Friday, August 17, 2012

Journalist Pelenah Pre-Trials Protracted

As Magistrate Grants Prosecution’s Motion for Continuance Pre-Trials of Pressman Darlington C. Pelenah, who along with two others was charged with crimes of armed robbery and criminal conspiracy, have been prolonged at the Monrovia City Court (MCC) due to the absence of a critical state witness. According to counsels for the prosecution in their motion for continuance, the absence of Officer John M. Kollie, who investigated the alleged robbery for which Mr. Pelenah, William Randolph and Benjamin Bookie Gbar were charged, was based on an investigation he (Officer Kollie) was undertaking in relation to violence at the Liberian-Ivorian borders. The Counsels for the Prosecution further prayed the court to enter a subpoena ad testificandum to have the officer come in court at a later unspecified date to give testimony that would linked the alleged suspects to the robbery offence that took place in the GSA Road Community in Paynesville against a money exchanger named Thomas Weeks. However, the counsels for the defense prayed the court to deny the motion as it was a calculated attempt by the prosecuting counsels to delay and baffled the case. The defense counsels contended that the government could produce the witness at any time without a notice of subpoena. They (Defense Counsels) further said that the police officer was secondary evidence to the case and the defendants should be admitted on bail since the prosecuting counsels was trying to delay the case. Having heard arguments from both counsels, said that the statutes of the court calls for speedy trial but granted the prosecution motion for continuance and subpoena ad testificandum based on the fact that the investigation that Officer Kollie was involved with is in the interest of national security. The Magistrate at the Monrovia City Court said the court was under obligation to take note of historical fact that it was not a hidden fact that the Ministry of Justice and security apparatus are investigating individuals linked to the crisis along the Ivorian-Liberian borders. Meanwhile, there have been concerns raised by the Pelenah’s Family that the life and career of the pressman could be ruined if his legal rights to the presumption of innocence and a speedy, free and fair trial are not protected in keeping with the due process of law. Mr. Pelenah was quoted by the FrontPage Africa Newspaper as saying: “my detention is based on my critical stance against societal ills but no link to any armed robbery, some big hand behind my prosecution”. Be as it may, the Monrovia City Court will be hearing the case of the embattled Royal Communications, Incorporated News Director who once served as Deputy Director General for Broadcasting at the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) based on a notice of assignment filed with the court.

Journalist Pelenah Pre-Trials Protracted

As Magistrate Grants Prosecution’s Motion for Continuance Pre-Trials of Pressman Darlington C. Pelenah, who along with two others was charged with crimes of armed robbery and criminal conspiracy, have been prolonged at the Monrovia City Court (MCC) due to the absence of a critical state witness. According to counsels for the prosecution in their motion for continuance, the absence of Officer John M. Kollie, who investigated the alleged robbery for which Mr. Pelenah, William Randolph and Benjamin Bookie Gbar were charged, was based on an investigation he (Officer Kollie) was undertaking in relation to violence at the Liberian-Ivorian borders. The Counsels for the Prosecution further prayed the court to enter a subpoena ad testificandum to have the officer come in court at a later unspecified date to give testimony that would linked the alleged suspects to the robbery offence that took place in the GSA Road Community in Paynesville against a money exchanger named Thomas Weeks. However, the counsels for the defense prayed the court to deny the motion as it was a calculated attempt by the prosecuting counsels to delay and baffled the case. The defense counsels contended that the government could produce the witness at any time without a notice of subpoena. They (Defense Counsels) further said that the police officer was secondary evidence to the case and the defendants should be admitted on bail since the prosecuting counsels was trying to delay the case. Having heard arguments from both counsels, said that the statutes of the court calls for speedy trial but granted the prosecution motion for continuance and subpoena ad testificandum based on the fact that the investigation that Officer Kollie was involved with is in the interest of national security. The Magistrate at the Monrovia City Court said the court was under obligation to take note of historical fact that it was not a hidden fact that the Ministry of Justice and security apparatus are investigating individuals linked to the crisis along the Ivorian-Liberian borders. Meanwhile, there have been concerns raised by the Pelenah’s Family that the life and career of the pressman could be ruined if his legal rights to the presumption of innocence and a speedy, free and fair trial are not protected in keeping with the due process of law. Mr. Pelenah was quoted by the FrontPage Africa Newspaper as saying: “my detention is based on my critical stance against societal ills but no link to any armed robbery, some big hand behind my prosecution”. Be as it may, the Monrovia City Court will be hearing the case of the embattled Royal Communications, Incorporated News Director who once served as Deputy Director General for Broadcasting at the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) based on a notice of assignment filed with the court.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pension Reform Proposed

Expected to Combat Corruption Members of the Liberia Cabinet including Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, last Wednesday held a lengthy discussion about where the country stands and how they could take it forward in getting government’s objectives achieved. According to the Liberian Information Minister, Dr. Lewis G. Brown, II, when he spoke at a Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) press briefing which was addressed by Mr. Cyril William Allen yesterday, one of the issue that the cabinet resolved on was a reformation of the Civil Service Pension Reform Scheme. The reformation, according to Min. Brown, was considered in the cabinet meeting as a way to end the recycling of poverty among Liberians. Min. Brown: “imaging we begin a journey in life all weary, we acquire education then we get a job and yes we start up pretty poor most of us. We get a job and then we are able to make it for the family and by means of age or some other constrain you lose the job and suddenly we return to poverty from where we began.” Dr. Brown said that reforming the pension system will not only change the way Liberians view pension but it will provide a sense of economic security to civil servants that would retire from the public sector thus helping to alleviate corruption in the Liberian society. “Numerous studies show and testify that corruption in third-world countries are fed more by a sense of insecurity on the part of individuals about the future,” he added, “if this new pension scheme assures people of a sense of security about the future that you will not lose their jobs and be recycled into poverty, then clearly you have less and less instants of people hands getting caught in the cookies jar.” When Director Allen took the podium to give more detail about the new pension scheme, which could minimize corruption among public officials, he said that pensioners would be able to withdraw their funds deposited in their name with interest. He said under the new pension system the pensioner will continue to receive their pension until their death at which time their spouse (male or female) will continue to receive 50% of such pension until their own death. “Even after the death of the spouse,” he said, “the youngest child will continue to receive the 50% pension until that younger child reaches the age of 18.” He said that such will provide more security for people working in the public sector which include all branches of government so that they would not be afraid to retire. “They will not be afraid because knowing that at the end of your active duty that you can retire with dignity knowing that your love ones will be taken care of,” he said.

Pension Reform Proposed

Expected to Combat Corruption Members of the Liberia Cabinet including Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, last Wednesday held a lengthy discussion about where the country stands and how they could take it forward in getting government’s objectives achieved. According to the Liberian Information Minister, Dr. Lewis G. Brown, II, when he spoke at a Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT) press briefing which was addressed by Mr. Cyril William Allen yesterday, one of the issue that the cabinet resolved on was a reformation of the Civil Service Pension Reform Scheme. The reformation, according to Min. Brown, was considered in the cabinet meeting as a way to end the recycling of poverty among Liberians. Min. Brown: “imaging we begin a journey in life all weary, we acquire education then we get a job and yes we start up pretty poor most of us. We get a job and then we are able to make it for the family and by means of age or some other constrain you lose the job and suddenly we return to poverty from where we began.” Dr. Brown said that reforming the pension system will not only change the way Liberians view pension but it will provide a sense of economic security to civil servants that would retire from the public sector thus helping to alleviate corruption in the Liberian society. “Numerous studies show and testify that corruption in third-world countries are fed more by a sense of insecurity on the part of individuals about the future,” he added, “if this new pension scheme assures people of a sense of security about the future that you will not lose their jobs and be recycled into poverty, then clearly you have less and less instants of people hands getting caught in the cookies jar.” When Director Allen took the podium to give more detail about the new pension scheme, which could minimize corruption among public officials, he said that pensioners would be able to withdraw their funds deposited in their name with interest. He said under the new pension system the pensioner will continue to receive their pension until their death at which time their spouse (male or female) will continue to receive 50% of such pension until their own death. “Even after the death of the spouse,” he said, “the youngest child will continue to receive the 50% pension until that younger child reaches the age of 18.” He said that such will provide more security for people working in the public sector which include all branches of government so that they would not be afraid to retire. “They will not be afraid because knowing that at the end of your active duty that you can retire with dignity knowing that your love ones will be taken care of,” he said.

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