The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has strongly defended the financial soundness of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) dispelling media reports that LBDI is nearing insolvency. In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 14, the CBL informed the public that LBDI is liquid, solvent and financially sound.The CBL expressed serious concern over the story carried on the front page of the News Newspaper and the Concord Times alleging that LBDI is becoming insolvent. The CBL described the publication in the two journals as a mere falsehood that is far from the truth.“As part of the CBL’s regulatory requirements,” the CBL explained “LBDI, like other banks in Liberia, publishes its financial statements on a quarterly basis in the local dailies.” According to the CBL, the publication of these financial statements is a manifestation of transparency and information disclosure, which is a requirement under the new Financial Institution Act of 1999 and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) adopted by the CBL.The CBL noted that its financial soundness indicators show that LBDI’s liquidity ratio is 47%, which is 32% above the minimum 15% prudential requirement. The CBL disclosed that the current capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of LBDI is 19%, which is 9% above the minimum capital requirement.The CBL also disclosed that LBDI’s reserves with the CBL collectively are more than US$40 million. “Against this background,” the CBL noted “it is quite obvious that the story about the government of Liberia (GOL) writing the CBL to loan LBDI US$7.5 million is untrue, baseless, and malicious.”Being the regulator of banks and non-bank financial institutions, the CBL intoned that it has been robust in the examination of financial institutions, using risk-based supervision as one of its key tools.The Central Bank noted that it has son-site examiners that conduct examination of financial institutions on routine basis, and respond to early warning signals from any bank.“There is also an off-site surveillance team that analyses various financial reports submitted at different intervals to the CBL,” the Central Bank stressed. The CBL has meanwhile made it emphatically clear that it has at its disposal the requisite resources, which, in its capacity as the lender of last resort, could provide a cushion for any bank should there be a liquidity crisis.LBDI president and CEO John B. S. Davies, III described the publication in the two journals as “planted adverts loaded with a barrage of misinformation intended to cause panic and create confidence crises by causing a run on the Bank.”Mr. Davies told a crowded news conference on Tuesday that LBDI is considering commencing a legal process against the two papers. He, however, clarified that the Bank’s Management will first meet with the Management of the two media institutions in order to ascertain the motives behind the publication.LBDI was created by an Act of the National Legislature in 1961 under the joint initiative of the Liberian government and major international financial institutions who purchased equity in the Bank namely: International Financial Corporation (IFC), Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Capital Partners, European Investment Bank (EIB), Groupe Agence Franicais de Development (GAFD), and Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungesllchaft (DEG), over 150 private Liberians, other international and local institutions. Foreign shareholding is 44.47% and local shareholding is 55.53%.LBDI is predominantly a privately owned institution under private management and a Board of Directors elected annually by its Shareholders. The Bank commenced operations in 1965 as Liberian Bank for Industrial Development and Investment. Under an amendment in 1974, the name was changed to the Liberian Bank for Development & Investment (LBDI). A further amendment in 1988 allowed the Bank to engage in hybrid banking (commercial and development banking activities), to compliment its development objectives.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The president of the Liberia Karate-do Federation (LKF) Master William Philip Anderson is poised to train at least 50 kids in martial arts in three counties, beginning with Grand Bassa.He named Maryland and Montserrado as the remaining counties to introduce martial in the next six months.He told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview over the weekend in Buchanan that the program is his passion to develop professional karate athletes.“For the past three weeks, every Saturday, I have been offering free training to interested kids from every part of Bassa at this court,” he said, “I intend to do the same in Maryland and Montserrado.”He added: “Karate helps the practitioner to benefit physically and develops self discipline and for the kids.”He promised to revamp the Black Belt Association, which comprises of amateur black belt holders from every aspect of martial arts, including karate, taekwondo, kick-boxing and wushu.Master Anderson is Liberia’s retired 7-time Karate champion and Africa’s kick-boxing champion.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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The Ebola Coordinator of the European Union (EU), Mr. Christos Stylianides, has warned Liberia and its neighbors, who are bearing the brunt of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, not to be complacent in the fight against the disease, but rather exert more vigilance to ensure that it is eradicated as soon as possible.Though there are positive signals that the Ebola disease is retreating in some parts of Liberia, which is a clear indication that the Liberian Government is doing much to stop the disease, it would be a serious mistake to let the guard down, Mr. Stylianides cautioned.“All of us – Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, EU and all partners – must remain on the alert,” he warned, adding that the responsibility is collective and everyone must work hand in hand.The EU Ebola Coordinator, who is also the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, spoke last Friday when he held a joint press meeting with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the foyer of the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.Mr. Stylianides was leading a high-level EU delegation to Liberia including EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis.The press briefing was preceded by a closed-door meeting with President Sirleaf.The EU Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management boss, on behalf of the organization, expressed his solidarity to the Government and people of Liberia and assured President Sirleaf that “Europe’s solidarity is real and tangible.”Mr. Stylianides said his delegation is in Liberia to listen to the concerns of Government, including the challenges faced with, to see the needs of the people and to assess the situation.President Sirleaf lauded the European Union (EU) for its many interventions in the post-conflict recovery process of Liberia.She used the opportunity to congratulate Mr. Stylianides for his preferment and welcomed his delegation to Liberia. She briefed them on the current status of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.She recounted the EU’s contribution to all of the country’s major development projects since the end of the civil war, ranging from direct budgetary support, energy, infrastructure, health, education, and more recently the fight against the Ebola virus disease. President Sirleaf stressed that going forward, international assistance will be most urgently required in strengthening the healthcare system as well as overall support for the government’s National Economic Recovery Plan in the post-Ebola era. She expressed the hope that the EU would be a partner to rely on in this regard.She particularly requested the EU’s support in changing the Ebola response by targeting more attention and support to communities, integrating the Ebola intervention with the public and regular healthcare services and support to the government’s energy program.For his part, Commissioner Andriukaitis said only cooperation and a common action plan at the community, county, state will defeat the Ebola virus disease and begin the recovery process which will restore the confidence of the people.He thanked the Liberian Government for developing the community-based approach to tackling the further spread of the disease as well as developing and strengthening primary healthcare.According to an Executive Mansion statement, Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh, during the closed-door meeting, gave a special update on the impact of the disease on the economy, which reflected a 20 percent decline in revenues. He outlined the National Economic Recovery Plan for the post-Ebola period.Dr. Emmanuel Dolo, Presidential Youth Advisor, provided updates on the specific interventions and current status of the fight against the further spread of the virus.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Ministerial Code of Conduct– only 1 response submitted – PMThe office of the Integrity Commission is again inviting members of the public to submit comments on the draft Code of Conduct for all Ministers of Government, Members of the National Assembly and public office holders.Speaking with the media on Monday, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said even with an extension granted for submissions to be made, Government has so far only received one submission and that was from the Guyana Bar Association.“The Code of Conduct would go through an exercise of an advertisement for further submission. We have received only one submission in terms of contribution and that is from the Guyana Bar Association. Though Government had put out an article that it is opened for submissions, we have not received any submissions as yet,” Nagamootoo told Journalists on Monday.The call for the swift enforcement of the Ministerial Code of Conduct became more pronounced, following the public debate about the appointment of businessman and Contractor Brian “BK” Tiwari as an adviser on business development to Minister of State Joseph Harmon.According to Nagamootoo, the time frame will also be set for submissions. He said Government was also seeking to solicit best practices from other Caribbean countries.“I have already asked for copies of integrity legislation from Trinidad and we are looking how to merge the Code of Conduct with the integrity legislation… integrity legislation would demand requirement of someone who holds public office and the Code of Conduct is setting either a higher or lower standard,” he assured.As it is now, Nagamootoo said, “We will have to wait, I believe not later than six weeks for the submissions to be made.”ContractionAt the beginning of March, Government had said that it was extending the countrywide consultation on the subject, opening opportunities for civil society to give its extensive input on the way forward. However, the Prime Minister is contradicting what Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, who in his capacity as Governance Minister on November 5, 2016 had said. Trotman at a post-Cabinet media briefing had disclosed that the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) sent their feedback and that Government is in the process of reviewing those suggestions.“We are trying to see how we can incorporate those comments,” Trotman said.Red Thread on January 5, also offered its input into the Code of Conduct. Executive Member of Red Thread, Karen De Souza had said that the Code of Conduct should have included the dismissal of persons if faced with enough evidence.According to the Ministry of the Presidency, the purpose of the Code of Conduct is to assist Ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) and public office holders in the discharge of their obligations to their constituents and the public at large.It provides guidance on the values – the moral qualities – that should govern the conduct of Ministers and MPs in discharging their parliamentary and public duties. It is also meant to reinforce public confidence in the way in which Ministers and public office holders perform those duties.Ministers, by virtue of the oath or affirmation of allegiance taken when they are elected, have a duty to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, according to law.Public office holders are duty-bound by this Code in all aspects of their public life. This Code does not seek to regulate the conduct of public office holders in their private and personal lives.Public office holders have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination and sexual harassment, and to act with propriety on all occasions in accordance with the public trust and confidence placed in them.Public office holders have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole and owe a special duty of care to their constituents, and citizens.The Code of Conduct says that the acceptance of gifts and other forms of rewards worth more than $10,000 by Ministers, MPs and other public office holders in their official capacity shall be reported to the Integrity Commission. Ministers, MPs and public office holders should consider declining such gratuities if the acceptance of same could be perceived to have an effect on their objectivity and lead to complaints of bias or impropriety.The Code of Conduct lays out that Ministers, MPs and public office holders should also avoid using their official position or transmitting any information made available to them in the course of their duties to benefit themselves, their relations or any other individuals with whom they are associated. They should avoid compromising themselves or their office and any action which may lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Failure to avoid or declare any conflict of interest may give rise to criticism of favouritism, abuse of authority or even allegations of corruption.
… promote equal rights of men and womenBy Devina Samaroo in LondonUpholding unity in humanity and understanding that morality trumps all are some of the major messages being promoted by Muslim leaders as the 50th Jalsa Salana continued on Saturday in Hampshire, United Kingdom.Representatives from various countries underscored the need to put differences aside and work together to promote peace and harmony among all mankind.One of the female students receiving an award from His Holiness Mirza Masroor AhmadHead of the Nigerian Jama’at Fashola Mashhud Adenrele explained that everyone needs to unite now more than ever as the world is going through great turmoil.“The world is going through so many crises everywhere and we believe that it is with the grace of God Almighty that we can overcome these crises. We can work hard but we also need to pray,” he stated during an interview with Guyana Times at the Jalsa Salana.In this regard, the Nigerian leader emphasised the significance of the annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslims at the convention in promoting love, peace and unity.“This event promotes unity in humanity, all across the world from various tribes and various countries people come together and what we are emphasising is not sectoral differences or religion differences but the unity in humanity and the moral values that bond our humanity, we are emphasising the principle of love for all, hatred for none,” he expressed.He also remarked that it is time to break to stereotype cast upon the Muslim community, particularly the Ahmadiyya group, and show the world that its sole purpose is to encourage peace among mankind.“Ahmadiyya is trying to tell all groups that God does not look at what you call yourself, whether you call yourself Christian, Ahmadis or Muslims. That’s not what God’s after, God’s after your heart. Are you sincere, are you patriotic, or are you dutiful. If your words do not agree with your heart, you are just wasting time. Moral values can unite all mankind,” he stated.The religious leader continued that, “religion should unite us because all religion is teaching the same thing, righteousness, mercy, and help for the poor. So why are we fighting each other, we should come together to demand service to humanity.”Also during an interview with this publication, the Head of the Jama’at in Belize reiterated that unity can coexist with the many differences in society.“You don’t have to become a Muslim to find peace. Peace is there in all of the prophets, if you look at the teachings, they are all from the same source which is God Almighty… In each of the religious teachings, if you go to the original scriptures, you will find peace there. So, one message you can take from this convention is find peace from your own teaching even if you aren’t inclined to Islam,” he encouraged everyone.Meanwhile, at day two of the Jalsa Salana, the world leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, his Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad addressed the large gathering of women, who sat separately from the men.In his charge, His Holiness emphasised that women’s rights are equal to men’s rights, dismissing the popular perception that females are being suppressed under the faith of Islam.“The blessings being given to men are the same blessings being given to women. Nowhere is it written that ladies are going to get less than that… The Holy Quran made it clear that the sentiments of the ladies are as same as the man and the desires of the man are the same as the ladies,” he stated, noting that any effort to inflict harm or deny women their rights should be boldly forbidden.Moreover, His Holiness explained that the segregation of men and women in relation to their seating arrangements at the grand event is by no way an indication that women are viewed of lesser value than men.“Their greatest allegation against us is why men and women are seated separately,” he pointed out, noting that Islam establishes the rights of all people, men and women alike.At the ceremony, a number of female students were presented with awards of excellence for their performances at universities across the world.His Holiness also delivered another address to the gathering of men, once again spreading the message of love for all and hatred for none.
The case of Antoinette Nettie Peter, a Liberian woman stabbed to death in her boyfriend’s bedroom has opened at Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice.Ms. Peter was a fiancée of Bonfrer Adidee, a Ugandan national and an employee of the Civil Affairs Section of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).Nettie, as she was called, was allegedly stabbed to death with a kitchen knife by one of her private security guards, defendant Jefferson Dahn, on January 3, 2013 at her 12th Street, Sinkor, compound.The claimed, Defendant Dahn denied when he appeared before the Court.At Tuesday, May 20th hearing, family members including the deceased’s father and mother wept uncontrollably in open court, when prosecution’s second witness, Eddie Kun, an investigator of the Liberia National Police (LNP) took the stand. They were consoled by the state lawyers.But defendant Dahn dressed in an orange suit sat behind his legal team with his head bow during yesterday’s hearing.Interestingly, Adidee could not be seen in the court Tuesday, because, according to report, he had left the country, leaving behind the entire case.It is not clear whether he will be asked to come and testify in the case.In his testimony, Kun alleged that another police officer identified as Patrolman Anthony Dalieh called them, investigators and said, defendant Dahn informed him that he killed his bossman, Adidee’s girlfriend as a result of confusion and asked him not to tell anybody.“When we got the information, we immediately went with a forensic laboratory team and UNMIL officers to the crime scene,” the police investigator explained.Before, they could arrive at the compound; group of officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) had already covered the area, according to Kun.He further alleged when they entered the compound, they met another private security officer only identified as “Hopking.”When they asked Hopking what he was doing in the compound, he quoted Hopking as saying, “My bossman, Bonfrer called and informed me that there was a situation unfolding at his compound and wanted me to go there and find out what was going on.”According to him, Hopking also explained to him that Bonfrer got the information from one of his UN’s friends, who he alleged, saw a huge crowd at his compound, while he was on his way for lunch.He further alleged that it was during the searched of the compound that they found defendant Dahn hiding in the closet. “We caught him confused and half naked with only his militant jean trousers with a substance believed to be blood on it,” the investigator told the Court.“We also found with him a broken handle of a wooded kitchen knife, a bunch of keys belonging to the late Nettie and US$200,” he alleged.Giving details of defendant Dahn’s investigation with the police, Kun said that in the presence of his mother and aunt, Dahn denied murdering Nettie, claiming “Bonfrer was the perpetrator and he assisted in the process.”He further claimed that Bonfrer offered him US$600, two phones, and a laptop so that he could take the body away from his (Bonfrer’s) room to the kitchen, according to Kun.Asked by defense team, whether they investigated the defendant’s claimed under such circumstance? He replied “yes, we did.”Furthered asked what his investigation realized? He again replied, “The allegation was false and only meant to mislead the investigation.”Asked how did he get to know that the allegation was false?Kun response, “We reconstructed the crime scene, talked to witnesses to include Mr. Bonfrer Adidee himself in our efforts to prove or to disprove said allegation.”Asked how was it proved? “It was establihsed that on the morning of the incident the only person on the crime scene were defendant Dahn and the victim Nettie.”“Both of them were the only occupants of the residence from 8 a.m., until information was disclosed that there was an alleged homicide on the premises.”According to him, they established that Adidee did not leave his work at the UNMIL’s Headquarters until he was requested by the investigator to come on the scene. “No witnesses provided testimony that Adidee was seeing entering or leaving the compound either by vehicle or on foot on the morning of the incident. Apart from the time he left for work at about 7:45 a.m.,” Kun alleged.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Liberian Bankers Association (LBA) has advised the public to comply with Ebola preventive measures announced by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the World Health Organization (WHO) to save more lives and avoid pointing accusing fingers at government and health officials. The Association’s president, Mr. John B. S. Davies, III, told a local phone-in Talk Show on Wednesday morning that Ebola is real. He warned that defeating the virus requires the collective involvement of all Liberians by adhering to and implementing the preventive measures.Mr. Davies, who is also president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), expressed disappointment with the international response to the Ebola crisis. He criticized the international community for doing very little to fight and defeat the Ebola epidemic.He called for resounding and affirmative international response to fight Ebola in Liberia and in the sub-region warning that the virus is gradually creeping to a disaster.“We need resounding and affirmative international response from the international community on this Ebola crisis. As we all can see, disaster is gradually creeping into Liberia and the sub-region,” said the LBA president.He, however, appreciated the minimum assistance from the international community thus far, but noted that lots more needed to be done to handle the crisis because the Ebola virus is a very new disease to the country’s health system.The LBA boss also warned against public distrust in government policies, which he observed, is undermining the fight against the Ebola crisis at local level.“This crisis is new to us, but I still have the belief that it is not late for us as a people to fight and defeat the virus. But public distrust is also hurting our resolve to win the war against the Ebola virus because some people are politicking the situation and don’t want to adhere measures. And this, alone, is undermining ‘our’ efforts to stop the spread of the virus,” said Mr. Davies.Some section of the public has criticized the government for its poor handling of the Ebola outbreak as the virus continues to claim more lives in the country. According to the latest WHO data, Liberia has the highest number of Ebola-related fatalities in West Africa accounting for over 1,220 deaths of the nearly 2,400 deaths in the sub-region.The WHO has announced that the virus has infected over 4,000 in West Africa warning that it would infect over 20,000 people in the sub-region if international response is delayed. Many Liberians feel that the government is doing little to save lives amidst huge deaths and increase in new cases.Ebola treatment centers within the compounds of the ELWA and John F. Kennedy hospitals, are overwhelmed with patients.But the LBA boss noted that the Ebola virus is a strange disease that the government and the country’s health sector was never prepared to handle.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A ruling that should have established as to whether the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice has the legal backing to hear cases involving millions of United States dollars against the government prior to its establishment in 2010, remains undecided. The controversy came about in a US$10.7 million vehicle debt case levied against the Liberian government by lawyers representing Prestige and Alliance Motor Corporation, owned by Lebanese businessman, George Haddad. State lawyers have argued that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case. The Commercial Court was established by legislation in 2010 as a specialized court to provide efficient and effective resolution in commercial cases throughout the country. Despite the lack of jurisdiction argument, the court has demanded lawyers on the case to submit a five-page “proposed ruling,” which lawyers told the Daily Observer they have done. However, the court is yet to carry out its decision into the matter, which legal experts described as “very delicate.” According to one legal expert, “If the court agrees, it will give more business people that the government owed in the millions of United States dollars the opportunity to take similar action to collect their debt through the court.” Sherman and Sherman Law Firm represents Prestige and Alliance Motor Corporation. The firm filed an “Action of Debt” against the Liberian government for allegedly crediting a fleet of vehicles from 2003 to 2006, totaling over US$10.7 million, which the government has failed to settle. Besides the cars, the lawyers also alleged that the company provided spare parts during the transactions with the government, and has subsequently asked the court to give their client justice. In a counter argument, state lawyers admitted owing the Lebanese businessman, but are arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Liberia is a coastal country with more than 350 miles of shoreline, dozens of rivers and thousands of streams and lagoons. Monrovia, its capital city, is one of the wettest cities in the world. The country has one of the largest maritime flag registries in the world. Yet, few Liberians know how to swim. As the dry season gets into high gear, more and more people will be heading to various beaches and waterways to spend some downtime. The chances of someone drowning are great, but this can be prevented with the right policies. Matter of fact, which agency of government regulates beaches, lagoons, and swimming pools in the Republic? Of course, a sound system will be a great first step, but the biggest problem is cultural, or is it racial?Many black people seem to fear water, even in the Caribbean that is surrounded by large bodies of water – which lie to the east and northeast. There are a lot of mythologies (i.e. mamie wata) in most ‘African’ cultures that contribute to the high rate of drowning among blacks; however, Liberia is not alone. This aqua-phobia can also be seen here in Nigeria, another coastal country with rich natural water systems, where I now live.Researchers in Canada recently found that “black immigrants are four times more likely not to know how to swim than native-born Canadians.” Moreover, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says drowning rates among blacks aged 5–19 years are 5.5 times higher than those among whites in the same age range. In the state of Connecticut, two students from Ghana drowned in their high school pool last year, prompting a new state law. It requires all schools to have a trained, dedicated person — either a lifeguard or swim instructor — “to monitor the pool for students who may be struggling in the water.”An earlier study by the CDC showed that nearly 60 percent of black children surveyed were unable to swim or felt uncomfortable in the deep end of a pool, compared to 31 percent of white children.This attitude stems from cultural differences, experts believe. More white families spend recreation time at pools or beaches, and white parents make sure their children learn how to swim than black parents do.Despite ingrained negative cultural beliefs about water, the Liberian government should come up with sound policies to protect people going to rivers and streams this season, like: All public beaches and pools should have trained lifeguards. Encourage people to swim with a companion. Never leave a child near water unattended. Do not trust a child’s life to another child. Make sure everyone learns to swim well. Work with the YMCA/YWCA and Red Cross to develop and offer swimming lessons. Teach children always to ask permission before going near water. Young children or inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets.But lifeguards are no guarantee of safety, what is needed is a comprehensive cultural shift and education about the health and recreational benefits of swimming. Only this, I am afraid, will reduce the elevated rate of unintentional drowning in Liberia.Wynfred Russell lives in Kano, Nigeria. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.orgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)