books of the country’s central bank.

Last August, the LRA announced that it actually collected USD $41.48 million, well above the USD $33.7 million which it says it targeted for collection. All revenue collected were within Liberia.

LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah
LRA Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah

The source who is intimately knowledgeable about the non-reporting of millions of USD revenue still do not show as “inflow” or “deposit” from the LRA and no credible system exist at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to transparently account for monies received. The Liberian Financial Statistics bulletin published by the CBL for Sept-October, 2018 reveals Revenue and Non-Tax Revenue sources for the Government for the period between July – October showed a total of an estimated USD $24.4 million.

Bank Governor Nathaniel R. Patray
Central Bank Governor Nathaniel R. Patray

There is no reporting for the period between October – December, 2018 nor any record of the $$41.48 million reported as revenue collected by the LRA.

The LRA says its mission is to “ professionally, fairly, transparently and effectively collect lawful revenues; facilitate legitimate trade and social protection for the people of Liberia.

Certified Public Accountant Aaron WlehCPA Aaron Wleh

A Liberian Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Mr. Aaron Wleh, based in Massachusetts the U.S., when contacted, questioned the accounting and bookkeeping regime of Liberia’s Central Bank. “This is not an accounting error. The monies are either at the bank or missing and squandered and must be accounted for And I don’t see where the Bank believes it has an obligation to accurately report on its books,” Mr. Wleh noted.

Dr. A. Joel King
Dr. A. Joel King

A Liberian Management scientist Dr. A.   Joel King based in New Jersey, U.S. recommended that the CBL initiate a system to report monthly on its revenue sources, balance sheet and statement of cash. “An accurate system of reporting that meets international best practices is needed at the CBL,’ Dr. King said.

Liberia’s economy is under serious stress and the Government has come under heavy criticisms by citizens and international partners for lack of transparency in the management of resources and pervasive graft.

Most major financial defenses are lacking due to lack of technical capacity and infrastructure which are hampering Government’s ability to improve its financial governance system.

By Our Economic Reporter

West African Journal Magazine

IJG Says Dispatching Investigators To Liberia To Monitor & Collect Data On Threats To Activists

Washington DC, USA and Monrovia, Liberia- February 11, 2019: The International Justice Group (IJG) says it has dispatched a team of Investigators to Liberia as a result of increased security threats to several civic and human rights organizations and activists.

International Justice Group (IJG)

According to a representative of the IJG, it says it has received credible information through its contacts in the West African country and social media monitor. and is concerned that senior operatives of the ruling party and auxiliaries, some of whom are disguised, are intimidating, issuing threats of death and bodily harm to others who freely express critical views of the Government.

Liberia’s Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah last year lashed out at the media over its reportage against the Government and openly threatened to “weaponize” supporters against the media.

Ruling CDC Party Mulbah Morlu

Two weeks ago, the Chairman of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Mulbah Morlu, at a hastily arranged partisans meeting at his party’s headquarters in Monrovia, accused the opposition bloc and supporters of supporting the assassination of President George M. Weah.

“There are a few supporters of the three political parties, that we’ve documented, that post on social media calling in people to take up arms against the President. And one of them came out to say that the President should be assassinated…” Morlu quoting social media charged.

He, however, presented no evidence to substantiate his accusation that the posters were opposition supporters.

Dolakeh Jonathan Saye Taryor

A member of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) Dolakeh Jonathan Saye Taryor, in a strong reaction to Morlu’s accusations, called them “reckless and irresponsible” and an attempt to instill fear among citizens.

He told the West African Journal Magazine, in a telephone interview on Sunday night, that the ANC and coalition of opposition political parties are committed to maintaining the peace in Liberia.

Mr. Taryor scoffed at Morlu’s “assassination” accusation, adding that, “…the assassination of President Weah, will not, in anyway, install the opposition in power..”, and called Morlu’s Statement simply false.

Coalition of Opposition Political Parties – Liberia

The opposition member challenged the credibility of the current CDC Chairman Morlu and his “ridiculous” claim a couple of years ago that, he, Morlu, met former US President Barack Obama at a summit in Ghana where he claimed, they both held “high level talks”.

There is no proof of this Obama meeting that Morlu claimed.

Taryor said the CDC Chairman was attempting to deflect from the prevailing issues of the missing “16 billion” Liberian dollars scandal, proof of the provision of 78,000 chairs to schools, as claimed by President Weah in his State of The Union Address on January 28, 2019, the deteriorating economy under the CDC-led government and other missteps.

The opposition member called for a state investigation of the CDC Chairman over the “incendiary” accusations, which, he said, have the potential to cause chaos and endanger the lives of opposition leaders and supporters.

“IJG is saying its Investigators will be fully stationed in Liberia indefinitely to monitor Human Rights Violations and has recommended several Liberians to the US and European governments for travel restrictions.”

The global research and rights organization says the IJG is currently lobbying in Washington DC, the United States Senate for full Congressional passage of House of Representatives Resolution (H.Res) 1055 which calls for the full implementation of the Final Report of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the establishment of a Special tribunal for Liberia.

Seal of the US House of Representatives

The Resolution which was introduced September, 2018, and agreed to by the House of Representatives last November, “…Supports efforts by the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to advance Liberian national reconciliation…”

Map of Liberia

According to the group, it says it is collecting data on alleged crimes being committed under the current Liberian Administration and will advocate for accountability for all economic and rights abuses.

By Our Justice Reporter In Washington DC, USA and National Politics Correspondent In Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: Deputy NSA Director Suspended For “Time Indefinite”

Monrovia, Liberia- February 8, 2019: A major dismissal has gone down at the National Security Agency (NSA) in Liberia.

Suspended NSA Deputy Jones Blamo

West African Journal Magazine was tipped off late Friday morning that the Agency’s Deputy for Operations one Jones Blamo had been suspended for “time indefinite”.

The suspension decision was reportedly just taken by Liberian President George M. Weah after he was informed of the argument which happened a week or so ago, the source said.

According to an inside source at the NSA, Mr. Blamo’s suspension was for “gross insubordination” to the Office of the President and reportedly “arguing” with a Presidential aide and protocol officer in the office of the President Ms. Finda Bundoo.

It remains unclear what exactly the “argument” was about and whether it was security related.

Since the dismissal is a personnel matter,West African Journal Magazine is unable to independently confirm the reason for the dismissal of the top security official.

The NSA official, code named “202” was appointed shortly after the inauguration of the Weah Administration in January, 2018.

Our source disclosed that Blamo had been suspended prior with a “warning” but it is unclear why and when.

On its website, the biography of now suspended Deputy Blamo indicates he has 14 years of law enforcement experience in:

  • Security Operations /Privacy Principles
  • Law Enforcement & Public Safety
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Presidential Motorcade
  • Individual Protection
  • Firearms Safety & Handling
  • Defensive Tactics, etc

The National Security Agency (NSA) is the lead national intelligence agency of the West African country under the direct authority of the office of the President.

Headquarters of NSA in Liberia

According to Liberian historians Dr. Elwood Dunn, Carl Patrick Burrowes and Amos J. Beyan in their publication, Historical Dictionary of Liberia, “On May 20, 1974, an act repealing sub-chapter D of Chapter 1, Part 1 and subchapter B of Chapter 22, Part II of the Executive Law in Relation to the EAB and the NBI, and creating the NSA was approved.

The NSA was left as the only agency solely responsible for gathering national security intelligence, but having to conduct special investigations, whenever the need arises.”

According to its website, “The National Security Agency (NSA) is  a political government intelligence institution that is solely tasked with the gathering/collection, analyzing and dissemination of national security information for decision/policy makers including the President of the Republic of Liberia.…”

By Our National Security Reporter and Correspondents In Monrovia, Liberia

West African Journal Magazine

Liberia: Health Ministry Unable To Report All Deaths; Cites Limitations

Monrovia, Liberia – February 7, 2019: In the West African nation of Liberia, the reporting of deaths is woefully inadequate, in spite of the country’s Public Health Law which requires the registration of all deaths within 24 hours of occurrence. Severe under-development coupled with various factors have limited the ability of Liberia’s Ministry of Health to fulfill its mandate.

Ministry of Health Building
Ministry of Health Building

According to the Government Health Agency its Mandate include:

◾Formulation, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of Health Policies, Plan, and Standards.

◾Deliver and Coordinate the Delivery of Decentralized Medical Care in Public Facilities.

◾Develop Health Manpower.

◾Undertake Preventive Services and Health Services, including Specific Health Interventions.

However, in a statement posted to its website, the Ministry, in trying to explain its inability to register all deaths in the country, stated that, “…This regulation has not been implemented to its fullest by the Ministry due to limited access to death registration services and information on the importance and need for death certification. As a result of inadequate access, the coverage of registration has always been below 5% annually. Apart from the mentioned plausible reasons for low registration of deaths, traditional and religious practices contribute to lower registration in Liberia. Death certificates are usually processed in Liberia with the intent to obtain insurance benefits, to settle inheritance issues and not as a requirement for burial and documentation of cause of death. The registration of deaths continues to fluctuate over the past seven years. In 2007, 548 deaths were registered compared to 624 in 2011 and 549 in 2012. In 2013, 659 deaths were registered compare to 600 in 2014.”

Vital Statistics require the accurate, complete and standardized reporting of births and deaths. The data collected from birth and death certificates and forms by the Liberian government is to be utilized for the identification, monitoring, informing and allocation of adequate budgetary resources to address public health issues. Data is also utilized in planning for the implementation and achievement of the Ministry’s vision of “A healthy population and social protection for all”.

Liberia Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah
Liberia Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah

With 14,916 Full Time Employees, the Health sector 2018/2019 budget is $81.7 million USD.

About $51.7 million USD account for employee compensation. In its budget narrative, the Health Ministry noted the following achievements for the past fiscal year and objectives for the current one.

Achievements (FY2017-18):

  1. Built adequate capacity for management of required medicines and supplies.
  2. Restored and enhanced service delivery systems to ensure a safe working environment and quality of care for clients to improve health outcomes.
  3. Established a functional emergency medical service including referral system between primary, secondary and tertiary care.
  4. Ensured adequate supply chain of medicines, Equipment and laboratory facilities in county hospitals, and
  5. Improved childhood preventable disease vaccination coverage.

 Objectives (FY2018-19):

  1. Build a fit for purpose productive and motivated health workforce that equitably and optimally delivers quality services

2. Expand capacity for leadership and governance to ensure that effective guidance of health actions is provided, and

  1. Support health professionals’ in-service training and career advances with an appropriate scheme of remuneration and benefits payment for healthcare workers based on performance and places of assignment.
Phebe Hospital - Bong County Liberia
Phebe Hospital – Bong County Liberia

In contradiction of these achievements listed in the 2017-2018 budget narrative, just three weeks ago, reliable reports surfaced that insufficient budgetary allotment for the smooth operation of the Phebe Hospital in Suakoko District, Bong County in central Liberia was causing problems.

Administrators at another government hospital in the southeastern political district of Grand Bassa County say the hospital is experiencing severe lack of essential drugs and fuel to operate. Major health centers operated by the Ministry of Health in Liberia continue to operate with meager budgetary resources and untrained personnel.

Liberia’s Health Minister Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah has admitted the shortage of essential drugs and resources for the smooth operation of medical facilities across the country but says her administration is seeking assistance from donors to address the deteriorating situation. She recently returned from assessment visits to medical centers in three political districts in western Liberia.

The 2014-106 Ebola pandemic laid bare the inadequate health system of the poor West African country. By April, 2016, when the pandemic was declared over by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that Liberia accumulated 10,678 total Ebola cases and estimated 4,810 deaths.

Meantime, a signature project of Liberian President George M. Weah, the construction of a military hospital is ongoing.

Geographical Map of Liberia
Geographical Map of Liberia

The estimated cost of the facility is $3 million USD with an estimated completion date of late 2019. The cost is, however, expected to jump based on an increase in the price of materials. The project is in addition to the construction and relocation of the new Redemption Hospital in the western suburb of Caldwell, outside Monrovia. Unlike the Redemption Hospital for which an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) was generated and is posted on the website of the Ministry of Health, the 14 Military Hospital has no such plan.

The main objective of an ESMP is to provide measures to minimize adverse effects on the biophysical and socio-economic environment during construction and operation of such facilities.

Military 14 Hospital has no ESMP which would undertake the following:

1. field assessment of the construction site fto appreciate the magnitude of the project activities and determine their environmental and social footprint.

  1. review on the policies, regulations and environmental standards in order to develop a comprehensive and guided policy, legal and institutional framework so that the ESMP is responsive and aligned with government’s and financiers’ policies;
  2. discussion with major stakeholders including the Ministry of Health;

4. discussion with key informants from the surrounding communities, affected directly by the project;

  1. assessment of the socio-economic and the health-care systems data and prevailing national regulations, policies and standards; and
  2. verification that the project meets international standards.

By Our Health Reporter in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

 

Liberia: Investigation Shows CBL Official Sidiki Fofana (Hamed Sifonic) Has No Professional Degree From U.S.

Dulles, Virginia USA and Monrovia, Liberia – February 6, 2019:  In its continuing investigation, the West African Journal Magazine has found no academic proof that the newly appointed Executive Director at Liberia’s Central Bank Mr. Sidiki Fofana, now known  as Hamed Sifonic in Monrovia, holds a professional degree as he claimed. A check with the  National Student Clearinghouse in the U.S. could not obtain any verification of academic credentials.

Saint Joseph University Record
Saint Joseph University Record

The Virginia based National Student Clearinghouse is the premier organization in the U.S. that prides itself in reporting, research, verification, transcript, and data exchange demands. It says, its mission is, “to serve the education and workforce communities and all learners with access to trusted data, related services, and insights.”

University of PhoenixVerification documentation obtained from the National Student Clearing House, which are in possession of the West African Journal Magazine, show that he enrolled as Sidiki Fofana at the Catholic owned St. Joseph’s University on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the U.S. between January 1, 2016 and May 15, 2018 but did not graduate with any professional degree, “an enrollment only” entry is recorded for him.

A check on enrollment status at University of Phoenix, a for-profit institution of higher learning based in Phoenix, Arizona, that offers classes primarily online, though it also has campuses and learning centres, showed no record of Fofana ever at that institution.

CBL Logo
CBL Logo

The Human Resource Department of the Central Bank of Liberia sourced the academic background of Fofana after he claimed he attended the two U.S. based schools . This prompted the West African Journal Magazine’s investigation into Fofana’s claims that he holds a professional degree.

Fofana who was named to the senior administrative position in January, 2019, at the Bank is a member of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in the very poor West African country which is dealing with difficult economic problems.

The Board of the Central Bank is yet to approve his appointment, although he continues to serve in the capacity as Executive Director. Senior level employees of the Central Bank including the Governor, his Deputy, and those in operational roles, as would Mr. Fofana, are required to be “persons of good standing and unimpeachable character from the business and academic communities with experience and expertise in business, banking, finance , economics and management…” according to the Bank. Fofana has no professional experience or verifiable academic credentials which he brings to the banking sector in Liberia.

Members of the Board of Governors of the CBL who have the final say on approval of the nomination of Fofana include David M. Farhat, Melisa A. Emeh, Kolli S. Tamba and Elsie Dossen Badio.

CBL Appointee Sidiki Fofana aka Hamed Sifonic.PNGThe position of Executive Director which Fofana is named to is currently not included in the organizational structure of the Bank. It remains a waiting game as observers maintain a vigil on the pending decision of the CBL Board of Governors on Fofana’s appointment.

Contained in the Act to Authorize the Establishment of the Central Bank which was approved in March, 1999 and under the sub-heading, “Oath of Fidelity”, it states that Every Governor, officer, employee or agent of the Central Bank shall take an oath of fidelity and secrecy in the for prescribed by the bylaws…”

The CBL says, “…it regulates, and supervises the financial institutions in Liberia with the aim of ensuring the safety and soundness of the financial system as a whole…”

Fofana was booked on December 18, 2016 in the U.S. and charged with the misdemeanor of Driving Under the Influence with a high rate Blood Level Alcohol (BAC ) of .10 to under .16 detected by a breathalyzer test. In Pennsylvania, “…The first time you are arrested and convicted for drunk driving in the State of Pennsylvania you will receive 6 months of probation and a $300 fine if your BAC was between .08-.99. If your BAC was from .10-.159 you will receive from 2 days to 6 months of prison time prison, a $500-$5,000 fine and a 12 month driver’s license suspension. One drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol), or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol). Under current Pennsylvania law, (.08 BAC and higher) is legally intoxicated.

Since it was his first offense, he was diverted to an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) which is  a special pre-trial intervention program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States for non-violent offenders with no prior or limited record. Defendants in an ARD program are placed under supervision.

Magisterial Court documentation from the U.S., in possession of The West African Journal Magazine reveal a very serious offense and charge of Retail Theft of Merchandise by Mr. Fofana on May 29, 2018. He initially pleaded Not Guilty on June 19, 2018 and as of November 21, 2018, pleaded guilty in a Magisterial Court in Pennsylvania. Penalty was imposed and Fofana paid $210.25 and the case was closed.

Shortly thereafter, Fofana moved back to Liberia.

Sidiki Fofana aka Hamed Sifonic Social Media Post
Sidiki Fofana aka Hamed Sifonic Social Media

As recently as last Friday, Fofana, in apparent denial of the report of his conviction for retail theft and driving under the influence in the U.S., posted the following to his social media account under the name Hamed Fofana: “Egregious” a common word used in my place of work…Those behind me are dull. Now it’s clear where all this is coming from!”, an apparent attempt to counter the report.

Eugene Lenn Nagbe Social Media PostLiberia’s Information Minister Eugene Lenn Nagbe offered support to Fofana in a social media post on last Saturday when he wrote, “Shame on all the prophets of doom…our country is progressing…Live with your false rumors, the facts will keep standing in your faces….”

Magisterial Court Doc - Philadelphia
Magisterial Court Doc – Philadelphia

The CBL official has yet to subject himself to media scrutiny or provide clear documentation to refute the report of his conviction for theft of retail merchandise, driving under the influence or proof of academic credentials (professional degree) to occupy the post at the CBL.

By Our Staff Reporter in Virginia, USA and Investigative Correspondents in Monrovia, Liberia

West African Journal Magazine

LISCR Says It Annulled Several US Sanctioned Shipping Entities In Liberia

As part of its on-going investigation into individuals and shipping entities which are under U.S. Department of the Treasury sanction regimes and last reported as operating in Liberia, the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) says some of the named entities have been annulled.

The Liberian Registry is comprised of 4,330+ vessels aggregating over 160 million gross tons, representing 11 percent of the world’s ocean going fleet. The Liberian Registry is administered by the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR, LLC), a private U.S. owned and globally operated company.

West African Journal Magazine, in a query to the LISCR, requested explanation on the use of their corporate office at 80 Broad Street, Monrovia as a mailing address by some of the individuals and entities.

In an emailed response, the LISCR stated that, “…The Liberian entities that you are referring to as being associated with 80 Broad Street were all annulled by the Registry in March 2013. Liberia worked in close cooperation with the US Treasury during that period.  These entities are currently listed on the SDN list, with their correct last known address being noted as “c/o  Libra Shipping SA, 3, Xanthou Street, Glyfada” (Greece).

The other entities named in your article (GOLDEN FISH LIBERIA LTD., DOLPHIN TRADING COMPANY LIMITED, SKY TRADE COMPANY) have not been established or incorporated with the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry. As such, there is no record of them in the Registry…” LISCR said.

The following shipping lines which are on the Liberian registry and list offices in Liberia are sanctioned because of their connection to the government of Iran which is under heavy economic sanctions by the U.S. Sanctions

GARBIN NAVIGATION LTD /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ, Office 101 Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

1st Floor, FITCO Building No 3

Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street Monrovia, Liberia 

 KONING MARINE CORP /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street   Monrovia, Liberia 

BLUE TANKER SHIPPING SA /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

Majuro MH   Marshall Islands and Liberia  

 JUPITER SEAWAYS SHIPPING /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ  Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street Monrovia, Liberia

 HERCULES INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

80 Broad Street Monrovia, Liberia (Subject to Secondary Sanctions)

 HERMIS SHIPPING SA /IRAN

Care of Sambouk Shipping FCZ Fujairah    United Arab Emirates

Office 101, 1st Floor

FITCO Building No 3, Inside Fujairah Port, PO Box 50044

Panama City, Panama

Monrovia   Liberia (Subject to Secondary Sanctions)

 The following shipping lines registered under the Liberian flag, with offices in Liberia and connected to Iran are sanctioned under the designation of Specially Designated National Global Terrorism (SDGT):

GOLDEN FISH LIBERIA LTD.

2nd Street Sinkor and Logan Town, Monrovia, Montserrado County, Liberia (Subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations)

This business is linked to one Ali Muhammad Qansu, a Lebanese born national who is linked to another Lebanese national Adham Husayn Tabaja who has ties to 13 iterations of Hizballah in Syria and Iraq. The U.S. Government has also designated and sanctioned Ali Muhammad Qansu, Adham Husayn Tabaj and Hizballah. The group Hizballah is listed as a terror organization by the U.S. Government.

 DOLPHIN TRADING COMPANY LIMITED

Bob Taylor Road Monrovia and Paynesville, Liberia linked to Ali Muhammad Qansu and subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations.

SKY TRADE COMPANY

Logan Town, Opposite Rice Store Entity Monrovia, Liberia linked to Ali Muhammad Qansu and subject to Secondary Sanctions Pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations.

Information on the recently website of the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in Washington DC, showed several shipping individuals and shipping lines in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire included on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN) and the Specially Designated Nationals For Global Terrorism (SDGT) sanction lists.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

U.S. Based Liberian Engineer Appointed to Rowan University Technology Dept.

Philadelphia, PA USA- January 5, 2019: A Liberian Engineering professional has been named to administer the Mechanical Engineering Technology Rowan College Burlington County, RCBC, New Jersey.

Rowan University Seal
Rowan University Seal

Mr. Dave B. Wilson Sr. who resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a long background in Engineering and education and has demonstrated success and breadth of knowledge in engineering to include mechanical, electronics, telecommunications, and Automation.

Based on his vast wealth of knowledge, the Liberian engineer has also been leveraging his expertise and leadership ability to drive renewable energy in solar, wind and initiatives in parts of Africa over the last few years.  Prior to his appointment and since 2016, Dave has served as an adjunct faculty in Mechatronics Engineering at the Community College of Philadelphia Workforce and Economic Innovation Department.

He participated as a lecturer at a bilateral human capacity development training effort sponsored by the United Nations (UN) in solar technology at the University of Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, College of Natural & Computational Sciences setting up the original renewable energy hub for that region of Africa (a three-month program 2017). Before that, he was  the Acting Dean of Academic Affairs at ITT Technical Institute in Liverpool, New York, USA from February to September, 2016.

Dave B. Wilson Sr
Dave B. Wilson Sr.

Dave is a one- time Department Chair of the School of Computer Electronics Engineering Technology (CEET) in Marlton, New Jersey  between March 2014 and February 2016) and was and adjunct Professor in Electrical Engineering Department at the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in Mercer County, New Jersey between May 2013 and December 2017.

Professional credit also goes to Dave’s leadership roles at a number of prestigious U.S. corporations including T-Mobile and Global Networks Telecommunications GNT with increasing responsibilities on the T-Mobile Nation Wide Modernization Project between July 2013 to January 2014 During this time he worked leveraging technology to increase profits, productivity, and competitive edge while delivering significant reductions in the cost of doing business for the organizations.

In Liberia, West Africa, he served as broadcast engineer for the Liberian Broadcasting System (ELBS), and “Radio VERITAS between 1993 to 1999.

Currently on a sabbatical from his doctoral studies, the newly appointed Rowan administrator holds the following engineering credentials:

  1. Master’s degree in Electronics Engineering from Khmelnitsky University in Ukraine, Eastern Europe.
  2. MBA in Information System Management from Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  3. Presently serving an Academy break, the Ph.D. program in Engineering Management at Walden University, USA.
  4. Diplomas including Ericsson Civil Training (ECT) Parsippany – New Jersey; Project Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Bucks County Community College, Global Human Rights Leadership Training Institute (GHRLTI), Lagos, Nigeria, and Aquila Broadcasting Sets, Rome – Italy and several industry certifications and diplomas including Ericsson Civil Training (ECT), Project Management, Cisco Network Engineering, Broadcast Technology Engineering, and others.
Rowan University
Rowan University

U.S. News & World Report ranks Rowan University 19th of Northern Regional Universities and third among the public institutions in the category. The College of Engineering, at which Dave is now a member, is ranked 32nd nationally among master’s level programs and the Chemical Engineering program is ranked third.

West African Journal Magazine