Lawyers Fight to Dismiss FDA’s US$6M PUP Case

first_imgLawyers for four dismissed Frostery Development Authority (FDA) managers and a senior surveyor from the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy are fighting to convince Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court “C” to drop the US$6m case against their clients.Judge Gbeneweleh is serving as both the judge and jury, because the defense team chose to wave their rights for a jury.The judge will decide on Wednesday whether or not he will drop the charges against the defendants.Their clients are being tried for their alleged individual roles in the illegal issuing of up to 61 Private Use Permits (PUPs) that authorized commercial logging operations on nearly 2.5 million hectares of farmland in the country when they were serving in their respective positions.They were charged based on the report of a Special Independent Investigative Body (SIIB) setup by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to inquire about the issuance of the 61 PUPs by the defendants.The report is vital to the case but this is a claim the accused have denied and are yet to take the witness stand to testify in their own behalf. Their lawyers are petitioning Judge Gbeneweleh not to allow them to testify.Surprisingly, the defense team is pushing this argument after the prosecution had rested with the production of witnesses and documentary evidences.In their argument last Wednesday before Judge Gbeneweleh, a defense lawyer, Cllr. Albert Sim, said prosecutors’ witnesses failed to prove the guilt of the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt.According to a judicial expert, a burden of proof means the prosecutors must present evidence at the trial that proves beyond any doubt that the accused person committed the crimes for which he or she is being tried.The expert further said if the prosecution has not presented any evidence on a necessary fact then the case could be dismissed without the defendants having to put on any evidence, meaning that the defendants can’t take the stand.Further to the argument, Cllr. Sim explained that James Dorbor Jallah, who chaired the Special Independent Investigative Body (SIIB), charged that their clients failed to investigate one of the defendants, David Blayee, former County Surveyor of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, assigned in Grand Bassa County.Unfortunately, he contended, the Jallah Committee’s final report submitted to President Sirleaf recommended that Blayee be prosecuted along with the other defendants.During his testimony, Jallah admitted that his committee did not investigate Blayee. Instead, he was charged based on interviews they held with residents in those PUP areas.“They did not give him the due process under our law. He was not investigated, but indicted,” Cllr. Sim explained.According to him, the report was selective, which may cause it to lose its credibility.“The report recommended one month suspension for the board of Director of the FDA, Dr. Florence Chenoweth, who is the Minister of Agriculture,” he stated.He also added that Chenoweth was one of those who signed and approved the issuance of the PUPs to most of the logging companies, but unfortunately she is not being prosecuted.”He continued, “They are not schooled in the area of criminal investigation so how do they arrive at the US$6m. It was based on speculation.”Based on these, the defense team asked the court not to allow the defendants to testify, but to drop the case against them. In counter argument, a member of the prosecution team, Atty. Abraham Sillah, contended that they proved their case beyond reasonable doubt.”All of the witnesses we presented testified about each of the defendants’ role in the issuance of the PUPs,” he further argued. He admitted that the Jallah Committee did not investigate David Blayee, because, according to him, when Blayee heard that the group was going to his county for investigation, he fled the area.“We do not even need his investigation before we can indict him, because the committee visited most of the communities where they had issued the PUPs and collected information there, so they did not have to ask him for his side of the story, after he had fled,” Atty. Sillah explained, supporting the Jallah Committee’s decision not to investigating Blayee.According to him, during the investigation, nobody was arrested by the police, but it was after the committee presented its findings to President Sirleaf that she recommended that the defendants be prosecuted.Dismissed FDA Managing Director Moses Diakpo Wogbeh, along with other managers, including a surveyor at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, are charged with eeconomic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, forgery or counterfeiting obtaining and deceptive writings, obstruction of government by public servant in connection with the much publicized Private Use Permits (PUPs) saga.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Shareholder agreement being finalized – AG

first_imgLocal law schoolA local law school will be established here in Guyana, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams, has said. The Guyana Government plans to go ahead with its plans in this regard, despite several concerns having been raised relative to the process of establishing this law school. Government is now in the process of finalising a shareholders’ agreement in pursuance of this objective.Government had, in January 2017, announced it would start a project to establish the JOF Haynes Law School of the Americas through a public-private partnership entered into between the Government, the Law School of the Americas (LCA), and the University College of the Caribbean (UCC).Several burning concerns were brought to the fore, especially in relation to whether approval was granted by the Council for Legal Education (CLE), and whether the programme was accredited. Former Minister Anil Nandlall’s main concern is whether Guyanese be able to practice law throughout the Caribbean.According to Williams, a recently completed Canadian-funded study into legal education in the region has recommended the establishment of law schools here, Antigua and Jamaica. It also recommended that the CLE serve as a regulatory body, rather than one that manages the day to day affairs of law schools.The minister said he supports these recommendations and it is now left up to the regional Governments to discuss and decide on this matter at the Caribbean Community (Caricom) level. He noted however that this study only helps to bolster Guyana’s request to have a law school established here.“We are confident that we really need a law school,” Williams told the media as he explained the recent increased tuition fees at the Hugh Wooding Law School and the difficulty of having Guyanese students live and study in Trinidad and Tobago also support Guyana’s push in this direction.To substantiate his point, the minister said, “Tuition fees this year have been increased at Hugh Wooding and are now TT$97,000…, well over $3 million (Guyana dollars)…that’s only for tuition, they still have to live and exist in Trinidad.”He also made the point that Trinidad and Barbados churn out at least 200law graduates yearly, while Guyana is allowed to have only 25 or less lawyers trained on an annual basis. Williams noted that with the impending oil and gas sector, Guyana would need more trained and competent lawyers.“…especially at this time, with how Guyana is poised…we would need lawyers to deal with oil and gas, we would need lawyers to deal with the green state and economy. So we have a lot of capacity to build.”Williams is adamant that Guyana has not been refused permission to set up a law school here. As such, preparations are being made to advance this process with the identification of space at the University of Guyana (UG) Turkeyen campus, where the proposed school would be built.The AG has said, however, that while UG has identified 15 acres of the 150 acres that it has situated close to the area that houses the Forensic Laboratory, the amount would not be sufficient. While the CLE has agreed to establish a law school in Guyana, approval would be granted only after a feasibility study is conducted.Williams had attacked CLE Chairman Reginald Armour for responding to the concerns raised by former Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall without consulting with the current Government on the matter. He said this was one of the reasons why the establishment of this law school was delayed, and it had nothing to do with non-approval.Williams maintains that a Review Committee could not overrule a decision taken by the Council in 2017 in regard to the issue of whether Guyana should be allowed to build a law school.The AG had said members of Guyana’s committee included the Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards; Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George; Retired Justices Duke Pollard, Claudette Singh and Rudolph James; Professor Harold Lutchman, and the Registrar of UG, Dr Nigel Gravesande.last_img read more

Ministers bypass GPHC, local medical facilities

first_img…to seek medical treatment in IrelandWhen in the Opposition, members of the coalition parties now in Government had criticised members of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for seeking medical treatment overseas, instead of utilising the national facilities. However, Government ministers have been flying to Ireland to obtain medical treatment.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, disclosed during a post-Cabinet press briefing on Friday that “Ministers have sought permission to travel to Ireland for medical treatment; and, so far, those bills are dealt with by the Ministers themselves.”The Minister of State was at the time responding to questions by the local media about a situation in which ministers go to Ireland to seek medical attention when the public health system has been touted by Government as better equipped than in previous years.Some Ministers of Government along with President David GrangerHarmon affirmed that the ministers were seeking “the best” treatment possible, hence their decision to go to Ireland instead of the Caribbean or North America. He, however, did not give the names of the ministers.Meanwhile, there are also plans to have a medical insurance policy set up for ministers of Government. According to Harmon, the coalition Government and an insurance company have been in negotiation in regard to the establishment of a medical insurance policy that would take care of those matters in the future.“In the opinion of the ministers who have gone, that is where they can get the best treatment for whatever the ailment,” he said. “But (these) are expenses borne by them; and later on, when the insurance policy kicks in, then the insurance policy will deal with these matters.”The idea of having an insurance policy to cater to the medical needs of ministers was initiated by the PPP while in office. It was touted in response to criticisms of the practice that had then obtained.last_img read more

Healthy living challenge with Northern Health

first_imgInitiated in the fall of 2014, the healthy living challenge has participants build on what they’ve learned over the previous six weeks – with the first two challenges focused on walking the Great Northern Circle Route and tracking the steps taken.”The goal is to engage men where they’re at right now and encourage them to take steps to improve their health today and for the long-term,” Northern Health’s regional lead for men’s health Margaret Jones-Bricker says.Employees involved in the pilot – including those from Excel Trucking, Lomak Bulk Carriers Ltd, the City of Terrace, and Ridley Coal Terminal – are now a part of a healthy living competition, as each participant will earn points for every healthy eating choice they make, as well as the time they spend engaged in physical activity outside of work. These points will then translate into goals and ice time as men compete in the PLAYOFF hockey challenge.- Advertisement -“Physically I feel great,” Lorenzo Webb, an employee of Lomak Bulk Carriers in Prince George says. “I look fit and my steps have gone up from about 14,000 before the Step Up challenge to 20,000 after.”The program, aimed at improving men’s health in the workplace, is collaboration between the B.C. and Yukon Division of the Canadian Cancer Society, the B.C. Cancer Agency, Northern Health, and researchers from Athabasca University and the University of British Columbia.It is funded through a Canadian Cancer Society grant.Advertisementlast_img read more

If anyone can beat Real, then it’s Bayern – Rummenigge

first_imgBayern host the first leg at Munich’s Allianz Arena with the return at Madrid’s Bernabeu on May 1.The German giants warmed up by romping to a 6-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday in the German Cup semi-final.“It was a demonstration of the footballing quality of our team,” added Rummenigge.“To be a FC Bayern fan must be paradise at the moment.“The team clearly has a tremendous quality for achieving everything it wants to.”Bayern could repeat their 2013 treble.They are in the German Cup final on May 19 and have already secured a sixth straight Bundesliga title.The Bavarian giants ran riot in Leverkusen as Germany forward Thomas Mueller scored twice and helped set up the opening goal in a man-of-the-match performance.Star striker Robert Lewandowski was credited with two more goals to add to his 38 in 42 matches this season for Bayern.Having led 2-1 at the break, Bayern turned on the style in the second-half.Arjen Robben, Thiago Alcantara and Mueller, twice, hit four goals in a devastating 26-minute spell.Leverkusen are third in the Bundesliga, but trail Bayern by a massive 24 points and the gulf in class showed.“It was a football demonstration for a long period,” beamed Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes.“We put in a top performance against a good opponent.“We were incredibly motivated and focused.“We’re in a really good mood.”Heynckes heaped praise on Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, who made outstanding saves to twice deny Leverkusen winger Karim Bellarabi.– ‘Dominant team’ –“We were the dominant team, but there were always situations where Sven Ulreich saved us. He was outstanding,” said Heynckes.Mueller agreed.“That was advertising for German football,” said the Germany forward.“We were 2-0 ahead, then it was 2-1 and Ulle (Ulreich) kept us in the game with two saves.“The team did a great job, of course we want more — we feel it’s possible.”Real Madrid knocked Bayern out of the Champions League last season at the quarter-final stage.The Spaniards won 2-1 in Munich as superstar Cristiano Ronaldo netted two second-half goals before Bayern lost 4-2 in the second leg in Madrid.Nevertheless, Bayern are in the mood to deny Ronaldo and his Real team a third straight Champions League title this season.“If we play like we did (against Leverkusen), it’ll be hard for Real too,” said Bayern goalkeeper Ulreich.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Bayern Munich warmed up for Real Madrid by thrashing Leverkusen to reach the German Cup final © AFP / Patrik STOLLARZBERLIN, Germany, Apr 18 – Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has thrown down the gauntlet to Real Madrid ahead of next Wednesday’s home Champions League semi-final, first leg.“We have to keep our concentration until next Wednesday, but if anyone can beat Real Madrid at the moment, it’s FC Bayern,” boasted Rummenigge.last_img read more

Louis van Gaal: ‘I cannot guarantee Manchester United silverware this season’

first_imgLouis van Gaal wants to “manage expectations” at Manchester United and stressed there is no guarantee he will win silverware this season.United crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage on Tuesday when they suffered an embarrassing 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg.Van Gaal’s critics again railed against the Dutchman in the wake of the defeat.Paul Scholes labelled United ”average” while his former team-mate Rio Ferdinand said dropping into the Europa League was ”an embarrassment”.But if United fans were looking for a rallying cry from their manager in the wake of the humbling defeat, they did not get one.Van Gaal was asked at a press conference on the eve of United’s trip to Bournemouth whether he could make up for the club’s Champions League exit by winning the Barclays Premier League.“No. It is difficult,” the United manager said.“You (the media) want to raise the expectations. We shall do everything to win something but it is very difficult.“For the fans it shall be like that. But I want to manage the expectation. It is not as easy as everybody thinks.“You can see what is happening in the Premier League every week. It is not so easy.”Van Gaal was criticised heavily for failing to lead Barcelona out of the group stages 18 years ago, and he responded by winning the Spanish league.To achieve the same feat in England with United will be harder according to the Dutchman, who thinks the gap is closing between the clubs at the top and bottom of the Premier League and across Europe.“The world has changed,” Van Gaal said.“In 1997 I was out of the group stages with Barcelona. They are also a big club, there was also a lot of criticism in the media. But then we won the title. That was minor criticism at that time.“Only one club can win the Champions League each season. It is not so easy to do that, now.“Then three or four clubs had great money. Now we have much more clubs who have the money.“It is the same in the Premier League. Next year, all the clubs in the Premier League have a bigger budget than most of the clubs in Europe.” Louis van Gaal 1last_img read more

Sierra Club lauds projects

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The Sierra Club hopes to discourage the construction of low- density, vehicle-dependent communities that have characterized most recent development in the United States. The projects that made the Sierra Club list include the Pearl District in Portland, Ore., a former industrial section of the city redeveloped into a thriving neighborhood; the Town Green Village Project in Windsor, Calif., a $120 million redevelopment project centered around a 4-acre green plaza; the East Downtown Redevelopment Project in Albuquerque, N.M., bringing residential life into an area once dotted with budget hotels and vacant buildings; and the Fruitvale Transit Village Project in Oakland, Calif., a mixed-use development project on a 9-acre plot that was previously a parking lot. SAN FRANCISCO – The Sierra Club on Wednesday issued its first “Guide to America’s Best Development Projects” to encourage the construction of environmentally friendly homes and communities. Better known for fighting urban sprawl, the nation’s oldest and largest environmental organization released the list of 12 projects nationwide to offer developers and city planners models for building “healthy and livable communities.” “Too often local governments accept poorly planned development, and the traffic that goes with it, because they believe they have no other choice,” Executive Director Carl Pope said. “Our hope is that Americans will look at these winning projects and demand better projects in their own communities.” The 12 projects were selected based on criteria including: access to public transportation; redevelopment of existing urban areas; homes located near businesses and offices; minimal pollution; and energy-efficient design. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Men’s Tennis Claims Two Doubles Titles At Drake Invitational

first_imgStory Links Drake Invite Doubles Draw The Bulldogs will continue competition at the Drake Invitational with the first three rounds of the singles draws on Saturday. Print Friendly Version DES MOINES, Iowa — The Drake University men’s tennis team claimed a pair of doubles titles at the Drake Invitational at the Roger Knapp Tennis Center, while junior Vinny Gillespie dropped two matches at the Oracle ITA Masters in Malibu, Calif. on Friday.center_img Oracle ITA Masters Draws The Bulldogs got out to an extremely great start at the Drake Invitational. Senior Ben Wood and junior Tom Hands won the Flight 1 doubles draw, while junior Ben Clark and sophomore Barny Thorold took home the Flight 2 draw.Gillespie, who is ranked 52nd nationally in singles, came up just short to No. 49 Billy Griffith from California, losing 7-6(3), 6-4 in the second-round of the exclusive Oracle ITA Masters. He ended his day falling in the quarterfinals of the mixed doubles draw with partner Elizabeth Tsvetokov from Stony Brook.last_img read more

CAN YOU HELP THIS WOMAN FIND DAD MISSING FOR 35 YEARS?

first_imgA mother-of-two is hoping that her 35-year search for the father whom she last saw when she was just six months old will lead to a long-awaited reunion.Sharon Brogan Anabraba, 50, originally from Sunderland but who now lives in London, is eager to find a man named Peter Flanagan, who she strongly believes has Irish roots and might be from Donegal.As a result of years spent in care in the northeast of England between the ages of five to 17, Sharon completely lost touch with her father. But she is optimistic that a renewed appeal will help to locate her dad and give her a sense of identity.“I’ve been searching for 35 years to find my father, I’ve been to Ireland to find out what I can but I had no luck,” she told The Irish Post. “I don’t know much about him, but I do have the details that my mum shared with me before she died.”Sharon’s mother, Sylvia Brogan (née Johnson), died last year at the age of 84.Before she was put into care Sharon lived with her mother at 5 Marley Crescent, Southwick in Sunderland. “She told me that he was slightly younger than her, so maybe he’s early 80s,” she said. “He had black hair and was tall, I know that’s quite a common characteristic but it’s what I know.”Whilst she’s eager to find her father, start learning about her Irish heritage and meet relatives she never knew about, Sharon is treading carefully in her appeal.She said: “He may have a family now, who knows, I don’t want to disrupt that. But it would be good to finally meet him and put a face to the name. I have kids of my own so it would be great to find my father.”Peter worked for Murphy’s construction company during the 1960s fixing pipes in Middlesbrough and Sunderland alongside his brother Felix and a friend called Eddy McTiernan.During this time, Peter lived in Middlesbrough near a park close to the town centre and frequented a pub called The Queen’s Head. “I know it’s a long shot but I’ve been searching for so long, maybe this time it’ll work.”CAN YOU HELP THIS WOMAN FIND DAD MISSING FOR 35 YEARS? was last modified: October 22nd, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

QPR v Wednesday: Hill in, Henry out

first_imgClint Hill comes into the QPR side for the game at Loftus Road – one of three changes to the Rangers starting line-up.Nedum Onuoha moves to right-back in place of the suspended James Perch, with Hill coming in at centre-back because Gabriele Angella has been nursing a foot injury.Karl Henry drops to the bench along with Leroy Fer, with Daniel Tozser and Massimo Luongo coming into the team.Sheffield Wednesday, meanwhile, are without on-loan midfielder Alex Lopez.QPR: Green, Onuoha, Hall, Hill, Konchesky, Sandro, Tozser, Phillips, Luongo, Chery, Emmanuel-Thomas.Subs: Smithies, Angella, Fer, Faurlin, Doughty, Hoilett, Henry.Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Loovens, Semedo, Nuhiu, McGugan, Lees, Wiggins, Sougou, Bannan, Forestieri.Subs: Wildsmith, Hutchinson, Joao, Lee, Sasso, Wallace, PudilFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img