Ministry of Justice Suffers Crippling Blow, As Justice Minister and Attorney General Resigned, …

first_imgThe Ministry of Justice has responsibility for different parts of the justice system – the courts, prisons and probation services and legal aid. It works in partnership with the other government departments and agencies to reform the criminal justice system, to serve the public and support the victims of crime. It is also responsible for making new laws, strengthening democracy, and safeguarding human rights.But, within the past days the Ministry has suffered a crippling blow, which started with President Ellen Johnson  Sirleaf’s dismissal of key deputy ministers, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, Deputy Minister for Administration, and Public Safety; Ms. Victoria Sherman-Lang, Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs.The President also dismissed   Hilary Sirleaf-Siakor, Assistant Minister for Prisons.When she dismissed the officials, President Sirleaf contended that she was doing it because of their failure to return home to help in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.Her action, she said, was a follow-up to her directive regarding restrictions on travel of government officials, including their return within a week for those who were out of the country without an excuse. According to the Executive Mansion, these government officials “showed insensitivity to our national tragedy and disregard for authority.”Unfortunately, Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Christiana Tah resigned her post on Monday, October 6.In her resignation statement,  she argued that she was doing it because President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf blocked her investigation into fraud allegations against the country’s National Security Agency (NSA), which is headed by the president’s son.Announcing her resignation in a statement dated Oct. 6, Justice Minister Christiana Tah said she could not remain in office “and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under the Ministry of Justice.”  “What is the ‘rule of law’ if the president asserts that she does not trust the Ministry of Justice to independently investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency?” Minister Tah added.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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FIU Completes 1st Phase National Risk Assessment

first_imgFIU Director-General, Alex Cuffy Against money laundering and terrorist financingThe Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Liberia has completed the first phase of a national risk assessment (NRA) against money laundering and terrorist financing (ML &TF).The NRA, which will roll over a year, is to identify, assess and understand ML&TF’s risks and apply a risk-based approach to prevent or mitigate ML&TF.The first phase was held from April 17-19 at the Central Bank of Liberia with representatives from 20 financial and security institutions, including the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and GSM companies.The NRA is being sponsored by the African Development Bank (AfDB) with technical and financial support from the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) and the World Bank.FIU Director-General Alex Cuffy was understandably delighted with the kick-off, after several brainstorming exercises at home and abroad.“Our partners, who assisted us throughout this process, were pleased that we had a good set of people, who were selected and attended the workshop. And I am also pleased that they came out, and at the end of the day it is successful.“It was a workshop where people worked and made presentations. So there is a lot of expectation that everything will go on fine. The real work begins. In the next six months, this is the phase where all the teams from different institutions will be collecting the data,” said Cuffy, who heads the NRA coordinating team.He told ECOWAS Radio on April 19, 2018, that the NRA will be critical for Liberia within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global regulator on ML&TF.“We will be able to clearly identify where the problems are coming from. That is what we called the threats. And then we will clearly lay out our vulnerabilities. And then we will form a framework. And we would have identified and focused our limited resources on areas of high risks.“It [the NRA] is also important because Liberia is a part of the comity of nations. Money laundering and terrorist financing is a cross-border crime. That is why FATF is involved with this whole process,” added Cuffy, who was the only Liberian to work with the international community-led Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) from 2006-2010 in Liberia.Cuffy was praised by GIABA research and planning director Muazu Umaru, AfDB’s chief financial economist on the prevention of money laundering and illicit financial flows, (IFFs) Samuel Chukwuka Ijeh and World Bank senior financial sector specialist Cari Votava for leading Liberia’s NRA process.The FIU, under Cuffy, has issued four AM&TF regulations with the passage of a 2016 Anti-Terrorism Act.A governance steering committee, which is made-up of heads of 20 law enforcement entities and financial regulators, was formed as part of the NRA.It will be chaired by CBL and jointly co-chaired by the ministries of Finance and Development Planning and of Justice, which also co-chairs the FIU board of directors.Atty. Lafayette Gould, who is the special assistant in the office of Liberia’s solicitor-general, said the exercise is good.“It sets the basis for us to go out now and look for the problems that we are faced with when it comes to money laundering and terrorist financing.“I think the workshop is an eye-opener. And we are definitely going to make use of the knowledge gained from here to ensure that by the time we reach March 2019 we would have completed the process for the report to be submitted,” Gould declared.There are 21 predicate offenses, including drug trafficking, tax evasion, corporate crime, corruption, fraud and organized theft, illegal logging and fishing, people smuggling, sexual servitude, that are linked to money laundering.A technical working group will coordinate and collect all the data in order to hit the ground running with awareness and training opportunities.Zobon Kolenky, asset declaration and verification officer at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), believes the NRA will require a lot of attention to details.“Liberia is a part of a comity of nations and if our financial sector is vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing, we stand as a risky country to other nations. It affects our importation, which will also affect the prices of goods and services.“So it is a very good thing for us to open ourselves up to this exercise and for all stakeholders to cooperate with individuals who will be coming their way to ask questions. It is not an audit. It is about knowing how vulnerable our country is and what measures can be taken to correct those vulnerabilities. That is the important thing about this exercise,” said Kolenky.Liberia must complete its NRA in March 2019.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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SPORT-OLY-IND-SCHEDULE

first_imgRio de Janiero, Aug 19 (PTI) Indias schedule on day 14 Rio de Janiero, Aug 19 (PTI) Indias schedule on day 14 at the Rio Olympics Games here today. AUGUST 19 (all IST) BADMINTON: Womens singles gold medal match: P V Sindhu vs Carolina Marin (1855 hrs IST) GOLF: Round 3: Aditi Ashok (1600 hrs) WRESTLING: Mens 57kg: Sandeep Tomar (from 1830 hrs onwards) ATHLETICS: Mens 50km Race Walk Final: Sandeep Kumar (1630 hrs) Womens 20km Race Walk Final: Khushbir Kaur and Sapna (2300 hrs) Womens 4x400m Relay Heats: (0510 hrs on Aug 20) Mens 4x400m Relay Heats: (0540 hrs on Aug 20). PTI PDS PDSlast_img read more

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Beware of fake nationalism Tejashwi

first_imgPatna: RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has been in a sulk ever since his party drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections, has urged voters to be cautious of “issues like Hindus versus Muslims and fake nationalism” and choose a government without being affected by propaganda. The leader of Opposition, whose absence from the recently concluded assembly session in Bihar drew repeated criticisms from the treasury benches, shared his thoughts in a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday. “People must choose a government keeping in mind the issues that affect their daily lives, without being affected by propaganda,” Yadav said in the post titled ‘Dil ki baat’. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Assembly polls in Bihar are scheduled for next year. “If people give in to issues like Hindus versus Muslims and fake nationalism fall for enticements like a mere Rs 6,000 per annum, which amounts to just Rs 17 per day, why would any regime feel the need for solving their problems,” the 30-year-old stated. He was referring to the BJP-led central government’s ‘Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana’, under which the an income support of Rs 6,000 will be provided every year to small and marginal farmer families having combined land holding or ownership of up to two hectares. The RJD heir apparent also complained about the Nitish Kumar government for its “continuous harping on the situation that prevailed 25-30 years ago”, when the state was ruled by his father Lalu and, successively, by mother Rabri Devi.last_img read more

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Afghanistan vows to crush Islamic State havens after attack

first_imgKabul: Afghanistan’s president on Monday vowed to “eliminate” all safe havens of the Islamic State group as the country marked a subdued 100th Independence Day after a horrific wedding attack claimed by the local IS affiliate. President Ashraf Ghani’s comments came as Afghanistan mourns at least 63 people, including children, killed in the Kabul bombing at a wedding hall late Saturday night. Close to 200 others were wounded. Many outraged Afghans ask whether an approaching deal between the United States and the Taliban to end nearly 18 years of fighting America’s longest war will bring peace to long-suffering civilians. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of a dancing crowd, and the IS affiliate later said he had targeted a gathering of minority Shiites, whom it views as apostates deserving of death. Both the bride and groom survived, and in an emotional interview with local broadcaster TOLOnews the distraught groom, Mirwais Alani, said their lives were devastated within seconds. A sharply worded Taliban statement questioned why the US failed to identify the attackers in advance. Another Taliban statement marking the independence day said to “leave Afghanistan to the Afghans.” Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls More than anything in its nearly year-long negotiations with the US, the Taliban want some 20,000 US and allied forces to withdraw from the country. The US envoy in talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Sunday said the peace process should be accelerated to help Afghanistan defeat the IS affiliate. But Ghani on Monday asserted that the Taliban, whom the US now hopes will help to curb the IS affiliate’s rise, are just as much to blame. His government is openly frustrated at being sidelined from the US talks with the insurgent group, which regards the Afghan government as a US puppet. The Taliban “have created the platform for terrorists” with its own brutal assaults on schools, mosques and other public places over the years, the president said. More than 32,000 civilians in Afghanistan have been killed in the past decade, the United Nations said earlier this year. More children were killed last year 927 than in any other over the past decade by all actors, the UN said, including in operations against insurgent hideouts carried out international forces. “We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood,” Ghani declared. “Our struggle will continue against (IS), we will take revenge and will root them out.” He urged the international community to join those efforts. He asserted that safe havens for militants are across the border in Pakistan, whose intelligence service has long been accused of supporting the Taliban. The IS affiliate’s claim of the wedding attack said it was carried out by a Pakistani fighter seeking martyrdom. Ghani called on people in Pakistan “who very much want peace” to help identify the IS safe havens there. Last month after meeting with President Donald Trump, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan insisted he will do his best to persuade the Taliban to open negotiations with the Afghan government to resolve the war. Trump on Sunday told reporters he doesn’t want Afghanistan to be a “laboratory for terror.” He was briefed on Friday on the progress of the US-Taliban talks, of which few details have emerged. In a message marking Afghanistan’s independence and “century of resilience,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the weekend wedding bombing “an attack against humanity.” It was one of many international expressions of condemnation pouring in following the attack.last_img read more

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