Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Committed UN Police Force Needed to Strengthen Liberia National Police

By: UNMIL News

UN Envoy Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj has said that in addressing the challenges in strengthening the rule of law in Liberia, UNMIL still needs a committed police force to continue to build the capacity of the Liberia National Police (LNP). She made these remarks during a ceremony to honor the Nepalese peacekeeping contingent for their role in strengthening the rule of law in Liberia.
· The contingent has undertaken medical outreach programmes as well as building bridges and roads in Liberia. “These will all have an impact on Liberians as they strive for the development of Lberia,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) added. She urged the Nepalese awardees and all other UNPOL to “continue working hard to ensure that the Liberian police force develop the confidence they need to take up the baton as UNMIL departs.

In Economic Sabotage Case: Bryant’s Poor Health Obstructs Hearings
(The Parrot, The News)

· Hearings into the economic sabotage case involving five former officials of the erstwhile National Transitional Government (NTGL) yesterday failed to proceed due to the poor health of one of the defendants, former NTGL Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant.
· The Judge of Criminal Court “C” Emmanuel Kollie however said the trial would resume Friday and hoped the defendant would have recovered and will be in court. “The case was postponed because we cannot conduct this trial in the absence of any defendant who is a party to this suit,” he added.
· Recently, the case was again suspended when one of the defendants, Richard Devine, travelled to the United States on national assignment. The five former officials of the NTGL who are being tried on corruption charges are Edwin Snowe, Jr., former LPRC Managing Director and his deputies, Richard Devine, Siaka Sheriff; and G. Andy Quamie who were indicted in February this year for embezzling over US$1 million from the corporation.

“Liberia’s Prosperity Depends on Quality Education” … U.S. Envoy Says
(The News)

· United States Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas Greenfield says it is imperative for authorities, parents, students and everyone to note that the future of Liberia and its prosperity greatly depend on quality education. Ambassador Greenfield spoke Monday when she and Mrs. Grace Cavert Nelson, wife of United States Senator Bill Nelson of the State of Florida presented additional 20 scholarships to 15 girls from the June L. Moore Public School and five boys from Cecelia Dunbar Public School in rural Montserrado County.
· The scholarships were provided under the Ambassador’s Girls Scholarship Program (AGSP) funded by American taxpayers through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The 20 scholarships awarded to primary school pupils bring to a total of 5,796 the number of scholarships awarded under the AGSP since its inception in 2004.

‘Perpetrators Fired at Us’ … Claims State Witness in Timor Massacre Case
(The News, Daily Observer, The Inquirer)

· One of the survivors of the June 7, Timor massacre in Grand Bassa County, in which 14 persons were killed, Vanjah Francis yesterday told the court that their attackers fired at them with single barrel guns, AK-47 rifles and also used machetes and acid water to kill the men. Vanjah said the number of persons killed during the massacre were 21 out of the total of 47 persons hired to brush a farmland in the area.
· He said during police investigation, 45 bodies were recovered while the villagers later found additional six bodies. The witness said following his escape he arrived in Kakata and saw Senator Kaine with the alleged ringleader riding in a vehicle marked “Sen. 22” heading towards the crime scene.

Radio Summary
Local Media – Radio Veritas (News monitored today at 9:45 am)
Criminal Court “A” Denies Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus by JPC
· Criminal Court “A” has denied the petition for a writ of Habeas Corpus filed by the Catholic Justice & Peace Commission (JPC) against the government on behalf of 22 Liberian deportees.
· In its ruling, the Judge of the court, Boimah Kontoe said the motion was dismissed on grounds that it was filed in two courts in violation of the law.
· The JPC recently filed parallel petitions before the 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County and Criminal Court A in Monrovia.
· On Monday, the 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County also dismissed the JPC writ of Habeas Corpus citing similar concern.
(Also reported on Star Radio, Sky F.M., Truth F.M. and ELBC)

UN Envoy Decorates Pakistani Peacekeepers with UN Medals
· Speaking at an award ceremony for over 3000 Pakistani peacekeepers serving in UNMIL, UN Envoy Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj lauded them for going beyond their call of duty by providing humanitarian assistance to communities in the country.
· Ms. Løj said they have helped the Liberian Government and UNMIL in the rehabilitation of major roads in the country.
· Also speaking at the programme, the Head of the Pakistani contingent, Ghulam Murtaza reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to the peace process in the country and UN initiatives in the world.
(Also reported on Star Radio, Sky F.M., Truth F.M. and ELBC)

Liberian Deportees Want Consulate in Washington Withdrawn
· Liberian deportees from the United States are calling for the withdrawal of the Consulate at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, Mr. Christopher Nippy.
· The deportees claimed that Mr. Nippy refused to visit or give them audience to explain their cases but immediately issued travelling documents for their deportation.
· Recently 22 persons were deported from the U.S. for various crimes they committed in that country.
· They are presently at the Zwedru Correction Palace in Grand Gedeh County undergoing rehabilitation before being release to their families.

Education Ministry Purchases US$4.5M Primary Textbooks
· Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Education Minister, Dr. Joseph Kortu said the ministry has purchased 200,000 primary school books valued at US$4.5 million.
· The books which comprise reading, math and social science materials are expected to be distributed to schools throughout the country.

Star Radio (News culled from website today at 8:30 am)
Finance Ministry Vets Pensioners’ Payroll
· The Ministry of Finance says it is in the process of thoroughly vetting the regular pensioners’ payroll of government.
· In an interview, the Comptroller General of Liberia, James Boker said a lot of names exist on the payroll that should not be there.
· He indicated that the volume of the government’s regular pension payroll has swollen beyond expectation, putting the amount of names presently existing on the payroll at 14,000.

Truth Commission Investigates Allegation Against One of Its Commissioners
· The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) has ordered an investigation into allegations that one of its commissioners was a member of the defunct rebels United Liberation Movement of Liberia (ULIMO).
· The TRC mandated its Inquiry Unit to immediately investigate the allegations that Commissioner Sheikh Kafumba Konneh served as a major supplier of arms to ULIMO.
· Former rebel General Ofori Diah who made the accusation said the commissioner recruited him into the group during the 1990s.
· The TRC said the allegation is the second against the Commissioner saying it initially received a letter this year from a Liberian in the diaspora claiming that Sheikh Konneh was a member of ULIMO, a claim he has since denied.

Reports Speak of Brewing Tension at Guthrie Rubber Plantation
· Reports from the Guthrie Rubber Plantation in Bomi County say unknown persons have burned down the security post in the area.
· In an interview, several employees said the guard post was set ablaze on Monday by the men.
· The employees claimed that tension is presently brewing at the plantation as most of the plantation Managers gave abandoned the area
· One report said a company vehicle which was enroute to the compound was recently turned back by angry men.

Labour Ministry Launches Major Clean-up Exercise
· The Labour Ministry in collaboration with the Liberia Emergency Employment Programme has launched a major clean-up campaign of Monrovia and its environs.
· The Acting Coordinator of LEEP, George Saah puts the cost of the campaign at over US$70,000.

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