Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Liberian Mercenary Arrested

-Falls in NSA Dragnet After allegedly recruiting at least seven rebels

The National Security Agency (NSA) has arrested and sent a man to court for allegedly recruiting some Liberians as mercenaries to fight on behalf of the Ivorian Rebel leader, Alassanne Quattera.
Suspect Timothy Mamadee Toure, according to a classified document from the NSA, which is in the possession of FrontPage Africa, revealed that Toure is a Liberian citizen and former fighter of the disbanded Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a rebel group headed by Sekou Damate Conneh, who fought ex-President Charles Taylor leading to his forceful resignation and departure from Liberia.
The NSA’s report, copy of which was served on Justice Minister Christiana Tah on April 6, 2011, stated that the defendant told personnel of the NSA that he was allegedly hired by one James Innis of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County to recruit former fighters to go to the Ivory Coast and fight.
The suspect told NSA that on November 15, 2010, Innis met him (Toure) at the PMS Gas Station in Buchanan and gave him an amount of US$20 and later asked him to change US$10 and take the balance US$ 10 for scratch card, so he (Toure) can call him (Innis).
According to the document, NSA says suspect Toure admitted receiving a call from Innis on November 18, 2010, requesting Toure to meet him at the Gorbachop Market Red Light in Paynesville, but stated that he met Innis on November 19, 2010.
Upon meeting with Innis, the document confirmed that Innis allegedly asked him to recruit fighters for the war in Ivory Coast and that he will be given the amount of L$18, 000.
The document established that Innis called Toure on January 8, 2011, while in Buchanan, informing him that the war has started.
“So Toure came to Monrovia on January 9, 2011, but met Innis on January 10, at the Gorbachop Market, during which time, suspect Toure was given L$ 16, 000. Toure admitted recruiting seven fighters and distributed the amount at the rate of L$2,250 each,” the report stated.
Defendant Toure is said to have informed the NSA that on January 23, 2011, Innis met him (Toure) and told him that he was sending a car for him to Buchanan to pick up; and that said vehicle arrived in Buchanan on January 24, picked Toure and two fighters (not named), so as to join forces with the other recruits at the Red Light.
The document maintained that Toure is reported to have admitted to the investigators that he turned over the seven recruit rebels to Innis and left on the ground to carry out more recruitment.
The NSA probe also established that Toure admitted that while in Ganta, Nimba County, he recruited two other fighters and took them to Bahn, making the total number to seven fighters, at which time Innis gave him US$ 1,000 to be distributed among the recruited men.
Of the amount allegedly giving by the rebel financier, Innis, Toure told investigators that he gave each fighter an amount of US$500 and took US$500 for himself.
Interestingly, the defendant added, he escaped from Innis in Bahn and went to Butuo Border, where he joined other fighters, who were going across to the Ivorian side.
After crossing over along with other rebels, they were given US$300 against US$1,500 and that after the mission each fighter would receive a balance of US$ 1,200 upon returning from the frontline.
According to the document, Toure said he fought the war on Alassane Quattera’s side for three weeks and later escaped and joined forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo on March 17, 2011.
The accused is quoted as saying that Gbagbo was paying fighters in an amount of US$ 2,000 but after battling for five days, he noticed that Gbagbo was losing men, so he went back to Quattera’s group again.
The NSA says, Toure confessed that the intention of all Liberian mercenaries in the Ivorian crisis is to acquire arms and loot on the grounds that anything can happen in Liberia.
These are the names of the fighters: Solo, Solo alias Black Devil, Jallah, Bullet Bounce, Alfred, alias Wild Spider, Josiah alias Indian Amin, and Joseph alias Value Rebel. The accused is presently behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison Compound, pending court trial.


No Double-Dip

IMF Announces ‘Unbalanced Recovery Strength’: Bad & Good Recovery News

Nat Bayjay, nat.bayjay@frontpageafricaonline.com (231-77-402737)

-Washington, DC, United States
The much anticipated double-dip in the aftermath of the world’s financial woes did not materialize, leaving prospects for developing countries like Liberia that are projected to achieve double digit growth. 
Olivier Blanchard, IMF Economic Counselor and Director of Research Department told a press briefing in the US Federal capital during a press briefing of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) that earlier fears of the downward economical trend have not materialized: “The main worry was that, in advanced economics, after an initial recovery driven by the inventory circle and fiscal stimulus, growth would fizzle.”
Announcing the good news, he added: “The inventory circle is now largely over, fiscal stimulus has turned to fiscal consolidation, but private demand has, for the most part, taken the relay.”
The WEO is a survey by the IMF staff usually published twice a year, presenting the Fund’s staff economists' analyses of global economic developments during the near and medium term.
Liberia heavily demands the IMF’s double-digit projection in its recovery drive.
With a real GDP of a little over 6% last year, the post-war nation, like many nations expects a double digit growth. With the good news that world’s economy will grow at about 4.5% a year in this year and the following, emerging and developing countries’ growth is expected to be much higher than advanced economies.
“….but with advanced economies growing at only 2.5% while emerging and developing economies grow at a much higher 6.5%”, the Director noted.
The world’s economy suffered a huge economical crush in recent years, yielding a rather slower recovery for advanced nations but faster ones for their developing counterparts.
A hopeful President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, during her last Annual Message, boosted of creating “strong economic foundations and the strongest recovery in twenty years” with its real GDP growing by 6.3%, up from 4.6% in 2009.
“Taking this economic performance into account and the significant level of direct foreign investment that we have been able to secure, we can expect double-digit growth over the next five years. We are, fellow Liberians, one of the twenty fastest growing economies in the world”, Sirleaf had noted.
However, Blanchard had a bad news component to this: the recovery remains unbalanced.
“In most advanced economics, output is still far below potential. Unemployment is high and low growth implies that it will remain so for many years to come”, he said.
The economic counselor maintains that emerging markets including sub-Saharan countries sustained by far less lasting wounds: “In emerging market economies by contrast, the crisis has not left lasting wounds. Their fiscal and financial positions were typically stronger to start and adverse effects of the crisis more muted.”
He said that the overall macro policy agenda for the world’s economy remains the same, “but with the passage of time, more urgent”.
On solutions, Blanchard advised that advanced countries must achieve fiscal consolidation.
Decression: Recovery and reconstruction should be the concentration in post-conflict countries


Maryland Murder Case Takes Different Trend

As Government Prosecutors Refused to Adhere to a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus

Cllr. J. Augustine Toe, one of the defense lawyers representing H. Dan Morias and nine others indicted for their alleged involvement in the murder of Tumu Yuade Allison Thursday, described government’s prosecutors’ refusal to produce the living body of Mle Merriam as a dark and sad day for a nation like Liberia, trying to rise from its ashes of 14 years of bloody armed conflict that resulted into the reported killing of over 250, 000 people.
 Cllr. Toe, Executive Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) comments came after government chief prosecutor, Cllr. M. Wilkins Wright told Criminal Court “D” at the Temple of Justice that the state has the right to detain a defendant in any of the prison facility in Liberia, and that Merriam is no exception.
Last week, the defense lawyers filed a petition for a writ of Habeas Corpus with the court that one of the defendants, Mle Merriam, who was arrested in the Ivory Coast, was being detained at a separate cell in Monrovia, where he had been allegedly tortured, beaten and promised US$10, 000 by Cllr. Samuel K. Jacobs if he lies on the other defendants, currently on trial before Criminal Court “B”.
Pointing his finger at his former law professor in the bar, Cllr. Toe told the court that when Cllr. Wright was out of government, he used to speak against human rights violation, but his action has completely changed.
In his argument before the court, one of counsels for the defendants submitted that the state’s blatant refusal to produce the living body of Merriam in open court is not only a disrespect for the rule of law, but also a total disregard for the constitution of Liberia, which he said, officials of government swore to uphold and protect during their confirmation hearing before the Liberian Legislature.
But Cllr. Wright told the court to deny and dismiss the petition on ground that defendant Merriam was charged and indicted, but later escaped the bailiwick of the country.
The Respondent also informed the court that submission filed was pre-matured.
Counsels for the state contended that a writ of Habeas Corpus can lie if the petitioner is detained illegally.
Ruling on the Habeas Corpus is expected to be handed down today by Judge Benedict Holt.


GOL-ELWA Land Issue Deepens Government Threatens To Use Force If…

M. Welemongai Ciapha, II welemongai.ciapha@frontpageafricaonline.com & Clara K. Mallah

Government spokesman at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT), Jerolinmek Piah has declared that since 137.66 acres of land granted to the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) is still under developed; 14.5 acres of land would be seized for the construction of an administrative complex, capable of hosting 13 government ministries and agencies so as to alleviate some of the burden of rent pay to private building owners in Liberia.
Giving some historical background last Thursday on the entire land fracas between the Government and the Christian Community of ELWA, Minister Piah, who serves as Director for Press and Public Affairs at the Information Ministry, observed that the land was given to ELWA in 1955 under a special arrangement by the Government of Liberia.
Piah added that in 1962, the Government granted an additional 37.66 acres of land to ELWA, under the same arrangement, making the total to 137.66 acres of land.
Minister Piah, considering himself as cardinal part of the Christian Community, told journalists at the ministry regular press briefing that he wondered how people may be attempting to say that GOL is waging some kind of war against the people of ELWA.
The Deputy Minister believes that successive governments have been spending huge sums of money on rental payment and since the Chinese have taken the initiative to build 13 ministries, the Ellen Government cannot afford to lose the offer.
In his view, Minister Piah noted that when the administrative complex is completed, the Chinese would make it as a donation to the Government of Liberia just as similar gifts such as the newly constructed Fendall Campus, the Jackson Fiah Doe Memorial Hospital and the S.K. D. Sports Complex in Paynesville.
“The government and people of Liberia have to provide suitable land for the complex, as precondition for executing the project. And after careful analysis, the Government intends to use a portion of un-utilized or underutilized land and gifted by the Republic of Liberia, under an albino scenario grant to ELWA,” Minister Piah told reporters.
The 137.66 acres, Minister Piah stated that it was given to the ELWA under what he referred as a pre-condition, meaning that the government would request for a portion at any time on the ground it was not paid for by ELWA.
“It has been observed that the entire land granted to ELWA since 1955, it has been 55 years ago, is still un-utilized. So the Government took interest in surveying the unutilized portion and the survey showed that 31.5 acres of the giving land is still being unutilized,” Minister Piah added.
Minister Piah maintained that he thought their partners [ELWA] should have been courageous enough to be sensitive by giving the land to Government which, according to him, was not paid for by them.
Unfortunately, Minister Piah confirmed that the ELWA land issue has been politicized, because the impression is given that the government is trying to fight the church, which he said, the land in question is not a private land, a vast free land granted to ELWA.
For Land, Mines and Energy Minister, Roosevelt Jay-Jay said, the Republic of Liberia is above every citizen.
Minister Jay-Jay, being delighted to form part of the press briefing, told Information Minister Sieh that Liberia will be hosting first International Liberia Mining and Petroleum conference from April 11-13, 2011.The conference, according to Minister Jay-Jay, is comprised of 290 Chief Executive Officers.
However, the Christian Community of Liberia (CCL) in a press statement issued over the weekend considers the decision by the Liberian Government to grab ELWA Land as an attack on the Church.
“We believe getting the news media to campaign for the use of 14.5 acres of ELWA land in the name of development seems deceptive and is a front to grab all of the property. It is an attempt by government to destroy the ambience of ELWA by knocking down residential buildings, getting rid of antenna fields and even removing the grave site of missionaries and nationals alike who tirelessly labored for the Mission while they were alive,” the church said.

The statement under the signatures of Reverends, Daniel B. McGee, Joseph G. Johnson and Jervis Witherspoon said that CCL is puzzled over government’s insistence to grab ELWA land when there is so much land in the country.
The Church: “Why ELWA property which was given for the propagation of the Gospel and humanitarian purposes? Why would anyone want to build a “ministry complex” near Liberia’s oldest radio station, a hospital and an educational institution? Will this not destroy the very essence of these institutions?”

The pastors in their reaction to the issue at bar, stated that if government land developers were fair with government and the public, they would never suggest ELWA property for a “ministry complex” for several reasons. It is absolutely not feasible to build a “ministry complex” in close proximity to the SKD Sports Complex.
“Where is the road network that will account for easy access to and from the area when there are major sporting activities and the usual flurry of business that accompanies government ministries? Are we going to make the ELWA area which is the principal entry point to the airport a “bottleneck” like Red Light and Duala? Have the government engineers consider the demographics of the area for the next 10 years? Or is it the same scenario as former President Samuel K. Doe’s drive to build the Liberia Broadcasting System a new complex within range of Omega Tower signals? As a result, thousands of tax payers’ money went into an endeavor that is useless to us today,” the   pastors reacted angrily.


‘We Are Ready’

South African Ambassador Assures Liberia  

The newly accredited South African Ambassador to Liberia, His Excellency Mr. Masilo Esau Mabeta says his country will explore economic opportunities that exist in Liberia and South Africa to empower young people of both countries.
Ambassador Mabeta says his country is a huge economy that can positively contribute to Liberia’s development.
He asserted that his country will explore investment opportunities in the areas of mining, logging, education and the arts.
He noted that since his arrival in the country, he has seen more young people involved in making arts and craft materials on street corners, something he said will be introduced in his country.
“If we establish partnerships that are geared towards developing the country, developing the economy that will absorb more and more people into proper empowerment structures, it can create self employment for themselves and others,” he said.
Mr. Mabeta says Liberia is strategically situated, which makes it an important tourist attraction.
“We believe you have wonderful tourism opportunities here… the beaches are wonderful and we think we have the skills, the resources, with proper partnerships with people from Liberia’s businesses, the communities around those areas where one establishes hotels can be empowered to benefit,” he said.
The South African Diplomat noted that investment into the tourism sector will bring long term economic benefits for people who live along the nation’s beaches and waterways.
On the issue of food security he said his country hopes to work with local people in Liberia through the Liberian Government in order to see canned food items produced in Liberia.