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WHY LIBERIA’S HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM IS IN A QUAGMIRE?

‘DEAD REGULATOR’

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Education

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‘A GREAT HUMANITARIAN’
GERTRUDE P. BREWER LAID TO REST

OBITUARY

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pg 5

CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA
MARKET BUYING AND SELLING RATES LIBERIAN DOLLARS PER US DOLLAR

FrontPage
www.frontpageafricaonline.com
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2014

BUYING THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2014 WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2014 THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2014 L$81.00/US$1 L$83.00/US$1 L$83.00/US$1

SELLING L$82.00/US$1 L$84.00/US$1 L$84.00/US$1

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

VOL 8 NO.544

PRICE L$40

US 2013 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SLAMS LIBERIA

‘CORRUPTION WITH IMPUNITY’
“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
 

CORRUPTION WATCH pg. 5

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Friday, February 28, 2014

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 Briefing the question again was raised by a journalist and the response that was to follow did not in any way allay fears of a fight 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 finance 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 finance raises revenue, manages budget, etc. show me one country in the world where ministries of finance 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 finance 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 fight 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; finish; 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 finance, Minister Sendolo brushed off claims that he was in a fight with his colleague another young minister with whom he has over the past years worked to see to it that

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

“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."
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 flames to create a situation where it seems there exists a fight 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 finance 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 figure 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 officials 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 first 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 conflict. 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 difficult to say which one of them is claiming absolute credit.

FrontPage COMMENTARY EDITORIAL THE CBL AMENDMENT DEBATE
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Friday, February 28, 2014

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Commentary

THIS STITCH IN TIME WILL SAVE LIBERIA
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…

WELCOMING LACC’S BRIBERY PROBE

LEGISLATURE CANNOT PASS A STATUTE THAT DISAGREES WITH THE CONSTITUTION
Kullie K. Kennedy, kulliek@gmail.com, Contributing Writer
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 unjust." 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 be lightly 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 office 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 office, 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 specifies 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 specific 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 constitution.

A

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 specifies that: "Consistent with the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances, no person holding office in one of these branches shall hold office 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) specifies 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 specifically identifies 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 first amend the constitution to include officials such as the Governor. While we are on the subject of Amendments, Article 91 specifies: 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 ratified 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 office, he has the right to do so if he meets the constitutional requirements. The passage of a law that specifically deprives him and his successors from vying for public office 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, the Governor would not be accorded the same protection that similarly situated Officials 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 official of the Executive Branch that could be impeached by the Legislature and limited in a potential bid for elected office. 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

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Friday, February 28, 2014

COMMENTS FROM FPA ONLINE
Sylvester Moses · Top Commenter

TAYLOR ADDICTED TO POWER, MONEY: LEAKS EXPOSE PRESIDENT SIRLEAF

EQUAL PROTECTION ALLOWS EXCEPTIONS...THE BLIND ARE NOT GIVEN DRIVER´S LICENSES, THE RICH ARE TAXED HIGHER THAN THE POOR
The Editor,

MOTOR VEHICLE WAHALA

case against the enactment of this law. For with respect to Clause 1, Article 29, of Chapter V, of the Liberian Constitution, neither is the enactment of the law a "managing of affairs that are already delegated to the Executive" (as you errignly believe) nor is it a targeting of any soul! For in the first place, if this were to be the case, a given national legislature would hardly make any law; for the expectation that such laws would be against the wishes, and personal agenda of individuals. Secondly, and more importantly, those articulating that the new law is discriminatory must immediately rescind such error. For according to the constitutional doctrine of the rational basis test, the equal protection law or doctrine permits government or law makers to both to classify and treat people and institutions differently. For example, yes, the constitution calls for equal treatment, fairness, or non-discrimination, but the same constitution and the courts allow government to make those with larger incomes pay higher rates than those who earn smaller incomes. The blind cannot get driver´s license. Examples such as thse demonstrate that the equal protection clause (Article 11 C etc. etc. cannot sensibly command that the government treat everyone the same. To every rule, there are exceptions! That is, the rich can be treated differently from the poor for purposes of taxation, the blind differently from the sighted in the distribution of driver´s licenses. Why? Because such a legislation or classificatory scheme rationally advances a legitimate national interest as is the case with the erection of this new CBL law which is, in the war on corruption, an appropriate and indeed, a proportionate constitutional legislative bombardment. Dortu-Siboe Doe dortusiboedoe@yahoo.co

Thank you, FPA, but what did we learn from this report? Quiet a lot about the main actors, particularly EJS who comes out more complex than earlier demonizing portrayals. One gets the impression that though she had presidential ambitions, and was a facilitator to oust Doe, after his demise, she worried about the plight of Liberia. In addition to this emerging evidence of empathy, she exhibited the big picture grasp of a top draw intelligence analyst, and the tactical instincts of a commanding officer. Others may dismiss these attributes as mere complementary to the profile of a Machiavellian; we see the composite of an astute and able politician who has more to offer Liberia. So rather than dreaming of 2017 as the ushering in of a Utopia, she must be coaxed to focus on poverty, self-sufficiency in rice, jobs, reconciliation, security sector capacity, durable roads, etc. Or the great expectations of 2017 might morph into a post - election conflict. Let’s the three branches of govt. start anew to complete a better job. Adam S. Sheriff · Drexel University Good points Sylvester. If the intention of the post was to demonize EJS, it did the opposite. It showed someone genuinely interested in seeing stability in Liberia and the sub-region. I am going to delve into the politics of who should be in prison with Taylor for crimes committed in Sierra Leone. However, I am pleased at this revelation of "behind the scene" efforts by meaning Liberians trying to bring peace to the Liberian people while others were bent distabilizing the sub-region. Patrick Tarr · Bekwai S.D.A. Secondary School We are being told that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has supported groups to overthrow all governments, starting from Samuel Doe. The "leaked cable" is saying otherwise. There is nothing in the "leak" we did not talk about or hear in the streets of Monrovia during that period. If EJS was not the current president, nobody will be reading this "leak". Jay Wion · Top Commenter · Works at NPRC So what is your point? Taylor is doing 50 years for his role in S. Leone. Ellen and others sponsored and financed the Liberian holocaust in which 250,000 Liberians were killed. Taylor is in jail and Ellen is president. Ellen outsmarts Taylor and she is buying time with her age, hoping to die from old age. But we will drag her before our own tribunal even in wheel chair. Tamba Aghailas · Human Resource Professional at International Rescue Committee Thanks for this expose from Wikileaks. We'd love to see more details on the money trail (the diamonds, gold and timber) and how Liberia can recover its stolen monies and return it for development programs for the country's majority poor. David Murray · Top Commenter Dash S. Wilson You're absolutely correct by your assertion that sleeze-bag RODNEY SIEH & FPA are the best at "NEWS GATHERING"....but the absolute worse at "AUTHORITATIVELY RELIABLE 'NEWS REPORTING'!! ie,the LTA "US$385k Vs US$700k lease + his,exclusive,JINDALL $US 1mil. CASH PAYMENT TO Mrs. JENNY BERNARD(sis to the Pres.!) Would you bet your life on the veracity in any FPA story?? Dash S. Wilson · Top Commenter · Wilmington University David Murray, Rodney is one of the best and well organized journalists in Liberia. You're castigating him for the mere fact that he continues to expose corruption in the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's government. The story surrounding the US$1Million to the president's sister is a fact. JINDALL steel is being used by Jenny Bernard (President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf's sister) to do her dirty work by coming out to cover things up for her. Rodney D. Sieh stands by his story. There is nothing you guys can do to him. We understand your feelings towards Rodney D. Sieh and his news organ. Rodney D. Sieh is not going anywhere, Murray. Even his uncle, Kenneth Y. Best knows this very well. Armyboy Toohonest Jefferson · Stella Maris Polytechnic So so politics; what Jeter`s comments has to offer Liberia? what will Liberia benefit from his comments? why din`t he make these comments since? Liberia has lots to focus on rather than these distractions that will not benefit the country. we should be tackling the issues of corruption, marginalization, paying health workers, dishonesty in government, and immorality.Taylor and Ellen know what they`re on; let them be left with their consciousnesses and let God reward them. For the evil that men do live after them.

The new law advances a legitimate national interest in the war on corruption. And besides, there are exceptions to the equal protection doctrine enshrined in Article 11 C etc. etc., and whatever law rule or law vis a vis the constitutional doctrine of the rational basis test. Accordingly, may I please make this rebuttal to Mr. Kullie Kennedy´s piece on the new CBL Law. According to Clause 1, Article 29, of Chapter V, of the Liberian Constitution makes clear that legislative powers are vested in the National Legislature. And this is exactly what the National Legislature has done. The National Legislature enactment of a law which may affect a bank or the Central Bank, or whichever public or even private entity or institution IS IN NO WAY the National Legislature "managing affairs that are already delegated to the Executive. For in the first place, if this were to be the case, a given national legislature would hardly make any law; for the expectation that such laws would be against the wishes, and personal agenda of individuals etc. etc. Is that what you want? We do not think so, Compatriot! Now, if, for instance, an individual, a group, or an institution, anticipates importing certain food stuff, or engaging certain acts, and unfortunately for such individual, group, or institution, the National Legislature, (prior to the set date or period of such importation or acts on the part of the individual, group, or institution), enacts in the interest of national security or a given national or public concern or interest a law which prohibits such anticipated importation or such acts anticipated by such individual, group, or institution, can Article 21 be invoked? Hell No! For again, such polity may simply be a political jungle or society---of which Liberia is not but a democratic society and polity! In other words, unless one acknowledges that neither the CBL´s governor nor his fellow board members has been charged with a criminal offense, nor punished, and that Clause 1, Article 29, of Chapter V, of the Liberian Constitution makes clear that legislative powers are vested in the National Legislature, he or she is bound to know and understand that Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be invoked; for the law is in no way targeting anyone. Besides, Compatriot Kennedy, make no mistake. Expost facto laws are generally prohibited across the globe, but retrospective civil laws may be allowed. And this is not even the case here as the law targets no one. And so, neither Mill Jones, nor CBL, or anyone has any

LEGISLATIVE VOTING RECORD MUST BE MADE PUBLIC
The Editor: Why don't we know the voting record of our Reps and Sens? I suggest you get that and list who voted: Yea, Nay Abstained. The 4th Estate should pursue this issue of the voting record of our of 1st Estate. I am of the opinion that the 2nd Estate has Co - opted, and rained bribes on both the 1st and 2nd branches.... To put an end to this era of undemocratic mismanaging of our national government...Let's publish the voting record of all coupled that committee voting records too. By the way, where is that electronic board that the Ministry of Finance was going to use...Is it in use? Well, we need one for the Legislature very soon. Thank you for you services...Stay strong.... Keep on Keeping"until the tides can raise all Liberian for a better quality of life...."Better Must Come" Ben Nmah bnmah54@gmail.com

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Friday, February 28, 2014

US 2013 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT SLAMS LIBERIA

‘CORRUPTION WITH IMPUNITY’
“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
 

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CORRUPTION WATCH

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Monrovia – he United States Government’s latest Human Rights report on Liberia has once again cited corruption as a key problem for the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The report released Thursday by Secretary of State John Kerry cited a number of major impediments to post-war development, particularly, corruption. “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. The government dismissed officials for alleged corruption and recommended others for prosecution.” In unveiling the report, Secretary of State Kerry said now is the time for the U.S. to send a strong signal that it is not content to sit on the sidelines. “I ask and I hope that our colleagues in the Senate will help Tom Malinowski get on the job so that we can continue to lead in these very kinds of issues that I have just laid out here today. We are ready to lead, and that’s when America is at its best, and that’s the vision that has always inspired people. And it always will. And it’s with that understanding that we are committed to continue this important work to defend the rights of people all around the world. That’s how we became a nation, and that’s how we will stay the nation that we want to be.” On Liberia, the report took aim on the government’s unequal justice system and observed what while the Liberian AntiCorruption Commission (LACC) and the Ministry of Justice are responsible for exposing and combating official corruption, the LACC remained a weak option because of underfunding, understaffing, and judicial bottlenecks. “During the year the LACC received 25 cases, investigated 23 cases, and recommended four for prosecution, resulting in no convictions.” The report noted the dismissed or suspension of a number of officials for corruption. “Auditor General Robert L. Kilby and General Services Agency Director General Pealrine DavisParkinson were dismissed for conflicts of interest. Deputy Justice Minister Freddie Taylor, Deputy BIN Commissioner Robert Buddy, former solicitor general Micah Wright, and BIN Border Patrol Chief Wilson Garpeh were dismissed for alleged involvement in human trafficking. Deputy Public Works Minister Victor B. Smith was suspended for allegedly violating the law but was reinstated a week later following an investigation. President Sirleaf dismissed the chairman and other board members of the Liberia Airports Authority amid corruption allegations. An assistant labor minister was also dismissed for issuing work permits to foreigners after allegedly taking bribes.” The report noted that in July 2012, over the LACC’s objections, the Ministry of Justice dropped charges against a former inspector

general of police for irregularities in the procurement of uniforms. The LACC decided to prosecute and subsequently obtained a conviction; the case was under appeal before the Supreme Court. “Although an investigation continued into alleged irregularities in the Forestry Development Agency’s issuance of permits for timber harvesting, no indictments were issued against either private use permit operators or former Forestry Development Authority personnel. Despite the suspension of all private use permits, some logging companies continued to operate with other types of licenses.” Judges susceptible to bribes The 2013 report alarmed that judges were susceptible to bribes to award damages in civil cases. “Judges sometimes requested bribes to try cases, release detainees from prison, or find defendants

of interest.” On free speech, the report noted that while the constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice, there were some limitations and noted the president’s endorsement and signing of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publisher’s Declaration of Table Mountain in Monrovia in July 2012 committing the government to the core principles of a free press. Nevertheless, the report noted that while the environment allows for individuals to generally criticize the government publicly or privately without reprisal, libel and national security laws placed some limits on freedom of speech. The report also took aim at the media: “It was common to charge a fee to publish articles, and the accuracy of statements was not

So now is the time to send a strong signal that we are not content to sit on the sidelines. I ask and I hope that our colleagues in the Senate will help Tom Malinowski get on the job so that we can continue to lead in these very kinds of issues that I have just laid out here today. We are ready to lead, and that’s when America is at its best, and that’s the vision that has always inspired people. And it always will. And it’s with that understanding that we are committed to continue this important work to defend the rights of people all around the world. That’s how we became a nation, and that’s how we will stay the nation that we want to be.” - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
not guilty in criminal cases. Defense attorneys and prosecutors sometimes suggested defendants pay bribes to secure favorable rulings from or to appease judges, prosecutors, jurors, and police officers. The Ministry of Justice continued its calls to reform the jury system.” The report added that police corruption remains a problem and cited the investigation of reports of police misconduct or corruption, and authorities suspended or dismissed several LNP officers. BIN suspended five of its officers for ethics violations and contravention of standard operating procedures. The report credited the government’s effort to take steps to improve transparency. “The General Auditing Commission (GAC) audited ministries and other government agencies, sending its reports to the legislature. Since 2008 the GAC submitted more than 70 reports to the legislature, none of which were reviewed or acted upon. The World Bank assisted the legislature to set up the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Secretariat, a technical committee staffed by accountants and other auditing experts, which was charged with reviewing the backlog of GAC reports and recommending appropriate action to the legislature. By the end of the year, the PAC had conducted public hearings and reviewed seven GAC audit reports, and it planned to present summaries and recommendations to the legislature in January 2014. The president dismissed the auditor general for conflicts always checked. There were also payments to newspapers not to print stories. Newspapers also depended on revenues from government and NGO-paid advertisements in the newspapers.” Added the report: “Journalists were sometimes subject to harassment. For example, in May the head of the presidential Executive Protection Service allegedly referred to journalists as “terrorists” and told a journalist, “Be careful, because you have your pens and we have our guns.” In response many newspapers in Monrovia printed black front pages, and radio and television stations halted programming for two hours. A radio talk show that accused the government of corruption and inefficiency was taken off the air twice during the year but was allowed to resume broadcasting after a few days. Although generally able to express a wide variety of views, some journalists practiced selfcensorship.” The report added that outdated libel laws and a corrupt judicial system constrained the work of some journalists and media outlets reporting on high-profile government or public figures. “In August a prominent journalist was jailed for failing to pay a judgment of 1.2 billion Liberian dollars ($1.5 million) against him in a civil libel case filed by a former agriculture minister. The suit was eventually withdrawn but highlighted the need to amend libel laws, which President Sirleaf reaffirmed.”

T

Monroviahe mortal of Gertrude Pereta Brewer aka Getty-Lou or Old-lady Brewer by the many people whose lives she touched has been laid to rest at the Kaiser Memorial Cemetery in Brewerville, Montserrado County. Delivering the funeral discourse while according the deceased her last religious rites at the First United Methodist Church where Madam Brewer was a staunch member, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Bishop of the United Methodist Church described the late mother to all as a ‘great humanitarian’. “If I had the power to awaken her and ask whether she ever regretted

OBITUARY F ‘A GREAT HUMANITARIAN’ Gertrude P. Brewer laid to rest
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living in Monrovia, Liberia and beyond, she would say to me, Bishop, ‘I thank God for life. God allowed me to live; I have no regret,” said Bishop Innis. Continued the Methodist Prelate: “Dear mother Brewer, Grandmother Brewer, aunt Brewer, Sister Brewer, niece Brewer; Friend and a great humanitarian. A great Church worker, not just a church worker, but a lover of the church of Jesus Christ. She was a faithful Christian; she was a diehard United Methodist. This is why we have come this morning from every part of this city and other parts of the world to celebrate the home going of this Christ centered, Christ loving member of the Christ community called the Christian church. God took care of her.” Bishop Innis said as the late mother Brewer who was born on May 23, 1927, starts her final journey; others should remember that all humans are made in the image of God and should therefore show kindness to others. “When we interact freely with others; we are interacting with God. We must live our lives in Christ. We must work for Christ,” he said. Attending the funeral service for the deceased who died on February 4, 2014, were family, friends and Liberian students beneficiaries of the J. J. Roberts Educational Foundation, which she served as trustee for years.
   

 

 

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Liberia is a constitutional republic with a bicameral National Assembly. In November 2011 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party won a second term in multi-party presidential elections, which domestic and international observers considered generally free and fair. Authorities generally maintained effective control over the security forces. Security forces, however, committed human rights abuses. The most serious human rights abuses were those tied to a lack of justice: judicial inefficiency and corruption; lengthy pretrial detention; denial of due process; and harsh prison conditions. Violence against women and children, including rape and domestic violence, and child labor were also serious problems. Other important human rights abuses included police abuse, harassment, and intimidation of detainees and others; arbitrary arrest and detention; official corruption; human trafficking; racial and ethnic discrimination; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; unlawful deprivation of life under customary law; mob killings; and ritualistic killings. Impunity remained a serious problem despite intermittent government attempts to prosecute and punish officials. Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from: a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. b. Disappearance There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The constitution prohibits practices such as torture and inhuman treatment; however, police officers and other security officials allegedly beat, abused, harassed, and intimidated persons in police custody, or on the street in attempts to extort money. For example, while a citizen was waiting to use an air pump at a service station, uniformed Liberia National Police (LNP) officers ordered him to move. The officers, directed by top-ranking LNP officer Gbor Phil Tougbay (assistant director of police for administration and professional standards) in a police vehicle, assaulted and beat him, removed his car battery, tore his clothes, handcuffed him to the back of the police pickup truck, threw him into the truck bed, and jailed him overnight. The same assistant inspector general of police was also involved in abusing a lower-ranked officer during the year and remained under investigation for both incidents. Also during the year an inspector at a local police station reportedly raped a woman who was visiting someone being held for questioning. This case was being prosecuted, and a trial date was set. There were reports of police brutality. The professional standards division was responsible for investigating allegations of police misconduct and referring cases for prosecution. Violent police action during arrests was the most common complaint of misconduct. In August the minister of justice referred three cases of alleged senior-level police misconduct to the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) for investigation. The LNP conducted performance appraisals to foster professional development of officers and identify areas for improvement, and it made small improvements. On August 16, a special bulletin was drafted by Chief of Personnel Deputy Commissioner William Mulbah dismissing nine Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers from the LNP. They were dismissed for being absent without official leave at different times between January and July for a total of 212 days. The LNP was also investigating an alleged rape case by one of the dismissed officers. The government continued to conduct campaigns focusing on efforts to harmonize the traditional and formal justice systems. In particular, campaigns focused on cases that needed to be addressed in the formal justice system, such as criminal cases, including murder, rape, and human trafficking, and those that could be resolved in either system, such as civil cases.

‘OUTDATED LIBEL LAWS AND A CORRUPT JUDICIAL SYSTEM’

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services and improve basic sanitary conditions. Medical care at the MCP and other facilities was inadequate. NGOs provided medicines to treat seizures, skin infections, and mental health conditions, but other necessary medications, including those for malaria and tuberculosis, were replenished only when the stock of that medication was completely depleted. Since replenishment sometimes took weeks or months, inmates went without medication for lengthy periods. Observers noted that the national health-care sector remained underfunded, and most persons lacked basic health care and medications. During the year the government attempted to improve prisoner diet by supplementing the prisoners’ ricebased diet with beans. Funding for the effort lapsed after several months. Authorities held men and women in separate cells throughout the country. In some counties and cities with just one detention center, officials held juveniles with adults and pretrial detainees with convicts. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), this rarely occurred. Conditions for women prisoners were somewhat better than those for men, and women did not have to cope with the degree of overcrowding that men did. Women also had more freedom to move within the women’s section of facilities. Administration: Authorities generally respected regular visitation hours and religious observances. Officials from the Human Rights Division of the Ministry of Justice and the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) visited prisons and detention centers to monitor conditions during the year. They also worked with prison staff to improve the treatment of inmates and detainees, as well as their conditions of detention. Internal reports and investigations into allegations of inhumane conditions were not made public. The Ministry of Justice deemed recordkeeping on prisoners adequate, and the government continued to make efforts to improve recordkeeping, including training court clerks throughout the country and issuing case registration logbooks. A project establishing records rooms at LNP headquarters and police stations in Montserrado County (which includes the capital Monrovia) continued. Authorities used alternatives to prison sentencing for nonviolent offenders, but no ombudsman system operated on behalf of prisoners and detainees. During the year authorities also began a pilot project, successfully using probation as a presentencing option to relieve overcrowding. A “fast track” court system was set up at the MCP in 2010 to administer speedy trials; however, international donors cut funding support because of the minimal impact the project had on overall population numbers. The government continued to operate the “fast track” court on an irregular basis and adjudicated 968 cases; of these, 863 detainees were released, 78 were convicted, and 27 were transferred to a different court. The Corrections Advisory Unit of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) worked alongside the BCR to re-establish and strengthen the BCR to be accountable and uphold international standards. They provided full-time mentoring, advising, and capacity building, as well as refurbishment and rehabilitation of facilities, and frequently visited detention facilities. Funding to feed prisoners, maintain prison facilities, and pay employees lapsed in the last quarter of the year. Independent Monitoring: The government permitted independent monitoring of prison conditions by local human rights groups, international NGOs, the UN, the ICRC, diplomatic personnel, and the media. Some human rights groups, including national and international organizations, regularly visited detainees at police headquarters and prisoners in the MCP. The UNMIL Human Rights and Protection Section held prison monitoring training for more than 30 participants from the

    INCHR and other civil society organizations. Improvements: The ICRC provided hygiene items to four prisons and essential medicines to all 15 prisons. The ICRC, with the Ministry of Justice, improved water and sanitation infrastructure for 1,168 detainees and was working to establish a prison health-care system.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention The constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention; however, the government did not always observe these prohibitions. Citizens continued to be arbitrarily arrested, assaulted, and jailed. Mob violence was also common. Role of the Police and Security Apparatus The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for enforcing laws and maintaining order within the country, including overseeing the LNP and more than 20 other law enforcement agencies. The armed forces provide external security but also had some domestic security responsibilities, primarily through the coast guard. An estimated 5,940 UNMIL peacekeepers and 1,400 UN police officers (UNPOL) had significant responsibility for maintaining security, although the LNP took on increasing responsibility. Approximately 480 UNPOL advisors and 980 officers in the UN Formed Police Units (FPU) assisted with monitoring, advising, and mentoring the LNP. Approximately 1,060 UNMIL troops withdrew during the year. One of three additional FPUs was deployed to bolster security while local civilian law enforcement capacity was being developed. The second additional FPU was deployed in November 2013, and the third FPU was expected in early 2014. There were approximately 100-150 police officers in each unit. The LNP operated independently and retained arrest authority. UNPOL advisors regularly accompanied LNP officers on joint patrols. In addition to its regular force, the LNP had a Police Support Unit (PSU) that received additional training in crowd and riot control and the ERU. The ERU received specialized training and was charged with conducting special police operations in antiterrorism, hostage rescue, internal security, tactical anticrime, and search-and-rescue activities. The PSU and ERU were better trained and equipped than the regular LNP force. Regular LNP officers remained poorly equipped, ineffective, and slow to respond to criminal activity, although the foot patrol program continued to show improvement in strategic areas. Police had limited transportation, logistics, communication, and forensic capabilities, and they did not have the capacity to adequately investigate many crimes, including homicides. The lack of a crime laboratory and other investigative tools hampered police investigations and evidence gathering, which in turn hampered prosecutors’ cases. Training and assistance by international donors supported some improvements. An international donor set up a new forensics lab was and several staff members were trained. An armed forces disciplinary board investigates alleged misconduct and abuses by military forces. Because the armed forces lack a military justice system, criminal cases were transferred to the LNP and Ministry of Justice for prosecution. Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees Police must have warrants to make arrests. The law provides that detainees either be charged or released within 48 hours; however, arrests often were made without warrants, or warrants were sometimes issued without sufficient evidence. Detainees, particularly the majority without the means to hire a lawyer, often were held for more than 48 hours without charge. Detainees generally were informed of the charges against them upon arrest. Detainees have the right to prompt determination of the legality of their arrest, but this did not always occur. The law provides for bail for all criminal offenses except first-degree rape, murder,

Prison and Detention Center Conditions Prison conditions were harsh and at times life threatening. Physical Conditions: The local press, as well as Prison Fellowship Liberia, reported that prison officials threatened prisoners’ lives and prisoners were raped by other prisoners. Inadequate food, sanitation, ventilation, cooling, lighting, basic and emergency medical care, and potable water contributed to harsh, sometimes life-threatening, conditions in the 15 prisons and detention centers. Many prisoners supplemented their meals by purchasing food at the prison or receiving food from visitors. The Bureau of Corrections reported seven prisoner deaths during the year. According to the Bureau of Corrections, approximately half of the country’s 1,827 prisoners were at Monrovia Central Prison (MCP). This prison operated at more than twice its capacity because of the large number of pretrial detainees. The total MCP capacity was an estimated 400, but it held 922 individuals at year’s end. The MCP population included 17 women and 16 juveniles. Prisons remained understaffed, and prison staff were poorly paid. The average wage of an officer was 7,200 Liberian dollars ($90). Seventy additional correctional officers were hired during the year, but training was unlikely to occur until early 2014. The MCP’s one dedicated vehicle often was not operable, and as a result the MCP was frequently unable to transport prisoners and detainees to court or to a hospital. Prisoners were transported to or from court through the private support of judges or Prison Fellowship Liberia. The UN and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) continued to provide medical

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‘OUTDATED LIBEL LAWS AND A CORRUPT JUDICIAL SYSTEM’

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armed robbery, and treason. Detainees have the right to prompt access to counsel, visits from family members, and if indigent, an attorney provided by the state in criminal and civil cases, but the government did not always observe such rights. Arbitrary Arrest: Security forces continued to make arbitrary arrests, with increases during the holiday season, in an effort to reduce crime. Pretrial Detention: Although the law provides for the right of a defendant to receive an expeditious trial, lengthy pretrial and prearraignment detention remained serious problems. An estimated 83 percent of prisoners were pretrial detainees, despite the release of 968 during the year by the Fast Track Court and the release of an unknown number of prisoners by the probation program to reduce overcrowding. The length of time police held detainees in pretrial detention averaged three to six months. The corrections system improved its capacity to implement probation. Additional police training helped reduce the number of pretrial detainees. Incarceration of new detainees, however, kept prisons overcrowded. In some cases the length of pretrial detention exceeded the maximum length of sentence that could be imposed for the alleged crime. Judicial inefficiency, corruption, insufficient transport and court facilities, and poorly trained attorneys and judges contributed to trial delays. e. Denial of Fair Public Trial The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary; however, judges, and magistrates were subject to influence and corruption. Uneven application of the law and unequal distribution of personnel and resources remained problems throughout the judicial system. Trial Procedures Trials are public. Juries are used in circuit court trials but not at the magistrate level. The pool of jurors remained limited by the low literacy rate. Jurors also were subject to influence and corrupt practices, which undermined their effectiveness and neutrality. Under the constitution defendants have the right to be present at their trials, consult with an attorney in a timely manner, and have access to government-held evidence relevant to their case. These rights, however, were not usually observed. Under the penal code, defendants have the right to be informed of the charges promptly and in detail. If a defendant, complainant, or witness does not speak or understand English, the court provides interpreters for the trial. Defendants have the right to a trial without delay and to have adequate time and facilities prepare their defense. These rights often were not observed. Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence, and they have the right to confront or question adverse witnesses, present their own evidence and witnesses, and appeal adverse decisions. Many of these protections were unavailable to defendants unable or unwilling to pay bribes or afford an attorney. Some local NGOs continued to provide legal services to indigent defendants and others who had no representation. The Liberian National Bar Association continued to offer pro bono legal services to the indigent. Financial constraints remained a major challenge in recruiting experienced lawyers for this service. Political Prisoners and Detainees There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees. Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies No specialized court exists to address lawsuits seeking damages for human rights violations. There is a separate civil law court in Monrovia, but circuit courts in each county function as both criminal and civil courts. Specialty courts, such as the tax court, probate court, and labor court, also address civil matters. As with criminal courts, specialized courts were inefficient and in some cases corrupt. The specialized court for sexual violence prosecuted very few perpetrators, with most suspects released. The releases often were related to a lack of evidence and suspected bribes. Individuals may appeal their cases, including human rights cases, to the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States. f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence The constitution prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions in practice. Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: a. Freedom of Speech and Press The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice, although with some limits. President Sirleaf endorsed and signed the World Association of Newspapers and News Publisher’s Declaration of Table Mountain in Monrovia in July 2012 committing the government to the core principles of a free press. Freedom of Speech: Individuals could generally criticize the government publicly or privately without reprisal. Libel and national security laws placed some limits on freedom of speech. Press Freedoms: It was common to charge a fee to publish articles, and the accuracy of statements was not always checked. There were also payments to newspapers not to print stories. Newspapers also depended on revenues from government and NGO-paid advertisements in the newspapers. Violence and Harassment: Journalists were sometimes subject to harassment. For example, in May the head of the presidential Executive Protection Service allegedly referred to journalists as “terrorists” and told

repatriation continued during the year, but incentive packages ended in 2012, and fewer Liberians returned than previously. Working with international donors and NGOs, the Land Commission reviewed land disputes between returning landowners and internally displaced persons who took over their land during the civil war – and disputes between villages accommodating returning refugees – resulting in decreased violence during the year. Tribal elders also played a significant role in settling land disputes. Protection of Refugees Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government had an established system for providing protection to refugees and granted refugee status and asylum during the year. Temporary Protection: The government provided temporary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees. The government, with the UNHCR and other implementing partners, continued to provide protection to Ivoirian refugees who entered the country after November 2010. At the end of December, 58,852 Ivoirian refugees remained in Liberia. Ethnic tensions contributed to land conflicts along the borders. The UNHCR set a goal of repatriating 16,000 Ivoirian refugees by year’s   end. The UNHCR coordinated with the government to consolidate and relocate the refugee population to three refugee camps in Maryland, Nimba, and Grand Gedeh counties. Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government The law provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right through free and fair elections based on universal suffrage. Elections and Political Participation Recent Elections: In May citizens of Grand Bassa County elected a new   senator to fill a vacant seat. International observers deemed the election free and fair. In the November 2011 runoff presidential election, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won the national presidential election with 91 percent of the vote after her opponent, Winston Tubman of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), boycotted the second round of voting. Voters also selected 15 senators and 73 representatives. International and national observers declared the November runoff free, fair, and transparent, although marred by low turnout due to previous violent protest and the CDC boycott. The runoff followed national elections held in October 2011 in which 16 candidates vied for the presidency and 865 candidates registered to vie for the 15 contested Senate and 73 House of Representatives seats. International and national observers declared the elections to be free, fair, transparent, and credible despite some minor irregularities. Participation of Women and Minorities: There were six female ministers in the 21-member cabinet. There were five women in the 30-seat Senate and eight in the 73-seat House of Representatives. Two female associate justices sat on the five-seat Supreme Court. Women constituted 33 percent of local government officials and 31 percent of senior and junior ministers. In a predominantly Christian country, one minister, two deputy ministers, one senator, eight representatives, one Supreme Court justice, and one county superintendent were Muslim. Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government Corruption persisted during the year. The World Bank’s most recent Worldwide Governance Indicators reflected that corruption was a serious problem. Corruption: 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. The government dismissed officials for alleged corruption and recommended others for prosecution. The Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Ministry of Justice are responsible for exposing and combating official corruption. The LACC is empowered to prosecute any case that the ministry declines to prosecute; however, the LACC remained a weak option because of underfunding, understaffing, and judicial bottlenecks. During the year the LACC received 25 cases, investigated 23 cases, and recommended four for prosecution, resulting in no convictions. The government dismissed or suspended a number of officials for corruption. Auditor General Robert L. Kilby and General Services Agency Director General Pealrine Davis-Parkinson were dismissed for conflicts of interest. Deputy Justice Minister Freddie Taylor, Deputy BIN Commissioner Robert Buddy, former solicitor general Micah Wright, and BIN Border Patrol Chief Wilson Garpeh were dismissed for alleged involvement in human trafficking. Deputy Public Works Minister Victor B. Smith was suspended for allegedly violating the law but was reinstated a week later following an investigation. President Sirleaf dismissed the chairman and other board members of the Liberia Airports Authority amid corruption allegations. An assistant labor minister was also dismissed for issuing work permits to foreigners after allegedly taking bribes. In July 2012, over the LACC’s objections, the Ministry of Justice dropped

a journalist, “Be careful, because you have your pens and we have our guns.” In response many newspapers in Monrovia printed black front pages, and radio and television stations halted programming for two hours. Censorship or Content Restrictions: A radio talk show that accused the government of corruption and inefficiency was taken off the air twice during the year but was allowed to resume broadcasting after a few days. Although generally able to express a wide variety of views, some journalists practiced self-censorship. Libel Laws/National Security: Outdated libel laws and a corrupt judicial system constrained the work of some journalists and media outlets reporting on high-profile government or public figures. In August a prominent journalist was jailed for failing to pay a judgment of 1.2 billion Liberian dollars ($1.5 million) against him in a civil libel case filed by a former agriculture minister. The suit was eventually withdrawn but highlighted the need to amend libel laws, which President Sirleaf reaffirmed. Internet Freedom There were no government restrictions on access to the internet or reports that the government monitored e-mail or internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 3.8 percent of the population used the internet during 2012, a slight increase from 2011. Academic Freedom and Cultural Events There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events. b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association There were no government restrictions on peaceful assembly or association. c. Freedom of Religion d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons The constitution provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), other humanitarian organizations, and donor countries in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern. In-country Movement: Local and national law enforcement restricted in-country movement with numerous roadblocks and checkpoints. LNP and Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) officers occasionally subjected travelers to arbitrary searches and petty extortion at checkpoints. Emigration and Repatriation: In August the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization implemented a new policy for managing migration into the country and emigration by citizens. In 2012 the UNHCR and the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission completed the voluntary repatriation from other West African countries of 29,380 Liberian refugees. This

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charges against a former inspector general of police for irregularities in the procurement of uniforms. The LACC decided to prosecute and subsequently obtained a conviction; the case was under appeal before the Supreme Court. Although an investigation continued into alleged irregularities in the Forestry Development Agency’s issuance of permits for timber harvesting, no indictments were issued against either private use permit operators or former Forestry Development Authority personnel. Despite the suspension of all private use permits, some logging companies continued to operate with other types of licenses. Judges were susceptible to bribes to award damages in civil cases. Judges sometimes requested bribes to try cases, release detainees from prison, or find defendants not guilty in criminal cases. Defense attorneys and prosecutors sometimes suggested defendants pay bribes to secure favorable rulings from or to appease judges, prosecutors, jurors, and police officers. The Ministry of Justice continued its calls to reform the jury system. Police corruption was a problem. During the year the LNP investigated reports of police misconduct or corruption, and authorities suspended or dismissed several LNP officers. BIN suspended five of its officers for ethics violations and contravention of standard operating procedures. The government continued to take steps to improve transparency. The General Auditing Commission (GAC) audited ministries and other government agencies, sending its reports to the legislature. Since 2008 the GAC submitted more than 70 reports to the legislature, none of which were reviewed or acted upon. The World Bank assisted the legislature to set up the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Secretariat, a technical committee staffed by accountants and other auditing experts, which was charged with reviewing the backlog of GAC reports and recommending appropriate action to the legislature. By the end of the year, the PAC had conducted public hearings and reviewed seven GAC audit reports, and it planned to present summaries and recommendations to the legislature in January 2014. The president dismissed the auditor general for conflicts of interest. Whistleblower Protection: Presidential Executive Order 22, issued in 2009 in advance of a planned submission of a whistleblower protection bill, remained in effect. It bans public and private employers from retaliating against those who disclose information about improper actions that are counter to public interest. It defines public interest disclosures as those revealing “illegality, criminality, breach of law, miscarriage of justice, danger to public health and safety, and damage to environment,” as well as attempts at cover ups. The LACC had a whistleblower program under which anyone could report acts of corruption or impropriety to the LACC with the promise of confidentiality.

~ ‘OUTDATED LIBEL LAWS AND A CORRUPT JUDICIAL SYSTEM’
STATE DEPARTMENT HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
discuss grievances and seek reconciliation at the community level. The Palaver Hut mechanism, originally scheduled for implementation by the end of 2011, was launched in October 2012. The Palaver Hut submitted one report in 2012, but no subsequent reports were completed. Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons The constitution prohibits discrimination based on ethnic background, sex, creed, place of origin, disability, or political opinion; however, the government did not enforce these provisions effectively. The constitution, however, enshrines discrimination on the basis of race, since only persons who are “Negroes” or of “Negro descent” may become citizens and own land. Lebanese born in the country over several generations, for example, remained noncitizens based on this law. Differences stemming from the country’s civil war continued to contribute to social and political tensions among ethnic groups. Women Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape is illegal but remained a serious and pervasive problem. According to the World Health Organization, 77 percent of women and girls had been the victim of sexual violence. The 2006 rape law legally defines rape but does not specifically criminalize spousal rape. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment for firstdegree rape and 10 years for second-degree rape, and accused firstdegree rapists are not eligible for bail. The government did not always enforce the law effectively. Judges had the discretion to impose less than the maximum sentence. The government and NGOs attributed increased reporting of rape to an improved understanding of what constitutes rape. Despite increased reporting, human rights groups claimed that the real prevalence rates were even higher, as many cases were not reported. The Sexual Pathways Referral program, a combined effort of the government and NGOs, improved access to medical, psychosocial, legal, and counseling assistance for victims. The Women’s and Children’s Protection Section (WACPS) of the LNP stated that approximately 280 rape cases were reported to the unit, of which 83 were forwarded to Court E. Thirtyseven cases were forwarded to Criminal Court C. Four rape cases were actually prosecuted; there was one conviction, one acquittal, and two cases remained pending. As mandated by the 2008 Gender and Sexually Based Violence Bill, the special court for rape (Court E) and other sexual violence, located in Montserrado County, has exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of sexual assault, including abuse of minors. The sexual and gender-based violence prosecution unit within the Ministry of Justice continued to coordinate with the special court and collaborate with NGOs and international donors to increase awareness of sexual and gender-based violence issues. There were 52 WACPS offices, 21 of them outside Montserrado County. There were 210 WACPS officers, a third of whom were female, assigned throughout the country. Outside of Montserrado County, the stigma of rape contributed to the pervasiveness of out-of-court settlements and negatively affected prosecution of cases. An inefficient justice system also prevented timely prosecution, although local NGOs pushed for prosecution and sometimes provided lawyers to indigent victims. The government raised awareness of the issue of rape through billboards, radio broadcasts, and other outreach campaigns. The law prohibits domestic violence; however, it remained a widespread problem. According to the World Health Organization, 33 percent of married women reported experiencing domestic violence. The maximum penalty for domestic violence is six months’ imprisonment, but the government did not enforce the law effectively and generally treated cases, if reported, as either simple or aggravated assault. The government and the media made some efforts to publicize the problem, and several NGOs continued programs to treat abused women and girls and to increase awareness of their rights. LNP officers received training on sexual offenses as part of their initial training. During the year the Ministry of Gender and Development organized workshops and seminars to combat domestic violence. Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): See below under Children. Sexual Harassment: The law does not prohibit sexual harassment, which remained a major problem, including in schools and places of work. Government billboards and notices in government offices warned against harassment in the workplace. Reproductive Rights: There are no laws restricting couples and individuals from deciding the number, spacing, and timing of their children. But information and assistance on family planning topics was difficult to obtain, particularly in rural areas, where there were few health clinics. The government included family planning counseling and services as key components of its new 10-year national health and social welfare plan. A 2011 government-led survey found that contraceptive use was below 15 percent for three north-central counties. Approximately two-thirds of women surveyed, however, said they wanted to use family planning methods. This low usage compared to high desire suggested that low incomes or cultural barriers impeded family planning efforts. Teen pregnancy was historically also very high. According to the chief medical officer of the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia, the country reduced its maternal mortality rate from 1,000 to 700 per 10,000 births and a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death was one in 24. Reducing maternal mortality remained a priority of the government, and activities in past years included additional training of midwives and providing incentives to pregnant women to seek prenatal care and deliver at a hospital or clinic. Discrimination: Women and men enjoy the same legal status. Under the law women can inherit land and property, receive equal pay for equal work, and own and manage businesses. Women experienced discrimination in such areas as employment, credit, pay, education, and housing. In rural areas a woman’s right to inherit land was often not recognized by traditional practice or traditional leaders. While progress was made through programs to educate traditional leaders about women’s rights, authorities often did not enforce those rights. Women experienced some economic discrimination based on cultural traditions. The government promoted women in the economic sector through programs and NGO partnerships to conduct workshops on networking, entrepreneurial skills, and microcredit lending programs. A number of businesses were owned or operated by women. While the law prohibits polygamy, traditional and religious customs permit men to have more than one wife. No specific office exists to enforce the legal rights of women, but the Ministry of Gender and Development and the Women, Peace, and Security Secretariat generally were responsible for promoting women’s rights. Children Birth Registration: Citizenship can be derived through parentage if at least one parent is a Liberian citizen or by birth in the country if the child is of “Negro” descent. If a child born in the country is not of “Negro” descent, the child cannot acquire citizenship. As a result, non-“Negro” residents, such as the large Lebanese community, cannot acquire or transmit citizenship. The law requires parents to register their infants within 14 days of birth; however, fewer than 5 percent of births were registered. Education: The law provides for tuition-free and compulsory education in public schools from the primary (grades 1-6) through junior secondary (grades 7-9) levels, but many schools charged informal fees to pay for teachers’ salaries and operating costs that the government did not cover. These fees prevented many students from attending school. Under the law fees were required for secondary school, and the government was unable to provide for the needs of most schoolchildren. In both public and private schools, families of children often were required to provide their children’s uniforms, books, pencils, paper, and even desks. Although the official primary school-age population is six to 15 years of age, the civil war disrupted the education of many students; as a result, primary school students in the country ranged in age from six to more than 20. A total of 91 percent of children in primary school were over age. While education reforms continued, over-age students continued to pose a significant challenge to an education system with limited resources. Girls accounted for fewer than half of all students in primary and secondary schools, with gender parity decreasing progressively with each subsequent grade. Among the most vulnerable and underserved groups in terms of access to education were those with special needs and marginalized youth (including vulnerable children). Although the government increased its budget allocation for education, it was unable to adequately compensate teachers, provide schools with needed resources, or offset the opportunity costs to families of sending their children to school. The Civil Service Agency led a civil service reform effort to introduce biometric identification and eliminate “ghost” employees from the schools and other government offices. Women are historically undereducated, but the government sponsored campaigns countrywide to increase girls’ attendance at school. Government efforts resulted in more girls attending. Child Abuse: Widespread child abuse persisted, and reports of sexual violence against children continued. Civil society organizations reported rapes of girls under 12, and there were a few reported cases of child endangerment during the year. The true incidence was believed to be much higher. Forced and Early Marriage: The 2011 National Children’s Act sets the marriage age for all persons at 18, while the Domestic Relations Law sets the minimum marriage age at 21 for men and 18 for women. The Equal Rights of the Traditional Marriage Law of 1998 permits a girl to marry at age 16. The government, in partnership with donors, operated an alternative basic education program for adults who had never received an education. The program also addressed life skills, such as health, hygiene, birth control, and ways to delay marriage. During the year the government released a Parent Teacher Association manual addressing delayed marriage and the importance of enrolling children in their proper grades. Underage marriage remained a problem in rural areas. According to a 2012 demographic health survey, 38 percent of women ages 20-24 were married or in a union before the age of 18. Sensitization efforts and mass media campaigns were conducted in target communities to educate citizens about the negative consequences of harmful traditional practices such as child marriage. Harmful Traditional Practices/Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C was common and traditionally performed on young girls of northern, western, and central ethnic groups, particularly in rural areas. According to a 2007 demographic health survey, 58 percent of women and girls ages 15-49 had undergone the procedure. Mass campaigns against FGM/C over the last six years reduced this number, but exact data was unavailable. The most extreme form of FGM/C, infibulation, was not practiced. The law does not prohibit FGM/C, and traditional institutions, such as the secret Sande Society, often performed FGM/C as an initiation rite, making it difficult to ascertain the number of cases. To combat harmful traditional practices such as FGM/C, the government

Friday, February 28, 2014

Financial Disclosure: President Sirleaf issued Executive Order 38 in January 2012 requesting officials of the executive branch to make financial disclosures and declare their assets to the LACC. Many officials only did so after the president threatened dismissal if they did not comply. All officials of the executive branch declared their assets by year’s end. The LACC initiated an asset verification process to review these declarations and in October summarized the results of the process, highlighting some discrepancies and instances of unexplained wealth accumulation. The LACC was not required to release the contents of the declarations, but it released aggregate information about officials’ cooperation and the overall results of the asset verification process. During the year the Ministry of Finance published the national budget and quarterly financial results, and individual state-owned enterprises published financial statements. Many of these enterprises had not been audited for several years. Periodic short-term advisors continued to support the ministry and other government entities. Advisers helped improve financial management, purchasing, and contracting practices and instituted financial controls that increased government revenues and helped to curb corrupt practices. Government ministries and agencies often did not adhere to public procurement regulations, particularly for natural resource concessions, or to government vetting procedures when hiring ministry officials. Concerns remained about the transparency of the finances of the state-owned enterprises and autonomous bodies. Public Access to Information: The 2010 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that the government should release government information not involving national security or military issues upon request. Some transparency advocates, including the head of the LACC, however, suggested that legislators needed to improve the FOIA law to ensure that citizens could access information to verify that government funds were properly spent and accounted for. A local NGO won a court case after the LACC refused to give it access to the executive branch officials’ asset declaration data. Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights A number of domestic and international human rights groups operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials were generally cooperative and responsive to their views. UN and Other International Bodies: There were a few instances of bureaucratic conflict between UNMIL and the LNP, but overall the government worked well with the UN. Government Human Rights Bodies: In 2011 the INCHR developed a work plan including the creation of the Palaver Hut mechanism, through which community members would come together in their towns and villages to

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NEWS EXTRA

Friday, February 28, 2014

NEC TO FACE LEGISLATURE OVER ALLEGED US$ 1 MILLION SPENDING
Henry Karmo (0886522495) henrykarmo47@gmail.com

LEGISLATURE ALARMS WASTEFUL SPENDING

WOMEN AND GIRLS MAKE UP HALF OF THE WORLD’S MIGRANTS

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Monroviahe National Elections Commission has been invited by the House of Representatives Plenary to answer to questions of an alleged Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) unauthorized spending of one Million Nine hundred and nine thousand, eight-hundred seventysix United States Dollars (US$ 1,909,876.50). In a communication to the House’s plenary on Thursday February 27, James Biney, Representative (NPP-District#2- Maryland County) claimed that the NEC Chairman and Executive Director should be invited for awarding a contract to a local Car rental company ‘Efficient Logistic Service’ for the provision of vehicles rental and lease services for a period of 15 days to conduct Voter’s role update. The lawmaker also claimed that PPCC in its response to the NEC for the contract as submitted by the Elections Commission on January 15, 2014 told them that the contract is very costly, considering that portion of said amount could have been allocated toward the purchase of new vehicles for the NEC, which could have been used for subsequent election related activities. The PPCC also advised the NEC accordingly to request the General Services Agency (GSA) to retrieve operational and other Vehicles from the Government of Liberia for logistical purpose during the period of voter roll update as was done in January 2013 during the high level panel meeting held in Liberia but NEC refused according to Biney. When contacted the Communications Officer of the National Elections Commission Joey Kennedy told FrontPageAfrica that the Commission will be set, ready and prepared to face the House plenary to respond to their concerns. Early this year, National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia announced that it could not live up to the timeline stipulated in the Commission schedule to conduct voter roll update, putting the holding of the upcoming Mid Term elections in jeopardy. Addressing media personnel on the decision, the Chairman of the Commission Jerome G. Korkoya, said the inability of the NEC to follow the timeline is predicated upon the delay in the passage of the 2013/2014 National Budget and procurement regulations at the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC). These problems, he said has had a trickledown effect on all operations and programs of the commission. Korkoya said: “Because of the delay in passing the 2013/2014 budget, the National Elections Commission was not able to place in orders on time for materials and kits required for the commencement of the Voters Roll Update (VRU) on Monday, January 13, 2014”, continued Korkoya. “As at now, only 50% of materials from international procurement is in the country. Shipment of the rest of the materials has been hampered by unfavorable weather condition in the supplier country. However, our suppliers have assured that the rest of the materials would be here on Sunday,” Chairman Korkoya indicated. The commission’s pronouncement made at the time by its chair was a result of several challenges, which they said include; delay in the passage of National budget and Public Procurement and Concession regulations. The commission complained that because of the delay in the passing of the 2013/2014 budget, it was not able to place in orders on time for materials and Kits required for the commencement of the Voters Roll Update on Monday January 13, 2014.

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NEW UN REPORT ON YOUTH MIGRATION REVEALS

 

New York— f the world’s 232 million international migrants, 75 million people are under age 30, and the opportunities and challenges they face vary widely, according to the new United Nations World Youth Report, launched on February 14, 2014. The report, on “Youth and Migration,” is based on the experiences of young people affected by migration and relates the stories of individuals as they move to new lands. About half of the young international migrants are women and girls, and 60 per cent of young international migrants live in developing countries. The report primarily focuses on the experiences of international migrants, but notes that many young people are internal migrants who move within their home countries. The report outlines the global situation of young migrants by highlighting some of the concerns, challenges and successes experienced by young migrants as told in their voices taken from a series of online consultations and surveys organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA). “As a young, unmarried couple, we sought stability and the chance to start a life together,” Tome and Elizabete, young Portuguese migrants living in France, said. “We were searching for a better life, and there came an opportunity to migrate.” Young migrants are a diverse group. Their social, economic and educational backgrounds, how they migrate, and their motivation for leaving all influence the scope, scale and type of migration they experience. The struggles and opportunities young migrants face often differ according to the type of migration, such as regular versus irregular or voluntary versus forced. Voluntary migration for work, study or family reasons is more common than forced migration. The legal status of young migrants varies as they travel through transit and destination countries. Some travel as

documented migrants, moving through legal channels or staying in other countries with the required paperwork. However, others are undocumented migrants who may lack the necessary legal authorization to enter, stay or work in a transit or destination country, or have overstayed the allowed time in their country of destination and are thus in an irregular situation. “Financial dependence among young people significantly affects their migration decision,” Laz, a Nigerian migrant living in the United States, said. “Some young people make the choice of using a cheaper but illegal route to move to another country when they are faced with the paucity of funds.” The reasons young migrants moved varied widely in accounts noted in the report with some positive, such as for educational and job opportunities, and some negative, such as due to conflict, coercion or persecution. “Persecution based on my sexual orientation and gender identity was a deciding factor for me as a transgender woman,” Liaam, a female migrant living in the United States, said. “My country of origin did not provide the guarantees necessary to protect my life.” The report examines the motivating factors behind young people’s migration decisions, the importance of information in preparing for and reducing the risks associated with migration, and the cost of migration and how it influences the choice of migration routes.

Better information needed According to the report, many young people are excited at the prospect of leaving home, but the period leading up to their departure presents many challenges. One of the challenges cited most often by participants in the report’s online consultations and survey was the difficulty youth faced in obtaining accurate information about their intended destination. “The first challenge young migrants need to face before starting their journey is to be prepared to adapt to a new culture, within a different environment from what they were used to, and to continually be informed about their rights and obligations as ‘newcomers,’” Raluca, a 26-year-old female migrant from Romania living in Belgium, said. The report also gives a comprehensive account of the challenges faced by the young migrants in finding housing, securing employment, accessing health care services, and adapting to life in a new location. “It wasn’t easy, but we did it,” Itzel, a young migrant from Mexico living in Spain, said. “The challenges were simple: find a new home in a new city and understand the social construct of that city.” The report suggests that youth engagement in migration as well as in policy and programming should improve the situation of young migrants. An online consultation participant suggested utilizing technology to provide better information. “The world is at our fingertips,” Rima, a young migrant living in

the United Arab Emirates, said. “If each country's ministry of interior produced a smartphone app or website for potential youth migrants, this could simplify the process and ensure that fewer people fell prey to untrustworthy travel agents.” Interpreting young migrant stories through art Seeking to bring additional meaning to the findings of the online consultations and survey, UN-DESA invited young people to contribute artwork for inclusion in the report. The submissions highlighted the positive and negative effects of internal and international migration on young people, migrant families, and their nations as a whole. To present some of the stories and artwork from the Report, UN-DESA partnered with Emmy Awardwinning filmmaker Lisa Russell to curate and moderate the launch event. Along with a formal presentation of the report, the launch event featured young people retelling diverse migration stories through theatre, dance, poetry and music. The event was held at the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium on February 14, 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. The World Youth Report is a biennial flagship publication of UN-DESA. The World Youth Report aims to give young people a voice and empower them to contribute to the development of strategies that give young people everywhere a real opportunity to become independent and responsible global citizens.

 

'DEAD REGULATOR’
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Monrovia he higher education system of Liberia has long been a center of discussion with President Ellen Johnson publicly declaring the country’s education system as one that is not up to standard but yet the regulatory body has not set the basis to change the trend as the commission established to deal with higher education issues seems like a one man commission thereby impeding the ability of that entity to live up to its mandate. There is proliferation of Universities and colleges in the country with no indication that the Commission on Higher Education is implementing its mandate in providing policy guidelines for establishing higher learning institutions in Liberia, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating and accrediting all higher institutions of learning and ensuring that these institutions have the requisite qualified instructional staff before they are accredited to operate. The Head of the Entity, Dr. Michael Slawon who a fort night ago was involved in controversial situation where he permitted the African Methodist Episcopal University to graduate some students who did not complete their academic program, at the time claiming that such practice is common in the United States of America is still said to be heading an entity that is proving to be weak in its oversight of the higher education system of the country. A fake St. Luke Medical School which operated in Liberia for years under the watch of the Commission before public pressure led to its closure is another indication of the inability of the Commission to perform its duties to expectation. An investigation by FrontPageAfrica has gathered that Dr. Slawon is running the commission singlehandedly, making all decisions to the extent of using the entity money for his private visit under the guise of loan. There is no such policy where Government of Liberia allotted funding is used to give loan to officials to undertake personal travels. In a memorandum, Dr. Slawon has warned all employees of the entity not to make any public statement except sanctioned by him. There is currently a St. Clement University College which claims it has the capacity to offer courses such as petroleum technology, mining engineering, mining technology amongst others when in fact such disciplines are new to Liberia with little or no expertise available to teach courses in such areas but the College was accredited by the Commission on Higher Education and it is operational. On the website of the College, it is claimed that the college offers courses such as petroleum technology, mining engineering, mining technology but there is no indication based on the staff directory of the institution that the college has the required professors and other qualified professional teachers to undertake such academic programs. ‘Credential fraud’ at St. Clement Frontpageafrica has gathered that the Vice President for Administration, Ndien Peters has a fake credential as the University he claimed to have acquired his terminal degree does not exist as a University in South Africa. According to investigation Peters claimed to have acquired PhD in International Studies from Anoited or Annointed University in South Africa but a frontpageafrica investigation has gathered that such university is not listed amongst universities in South Africa. Said Dr. Slawon “The National Commission on higher education has for long had problem with the doctorate credential of Dr. Peters dating from his days as Vice President for academic affairs at the AME Zion University, because of the pressure from the Commission he resigned and went to Cuttington University where we also followed him and he later resigned and surfaced at the St. Clements University in Paynesville”. The Director of the Commission furthered “We have done our research in Washington DC to find out whether Peters is a Doctorate degree holder they said no .We also follow up our research in south Africa by writing the University he claimed to have graduated from but we did not get any response so we have instructed the St. Clements University not to allow him make contact with students while we investigate his case”. Dr. Slawon failed state why the Commission has been following the activities of a fake Dr. Peters but has not been able to take action against him as he has moved from AME Zion to Cuttington and now to St. Clement with the knowledge of the commission. It has also been established that some universities and colleges are operating outside their accreditation without action from the regulatory body as officials of the commission are associated with some of these educational institutions. One Spiritual Life Bible College is currently granting Bachelor Degree as one student of the institution confirmed to FrontPageAfrica but an investigation has established that the institution is not accredited to grant such degree. An insider at the Bible College has hinted that some officials of the Commission have link to the College. Entity in tatter FrontPageAfrica has also gathered that the Commission on Higher Education could not be traced on the internet as efforts to gather information about the commission were thwarted due to the lack of an operating website. This further indicates that the Commission is not able to provide information to Liberians and other individuals outside the for foreign travel.

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EDUCATION

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Why Liberia’s higher education system is in a quagmire?
Based on the purported loan of US$2,190 taken by Dr. Slawon from the Commission without a policy backing such loan if not paid, the entity could source money from other budget line items to cover the deficit spending. The Director General said he had to attend a program at the AU which prompted the borrowing from the Commission’s account but a source informed frontpageafrica that his trip was purely to the United States of America and back to Liberia. “I am the English speaking repertoire of AU for curriculum harmonization and training normally when invitations come they asked us to take money from our country to fund our trip. The money I borrowed is not money to use for operation it is money we have over the past accumulated for the mortgage of this building because in our budget government did not put money for mortgage we didn’t take money to go use for our personal business”. He also stated “I went to America last year but I went to the AU before going to America. I have my own ticket to go America I could not take it to carry to the AU conference. After the AU conference in Ivory Coast it was Christmas season so I decided to go to the states for two weeks”. He admitted taking the money, promising to repay, “ If people say I borrow the money yes it is true, but it will be paid back from payment from the AU, it was not something that was hidden, it was open and not money for the Director General to take. Normally we receive traveling allowance but this time around we don’t have traveling allowance because government says no money for traveling allowance. This is not something to make issue out of”. The National Commission on Higher Education is responsible for providing policy guidelines for establishing higher learning institutions in Liberia. It also coordinates, monitors, evaluates and accredited all higher institutions of learning. The entity was first a department under the Ministry of Education but has now been granted a Commission status, relocating from the Ministry of Education building to a separate office. In the 2012/2013 national budget, the commission was allotted US$1,328,535 while in the current 2013/2014 budget it is allotted US$609,872. Observers believe the Commission is currently operating like a dead entity and is further compounding the education mess facing the country. Dr. Slawon has served the Commission for over six years with no proven record of performance in improving the higher education system of the country. More details in subsequent editions.

country since it cannot be traced through the global search engine, the internet. A Liberian graduate from the University of Nairobi narrating his ordeal on basis of anonymity citing that he does not want publication regarding controversy over his admission said gaining admission at the University of Nairobi was a problem since the University could not easily communicate with the Commission on Higher Education of Liberia to ascertain the existence of the AME Zion University from which he graduated to know whether it is a fully fledged University accredited in Liberia. “We had to go to the Commission on Higher Education in 2011 to get a letter which we scanned and sent to the University of Nairobi before we were able to get admission letter, I was not alone it tells you how dead that commission is because if they had website, it was going to be easy for the University of Nairobi to go and verify the number of accredited universities in Liberia”, the affected Liberian narrated. Dr. Slawon told Frontpageafrica that the Commission is in the process of developing a website

for the first time. “We were in the process of building our website when we were located on Broad Street but the process stopped after we had to move to this new office in Paynesville but as we speak we are in the process of building our website. The person who is doing the website is the head of STARZ computer training institute”. During a visit at the main offices of the Commission, it was difficult to locate due to the lack of a posted Liberian flag as it is done with many state entities across Liberia. The building housing the Commission, formerly used by the Forestry development Authority and the Governance Commission now resembles a residential building with clothes and other personal effects visibly displayed on the fence of the building but Dr. Slawon has blamed the situation on lack money. “Right now what we are looking for is money to pay for our mortgage. We need seven thousand United States dollars to pay our rent we have no money in our account right now as I speak to you. I went to the minister of education she said do you best oh

so every little money we get we are saving it for mortgage, right now we don’t even have light because no fuel”. He continued “We will do our best to pay for the Mortgage for this building so furnishing and putting symbols or flag is not necessary right now. We need fuel to start inspecting the various universities around the country so for someone to ask why we here and no symbol or flag they are all necessary but secondary. We can always be seen or found but let us do the work we are put here to do which is to strengthen the capacity of the young people of this country”. Dr. Slawon’s personal loan from entity Fund A check of US$2,190 issued in the name of one T. Nimley Nyenpan was payment for Dr. Slawon on which it was indicated travel allowance. FrontPageAfrica has gathered that Dr. Slawon used the amount to undertake a private visit to his family in the United States of America shifting such cost on the Commission. Under the 2013/2014 budget of the entity, the Commission was not allotted money for allowance

~ 2013 US

trained community leaders and women’s groups and provided training in alternative income-generating skills to FGM/C practitioners. Government, NGO, and media attempts to report on and end the practice were fiercely resisted by supporters of the practice. Law enforcement agents reportedly resisted investigating intimidation and threats against anti-FGM/C activists. Officials did not actively seek a ban on FGM/C, but the government suspended the practice of the Sande across the country when school was in session.

~ ‘OUTDATED LIBEL LAWS AND A CORRUPT JUDICIAL SYSTEM’
STATE DEPARTMENT HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
law. The newly amended Adoption Law prohibits same-sex couples from adopting children, whether they were foreigners or citizens. LGBT persons were cautious about revealing their sexual identities, and groups that supported the rights of LGBT persons did so quietly due to fear of retaliation. There were press and civil society reports of harassment of persons perceived to be LGBT. Societal stigma and fear of official reprisal may have prevented victims from reporting violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. According to a report by a domestic civil society organization that supports LGBT rights, on October 12, two men in Monrovia were attacked by a mob who threatened to kill the two because they were suspected of “being gay.” The two men first attempted to report the threats and obtain protection at a local police station, but the threats continued and the two fled their homes. On November 21, Human Rights Watch (HRW), in conjunction with Stop AIDS in Liberia (SAIL), an HIV/AIDS advocacy group, released a report, “It’s Nature, Not a Crime”: Discriminatory Laws and LGBT people in Liberia. The report described the legal and cultural contexts of LGBT discrimination and made broad recommendations to government and civil society regarding policy, legislation, law enforcement techniques, investigation of reports of violence, and education. HRW and SAIL also launched a joint awareness campaign highlighting the discrimination that the LGBT community faced. A few civil society groups promoted the rights of LGBT individuals, but most maintained a very low profile due to fear of persecution. Other Societal Violence or Discrimination There were no reports of societal violence against people with HIV/ AIDS. Mob violence and vigilantism, which resulted in part from the public’s lack of confidence in the police and judicial system, resulted in deaths and injuries. For example, in October a motorcyclist was hit by a bus, and a mob formed immediately. The mob then set the bus on fire, resulting in injuries. There were reports of killings in which body parts were removed from the victim, a practice that could be related to ritual killings. The number of such killings was difficult to ascertain since police sometimes described such deaths as homicides, accidents, or even suicides, even when body parts were removed. For example, in July the body of a three-year-old girl was found on Monrovia’s Bushrod Island with several body parts extracted. The girl had been missing for five days. Section 7. Worker Rights a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining The law provides workers, except public servants and employees of stateowned enterprises, the right to form or join freely independent unions of their choice without prior authorization or excessive requirements. It allows unions to conduct their activities without interference by employers. The law provides that labor organizations and associations have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules with regard to electing their representatives, organizing their activities, and formulating their programs. The law also prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because of membership in a labor organization. The law does not, however, provide adequate protection, because it has inadequate sanctions. The law prohibits unions from engaging in partisan political activity. It prohibits agricultural workers from joining industrial workers’ organizations. Workers, except civil servants, have the right to strike, provided that the Ministry of Law is notified of the intent to strike. Collective bargaining is protected by law. With the exception of employees in state-owned enterprises and public servants, all workers have the right to organize and bargain collectively. While the law prohibits antiunion discrimination and provides for reinstatement for workers dismissed for union activity, it allows for dismissal without cause if the company provided the mandated severance package. It also does not prohibit retaliation against strikers. In general the government effectively enforced applicable laws, and workers exercised their rights. Employees enjoy freedom of association, and they have the right to establish and become members of organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization or coercion. In June the Malaysian palm oil company Sime Darby and the United Workers’ Union signed the company’s first collective bargaining agreement. The agreement focused on improving housing, health, and educational facilities; safe drinking water; latrines; and death benefits. On July 1, the Liberia Agriculture Company and United Workers’ Union negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement targeting an increase in wages. The Salala Rubber Corporation and Cavalla Rubber Corporation both signed collective bargaining agreements in December 2012, with terms of three years, focusing on wages and benefits and improved housing and education benefits for employees’ families. Union power increased during the year through increased membership at plantations; however, only a small fraction of the workforce was employed in the formal sector, and more than 80 percent of workers did not enjoy any formal labor protections. Labor unions called on the legislature to pass laws that would improve work conditions across the country. Although issues of wages remained critical in agriculture sector bargaining, labor unions also shifted attention to other socioeconomic issues, such as better housing, health, and education facilities. Unions were independent of the government and political parties. There were no reports of discrimination or employer retaliation against strikers during the year. b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor; however, the government did not effectively enforce such laws. Families living in the interior sometimes sent young women and children to stay with relatives in Monrovia or other cities with the promise that the relatives would assist the women and children in pursuing educational or other opportunities. In some instances these women and children were forced to work as street vendors, domestic servants, prostitutes, or beggars. Additionally, young women and children were subject to forced labor on rubber plantations and in gold mines, rock-crushing quarries, and alluvial diamond mines. Forced labor continued despite efforts by NGOs and other organizations to eliminate the practice. When victims were identified, the Women and Children Protection Section of the LNP, along with partnering NGOs, worked to reunite victims with their families in the interior or referred them to safe homes. Child labor was addressed as a child endangerment issue; consequently, no reliable figures were available on the number of children removed from forced labor. The government took few steps to prevent or eliminate forced labor during the year.

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Sexual Exploitation of Children: Young women and girls were exploited in prostitution in exchange for money, food, and school fees. The minimum age for consensual sex is 18, and during the year the government tried four of 216 reported cases of statutory rape, but that was probably only a small fraction of the true extent of the problem. Statutory rape is a first-degree offense, and the maximum sentence for perpetrators is life imprisonment. The law also prohibits child pornography, with a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment for violators. Displaced Children: Despite international and government attempts to reunite children separated from their families during the civil war, some children– a mix of street children, former combatants, and internally displaced persons – continued to live on the streets of Monrovia. Institutionalized Children: Regulation of orphanages continued to be very weak. Many unofficial orphanages also served as transit points or informal group homes for children, some of whom had living parents who had given them up for possible adoption. Orphanages had difficulty providing basic sanitation, adequate medical care, and sufficient nutrition. The orphanages relied primarily on private donations and support from international organizations such as the UN Children’s Fund and the World Food Program, which provided food and care throughout the year. Many orphans lived without assistance from these institutions. International Child Abductions: To address issues of child adoption and international child abduction, the government imposed a moratorium on international child adoptions in 2009. The moratorium remained in effect. The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Anti-Semitism There was no significant Jewish community, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts. Trafficking in Persons Persons with Disabilities Although it is illegal to discriminate against persons with physical and mental disabilities, such persons did not enjoy equal access to government services. While the constitution prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or other mental disabilities in employment and provides for access to health care, these provisions were not always enforced. Streets, schools, public buildings, and other facilities were generally in poor condition and inaccessible to persons with disabilities, although new curbs in Monrovia were built to be wheelchair accessible. The National Union of Organizations of the Disabled (NUOD) argued against the passage of new legislation that would allow schools to exclude children with disabilities from free and compulsory education. The University of Liberia and other public schools discriminated against students with disabilities, arguing resources and equipment were insufficient to accommodate them. In 2012 a blind student passed the university’s entrance exam but was denied entry on the basis that the university did not have proper equipment to support persons with disabilities. The NUOD sought redress, noting the privately run African Methodist University and United Methodist University admitted blind students. Many citizens had permanent disabilities as a result of the civil war. Persons with disabilities faced societal discrimination, particularly in rural areas. Few children with disabilities had access to education; a 2008-09 survey found only 0.8 percent of students enrolled in school were identified as having disabilities. The government included persons with disabilities in its December 2012 Vision 2030 national development strategy meeting and panel discussions. Students with serious disabilities were exempt from compulsory education. National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities Although the law prohibits ethnic discrimination, racial discrimination is enshrined in the constitution, which restricts citizenship and land ownership to those of “Negro descent.” Many persons of Lebanese and Asian descent who were born or lived most of their lives in the country were denied citizenship and property rights as a result of this discrimination. Indigenous People The country has 16 indigenous ethnic groups; each speaks a distinct primary language and is concentrated regionally. Differences involving ethnic groups continued to contribute to social and political tensions. Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The law prohibits consensual same-sex sexual activity, and the culture is strongly opposed to homosexuality. “Voluntary sodomy” is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year’s imprisonment. No cases were reported during the year, and the law was largely ignored and rarely enforced. There was some discussion about amending the

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment The law prohibits the employment and apprenticeship of children under age 16 during school hours. The law does not provide for additional restrictions on working hours or for occupational safety and health. One of the provisions of the New Education Reform Act of 2011 addresses prior inconsistencies between the minimum employment age and compulsory educational requirements. The new compulsory education requirement extends through grade nine or until age 15. The National Children’s Act has provisions intended to protect children from the worst forms of child labor and was intended to supplement other laws and efforts. The Child Labor Commission is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and policies. The commission coordinated efforts to provide scholarships for children to enroll in school. The government charged the Ministry of Labor’s Child Labor Secretariat, the Ministry of Justice’s Human Rights Division, the Ministry of Gender and Development’s Human Rights Division, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s Department of Social Welfare, and the LNP’s WACPS with investigating and referring for prosecution allegations of child labor. The government did not effectively enforce child labor laws. The Child Labor Commission had inadequate staff and funding. Except for regularly scheduled sensitization and training activities, it undertook no significant actions to address child labor. Child labor was widespread in almost every economic sector. In urban areas children assisted their parents as vendors in markets or hawked goods on the streets. During the year there were reports that children tapped rubber on smaller plantations and private farms. There were also reports that children worked in conditions that were likely to harm their health and safety, such as rock crushing or work that required carrying heavy loads. Some children were engaged in hazardous labor in alluvial diamond and gold mining as well as in the agriculture sector. International NGOs worked to eliminate the worst forms of child labor by withdrawing children from hazardous work and putting at-risk children in school. Other local and international NGOs worked to raise awareness of the worst forms of child labor. d. Acceptable Conditions of Work The national law requires a minimum wage of 15 Liberian dollars ($0.19) per hour, not exceeding eight hours per day, excluding benefits, for unskilled laborers. The minimum wage laws apply only to the formal economic sector. The law does not fix a minimum wage for agricultural workers but requires that they be paid at the rate agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement between workers’ unions and management, excluding benefits. Skilled labor has no minimum fixed wage, and the salary for civil servants was 5,600 Liberian dollars ($70) per month. The law requires equal pay for equal work. Families dependent on minimum wage incomes also engaged in subsistence farming, small-scale marketing, and begging. The law provides for a 48-hour, six-day regular workweek with a 30-minute rest period for every five hours of work. The six-day workweek may be extended to 56 hours for service occupations and 72 hours for miners. The law provides for pay for overtime and prohibits excessive compulsory overtime. The law provides for paid leave, severance benefits, and occupational health and safety standards. The law does not give workers the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without risking loss of employment. Penalties were not sufficient to deter violations. The Ministry of Labor’s Labor Inspection Department enforced government-established health and safety standards. The ministry had approximately 25 inspectors throughout the country to investigate allegations of labor violations. The department assigned these inspectors to supplement county labor commissioners in all counties, and they mainly monitored the formal sector. The department was grossly understaffed at the county level, and inspectors frequently lacked working vehicles. Although a few counties had assigned vehicles, most had only a motorbike. In instances of breach of standards, fines were imposed on violators but often these were an insufficient deterrent. Delinquent violators were not regularly sent to the labor court. Enforcement of standards and inspection findings were not always consistent. Most citizens were unable to find work in the formal sector and therefore did not benefit from any of the formal labor laws and protections. Informal sector workers, estimated at 85 percent of the workforce, faced widely varying, and often harsh, working conditions. Individuals working in the formal economy were afforded labor protections, although working conditions varied from workplace to workplace.

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FOREIGN MINISTER NGAFUAN PREACHES TOLERANCE AND HARMONY AMIDST SENATORIAL ELECTIONS FEVER

Friday, February 28, 2014

Keynote Address Delivered by H.E. Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia At the 1st Career Day Program of the William V.S. Tubman University, Harper, Maryland County, Liberia February 21, 2014 Dr. Elizabeth Carbajosa,VPAA/ Acting President of the William V.S. Tubman University (TU);The Deans and Chairperson of Colleges and Departments; Mr. Benoir Tarr Grimes Director of Career Planning and Placement; Rev. Dr. Laurence Konmla Bropleh, Corporate Executive, Lonestar Cell/MTN; Other Representatives of Corporations and Institutions; Students and Friends of TU; Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: In my capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the quintessence of my job is to faithfully, conscientiously, and passionately represent the interest of my country abroad by engaging bilateral and multilateral partners in furtherance of our foreign policy thrust of Development Diplomacy. What this implies is that I spend a healthy portion of my time in airplanes destined to foreign parts across the globe. But I strongly believe that in order to represent my country effectively, I need to be thoroughly au courant with domestic realities – both urban and rural realities. So though I was advised to take the onehour flight from Monrovia to Harper to attend this all-important program, I chose the option of traveling for nearly fifteen hours by road so that I could better appreciate the challenges our nation faces as well as take stock of the tantalizing opportunities that beckon in our faces. Driving from the hustle and bustle in Monrovia to Kakata, to Gbarnga to Ganta to Tappita to Zwedru and then to Fish Town and finally to this exquisitely charming city called Harper, we encountered pot-hole infested highways, but we also had the heart-warming opportunity of driving on parts of the Monrovia-Ganta Highway that have recently been paved (with coal-tar) highways, a road construction project funded via the Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF), a multi-donor initiative co-chaired by the Government of Liberia. The LRTF attracts funding to address some of Liberia’s critical infrastructural challenges. In Ganta, Nimba County, I was thrilled to have slept in a hotel that received electricity from a regional power project through which electricity is transmitted from Cote d’Ivoire to Liberia to Sierra Leone and then to Guinea. I saw newly planted light poles in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and Maryland counties, which was an eloquent retort to some of our compatriots in Monrovia and in the Diaspora who have drifted to the conclusion that “nothing is happening in Liberia.” Additionally, while traversing five counties on my way to Harper, I saw new structures -some constructed by Government including the magnificent Tappita Hospital Complex and some constructed by individuals or nongovernmental actors. I also came face-to-face with realities that were not too heart-warming – I encountered the deep poverty that afflicts many of our people who live in rural parts as reflected in the quality of the huts in which they live as well as the wretchedness of the young ones, not an insignificant number of whom are not in school. But what impressed me the most on my road journey is that in spite of the difficult realities of rural life, the hospitality, generosity, and appreciation of the rural people for the incremental progress they have experienced thus far under this regime, have not flagged a bit. So my road journey, though physically taxing, has also made me a better public servant because it has brought me even closer to the heart-beat of the challenges confronting our nation, which I and my colleagues in Government – the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary, working with our citizens out of Government must dedicate our energies and time to addressing. But before I go any further, I would be remiss if I did not extend my unalloyed gratitude to the Administration, the faculty and the students of Tubman University for the honor you have bestowed upon me by selecting me your keynote speaker at this first Career Day Event hosted by your great institution since it morphed from a Technical College to a full university in 2009. Driving through your campus last night and this morning, as I beheld the many rehabilitated structures, I was truly elated for the transformation I saw. The last time I drove through this campus in 2007 when, in my capacity as Budget Director of the Republic of Liberia, I had joined the President and other members of the Cabinet at a Cabinet Retreat held in Harper. The fact that you have established five colleges, and have over these years attracted top-notch faculty and staff both from across Liberia and abroad, and can now boast of a student enrollment of nearly 1000 from a paltry 200 when you re-opened this institution in 2009; and the fact you will graduate hopefully in June of this year your first set of graduates since the re-opening of the University, are all developments worthy of my profuse commendation. I also lift special thanks to the President of this University, Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell and many of you faculty members who left the comfort of high-paying jobs in the United States and elsewhere to come to this remote part of our country in a patriotic and selfless quest to spread the light of education to some young man or some young woman of Maryland County, of River Gee County, of Grand Gedeh County, of Grand Kru County, or of Liberia or of the world, If this is not patriotism, selflessness, and dedication to humanity par excellence, then let the cynics and the critics tell me what this is? My presence here today also brings me personal joy because I was Minister of Finance when we started to take the giant and bold steps to re-open this institution. Given the depth of destruction that was visited upon this institution during the course of our Civil War and the remoteness of its location as well as all the attending risks that loomed, it really appeared during the beginning days like a big leap of faith to dedicate Government money to what was then a regarded by some as a risky venture. But with the support of the President of Liberia, H.E. Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Maryland Legislative Caucus and other important stakeholders, seed money for the re-opening of this noble institution was provided through the National Budget. From the transformation I have seen live on this campus, I can boldly and loudly proclaim that the Administration of this institution has more than justified whatever funds that have been provided for the operation of this institution and are deserving of more Government support. Let me assure you that in my capacity as Dean of the Cabinet, the message I take back to Monrovia and to my Cabinet colleagues is this, “Government is getting the necessary bang for its bucks at Tubman University; so let’s continue to support the institution financially and otherwise so that the Agenda for Transformation can take firmer roots at the institution.” My good friend, Mr. Benoni Tarr Grimes, Director of Career Planning at TU, the Administration, Faculty, and Students of this great institution, you

have invited me to deliver the keynote on this Inaugural Career Day Event intended to afford the students and potential graduates of your institution the opportunity to interact with potential employers, which will give the students deeper insights into what may be termed the tricks of the trade and how to navigate successfully in various fields or professions.. The Career Day Event is also aimed at linking students with potential employers who, as a result of the contacts established during the Event, will increase their comfort level to employ some of the students upon graduation or give internship opportunities to some students while they are still in school. Distinguished Administrators, Faculty Members, and Students of the TU, I know more than aware that some of the distinguished personalities you have invited here as speakers will delve more deeply and technically in some of the issues that relate to this Career Day Event. Therefore, I beg your indulgence to gracefully part with tradition so that I can have what I like to call a frank conversation with you all, void of high-flown sophistication and a text book presentation. I do not intend to bore you with talks about the balance sheet of an accountant, the forecast of an economist, the seismic data of a geologist or the poetry of a poet. I rather want to talk to you about some deep-seated realities of life and attempt to expose you to some fundamental requirements for confronting these realities. I feel strongly that my coming here would be in vain, if I do not imbue in you a worldview that will enrich your understanding of life and remain a signpost for you whether you elect to become a doctor, an architect, a soldier, or a Pastor. So I will endeavor to give you all, especially these young impressionable students, some key messages, messages from a big brother to his younger brothers and sisters:. Time is the Most Valuable Asset You Can Have. Do Not Squander It. One of the advantages of being young is that your future, or whether you end up “in the Whitehouse or in the Dog House”, whether you end up as a beggar or as giver, whether you end up as a success story or a sob story, is still largely in your hands. Many of you have not yet taken steps or begun activities that would place you on irreversible paths. By and large, many of you still have a blank slate. You still have many junctions with roads diverging to different and sometimes opposite destinations and destinies ahead. Many of you, luckily, have not embarked on the wrong road yet; and the mere fact that you still have your options open makes you potentially better off, because as I learned in my Corporate Finance course in university, option brings value. It is an advantage to be young because many of you have not reached the point where you would ruefully look back at your past and lament, as poet Robert Frost would put it, “The Road Not Taken.” In your ledger of life there has not been much debiting and crediting done yet. You have what many old people crave for – time. The old crave for the opportunity to reverse the hands of the clock so that they would go back in time and have the opportunity to correct some of the strategic mistakes they made while young, mistakes that might have led to some depressing outcomes that they cannot easily disentangle themselves from. But unfortunately, one thing is clear: one thing even the most powerful men and women who have ever lived on this earth never succeeded to do was to reverse the hands of the clock, because time marches on –forward ever, backward never. So as the Liberian musician Friday the Cell Phone Man sings, “Simple Mistake, You Out”. Again, remember that Time is your greatest asset. Do not squander it! The Most Reliable Formula for Success is: Success = Hard Work + Grace of God. Some others will give you complex, highfaluting, mysterious, subterranean, and dangerous formulae for success, but the formula I know, because it has worked for me and for mankind since the days of Creation is that success is a combination of hardwork, hard preparation, indomitable courage mixed with the Grace of God. All other formulae for success are fickle and dangerous. Some may lead to temporary success, but later on empty into permanent frustration or shame. At this juncture, I want to tell you something about the word SWEAT. The word SWEAT has encoded within it a little formula that tells an interesting story. If you do some deconstruction by separating the last three letters from the word SWEAT, you end up with the word EAT. In short, there is a symbiotic relation between sweating and eating. Sweating, or what you may call hardwork, hard study, preparation or perspiration, is, in most cases, a sine qua non for EATING, or what we may call success. The tragedy we face is that many persons want to EAT, or succeed, without SWEATING, or preparing. This is a dangerous and untenable course to pursue. But in spite of the fact that hard work or hard study or hard preparation more often than not leads to success, it is only through the GRACE of GOD that any one of us attains our life’s goals and dreams. Whether we live today or tomorrow, whether external circumstances will be favorable or not to the actualization of our dreams, or whether we will be there at the right time and moment to kick the ball in the net, oftentimes depends on the Grace of God. Remember that God deprives us of what we consider our dream because, in His infinite wisdom, the achievement of that specific dream may turn out to be a nightmare.. What we, in our limited, mortal, and carnal minds consider frustration, God considers salvation. So work hard, study hard, be disciplined and let the Almighty do his part, armed with the knowledge and faith that that when God brings you to it, He will take you through it. Maintain Your Focus and Keep Your Eyes Steady on Your Objective: The good book, the Holy Bible, is truly a rich document. In it, there is guidance on practically every subject or circumstance we face. Again in the Bible, one can find very useful instructions for success. Obstacles, problems, distractions, or difficult circumstances will often dog us, but the way to deal with these

challenges is laid out clearly in the Holy Book – keep your eyes on your goal, your objective, your dream. The biblical chronicle involving Jesus Christ and his disciple Peter is very instructive when speaking of keeping focused. In Matthew 14: 22-34, we read that for as long as Peter kept his eyes and mind fixed on Jesus, he remained buoyant- he could walk on water, which was a miraculous feat. But as his mind and eyes began to drift as he bothered more about the wind and from the moment he took his eyes off Jesus, he began immediately to submerge or sink. Jesus represents your objective, your goal, and your dream. The wind represents challenges, problems, and difficult circumstances. So the moral of the story is that no matter your circumstances, no matter the difficulty of today or tomorrow, keep your eyes on your dream. If your dream is to be a medical doctor, or a pilot, or a Minister of Foreign Affairs, or an Executive Governor of the Central Bank, or a future President of Tubman University, keep focused on that dream regardless of the fact that you are going to bed with an empty stomach today. One day, just as Peter walked on water, you too will achieve your miracle by achieving your dream. Life is not all rosy. The truth is, it has never been, but being decisive as to what you want to make of your life and remaining committed to your objective are very important for success. Cultivate the Attitude of Success:” There is a common saying, “when a child washes his or her hands very well, he or she will eat with king”. You all know the biblical story of Joseph and David as well as countless other stories of individuals who came from pauperized, humble backgrounds to being kings and or great leaders of their time. It is often said that your attitude will determine your altitude. Being smart is good, but sometimes smartness or book knowledge alone cannot give you the kind of job you crave. Oftentimes, it is about your attitude – your discipline, your humility, decency, your integrity, your time culture, and your respect for colleagues, both above and below you. Indeed it all boils down to good character. Prepare for Uncertainties: Life is full of ebbs and flows, highs and lows, perennial vicissitudes; it is indeed not a walk in the park. Life can be an uphill journey without a compass or a GPS (Global Positioning System.) During our civil crisis, there were some professional accountants who had to become professional palm cabbage tappers. The lesson is this: Prepare for all weather conditions, especially in this day and age of climate change, which means that the weather will behave erratically sometimes. You have to hope for the best while preparing for the worst because you may never know where life may toss you. So while in university, try as much as you can to grasp the universality of the education and training that this environment may offer. That you are studying Physics should not stop you from sometimes attending a forum held by students of Economics to debate why the US dollar-Liberian dollar exchange rate is behaving the way it is behaving. Versatility matters because one can never speak with the utmost certainty as to what assignment life will give us. My story is a case in point. In terms of degrees formally earned in school, I earned degrees in Finance, Accounting, and Economics. I hold an MBA in Finance and Accounting. But like Jonah in the Bible, I was swallowed by the whale onto a different destiny and here I am today serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, a job many would think you require formal degrees in Political Science or International Relations. Some may ask, “How have you been to cope?” The answer is simple – while I was pursuing formal degrees in Finance, Accounting, and Economics during my days in school, I was also pursuing, through workshops, seminars, and extracurricular activities, many informal degrees, one of which was in Political Science and International Relations. So my advice to you young people is this: To be able to fit in multi-dimensional settings, avoid being stupidly brilliant by imprisoning yourself in the solitary walls of your major. Having interest only in Chemistry because you are majoring Chemistry is potentially risky. Do not isolate yourself. Mix with people from diverse backgrounds and interests who can add value to your life Finally, Be a Nationalist, a Patriot, a True Liberian. It is not wrong for any one of us to have our individual dreams or ambitions or objectives, but we should always remember that we live in a country called Liberia; and that if the ambition or dream or vision of Liberia is not achieved, it will be difficult for us to achieve our private ambitions or visions. So in short, my dear compatriots, we cannot afford to log out of Liberia; we must remain logged in. We cannot afford to become indifferent to the future of our country, because a good future for Liberia will mostly likely lead to a good future for Liberians. Therefore we should never pursue our personal ambition or objectives to the detriment of the national ambition. We should make our dreams and our visions to be en sync with the national vision – a vision for national development and prosperity, a vision for unity and reconciliation, a vision for peace and security within our border and sub-region and our one world. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: Former US President John F. Kennedy once said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men and women.” As you, students of TU, pursue your respective career objectives, may the Omnipotent, the Omniscient, and Omniscient Father open His showers of blessings upon you and may you be stronger men and stronger women who would withstand the ever changing climate of life; and may the Almighty bless our Nation, Liberia, as we all work together, to our achieve our national vision of transformation and sustainable progress. THANK YOU.

Friday, February 28, 2014

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CLLR. JAMES N. VERDIER, JR. APPOINTED AS LACC EXECUTIVE CHAIR

ENDING PREVENTABLE CHILD DEATHS
SAVE THE CHILDREN’S RANJAN POUDYAL, SAYS LIBERIA CAN BEGIN TO TAKE STEPS TO ENDS PREVENTABLE CHILD DEATHS

NEWS EXTRA

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Monrovia ollowing his confirmation by the Liberian Senate, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed Cllr. James N. Verdier, Jr. as Executive Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. His appointment took effect February 24, 2014. He replaces Cllr. Frances Johnson Allison. In her letter of appointment to Cllr. Verdier dated February 24, 2014, President Sirleaf said “please accept my congratulations and my expression of trust in your ability to make a meaningful contribution in your area of responsibility as we strive to move our country forward in a process aimed at enhancing peace, reconciliation and development”. President Sirleaf in November last year appointed Cllr. Verdier as Acting Executive Chairperson of the LACC pending confirmation by the Liberian Senate.

DEPUTY JUSTICE MINISTER, CBL FACEOFF IN COURT FOR $169K DEBT

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Monrovia-

Henry Karmo (0886522495) henrykarmo47@gmail.com

legal battle has ensued at the Debt Court at the Temple of Justice between the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and deputy Justice Minister for Administration Benedict Sannoh over US$169,000 debt allegedly owed him through the former Meridian BIAO Bank Limited that operated in Liberia during the 1990’s. Two other entities along with the CBL have been named in the Deputy Minister's action of debt claim filed before the Debt Court. The two entities include the Meridian Properties Inc represented by its Board of Director and Corporate Agent Teklonblah Togbah, 2nd defendant and Madison Insurance also represented by its General Manager Septimus Massaquoi. In his 18-count complaint, Deputy Minister Sannoh, plaintiff told the court that on February 1, 1996 his services was retained as legal counsel for the three entities under a retainer agreement. The plaintiff alleged that under the terms and conditions, the retainer was initially for a two -year period starting as of February 1, 1996 and terminated on January 31, 1998 with options for renewal for another two years in which the bank allegedly undertook to pay him US$36,000 per annum, payable on a quarterly basis. Deputy Minister Sannoh, further claimed that with callous disregard for their obligations to him under the terms and conditions, the retainer failed, neglected and refused to pay the accrued retainer fee from February 1996 up to October 2000. Again the plaintif argued that the BIAO Meridian Bank was a registered financial institution under the law to do banking in the country, while the Meridian Properties a corporate entity and one of the associated companies of the bank and the Madison Insurance Inc. also registered under the law to provide guarantees against risks. According to the plaintiff the Meridian Bank under seizure of the CBL pursuant to the amended financial institution act is the proper party in any action such as debt brought against a financial institution under seizure, as is the case of the Meridian Bank. "Wherefore and in view of the foregoing plaintiff prays for judgment of liable against the defendants jointly for the amount of US$169,800 representing principle obligation of plaintiff plus six percent legal interest” said the plaintiff. In a 24-count response to the Deputy Minister's complaint, lawyers representing the Central Bank Cllr. Emmanuel James and Rosemarie James argued that the complaint is fit for dismissal. The two lawyers argued that any attachment of lieu except a lieu existing six months prior to the seizure of the financial institution, shall be vacated and no attachment of lieu except a lieu created by the liquidator in the application of the provisions of the this act shall attach to any of the property or assets of the financial institution so long as such possession continues. "Wherefore and in view of the foregoing the defendants pray court to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint in entirety, rule out all cost and grant unto the defendants all other reliefs” stated the lawyers. Meanwhile hearing into the case continues on Tuesday at the Debt Court at the Temple of Justice at 2pm where the plaintiff is expected to face cross-examination from the defense lawyers.

Monroviahe first 24 hours of a child’s life are the most dangerous with more than one million babies dying each year on their first and only day of life, according to new research published today by Save the Children. The new report – Ending Newborn Deaths – being launched today shows one half of first day deaths around the world could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free quality health care and a skilled birth attendant. Babies die because of premature birth and complications during birth – such as prolonged labour, preeclampsia and infection - which can be avoided if quality health workers are present. In Liberia there has been remarkable progress in reducing child   mortality thanks to political action on immunisation, treatment of pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria, family planning and nutrition. Recovering from the fourteen years of conflict that destroyed the health system, the mortality rate of children under five has fallen by 70% from 219/1,000 live births in 1990 to 75 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013: the fastest annual rate of change in Africa. But declines in neonatal mortality have lagged behind, reducing by just 2.2% per year to 27 deaths per 1,000 live births. In addition, 27 in every 1,000 total births are stillborn. This progress could however stall without urgent action to tackle the high numbers of newborns dying which account for nearly half of all under five –deaths. The report Ending Newborn Deaths reveals that 3,300 babies died in Liberia during labour and their first day in 2012. This includes 1,400 newborns and 1,900 intrapartum stillbirths. Newborns now constitute over a third of all children who die before the age of five. The common causes of neonatal mortality are prematurity, intrapartum complication and neonatal sepsis. If Liberia is to sustain the progress made so far in the reduction of child mortality, there is need to address the issue of newborn health. Save the Children in 2012 was designated as the NGO to take a

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he first 24 hours of a child’s life are the most dangerous with more than one million babies dying each year on their first and only day of life, according to new research published today by Save the Children. The new report – Ending Newborn Deaths – shows one half of first day deaths around the world could be prevented if the mother and baby had access to free quality health care and a skilled birth attendant. The Children’s aid agency says the deaths happen because of premature birth and complications during birth – such as prolonged labour, pre-eclampsia and infection - which can be avoided if quality health workers are present. In Liberia, there has been remarkable progress in reducing child mortality and this has been possible due to political action on immunisation, treatment of pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria, family planning and nutrition. The effort of the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and development partners working to support the reduction of child mortality, has been instrumental in this noble mission. But this progress could stall without urgent action to tackle the high numbers of newborns dying which account for nearly half of all under five – deaths. This report reveals that 3,300 babies died in Liberia during labour and their first day in 2012.

ONE MILLION BABIES DIE GLOBALLY ON THE FIRST DAY OF LIFE

lead on newborn health in Liberia in conjunction other stakeholders. A Newborn Situation Analysis report and the conduct of Scale-up Readiness for Newborn Health in Liberia for the first time has been developed, and as a follow up to this, the development of policy on the use of chlorhexidine for cord care and also the development of implementation guideline for establishment of Kangaroo Mother Care in Liberia has been completed. Kangaroo Mother Care unit in five government hospitals including the main tertiary /referral hospital (JFK Hospital) and over 150 premature/ low birth weight babies have benefited from Kangaroo Mother care services in these hospital has been established. As a result of the progress made in the Kangaroo Mother Care services in the initial 5 hospitals, Save the Children and other partners are about scaling up this evidence based low cost high impact intervention in other hospitals and communities in Liberia. To ensure the implementation of the chorhexidine for cord, in 2012, chorhexidine gel was provided as a pilot to the selected 5 hospitals and 11 clinics where so far close to 10,000 newborn have benefitted for chlorhexidine application to the cord. The chorhexidine has been included in the national essential reproductive health commodities and is presently about to be scaled up into other health facilities in Liberia. Inequities in access to essential

services leave the mothers and babies who are most vulnerable furthest from life-saving care. Fewer than half of all women have skilled attendance during birth, and this ranges from just a quarter of women from the poorest households, to 4 out of every 5 women in the richest households. Driving low and inequitable coverage of essential services is a weak health system. Liberia has just 7 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 populations, which is under a third of the WHO minimum requirement. Accelerating progress to end preventable child deaths will require additional focus and investment to ensure universal coverage of quality care around the time of birth. Solutions at hand We can be the generation that ends preventable child deaths in Liberia. Acknowledging the importance of newborns, the Government of Liberia must draft its Newborns Plan, based on the recommendations of the technical working group. It is vital that this Plan includes clear strategies for scaling up coverage of effective, evidence-based newborn care interventions to prevent and address the causes of newborn death. These include kangaroo mother care for preterm and lowbirth weight babies, use of chlorhexidine for cord care, and postnatal home visits, Particular focus must be to reach the most vulnerable households so that inequalities in access reduce. The Plan must also be integrated

into the continuum of maternal and child health and closely coordinated with the National Health Plan and related strategies, such as those on human resources for health and health financing. The President’s commitment to A Promise Renewed must translate into a robust, costed   Newborns Plan that is fully funded and implemented without further delay. In parallel, a global Every Newborn Action Plan has been developed. This will be presented to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May. The Liberian Plan should reflect the priorities identified in the ENAP, and the Minister of Health should make a strong statement in support of the ENAP during the WHA. Implementation of the Newborns Plan must be contextualised within a concerted effort to strengthen the health system, with urgent action to address the shortage of skilled health workers, improve training, recruitment, equitable distribution and supportive supervision. For coverage to expand and inequities to reduce, quality services across the continuum of care must remain free at the point of use for the whole population. This must be a priority as the detail of the health financing policy is developed. Tracking progress and monitoring gaps will require better and more frequent data to ensure the women and children who are most in need are not left behind.

-SAVE THE CHILDREN REPORT

This includes 1,400 newborns and 1,900 intra-partum stillbirths. In a bid to save millions of newborn lives, Save the Children has called on world leaders to commit in 2014 to a blueprint for change – The Five Point Newborn Promise – which focuses on training and equipping enough skilled health workers to make sure no baby is born without proper help, and removing fees for all pregnancy and birth services. Ranjan Poudyal, the Country Director of Save the Children Liberia said: “The first day of a child’s life is the most dangerous and many mothers still give birth at home without any life-saving help. We hear horrible stories of mothers walking for hours during labour

to find trained help, all too often ending in tragedy. “It’s unfortunate that many of   these deaths could be averted simply if there was someone on hand to make sure the birth took place safely and who knew what to do when there are complications.“ Ranjan Poudyal, Country Director, added: “These new statistics in this global report reveal – for the first time ever – the true scale of the newborn crisis. The solutions are well-known but need greater political will to give babies a fighting chance of reaching their second day of life. Without targeted action now, progress made in cutting child mortality through immunization, treatment of common diseases like malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and tackling

malnutrition will stall.” Save the Children is calling on world leaders, philanthropists and the private sector to meet and commit to the Five Point Newborn Promise in 2014: • Issue a defining and accountable declaration to end all preventable newborn mortality, saving 2 million newborn lives a year and stopping the 1.2 million stillbirths during labour • Ensure that by 2025 every birth is attended by trained and equipped health workers who are equitably distributed and can deliver essential newborn health interventions • Increase expenditure on health to at least the WHO minimum of US$60 per person to pay for the training, equipping and support of health workers and provision of basic materials and equipment in the clinics. • Ensure maternal, newborn and child health services, including emergency obstetric care remain free. • The private sector, including pharmaceutical companies, should help address unmet needs by developing innovative solutions and increasing availability for the poorest to new and existing products for maternal, newborn and child health.

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HOLDER HOSPITALIZED AS PRECAUTION FOR FAINTNESS

IN BRIEF

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WASHINGTON (AP) — he Justice Department says Attorney General Eric Holder has been taken to the hospital as a precaution after experiencing faintness and shortness of breath at work. A statement from the department says Holder is "resting comfortably and in good condition" at a Washington hospital after feeling the symptoms during a Thursday morning meeting with senior staff. The department says the 63-year-old attorney general is alert, talking with his doctors and undergoing further evaluation. No additional information was immediately provided.

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — oes forgiveness lead to a better society? Or are some crimes so atrocious that the perpetrators should not be forgiven? South Africa faced these difficult questions after apartheid ended two decades ago, and confronts them again as the government considers parole this year for a notorious death squad leader who worked for the white racist government. Eugene de Kock, head of a covert police unit that tortured and killed dozens of anti-apartheid militants, was arrested in 1994, confessed to crimes and was sentenced in 1996 to two life terms plus another 212 years. After 20 years in jail, he says he is the only member of the former police force serving time for crimes committed on behalf of South Africa's old order and maintains he acted on instructions from leaders who were never punished. "Not one of the previous Generals, or Ministers who were in Cabinet up to 1990, have been prosecuted at all," he said in an affidavit signed in January as part of his parole application. Julian Knight, de Kock's lawyer, said he is pushing for a parole decision this month. He speculated that the government might delay the decision, timing it to celebrations later this year of South Africa's 20th anniversary of democracy, or until after May elections to minimize "any negative fallout."

S AFRICAN APARTHEID DEATH SQUAD CHIEF SEEKS PAROLE

Abuja (AFP) resident Francois Hollande on Thursday said France stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Nigeria in its battle against Boko Haram, vowing to support its fight against Islamist militancy as it had done in Mali. Hours before Hollande's arrival in Abuja, hundreds of suspected militant fighters attacked three areas in northeastern Adamawa state, destroying homes and businesses with heavy weaponry and explosives and killing at least 32 people. Gunmen divided themselves into three groups and rampaged through the villages of Shuwa, Kirchinga and Michika, razing several banks, hundreds of shops, a Christian theological college and various public buildings. Hollande, guest of honour for celebrations to mark 100 years since Nigeria's unification, expressed his condolences, calling the Yobe attack "brutal" and "unjustified". "Nigeria is today confronted with the terrorism of Boko Haram," he told delegates at a security conference attended by dozens of African heads of state and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. "I assure you that your struggle is also our struggle. We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it, because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy." Violence a 'scourge' Hollande is on a two-day visit to Nigeria and had been expected to hold talks on trade and investment with his Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and is tipped to become

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WORLD NEWS

Friday, February 28, 2014

HELP ON THE WAY
France ready to help Nigeria against Boko Haram, Hollande Says
Religious violence and criminal operations such as drug running, human trafficking and maritime piracy were a "scourge" that risked hindering Africa's promising future development, Hollande said. Nigeria -- a former British colony whose northern and southern protectorates were formally merged on January 1, 1914 -- is not traditionally in France's sphere of influence. But it is surrounded by Frenchspeaking countries, notably its former colonies Chad, Niger and Cameroon, which have been flooded with people from Nigeria's northeast escaping
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the continent's largest economy in the coming months. But with the insurgency in Nigeria's northeast, France's military action against Islamist fighters in Mali last year and its peacekeeping efforts in the conflict-torn Central African Republic, security has been pushed to the fore. Hollande's office announced that he would travel to the Central African capital Bangui on Friday to meet French troops, his counterpart Catherine Samba Panza and religious authorities in the country, beset by months of violence between the Christian majority and Muslim minority.

violence. The United Nations said earlier this month that as of the end of January, nearly 12,500 Nigerians had fled east to Cameroon and 8,000 north to Niger because of the continued violence. Boko Haram, which is fighting to create an Islamic state in the north, is also suspected of having bases in neighbouring countries, crossing the porous borders to launch attacks before retreating. Nearly 300,000 people in the northeast, more than half of them children, have been displaced within Nigeria since May because of violence linked to Boko Haram, according to the

United Nations. - Parallels with Mali Hollande sent French troops into Mali in January 2013 to fight Islamist militants who had seized the northern half of the country. French officials have drawn comparisons with the fight against Boko Haram and Mali, where some of the militants are said to have linked up with other Al-Qaeda-inspired groups. Nigeria's government maintains that it is winning the war against Boko Haram, despite the relentless wave of attacks and mounting death toll, but has indicated that French support would be welcome.

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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) rmed men seized the parliament in Ukraine's Crimea region on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kiev's new rulers, who urged Moscow not move troops out of its navy base on the peninsula. Crimea, the only Ukrainian region with an ethnic Russian majority, is the last big bastion of opposition to the new leadership in Kiev since President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted at the weekend and provides a base for Russia's Black Sea fleet. "I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet," said Oleksander Turchinov, Ukraine's acting president. "Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory (the base) will be seen by us as military aggression," he said, a day after 150,000 troops in western Russia were put on high alert. Ukraine's Foreign Ministry

UKRAINE WARNS RUSSIA AFTER GUNMEN SEIZE CRIMEA PARLIAMENT
expected the hryvnia to strengthen soon at around 10 to the dollar. COALITION GOVERNMENT Ukraine's new rulers pressed ahead with efforts to restore stability to the divided country, approving formation of a national coalition government with former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk as its proposed head. Yatseniuk told parliament that Yanukovich had driven the country to the brink of collapse. He accused the deposed president of stripping state coffers bare and said $70 billion had disappeared into offshore accounts. "The state treasury has been robbed and is empty," he said. Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still president of Ukraine and warned its "illegitimate" rulers that people in the southeastern and southern regions would never accept mob rule.

summoned Russia's acting ambassador in Kiev for consultations as the face-off between Moscow and the West revived memories of the Cold War. The United States called on Moscow to avoid doing anything risky over Ukraine, which has been in crisis since November, when Yanukovich abandoned a proposed trade pact with the EU and turned

instead towards Russia. Russia said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had proposed cooperation with Moscow to resolve the Ukraine crisis during a telephone call with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday. The fresh turmoil in Crimea sent the Ukrainian hryvnia tumbling to a new record low of 11 to the dollar on the Reuters dealing platform.

The International Monetary Fund said it would send a team to Kiev in the coming days. Ukraine's new finance minister, Oleksander Shlapak, said he hoped the IMF would work on an aid package of at least $15 billion. Ukraine says it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid bankruptcy. The minister also said he

Friday, February 28, 2014

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iberia’s representatives, Red Lions and Barrack Young Controllers (BYC), resume their continental campaign this weekend at home to West and North Africans’ opponents in a first round first leg tie. Red Lions, formerly Fatu FC, make their debut appearance against Algeria’s Club Sportif Constantinois (CSC) in the Confederation Cup at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on February 28. Lions’ preparations for the match have been overshadowed with the news that the club have been put into administration by the Liberia Football Association. Board chairman Ansu Dulleh and his Ghanaian partners, led by chief executive officer Rockson Coffie, were engulfed in a crisis over the decision to withdrawal from the competition, despite agreeing to honor the preliminary rounds. With both Dulleh and Rockson claiming the winner’s medal and the LFA fearing a ban from Caf on both club and country, an eleventh hour deal was reached with government to underwrite the cost of at least the home and away ties. Lions have struggled for form this season, sitting a place above the relegation zone with 20 points from 17 matches. With their reported failure to secure big name stars such as Liberia international Dweh Allison, they have struggled to find the back of net, having scored 14 goals and conceded 19 goals. And this has been one of the rallying points for coach Kobina Amissah and his compatriots to not honor the tie much to the annoyance of Dulleh, who wants the merger deal that calls for the club to honor all international engagements it qualify for, to be respected to the letter. Lions only qualify for the tournament as runners-up in the FA Cup to BYC who won their first league title in addition to BYC II winning the second division title although they avoided a promotion as a feeder. The mood in the camp at the Adolphus Lodge is high and coach Amissah will be hoping to spark plug his team that is third from bottom with 20 points from 17 matches. Striker Dominic Jlateh, who rejoined from LISCR FC, carries the weight of Red Lions that have scored 14

WHO WILL WIN AT THE ATS?
Danesius Marteh, danesius.marteh@frontpageafricaonline.

Sports

Frontpage

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Red Lions meet CS Constantine today in Confed Cup; BYC welcome Sewe Sport in Champions League on Sunday

PRELIMINARY OR FINAL?
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goals and conceded 19 goals in the league. Liberia international goalie Mulbah Urey, who moved from BYC, will be between the stickwhile Freeman Mulbah, Kaetu Smith and Amara Sackor should complement Jlateh upfront. CSC arefifth in the 16-team Ligue One with 32 points from 20 games (eight wins, eight draws and four defeats), 10 points behind joint leaders Entente Sportive de Setif and Union Sportive Medina d’Alger. Although the lions have been struggling to find their scoring boots, they shouldn’t be afraid of CSC, whose defense have been breached in 14 league matches with 17 goals conceded. CSC arrived Wednesday evening with high hopes of winning Friday’s tie, having beaten Niger’s AS Nigelec, who were making their debut, 4-3 on aggregate. They lost the first leg 2-0 in Niamey on February 9 and won the return leg 41 inConstantine on February 15.

31-year-old Hamza Boulemdais remains their most potent finisher and shares the fifth highest scorer with JS Saoura’s Mohammed Aoudou and MC Alger’s Abderrahmane Hachoud on seven league goals. Hamza’s last goal came in a 2-1 home win over MC Oran on matchday 20 on February 22. Their only appearance in Africa’s club competition was reaching the first round in the Champions League in 1998. Eyeing a second scalp? BYC could have the lion’s share of attendance, expectation and publicity when it takes on Sewe Sports at the ATS on Sunday. The Ivorianside will be cautious to avoid becoming the Liberian champions' second scalp of the competition after Asante Kotoko. Kotoko were the major casualties of the preliminary rounds after losing 1-0 at the ATS on February 16. Blamo Nimely struck two minutes from time to give BYC a 1-0 win and a last-32 place in Africa’s premier football club competition.

Debutants BYC advanced on the away-goal rule, having lost the first leg 2-1 in Kumasi. Kotoko, popularly called the   'Porcupine Warriors', have been African champions twice and runners-up five times. They were not expected to be unduly troubled by BYC given a poor Liberian record in the tournament with a string of early exits. But warning lights started flashing after Kotoko needed two penalties from Ghana international Kwabena Adusei to secure the three points at the Baba Yara Stadium on February 9. Kotoko had scoring chances during the return match with Ben Adama denied by the woodwork midway through the second half. Richard Mpong was guilty of a bad miss andsoon after Nimle latched onto a thru pass from Isaac Pupo to find the match winner. That plot was planned in New Kru Town and unearthed at the ATS but BYC, who won a double last season, know that the Ivorians, will be tougher than the Ghanaians.

Leaders Sewe come into the game on the back of a 2-0 home win over second from bottom Abengourou on match day 14on February 22. They lead the 14-team table with 33 points from 14 games (10 wins, three draws and a defeat), scoring 21 goals with seven goals conceded. AFAD (Académie de Football Amadou Diallo de Djékanou)’s six goals conceded means Sewe have the second meanest defence in the league. Ivorian clubs have found Liberian opposition too easy of late and the latest was when Sewe eliminated Mighty Barrolle 4-2 on aggregate in 2007 in the preliminary round. Africa Sports saw off Barrolle 3-2 on aggregate in the second round in 1987 but BYC can take solace in the fact that Barrolle beat Sewe 1-0 on February 11, 2007 at the ATS in their only visit to Monrovia. BYC are third in the first division league with 30 points from 17 matches (eight wins, six draws and three defeats), a point behind joint leaders LPRC Oilers and Watanga FC. With 20 goals scored and 13 goals conceded, BYC seemed to be experiencing a tough season, having already been booted out of the FA Cupby LPRC Oilers 4-3 on postmatch penalties after a 1-1 draw at the ATS on February 23. That aside, they have the skills and pace to secure a vital win and Pupo, Nimle, Teah Dennis, Trokon Myers, Alpha James and Nathaniel Sherman will be vital to coach Robert Lartey’s plan against the Ivorians. Chief executive officer Robert Sirleaf can’t wait for a dreamt meeting with DR Congo’s TP Mazembein the second round but they must take a game at a time. With a budget of more than US$19 million and an average attendance of 18,000, Mazembe are Africa’s richest football club and BYC must first overcome a Sewe side that defeated Guinea’s Horoya AC, Sudan’s AlHilal and Morocco’s FUS Rabat to reach the group stage. However, they were unable to progress to the semi-finals as they finished in third place in group B behind Tunisia’s Esperance and Cameroon’s Coton Sport. And BYC must have now ended the joy of eliminating Kotoko in order to make the trip to Lubumbashi, not as tourists, but to leave a mark that could eventually lead to an exchange note with a club that recently bought a second jet. for administration or first vice president. FC Fassell president Cassell A. Kouh, with a questionable academic credential, could run unopposed as second vice president or vice president for operations because incumbent Adolph Akwe Lawrence and former Invincible Eleven vice president Alfred Sayon submitted nomination paper from Gardnersville FC. A conference has been called by the committee with the club and applicants to give clarifications. The committee said it isready to receive written challenge(s), if any and or clarifications, on the qualifications, disqualifications and “hold” placed on applicants. “Please be assured that we, as a committee, will expeditiously, fairly and independently examined your written concerns and in accordance with all relevant statutes, laws and codes as well as taking into account our individual and collective reputational act for the common good of football in Liberia. “All concerns and further investigations into outstanding qualification or disqualification issues will be examined and determined within the period of eight days beginning today [February 27],” concluded Malcolm.

REPORT: SAMUEL ETO’O “VERY ANNOYED” BY JOSE MOURINHO’S COMMENTS

SPORT BRIEF

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helsea striker Samuel Eto’o is “very annoyed” at manager Jose Mourinho for dismissing him as a goal-scorer and making light of his age. Following news of Mourinho’s private comments that were made public on Monday, Eto’o spoke with Cameroon coach Claude Le Roy about the incident. According to Le Roy, the striker is not happy with his manager’s words. “I had him on the phone just before I came on screen, and he’s very annoyed,” Le Roy told Canal+show Talents d’Afrique. “Actually, Mourinho went to see him before he saw the pictures and told him to not believe everything that was going to be said. And that he had said nothing about him. But I can tell you that Samuel didn’t like it.” On Monday, details of Mourinho’s private conversation came to light with the Chelsea boss saying: “Will we win the title? No, we don’t have any scorer. Samuel Eto’o? He is 32-years-old, maybe 35, I don’t know.”

 

REAL MADRID SENDS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE MESSAGE

What is the LFA elections committeeup to with two press confabs in two days?
Lemuel B. Sherman, Bishop Allen Klayee, Samuel Y. Karn, Ansu V.S. Dulleh, Rochell G.D. Woodson, Adolphus G. Harmon, Matthew Smith, Samuel Ashley, Wilmot Smith, Nyanqueh S. Borsay, Urias Glaybo, Mustapha I. Raji, Doris Sheba Browne, Wallace G. Weiahwere qualified to contest for one of nine executive committee members (ECM)’s slots while Ciatta A. Bishop is the lone candidate for the female representative to the ECM. Temporarily barred? Cyrus N. Wright, Dee Maxwell S. Kemayah and Korpu Beatrice Kpoto were temporarily banned from contesting as ECMs for various reasons. According to Malcolm, the committee found inconsistencies with the signature and letterhead of one of the letters of nomination from Earth Angels as was submitted by Wright and Kemayah. Wright, Kemayah and Angels have been cited to a conference to

Danesius Marteh, 0776 236 528 or 0886 236 528

reconcile the irregularities. The committee also wants clarifications regarding some inconsistencies on the curriculum vitae and diploma of Kpoto. Bah out? Former Fulani FC president Alieu Bah was disqualifiedin keeping with chapter 21, article 45.4 of the LFA statutes. It says …..Members of the executive committee must have been president, vice president or secretary of one of the members of the LFA in the last two years before elections…” LFA president Musa Hassan A. Bility was cleared to seek reelection although an indictment for economic sabotage,theft of property, criminal conspiracy and misapplication of entrusted property hangs over him and co-defendants, including Ellen Corkrum, ex-managing director of the Liberia Airport Authority in violation of the penal code. Incumbent Musa Shannon and BYC president Sekou W. Konneh were cleared to contest as vice president

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LFA elections committee chairman Malcolm Joseph

he elections committee of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) has released what it called the final list of those qualified to contest the elections. The LFA will hold its 19th ordinary congress in Buchanan, Grand Bassa

County from March 21-22. Chairman Malcolm Joseph, however, told a news conference on Thursday that few candidates have been temporarily disqualified and could be cleared once the issue(s) surrounding their qualification is(are) resolved.

 

Two goals each from Karim Benzema, Gareth Baleand Cristiano Ronaldo highlighted a ferocious night at Schalke for Real Madrid. Posting a 6-1 win in Gelsenkirchen, Spain’s leaders took commanding lead at halftime of the teams’ two-legged, Round of 16 UEFA Champions League matchup, with only a sublimely volleyed goal late from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar providing a blemish to an otherwise perfect night for Carlo Ancelotti’s emerging juggernaut. The performance came amid a round of decisive results for the competition’s group-winners, yet on the last day of knockout round’s the first fortnight of games, Real Madrid performance proved its most lopsided. Paris Saint-Germain previously held that distinction with a 4-0 victory last week at Bayer Leverkusen. On Wednesday, however, Bayer’s Bundesliga compatriot did Samy Hyypia’s team one worse, conceding five times over the game’s first 69 minutes to embolden El Real’s status as one of the competition’s favorites. Benzema’s finish into the left of Ralf Fährmann’s goal in the 13th minute gave the visitors a lead with their first chance of the match, a margin that doubled when Bale danced through the Schalke defense in the 21st minute before finishing inside the right post.

 

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WHO WILL WIN AT THE ATS?
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Red Lions meet CS Constantine today in Confed Cup; BYC welcome Sewe Sport in Champions League on Sunday

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LEAVE OUR WOMEN ALONE
Traditional Devil Tells Local Contractors
Henry Karmo (0886522495) henrykarmo47@gmail.com

Spot News
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Todee district, Rural Montserrado County aughter and cheers lasted over for more than ten minutes, at a formal groundbreaking program for the construction of a primary school in Dowee’s Town, Todee District rural Montserrado County recently. It all happened when the traditional devil publicly warned contractors at the program to stay away from women and daughters of the town. The Traditional devil referred to as Gorkpor belongs to the Gola Tribe, one of the sixteen tribes of Liberia, could not hold back his emotion about what he described as the constant habit of contractors implementing projects in rural Liberia who are taking advantage of the women and daughters of the areas they operate. Said Gorkpor: “Minister, please your tell your contractors not to follow our women. We welcome the development but we must also observe tradition, let them follow our town laws.” The Dowee Town does not currently have a school. When completed, the expected school will result in a six-class-room building that will provide educational facility to beginner’s learners. The project valued at US$64,000 (SIXTY-FOUR THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) is amongst 32 other projects being implemented in Montserrado County, according to Florence Brandy, county Superintendent. It is being constructed under the African Union Peace Fund through the government of Liberia.

 

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