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  www.frontpageafricaonline.com Paris Buy 2 Dual SIM phones and wina Romantic Weekend in Paris +Valentine room+$1000 for Shopping   O-LA-LA Rafe Date: February 14, 2014 Terms & Conditions Apply only $25 PRICE L$40 FrontPage Ü   TOP STORIES  pg 12 pg 10 Ü   Ü    Military News Politics VOL 8 NO.528WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2014 See PG 2 CENTRAL BANK OF LIBERIA MARKET BUYING AND SELLING RATESLIBERIAN DOLLARS PER US DOLLAR  These are indicative rates based on results of daily surveys of the foreign exchange market in Monrovia and its environs. The rates are collected from the Forex Bureaux and the commercials banks. The rates are not set by the Central Bank of Liberia. Source:  Research, Policy and Planning Department, Central Bank Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2014 L$80.00/US$1L$81.00/US$1BUYINGSELLINGL$80.00/US$1L$81.00/US$1L$81.00/US$1L$80.00/US$1 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2014TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014 A SPECIAL REPORT BY MAE AZANGO MADEA PAYKUE’S MOTHER LAMENTS SUPREME COURT’S FAILURE TO HAND DOWN APPEAL RULING LIBERIAN SET TO HEAD AFL CORKRUM ENJOYED EJS’S CONFIDENCE “So for people to say Madea caught Hans having sex in the room with that little girl, it is a black lie, because I was sitting right here. What do you think will make Hans brave on those people little child when we all were sitting together? Some say, Mardea kill the little girl and others say she choke the little girl and hanged her in the bathroom.  Nobody did anything to that little girl to make her hang herself, that she will put this kind of trouble on my children’s head to make them be suffering in jail.” - Henrietta Paykue, 80, the mother of Madea Paykue  pg. 6,7 & 8  VERDICT OF SUSPENSE? Farewell Nears for Nigerian  Army Chief of Staff  SIMEON FREEMAN DISSECTS PRESIDENT SIRLEAF’S ANNUAL MESSAGE  Wednesday, February 5, 2014 Page 2 |  Frontpage  Rodney D. Sieh, rodney.sieh@FrontPageAfricaonline.com Monrovia –  L ess than 48 hours after a FrontPageAfrica investigative report uncovered yet another wasteful spending on the part of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority(LTA) in the tone of US$1.1 Million dollars, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has with immediate effect ordered a freeze on the accounts of the LTA, and suspended the US$1 million lease agreement  between LTA and a Chinese company, Qinjian International, for a building it intends to secure as an ofce. The President through an Executive Mansion release Tuesday afternoon also ordered a full investigation into all standing contracts between the Ministry of Public Works and construction companies in the country.The President Sirleaf has directed all current and former ofcials of the Ministry of Public Works to cooperate fully with the investigation.The President took the decision following a meeting last evening with Public Works ofcials. The Liberian leader took the decision to ensure that Government gets the full value for money spent. Public Works Weeks Survives, Deputy Fired Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has accepted, with immediate effect, the resignation of Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services, Mr. Victor Smith., and has directed him to remain in country and cooperate fully with the investigation.Smith was involved in a heated exchange with Minister Antoinette Weeks last week resulting into what eyewitnesses say a rain of insults, prompting Smith to leave the ministry. The ght between the pair comes in the wake of mounting tension pitting the minister at odds with her principal deputies,  prompting allegations that Weeks has been micromanaging the ministry with very little input from senior staff toward agenda items/issuesSome of Weeks’ peers say she is oppressive and domineering during meetings; intolerant, does not allow for competing views and opinions and lacks a clear plan-of-action for the Ministry. Some employees point to Weeks’ poor working relationship as a key reason for the problems which hit boiling  point. “Their argument was intense with each cursing each the other ma and pa (mother and father invectives) and in the end,    Some of Weeks’ peers say she is oppressive and domineering during meetings; intolerant, does not allow for competing views and opinions and lacks a clear plan-of-action for the  Ministry. Deputy Minister Smith told the Minister to (bleep) her job and drove out of the ministry’s compound.Minister Antoinette Weeks has also been taken to task over her callous use language; profusely abusive, insulting and accusative toward others and engaging in physical interaction with some personnel while being condescending to and disdainful of the senior staff. LTA Saga Boils Over FrontPageAfrica reported Monday that LTA Chair Angelique Weeks, had entered into an advanced negotiations with a Chinese company, Qingan International (Lib) Group Development Co. Ltd. (CNQC) to rent its apartment building to house the LTA. The building is located on the Congotown  back road near the Baptist Church.Ironically, prior to the signing of the lease agreement, the  National Investment Commission turned down an asking price of US$450, 000 per annum for the same building, causing many to wonder why the LTA settle for such a ridiculous offer.The LTA, whose lease with the Methodist Church, the landlord for one of its ofces in Sinkor expired last Sunday, had already moved into the controversial new building despite objections from the Ministry of Justice and the Public Procurement Concessions Commission.The LTA chair had agreed to pay US$385,000.00 (Three Hundred Eighty Five Thousand United States Dollars) per year, with a three-year upfront payment to a Chinese Landlord totaling US$1,155,000.00 (ONE MILLION, ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS). The four-story building contains thirty-one rooms and six  bathrooms situated on two lots of land. Multiple sources conrmed to FPA that the lease agreement was sent to the Ministry of Justice in keeping with the Procurement Law. However, it appears that the Ministry of Justice was reluctant to sign off on the deal despite the insistence of Weeks. One source said the ministry was reluctant committing the government of Liberia to a lease agreement that made the government a tenant of a Chinese Company in Congo Town. More importantly, concerns have been expressed about the LTA’s unilateral decision to lease a building for more than a million dollars when the same money could build more than one permanent structure for at least two or three government agencies.Ironically, Weeks, who was recently re-nominated by President Sirleaf to a second term as chair, told a Senate committee during her conrmation hearing that the LTA was unable to effectively carry out its functions because of funds to procure certain equipment. Weeks’ testimony before the Senate coupled with the LTA’s ambitious lease agreement is raising questions in view of the LTA’s intention of renting an ofce space for over one million United States dollars.The LTA currently leases three buildings across town, while Ms. Weeks maintains two ofces for herself. The Minister of Finance Amara Konneh recently accused the LTA of not meeting its commitments to support the national budget, which has contributed to budgetary shortfalls which could affect important infrastructure and social services programs.FrontPageAfrica has made frantic efforts to get some kind of response from the LTA boss but only managed to get a partial response in which she failed to explain why the LTA did not use such enormous amount to build a building of their own or whether spending one million plus dollars on a lease property a good investment for the LTA and value for money for Liberia and its international partners. Weeks did however conrmed that the initial term of the Lease Agreement between LTA and CNQC for LTA's New Ofce Building is for three (3) years, at $385,000 per year, payable yearly at the commencement of each Lease year. She however said: “While this amount might seem signicant, it is not, taking into consideration, the Cost Benet Analysis conducted in connection with selecting the subject property, which indicates overall annual cost savings for the LTA through the consolidation of all ofces and staff.” The LTA boss claried that the LTA ofces were housed in *three* rental properties, not two. “In addition, the World Bank nanced WARCIP Liberia Project, for which the LTA is Project Implementing Agency, occupies a fourth rental  property. Staff from all four buildings can be accommodated in the LTA's New Ofce Building,” she noted. Pressed as to how the LTA intended to fund the project, Weeks said the LTA's New Ofce Building is funded by LTA's 2013-2014 Budget, which allocated adequate funding in contemplation of consolidating all of our ofces in one  property. The process was executed transparently through a  public tender process pursuant to the PPC Act; several other  buildings were considered prior to the nal decision of the LTA's Procurement Committee. Weeks also claried the issue of a Spectrum Monitoring Equipment which she informed the Senate the LTA did not have money to purchase raising questions as to how it could then afford to lease such a building for such an exhorbitant amount. Said Weeks: “The issue of the Spectrum Monitoring Equipment was the specic mention made during the Senate hearing as a set back to the LTA's ability to monitor and manage the nation's scarce spectrum resource. The LTA has compelling information that suggests that a signicant number of radio stations in Liberia are operating with frequencies that have not been assigned by the LTA. The ability to monitor spectrum will enable us to curb the practice and collect much needed revenue through the licensing process. The equipment costs over US$2 Million dollars and will be paid for over a number of years, including a down payment in the current  budget year. The LTA has completed the required PPCC public tender process to select a vendor willing to pre-nance the  procurement. We are now awaiting feedback from the Ministry of Finance in order to move the process forward.”  Frontpage   Wednesday, February 5, 2014 Page 3  Rodney D. Sieh, rodney.sieh@FrontPageAfricaonline.com DISSECTING LTA BOSS’S US$1.1 M RATIONALE Monrovia - I n her partial response to a FrontPageAfrica inquiry regarding the hefty price tag in the tone of US$385,000.00 (three hundred eighty ve thousand United States Dollars per year, totaling US$1,155,000.00 (one million, one hundred, fty ve thousand united states dollars), Angelique Weeks, Chair of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority conrmed that the LTA has indeed leased its new ofce facilities from a Chinese landlord. Last weekend, staffers began moving furniture into the new  premises they hoped would be their new home for the next three years against the advice of the Public Procurement Concessions Commission and the Ministry of Justice.That was before a FrontPageAfrica investigation unraveled the waste poised to dig deep into the pockets of taxpayers prompting action from the presidency Tuesday which put a freeze on the LTA’s account and a hold on the lease agreement.Ms. Weeks fell short of explain to an FPA inquiry or elaborate on the procurement process that was undertaken, nor did she elaborate on other options that were available to the LTA. However, the Chairperson referred to a Cost Benet Analysis in which she claimed that it would be a cost saving for the LTA to rent the Chinese  property, inferring that it would  be cheaper to rent the Chinese  property than retain the current three ofce facilities. Some industry observers say it is left with the public to make its own conclusions and Madam Weeks is obligated to reveal the rental cost of each of the existing ofces for public scrutiny and analysis. The hallmark of good governance is transparency and accountability.At least one senior administration ofcial suggested the former National Housing and Savings building as one option the LTA could have explored.Sources inside the LTA told FPA that some junior executives were against the decision to lease the Chinese-renovated  building for such an exorbitant  price. In fact, speculations continue to surface that an objection from Miriam Kaba, recently nominated as Acting Commissioner, International Gateway Management System, was a major factor in a sudden revoke of Kaba’s nomination. Weeks did claried that LTA ofces were housed in three rental properties, not two. In addition, she added that the World Bank nanced WARCIP Liberia Project, for which the LTA is Project Implementing Agency, occupies a fourth rental property. “Staff from all four buildings can be accommodated in the LTA's  New Ofce Building,” she explained.Weeks added that fhe three (3)  properties leased by the LTA over the past several years preceding lease of the New Ofce Building are: 1.Third oor of the United Methodist Church LAC Building and generator house on 12th Street which housed three (3) of LTA's ve Departments (Engineering & Technology; Licensing & Regulations; and Government & Consumer Affairs. 2. The Entire building on the V.P. Road in Congo Town to accommodate the LTA’s Administration Operations and Legal Department and the Ofce of the Chairperson of the LTA. 3. The second oor of the Pan African Travel Agency Building In Congo Town, which houses the International Gateway Services Department.Despite Weeks’ explanation, FPA has learned that the International Gateway Services is administered by a private company that collects a higher  percentage from revenue than the Government, leaving some industry observers to wonder why isn’t that company sharing in this expense when it is paid administrative fees?Weeks insists that the LTA's  New Ofce Building provides a single location to house all of our operations, staff and Spectrum Monitoring Equipment when acquired, while we continue to look for a suitable location to build our very own facility with enough space to accommodate the anticipated growth of the LTA.Many observers have been keen for answers as to how the LTA chair intends to fund the  payment of the new building. Weeks says, the LTA's 2013-2014 Budget allocated adequate funding in contemplation of consolidating all of our ofces in one property. “The process was executed transparently through a public tender  process pursuant to the PPC Act; several other buildings were considered prior to the nal decision of the LTA's Procurement Committee.”  Nevertheless, some industry observers wonder how can Weeks justify the prudence of a government agency renting  property in its own territory from a Chinese landlord? Coming in the wake of a wave of calls for well-meaning  public ofcial to make it his or her duty to invest in constructing a public building, rather than throwing money at Chinese businesses. One senior GSM executive chimed in: “In which country is such a practice possible? From a security perspective also, what if the Chinese have bugged our telecommunications regulatory headquarters?” But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the LTA chair’s response came in her response to what she told the Senate Committee on Post and Telecommunications during her conrmation hearing where she insinuated that the LTA was unable to effectively carry out its functions because of lack of funds to procure certain equipment but could afford to lease a building for US$1.1 million.Explained Weeks: “The lack of Spectrum Monitoring Equipment was the specic mention made during the Senate hearing as a set back to the LTA's ability to monitor and manage the nation's scarce spectrum resource. The LTA has compelling information that suggests that a signicant number of radio stations in Liberia are operating with frequencies that have not been assigned by the LTA. The ability to monitor spectrum will enable us to curb the practice and collect much needed revenue through the licensing  process. The equipment costs over US$2 Million dollars and will be paid for over a number of years, including a down payment in the current  budget year. The LTA has completed the required PPCC  public tender process to select a vendor willing to pre-nance the procurement. We are now awaiting feedback from the Ministry of Finance in order to move the process forward.” Consultations by FrontPageAfrica with telecom sector stakeholders reveal that Madam Weeks has overstated the cost of a spectrum monitoring unit, something most telecom companies already possess. Tektronix, Agilent, Anritsu (Spectrum Analyzers) are some of the major brands for this equipments and one can easily ascertain the cost through the Internet ( Approx $100,000/-) Furthermore, every telecom company in Liberia has to pay annual spectrum fees estimated to total around $1.5 million every year. With the lease agreement now on hold, the million dollar question remains, what  becomes of the down payment already made to the Chinese Company? Would the LTA move back into the Methodist compound it previously used as an ofce? More importantly, many are wondering whether the regulatory body will explore options put forward  by the PPCC which included locating an ideal piece of land to build a permanent structure or better still, refurbish an existing property already owned by the government of Liberia? FACTS VS. FICTION  Wednesday, February 5, 2014 Page 4 |  Frontpage Wynfred Russell, Contributing Writer Fr   ontPage vv   Commentary E DITORIAL IN ORDERING A FREEZE of the accounts of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Tuesday, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf made the right choice, taking a decision that may not go down well with members of her kitchen Cabinet; but will certainly score brownie points among her critics unhappy over her dwindling ght against graft. THE PRESIDENT took the decision less than 48 hours after a FrontPageAfrica investigative report uncovered yet another wasteful spending on the part of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) in the tone of US$1.1 Million dollars. THE FRONTPAGEAFRICA REPORT revealed that LTA Chair Angelique Weeks had entered into an advanced negotiation with a Chinese company, Qingan International (Lib) Group Development Co. Ltd. (CNQC) to rent its apartment building to house the LTA. The building is located on the Congotown back road near the Baptist Church. IT IS INTERESTING to note that the National Investment Commission turned down an asking price of US$450, 000 per annum for the same building, causing many to wonder why the LTA settle for such a ridiculous offer.THE LTA, WHOSE lease with the Methodist Church, the landlord for one of its ofces in Sinkor expired last Sunday, had already moved into the controversial new building despite objections from the Ministry of Justice and the Public Procurement Concessions Commission.THE DEAL itself had all the markings of wasteful spending at the highest order. The LTA chair had agreed to pay US$385,000.00 (Three Hundred Eighty Five Thousand United States Dollars) per year, with a three-year upfront payment to a Chinese Landlord totaling US$1,155,000.00 (ONE MILLION, ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS). The four-story building contains thirty-one rooms and six bathrooms situated on two lots of land.THIS IS WHY we are happy that the President also took a decision Tuesday to suspend the US$1 million lease agreement between LTA and a Chinese company, Qinjian International, for the controversial  building.THE PRESIDENT who returned home Monday from an AU summit and a three-day state visit to Malawi, also took another decision Tuesday when she ordered through an Executive Mansion release, a full investigation into all standing contracts between the Ministry of Public Works and construction companies in the country. The President who took the decision following a meeting last evening with Public Works ofcials, is looking to ensure that Government gets the full value for money spent, a key concern for international partners, has directed all current and former ofcials of the Ministry of Public Works to cooperate fully with the investigation.THE DECISION WAS followed by the resignation of Deputy Public Works Minister for Technical Services, Mr. Victor Smith., who has directed him to remain in country and cooperate fully with the investigation.SMITH WAS involved in a heated exchange with Minister Antoinette Weeks last week resulting into what eyewitnesses say a rain of insults, prompting Smith to leave the ministry. The ght  between the pair comes in the wake of mounting tension pitting the minister at odds with her principal deputies, prompting allegations that Weeks has been micromanaging the ministry with very little input from senior staff toward agenda items/issues COMMENTARY STORY MUST NOT END WITH FREEZE OF LTA ACCOUNT WALKING DEAD N early six months after returning from Liberia, I visited the clinic in preparation for another possible working trip, only to be diagnosed with a rare and potential deadly condition. Invasive organ parasites lodged in my large intestine and threatening my liver and other vital organs were the last thing on my mind.My primary care doctor said I contracted human amebiasis infection. It is caused by Entamoeba histolytica, a protozoan intestinal parasite, transmitted mainly through fecally contaminated food, water, or hands. It can affect anyone, although it is more common in people who live in tropical countries associated with poor sanitary conditions, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.I think I was just unlucky. I lived in an ultra-modern gated compound with all the modern trappings. I didn't drink tap water or water from a well. I hardly ate street foods, except twice I bought grilled sh; I just couldn't resist the golden-brown roasted corns ubiquitous on most major intersections around the country. I had some of those too. I ate mainly at hotels and two upscale Liberian-owned restaurants. I did brush my teeth with water from the faucet, but I was told it was perfectly ne to do. However, I am thinking that was theculprit.Extreme gut-churning, tumbling every morning promptly between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. characterized my symptoms. This was a severe case because the parasites sounded like they had reached puberty and were constantly restless. Rehearsing for what I imagined to be a Hollywood science ction, blood-sucking, gory movie. The parasites would calm down as soon as I ate breakfast, leading my brother to joke that “my children” – worms – needed to be fed. This followed mild abdominal cramps and boisterous rumble that sounded like thunder claps. I took the popular over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medications Pepto Bismol and Imodium to no avail. I became really, really atulent. I understand gas and poop smell, but mine was consistently taking on a very unique, potent stench akin to a pit of dead skunks. Phew!I initially hesitated going to the clinic because I thought my symptoms were related to gastrointestinal sensitivity that me and a few of my band of brothers inherited from our father. So, after months of constant stomach bubbling and discomfort, I checked myself into the clinic. My internist ordered two sets of blood, stool, and urine tests. They all came back showing evidence of Entamoeba histolytica, which the National Institutes of Health says is the fourth leading cause of death and the third leading cause of morbidityinfections worldwide, resulting in 70,000 mortalities every year. If left untreated, it can slowly colonize the colon causing colitis, acute dysentery, or diarrhea. The infection can rob your body of nutrients and slowly spread through the blood to the liver and, rarely, to the lungs, brain, or kidneys. It is a serious condition that aficts people in “Africa, Mexico, parts of South America, and India have signicant health problems associated with amebiasis,” reports the CDC. The incubation period is seven to 28 days after being exposed to the parasite.When emails and telephone calls went unanswered, my doctor dispatched a nurse emissary. This is when I knew that my condition was serious. When my name was reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, then I knew it had reached a new level of concern. I was essentially a dead man walking! But, at least I amblessed to live in a State that is deemed the healthiest in the U.S. with state-of-the-art medical service. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened had I returned to Liberia without seeing my doctor with availablemodern diagnostic equipment? Or, what happens daily to those Liberians who lack basic health care services? Who is looking out for them?Now, I am on a wheelbarrow load of prescription drugs, sequentially. Treatment plan: Metronidazole 750mg pills for 10 days (no alcohol consumption); then after metronidazole, paromomycin 750mg pills for 7 days to kill the parasite eggs You can read the full commentary on www. frontpageafricanonline.com A GOOD MOVE MADAM, PRESIDENT BUT… WHILE WE EMBRACE the president’s decision on these issues, we do so with a bit of caution and a lower expectation considering the fact that the President has in previous years, turned to similar tactic for reprieve from questions dogging her seriousness about ghting corruption. The list goes on: From the Knucklesgate investigation to the November 7WE ARE ALSO puzzled as to why the President chose to order an investigation and freeze the LTA account without suspending the  board as she did when a similar act led to the suspension of the LIBTELCO board. THE LIBTELCO board was suspended pending a probe after members reportedly failed to stick to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in concluding a contract with a European company, Ketter Telecom (K3). WITH ALL eyes watching to see how the saga at the LTA and probe at Public Works will end, it remains to be seen how Sirleaf will handle the outcome of these investigations: Prosecute those found running afoul of the law or a redux of previous endings to these developments. Sirleaf must realize that she does not have the luxury of time on her side and must do all she can to score more brownie  points if she has any intentions of leaving a lasting legacy in Liberia.  My Battle with Liver-eating Parasites harboring in my stomach. My potassium and vitamin D levels were also compromised, so the physician prescribed Potassium CL and Vitamin D2. The doctor ordered additional blood tests to check for antibodies because he said “this parasite can sometimes cause more serious infections such as liver abscess. It may take a few weeks for the symptoms to resolve.” I feel ne with all major symptoms gone, but after treatment, I have to return to the lab for another stool culture to ensure that the parasites have been cleared from my system.When traveling to tropical countries where poor water quality and sanitation exists, drink puried or boiled water and do not eat uncooked vegetables, unpeeled fruits, or street foods. Personal health measures should include water purication, water chlorination pills, and regular hands washing. I did all that and still came down with alien parasites, but this is not an excuse to be complacent or fatalistic. Wynfred Russell can be contacted at wnrussell@hotmail.com
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