Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bryant’s Arrest and Imprisonment 12/13/07

Liberians from all walks of life staggered over news of former Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant arrest and subsequent imprisonment at the Monrovia Central Prison (South Beach) upon the orders of Jude Boimah Kontoe of Criminal Court “C”, where he is being tried for allegedly stealing US$1.5 m during his tenure as transitional head of state.

The former Chairman was reminded in prison for one night for his blatant refusal to be served notice on several times to appear in court, criminal court “C” officials said.

The unfortunate and disgraceful episode which transpired last weekend later allow Bryant out of the jail-house through the intervention of some influential Liberian citizens and some West African leaders, this paper gathered.

Bryant however appeared before the court on Monday, 10th December and apologized for his refusal to avail himself to court and has been pardon and given three days which ends today, Thursday to reconstitute his defense team and appear before the court to answer to the charge of Economic-sabotage.

Imprisonment is a part of prosecution because if a person is guilty of a trial he definitely goes to jail or faces the related alternative, something President Sirleaf is fully aware of. If the person being tried refuses to go to court for reason best known to himself, as in the case of Bryant---the court has no option but to act, and of course the court acted as in the case of the Former Chairman.

President Sirleaf is fully aware of this, and it is believed that the arrest and jailing of Chairman Bryant met her ardent blessing.

Quite nauseatingly for political pundits and critical thinkers, the president through her Press-Secretary, Cyrus Baddio expressed regret over the Bryant’s saga, something political observers termed as a total mockery to the Former Chairman last weekend’s situation.

“The arrest and confinement of Bryant was in line with the rule of law--- what is than there for Madam Sirleaf to regret, is she pretending in order to save face within the public “, Thomas Kerkular questioned.

President Sirleaf is on record for saying that all those who will be found guilty of squandering the Liberian people money, will be burnt, and that meaning is cleared. Why than regret the arrest and distension of a man who refused to go to court to answer to charges of allegedly stealing the country’s money? Which way is than this president?

Even President Sirleaf’s purported regret is been dragged into confusion as her Information Minister Laurence Bropleh is saying one thing while her Press Secretary is saying another.

Bropleh is saying that president Sirleaf regret over the former chairman refusal to cooperate with the court and not his arrest and imprisonment, as she wants to see the law take its course, while Baddio is saying that the president regret the latter arrest and subsequent jailing--- this confusion alone brings to mind more questions than answers.

However, critical thinkers are admonishing the Liberian leader and her two officials to stop joking and mocking the Bryant situation, and concentrate on the wanton economic hardship which has engulfed the already war ravaged Liberian people.

Govt’s ‘Published Bid’ Under scrutiny 12/13/07

The Liberian Government broke silence last weekend following speculations and media reports that the recent Iron ore deal carried out was done surreptitiously by displaying copies of three newspapers it said published the bid.

The Government named the three as the New Democrat, Inquirer and News Newspapers which accordingly published the bid in their respective April 10, 2006 editions inviting bidders for the purchase of the Buchanan stock-piled iron ore.

While the government is making frantic efforts to justify the sale of ore, critical thinkers and observers have described the government display of the three newspapers showing the publication of bid for the purchase of the remaining stock-piled iron ore at the Buchanan port as shady and crafty, The Parrot highlights the different views on the publication.

Addressing a major press conference in Monrovia over the weekend, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT), Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh said the sale of the Iron Ore was done in line with Public Procurement and Concession Act (PPCA), by publishing bid for the purchase of the Iron Ore. Dr. Bropleh, flanked by Deputy Minister of Information Services at MICAT, Mr. Gabriel Williams, strongly dismissed reports that the deal was done in secret.

The Gov’t’s information man told reporters that the government was doing everything possible to seek the people’s interest, but not for personal gain.
The publication, according to him, was done through the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy. He also disclosed that about 20,000 metric tons of iron ore was sold and proceeds realized have been deposited in government’s account at the Central Bank of Liberia.

There have been media reports in recent time that the sale of a huge quantity of iron ore by the Ellen led administration was done in secret, something political pundits have described as contradictory to the gov’t’s pronounced “transparency” policy.

However, the display of the three newspapers as mentioned above seems not to be convincing the Liberian public that the deal was not done secretly, as observers’ points to some flaws and questionable variables surrounding the publication of the bid.

William Gaye, age 54, described the display of the newspapers by Minister Bropleh as a total mockery. He argued that the Government displayed one-time publication, something which is far from the PPCC act. He said according to the act, the publication of such a bid must be done at least three times. He challenged the government to produce the rest of the publications if it did.

“Anything other than that, the deal was consummated secretly”, Gaye pointed out.

John Diggs age 44; a Liberian farmer took on the three newspapers. He said recent publications of the Inquirer Newspaper have been questioning the sale of the remaining iron ore at the Bassa port. He said one of the recent editorials of the Inquirer demanded explanation from the Government regarding the iron ore deal, in line with the argument that the sale bid was not published. Mr. Diggs wondered why Inquirer will be demanding explanation on the publication of the bid when in fact it is one of the papers that published the bid according to Government. He said the three newspapers displayed by Minister Bropleh have dragged themselves into confidence crisis. “We will be careful with them”, Diggs in a serious tone intimated.

The Inquirer in its Vol. 16 N0. 215 Thursday 6, 2007 editorial said it is demanding explanation from the government. “the failure of the government to inform the public about the reported deal despite the fact that the deal has now come to public attention, creates room for more suspicion, rumors and even casts dark cloud over the deal” the Inquirer stated.

Why will the Inquirer, one of the oldest newspapers in Liberia asserts that the Iron Ore deal was done in secret when it published the bid for the ore as claimed by the government.

Laurence Sackie, a political scientist told this paper that publication shown by Bropleh is shady and crafty. Mr. Sackie said he is of the belief that the publication displayed by Minister Bropleh was back-dated to only save the face of the government from public shame and condemnation, something he noted will not still help the Government as according to him, the Liberian people are no more stupid.

Howbeit, ongoing investigation conducted by the Independent Parrot Newspaper in the publication of the sale bid is giving different signals contrary to what Government has claimed. See detailed reports from the files of Inquirer, New Democrat and the News Newspapers in our subsequent edition.

Many believe that the publication of the bid accordingly by the three papers was stage managed, given the many doubts that are looming over government’s evidence.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

450 jobs Await Jobless Liberians as Canadian Company Unveils Several Equipment to supplement Gov’t Development Drive

Approximately 450 to 500 jobless Liberians are to shortly be haired by a Canadian Investment group which has been given the “green light” by the Liberian government to help boost the country post-war reconstruction.

The company Buchanan Renewable Energies today displayed 90-pieces of heavy duty and other earth moving equipment worth more than 10-million U.S. dollars. The pieces of equipment were brought into the country by a Canadian-based company known as Buchanan Renewable Energies, Incorporated.

With an initial capital investment of 15-million United States dollars, the new company says was investing in Liberia based on the potential the country offers for the production of biomass fuel, a production central to Buchanan’s investment.

According to the Buchanan Renewable Energies President, Joel Strickland, his company intends to rejuvenate Liberian rubber plantations through the removal of non-productive rubber trees for cultivation of land in preparation for planting.

He said his Buchanan Renewable Energies will work with local farmers in assisting to replant rubber trees if required by plantation owners.
Outlining the benefits of investing in Liberia, Mr. Strickland said Liberia has the potential to become the world’s leading first biomass driven sustainable economy in addition to becoming a major exporter of biomass.

The company said it will initially provide employment opportunities for more than 4-hundred Liberian employees by the end of the year.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf welcomed the investment, which she said represents a true partnership that government will continue to support. The Liberian leader lauded Buchanan Renewable Energies for the investment which was brought into the country without any request for special favors from government.

The President also lauded Liberian business partners who have teamed up with Buchanan Renewable to invest in the country.

The President urged citizens to cooperate with the new company and help protect its investment, which she emphasized will provide more employment opportunities for the country.
National Investment Commissioner Chairman, Richard Tolbert, described the investment as a direct result of the positive image the President has created for Liberia.

The NIC boss said the investment represents the first phase of what is expected to be a massive investment in Liberia.