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Friday, February 28, 2014 Edition

Friday, February 28, 2014 Edition

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Published by FrontPageAfrica
Friday, February 28, 2014 Edition
Friday, February 28, 2014 Edition

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Published by: FrontPageAfrica on Feb 28, 2014
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 pg 6  pg 5
See PG 2
These are indicative rates based on results of daily surveys of the foreign exchange market in Monrovia and its environs. The rates are collected from the Forex Bureaux and the commercials banks. The rates are not set by the Central Bank of Liberia.
 Research, Policy and Planning Department, Central Bank Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia
, FEBRUARY 20, 2014
, 2014
, 2014
“The law does not provide criminal penalties for official corruption, although criminal penalties exist for economic sabotage, mismanagement of funds, and other corruption-related acts. Officials engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.  Low pay levels for the civil service, minimal job training, and few court convictions exacerbated official corruption and a culture of impunity.”  Excerpts From US State Department Report 
Friday, February 28, 2014 Page 2 |
Wade C.L. Williams, wade.williams@frontpageafricaonline.com
here has been growing speculations over who is claiming credit within the Liberian government for efforts to revamp the Mt. Coffee Hydro Power Plant. During the launch of the hydro works in January this year there were even rumors that the minister of Lands, Mines and Energy Patrick Sendolo removed the name of Finance Minister Amara Konneh from a drafted list of speakers sent to him by the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation creating some serious tension between the two young ministers of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government. Sources hinted FrontPageAfrica that it took the intervention of the President that the name of the Finance Minister was  placed back on the list of speakers at the program.On Thursday, at the Ministry of Information regular Press
Brieng the question again was raised by a journalist and
the response that was to follow did not in any way allay
fears of a ght between the two ministers.
Energy Minister Sendolo apparently unwilling to let
Finance Minister alone take credit for a project that’s not
even completed made it emphatically clear that the ministry
of nance cannot claim the credit merely because it sourced the funding for the project.
 “Those comments have been attributed to certain people  but it will be irresponsible to say that Finance is doing
energy projects,” he said.
Continued Minister Sendolo: “Everywhere else in the
world, ministry of nance raises revenue, manages budget,
etc. show me one country in the world where ministries of
nance do energy projects, much less hydro projects; it just
doesn’t happen. I know minister Konneh didn’t say that, it would be absurd for him to say that because nowhere in the
world does the minister of nance do an energy project”.
Minister Sendolo prides himself with the Mt. Coffee Hydro
 project dating back to his days at the Project Implementation
Unit at the Executive Mansion (Foreign Affairs) and he
feels that the ght for ownership of credit is irrelevant.
 “Let’s not get into speculations about how one may argue, I think it is fair for anybody to speak about their association
with a project; I think it is unfair for somebody to attribute
to a person that the person said that he did Mt. Coffee,
 because it is not true,” said Sendolo.“I’ve been working on this project since 2010 along with
many other people who’ve placed a lot of time and effort
into this project; so it will be a shame to see such a great
effort by so many patriotic Liberian men and women being
reduced to some kind of squabble over who did what or who claims what. I think it is really unfortunate.”
But even though Sendolo claims only to be concerned about the end product of what all the efforts placed into the hydro revamping process would lead to the greater good of all which is cheap energy supply, his Liberian parable on the argument says otherwise.“It is like you and somebody go and cut palm nuts, the man holds the stick and you climb up the tree and cut the palm nuts and then when you leave from there, the man that holds
the stick says ‘I cut the palm nuts’,” said Minister Sendolo.
The Lands, Mines and Energy Minister told reporters that
he was constrained to respond to the question because it had
 popped up, but he was not concerned about who really was claiming credit.
“What makes a difference to me; my job is to ensure that Mt. Coffee and all the other energy projects are completed and that the Liberian people get the electricity they deserve; nish; all the rest of the stuff is secondary,” he said.
Continued Sendolo: “I can’t list to you the number of people
who have done something about Mt. Coffee; plenty people have done a lot about Mt. Coffee; this is not something that  just one man can stand and say ‘I did Mt. Coffee’ no! The
efforts have been relative, everybody have done something
different; everybody has made contributions but the point
is, as I said, does it really make a difference, who did Mt.
Coffee, or who claims to have done Mt. Coffee.”
When asked about his relationship with the minister of
nance, Minister Sendolo brushed off claims that he was in a ght with his colleague another young minister with
whom he has over the past years worked to see to it that Liberia’s energy needs are solved.“This is not about whether I like somebody or whether
somebody likes me; it doesn’t make a difference; what matters is that the work gets done,” he said.
Continued Sendolo: “I have no sour relationship with anybody, I maintain excellent and cordial relationship with
everybody because again; let’s not forget, this is not about Patrick Sendolo; this is about the work that we have to do;
this is about the country. That being said let’s be clear, I didn’t hear the stories, I only heard that people said, second
and third hand references. I know minister Konneh well; I
know Minister Konneh did not say that he’s responsible for
Mt. Coffee; I can challenge anyone here to say that he said the contrary.”He said Mt. Coffee is a project of public record adding that
it is not something the government is doing in what he calls ‘the backroom’.“Everything on Mt. Coffee is thoroughly documented. Anybody who wants to know the difference or the truth can
refer to the records,” he said.
When asked to comment on the matter, Finance Minister Konneh who seemed unscathed by his colleague’s response
to the speculative question said the media was fanning the ames to create a situation where it seems there exists a ght between him and his colleague.
“The media is trying to create a situation that doesn’t exist and is immaterial to the success of our programs which is
unfair to minister Sendolo and I,” he said.
“We are working very hard pushing each other to deliver on
the administration’s development agenda.”
Sources believe the uneasiness about who takes credit for the hydro revamping process that is now underway after eight years of the Sirleaf-led government, came as a result of the
 passion that has been expressed by the minister of nance
in seeing Liberia get cheap energy, something he has always mentioned during his numerous media interactions. But sources also within the government who did not want to be named said the Lands, Mines and Energy Minister thinks he is being undercut as the sector minister in the government’s energy program and did not take kindly to Konneh’s passion for the revamping of Mt. Coffee.For his part, Finance Minister Konneh has been central
gure in negotiating for the funds that is needed for the
hydro revamping process, which cost of rehabilitation and
upgrading is estimated at US$230 million.
Recently at the Hydro launch Konneh said to fund the Mt.
Coffee project, Government has already concluded a US$65
million concessional loan deal with the European Central
Bank, while donors have committed US$107 million.
He also disclosed that Germany and Norway pledged grants
of US$32 million and US$75 million respectively, while the Liberian Government budgeted US$45 million for the  project.
The remaining funds will be raised through the European Investment Bank as a loan and would help to fast track the
loan acquisition according to Konneh.
“Government is desperate for the restoration of hydro facilities that if it means to reduce the number of foreign
travels and fuel supplies to government ofcials to get the system on we will have to do that,” Minister Konneh said at the hydro launch on January 28, 2014.
The rehabilitation process of the Mt. Coffee power hydro is divided into three phases: Phase One is expected to witness
the switching on of the rst two turbines by December 2015; while full capacity will be restored by May 2016 at
which time all three turbines would come on.The Mount Coffee Hydro plant was dedicated by President
William V. S. Tubman in 1964 and served as a cheap and
affordable source of electricity until its destruction during
Liberia’s civil conict.The hydro project is a major one for the government and
the fact that everyone in the government who is related to
this work has spoken on the matter makes it difcult to say
which one of them is claiming absolute credit.
“I have no sour relationship with anybody, I maintain excellent and cordial relationship with everybody because again; let’s not forget, this is not about  Patrick Sendolo; this is about the work that we have to do; this is about the country. That being said let’s be clear, I didn’t hear the  stories, I only heard that people  said, second and third hand references."
Friday, February 28, 2014 Page 3
 Kullie K. Kennedy, kulliek@gmail.com, Contributing Writer
THE LIBERIA ANTI CORRUPTION COMMISSION’S (LACC) DECLARATION this week that it intends to investigate claims that the country’s oil company bribed lawmakers to ensure the passage of oil legislation is a welcome relief and one which we hope will serve as an example for others and probably go a long way in eradicating acts of corruption in post-war Liberia.THE COMMISSION’S chairman James Verdier said Wednesday the investigation was spurred by testimony from a former board chairman of the  National Oil Company of Liberia, who said in a
hearing last week the company paid $118,000 in “lobby fees” to lawmakers. The board chairman,
Clemenceau Urey, said the payments were made
 before elections in 2011. Verdier said the payments,
if confirmed, constitutes bribery.THE SENATE passed two new oil laws last year,  but they stalled in the House of Representatives amid complaints about lack of public consultation. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, whose son formerly headed the oil company, has been criticized for slow progress in the fight against corruption.THE LACC’S pursuit of an investigation came on the same day that the head of the Governance Commission, Dr. Amos Sawyer brought up the issue of Urey. “This was a startling revelation and should claim the attention of this body as well as the LACC. We of the Governance Commission are in the process of sending a letter to the LACC urging prompt investigation of this allegation. It is difficult to ignore such allegation when it comes
from such an authoritative source,” noted Dr.
Sawyer.UREY HAD APPEARED before the legislature to declare that under his watch, several thousands of United States Dollars were demanded from NOCAL  by certain members of the Legislature as incentives for the passage of certain bills having to do with the  business of NOCAL. IT IS A GOOD thing that the LACC is launching what we believe is a clear cut case. Urey, in his own words admitted how the lawmakers sought money to pass a piece of legislation.ON A SECRETLY RECORDED tape, a senior Senator Clarice Jah explains to the former head of the Liberia Airport Authority(LAA) how the Senate goes about soliciting bribes in a bid to pass legislation.ALL THIS IN A POST-WAR nation emerging from the ashes of a war brought on by corruption, a basic fact many of the very same sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters of some of the thirteen former officials of the Tolbert government appear to have forgotten and infatuated with repeating.THIS IS WHY all Liberians must rally behind entities like the LACC and the Public Procurement Concessions Commission(PPCC) to erase the ugly face of corruption from our midst.THIS IS WHY each and every well meaning Liberian must stand up and resist any attempt by a corrupt bunch of elected or appointed officials determined to destroy the country we all love and cherish and no longer want to see return to war, chaos a.nd confusion.THIS IS WHY Liberians must unite against corrupt forces in our midst. But the probe of Clemenceau Urey must not end there. The LACC and the people of Liberia must stand up and rise up peacefully against any group wanting to corrupt our country. This includes lawmakers, elected to serve but
unwilling to stand up for anything; this includes
government-appointed officials looking to grab the last buck from a government on the way out… A hint to the wise…
llow me to point out that the Governor works in the executive branch of government, hence, the Legislature cannot pass a bill that allows it and the House to manage affairs that are already delegated to the executive. In
establishing this provision the constitution species
that: "Consistent with the principles of separation of  powers and checks and balances, no person holding
ofce in one of these branches shall hold ofce in or
exercise any of the powers assigned to either of the other two branches except as otherwise provided in
this Constitution [...]" Article 3. Also Article 56 (a) species that Presidential appointees serve "at the
 pleasure of the President". If the Governor were to violate the terms of his contract, it would be within the purview of the Executive Branch to make a determination as to the extent of the violation and take appropriate actions.
Additionally, Article 43 of the Liberian constitution specically identies who is impeachable, the
President, the Vice President, members of the
Legislature, members of the judiciary from the Chief
Justice to Judges of Courts of record. In order to even
contemplate this new power the Senate must rst amend the constitution to include ofcials such as the
While we are on the subject of Amendments, Article 91 species: This Constitution may be amended whenever a proposal by either (1) two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature or (2)
a petition submitted to the Legislature, by not fewer
than 10,000 citizens which receives the concurrence
of two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the
Legislature, is ratied by two-thirds of the registered
voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the Elections Commission not sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature. The legislature cannot therefore remove constitutionally preserved concepts  by a statutory enactment. If the Governor or a
similarly situated Liberian wants to seek public ofce,
he has the right to do so if he meets the constitutional
requirements. The passage of a law that specically
deprives him and his successors from vying for public
ofce is seemingly targeted and, if so, a violation of his right to equal treatment as prescribed under Article 11 - "All persons are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to the equal protection of the law."
If the President signs this bill and it becomes law, theGovernor would not be accorded the same protection
that similarly situated Ofcials such as heads of Autonomous Agencies would enjoy since it would not apply to them. In that respect he would be unequally treated because he would be the only appointed ofcial
of the Executive Branch that could beimpeached by the Legislature and limited in a potential
 bid for elected ofce.
In the remote probability that members of both Houses could exercise powers over some Executive appointees like the governor, the passage of this bill should not affect the current Governor because of the provisions
of Article 21 of the constitution: "No person shall be made subject to any law or punishment which was not
in effect at the time of commission of an offense, nor shall the Legislature enact any bill of attainder or ex  post facto law." You wrote that ex post facto law is only applicable to criminal law and I disagree because the US Supreme Court has also applied the principle of retroactivity to civil matters in many cases including Arizona Governing Committee v. Norris where the Court said "We repeatedly have declined to give our decisions retroactive effect where doing so would be
In another case, the Court wrote: The Legislature's unmatched powers allow it to sweep away settled expectations suddenly and without individualized consideration. Its responsivity to political pressures  poses a risk that it may be tempted to use retroactive legislation as a means of retribution against unpopular groups or individuals. As Justice Marshall observed
in his opinion for the Court in Weaver v. Graham, 450 U. S. 24 (1981), the Ex Post Facto Clause not only
ensures that individuals have "fair warning" about the effect of criminal statutes, BUT ALSO "restricts governmental power by restraining arbitrary and  potentially vindictive legislation." As you noted, the Governor has a long standing dispute with the Legislature over the authority to mint coins and this act is a classic example of how they can get back at him. Elementary considerations of fairness dictate that individuals should have an opportunity to know what
the law is and to conform their conduct accordingly;
settled expectations should not belightly disrupted. For that reason, the 'principle that the legal effect of conduct should ordinarily be assessed under the law that existed when the conduct took place
has timeless and universal appeal.'" Kaiser, 494 U. S., at 855 (Scalia, J., concurring).
The Governor of the Central Bank could not have known at the time of his recent incumbency that a law would be formulated to prevent him from exercising a right of choice that is granted him under the constitution. He did not have the opportunity to consider that acceptance of this appointment could
delay a future ambition. Consequently, a law created
during his tenure cannot prevent him from contesting
for elected ofce if he so desires. As unimaginable as
it is, consider for a moment that the current legislature
were to pass a legislation to limit its term of ofce, it
would be a constitutional violation to make the law applicable to current members of both houses because
of the provisions of Article 21. Such a law would only
apply to the next group of legislators and by extension, the next Governor.
Finally, Article 2 of the constitution species in part
that: Any laws, treaties, statutes, decrees, customs and regulations found to be inconsistent with the constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency,  be void and of no legal effect. This leaves the
Legislature in a quandary because it's current bill  before the President is inconsistent with Articles 2, 3, 11,43,56 and 91 of the Supreme law of the land.
The Legislature cannot pass a statute that disagrees
with the constitution; exercise powers reposed in the Executive Branch; pass a law that targets specic
individuals while leaving similarly situated persons free to exercise the rights removed from the targeted
 person; or use a statute to amend a portion of the

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