CHINESE ‘JUSTICE’: Chinamen Accused of Killing S. African Go on Trial in Liberia

August 11, 2010

Source: Star Radio Liberia

M. Welemongai Ciapha, II (213) 077-119-511

DAY IN COURT: Almost a year after the stabbing death of a South African national, allegedly by two Chinese nationals, the lawyer for the accused pair argued Tuesday that his clients could not speak the English Language, and further requested the court to obtain an interpreter. But the trial appears headed from some graphic details as the indictment suggests the victim, Wesley Craig, was allegedly stabbed to death with knives at his Randall Street residence on September 6, 2009 – and the accused had some serious motives for murder.

Monrovia –

The trial of two Chinese nationals, Meng Wang and Li Ma, who were indicted by the grand jury of Montserrado County for their involvement in the killing of a South African, began Tuesday at Criminal Court “B” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

The victim, Wesley Craig, was allegedly stabbed to death with knives at his Randall Street residence on September 6, 2009.

When the case was called for hearing, Atty. Sunifu Sherrif, who is one of the public defenders for Montserrado County brought to the attention of the court that his clients could not speak the English Language, and further requested the court to obtain an interpreter.

The defense submitted that his request was not intended to delay or baffle the proceedings, but in order for his clients to have fair justice.

In response to the application made by the defense, Cllr. Augustine C. Fayiah, one of the prosecuting lawyers interposed no objection.

According to the indictment, copy of which is in the possession of FrontPage Africa, on September 6, 2009 the defendants Wang and Ma purchased two knives with criminal motives and went to the victim’s house.

The indictment further noted that during police preliminary investigation conducted with the accused, it was established that the deceased and the defendants became friends at an entertainment center called the “Village”, where they usually met to play pool.

“That on Sunday, September 6, Wang and Ma with criminal motives, went to the victim’s house to visit him after purchasing the two kitchen knives.

That upon arriving, they met Craig and his fiancée, yet to be identified, and the house boy. They all had conversation for sometime after which the victim’s fiancée left,” the indictment averred.

The indictment further revealed that the defendants remained in the apartment with the deceased and the house boy, and about 6:00 P.M., when the house boy had left, the defendants later returned and knocked the door of the apartment.

When the door was opened, the indictment further disclosed the defendants, Wang and Ma, told Craig that they wanted some water to drink.

Accordingly, said the indictment: “the victim took them to his kitchen, opened the refrigerator and offered them water. When they got through the drinking, the victim walked ahead of them toward the front door, so that they could leave. In the process, they (defendants) grabbed the victim, put a sharp instrument believed to be a knife to the (victim’s) throat, and threatened to kill him if he did not give them the money he had in the house.”

According to the indictment, the victim pleaded with them that he did not have money, but the accused walked with the victim toward his bed-room while the knife was still at his throat.

It is stated in the indictment that the defendants commanded the victim to lay down on his back on the floor, and that while lying down with the knife still pointed at his neck by one of the defendants, the other defendant went in the room, took the victim’s shirt and trousers, tied his feet and hands.

Further in the indictment, it is also averred that the victim managed to have untied the rope, but when the defendants noticed that the victim had untied the rope, they rushed on him, threw him on the bed, got hold of the knives and began stabbing him all over his body.

“The victim was still struggling, when the defendants put his (victim’s) trousers on his neck and tried to strangle him, but to no avail. Co-defendant Meng Wang then slashed the victim’s throat to silence him. That after killing the victim, they searched his whole apartment for money, but did not find any,” the indictment stated.

The indictment further pointed out that after killing Craig, the defendants criminally took one laptop, one Digital Camera, a bed clock, a DVD player and a cigarette lighter and made away with them.

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Eyeing Opportunity: Lawmaker Wants Diaspora Liberians Vote In 2011 elections

August 11, 2010

Moses Varfee Kowo

Source: FrontPage Africa




Monrovia –

Lofa County Lawmaker, Eugene Fallah Kparkar, has submitted a draft Legislation seeking legal permission for Liberians legally living in other countries to vote in elections in their country.

Kparkar told journalists after the Act was sent to the Committees on Elections, Foreign Affairs and Judiciary that he hope his colleagues will see the proposal in a positive way and to continue the disenfranchisement of Liberians who are living in other countries legally.

Fallah Kparkar says all Liberians legally living in different countries should have the opportunity to vote in their embassies accredited near that country’s capital and that the National Elections Commission shall conduct voter registration for these Liberians at their embassies .

Drafters of the Act quotes article 5.1 of the New Electoral Reform Law of 2004 as their reliance which states: “ Except one who has been judicially declared to be incompetent or of unsound mind, or who has been barred from voting as a result of his/her conviction or imprisonment for an infamous crime which disenfranchises him as a voter and has not been restored to full citizenship, a Liberian citizen who has attained the age of 18 or above and a valid registration card may vote at any election in the voting precinct of the electoral district for which he/she is registered.”

Fallah Kparkar said all Liberians legally living in different countries should have the opportunity to vote in their embassies accredited near that country’s capital and that the National Elections Commission shall conduct voter registration for these Liberians at their embassies .

His remarks were clearly spelt out in section 5.2 of his proposed Act: “where to vote: a Liberian citizen who has attained the age of 18 years or above with a valid registration card shall vote only in the voting precinct in the electoral district for which he/she is registered”

“(B) A Liberian citizen in the Diaspora who has attained the age of 18 years or above with a valid registration card shall vote only in the Liberian Embassy of the country in which the voter resides and have gone through the registration process conducted by NEC in the same embassy.”

But some lawmakers are concern that Liberia might be lacking the technical capacity to conduct elections outside its borders at this time; but others also count on a recent successful process in Liberia in which Guineans residing in Liberia voted in their national elections.

The new recommendation is expected to raise new debate in the Legislature as some Liberians might struggle to define ‘what is the legal definition of people that are living in other parts of the world’.


Sime Darby Company in criminal allegations

August 11, 2010

Written by Matthias Daffah

Source: Star Radio Liberia

The multi-million dollar rubber concession company Sime Darby has been accused of criminally exploiting the former Guthrie Rubber Plantation.

Bomi County Representative Tarnue Cooper alleged the company which claims to have assets of 849-Million US dollars is still tapping the old rubber trees it inherited.

Representative Cooper alleged since its inception, Sime Darby has been paying workers from the meager latex obtained from the old rubber trees.

According to the Bomi lawmaker, workers who initially earned three hundred US dollars under the old management now earn fifty US dollars under Sime Darby.

The Senjeh District-Two Representative also accused the company of hiring drivers from Monrovia thus denying citizens of the area employment opportunity.

He said these hired drivers are usually given preferential treatment over their home-based counterpart something Representative Cooper described as unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Bomi County Representative Tarnue Cooper says Sime Darby is still using security people that resemble militia forces on the plantation.

He alleged the company has failed to implement its security program as provided for in the concession agreement.

All efforts to get a response from Government representative and Consultant at Sime Darby Boimah Soni failed as his phone rang endlessly.


Legislature approves resolution to amend constitution

August 11, 2010

Written by Julius Kanubah


Source: Star Radio Liberia

The Senate has finally concurred with the House of Representatives to approve a joint resolution to amend certain provisions of the 1986 Liberian Constitution.

In its session Tuesday, the Senate voted to concur with the House to amend Articles 52 (c), 72 (b), 83 (a) and (b).

The vote followed a report by the six-member conference committee chaired by Grand Gedeh Senator Isaac

Nyenabo.

The Senate endorsed the report for the controversial ten-year residency clause for the Presidency prior to election in Article 52 (c) to be reduced to five years.

Article 72 (b) which among others restricts judges of subordinate courts to retire at the age of seventy was amended for the judges to serve above seventy five years.

A change was also effected in the date of general voting contained in Article 83 (a) from the second Tuesday in October to the first Tuesday in November.

The Senate also agreed to amend Article 83 (b) to provide election of public officers not by absolute majority but by simple majority except for the Presidency.

The Chairman of the Senate’s conference Committee Isaac Nyenabo described the concurrence vote as a great day for Liberia.


Mass demolition of private homes claims House attention

August 11, 2010

Written by Julius Kanubah

Source: Star Radio Liberia

An investigation is underway at the House of Representatives into government’s ongoing demolition exercises in Monrovia and its environs.

The investigation is a result of a letter by Montserrado District-two Representative Rufus Neufville drawing the House attention to the situation.

According to him, the ongoing demolition by the Public Works Ministry which is opening alleys and streets in and around Monrovia is problematic.

Representative Neufville said it was disturbing for concrete structures to be demolished without any notice and compensation for the occupants.

The letter sparked heated debate in the House with division emerging among the Representatives.

Lawmakers including Alomiza Ennos, Reginal Teah, Koukou Dorbor, Edwin Snowe of Montserrado and Eugene Fallah Kparkar of Lofa supported the letter.

However, Representatives Haja Fatta Siryon of Bomi, Moses Kollie of Lofa and Elijah Seah of River Gee and Zoe Pennue of Grand Gedeh objected to the letter.

They argued that the occupants were given prior notice and that they have been reluctant to leave.

Amidst the division, the House summoned Public works Minister Kofi Woods to appear before its appropriate committee on Thursday for clarification.


Liberia/China US$ 8.6 million deal backfires

August 11, 2010

Written by Julius Kanubah

Source: Star Radio Liberia

The House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into an 8.6 million US dollars contract signed between Liberia and a Chinese firm.

The contract relates to the renovation of the dilapidated hotel building at the SKD Sports Complex in Paynesville.

The investigation by the House was triggered by a protest letter by Grand Gedeh Representative Zoe Pennue.

Representative Pennue claimed the contract was dubiously signed because it did go through the public procurement and concession commission’s laws.

According to him, it was important for the House to look at the agreement to ensure transparency and accountability.

In its session Tuesday, the House voted in majority to constitute a special committee to investigate the agreement.

The Committee comprises Montserrado Representative Koukou Dorbor, Chairperson, and Grand Gedeh lawmaker Kai Farley, Co-chair.

The membership includes Vinicious Hodges of Grand Bassa, Evans Koah of Nimba and the newly seated River Gee Representative Christian Chea.

Our reporter says the inclusion of lawmaker Chea on the committee came hours after he took the oath to defend and protect the Constitution of Liberia.