GOL Must Stop the Corrupt Practice of Front-Loading

first_imgIt is called “Front Loading” in Government circles and it has been trending since 2006 and there is no sign yet on the horizon of the scrapping of this odious policy that promotes and encourages corruption in the handling of government contracts.Front Loading is a system or practice wherein a contractor of a given project is paid fifty percent (50%) of the total value of the contract well before any actual work is done. Under such arrangements kickbacks are paid upfront by the contractor to holders of the project. In a number of cases on record, the projects are left uncompleted, thus requiring the project holder to seek new contractors to complete the project.When selected, the new contractor’s first action is to condemn all work done by the previous contractor in order to provide justification for refinancing of the project. When the bidding/selection process is completed, the new contractor is front-loaded meaning fifty percent (50%) of the fees charged is paid up front to facilitate and enable the payment of kickbacks.Thus for example, a donor may provide financial support to a government project which the donor may not have the resources or expertise to execute directly. Under what is referred to as a “Loan on Arrangement” (LOA) funds are transferred on request to the particular government agency in charge of the project.Under such arrangements, the Government of Liberia, upon completion of the project, provides a full report to the donor agency detailing how the funds were expended. It is a process meant to facilitate and enhance rapid and efficient delivery of services to the Government of Liberia.But the system has been subject to abuse and it is now high time that such system and practice come under critical review. Why? Because through abuse of the system by corrupt functionaries, thousands if not millions of dollars intended for public use, are siphoned off to private pockets.It is this practice which appears to be embedded in the recently passed EBOMAF contract agreement wherein the selected contractor will be paid sixty percent (60%) upfront even before he commences the project. And this may probably be the same situation with the Eton financed road project agreement.To drive the matter home the story carried in the June 22nd edition of the Daily Observer and subsequent revelations is a case in point. The United Nations Development Program provided support to the Liberian Judiciary for the construction of court house facilities in Botota, Bong County.According to Daily Observer reporter Abednego Davis who covered the story, the cost of the project was put at US$138,269.96 and that UNDP proceeded to pay 90 percent of the project cost before the project was completed. The project was not completed and the contractor, Semoh Group of Companies was taken to court as a result.What is now emerging is that a corrupt functionary, then in the employ of UNDP had manipulated the bidding results and awarded the contract to a company he owned, never having disclosed his personal connection to the Semoh Group of companies.Consistent with the practice of “Front-Loading” the Semoh Group of Companies requested fifty percent (50% ) payment upfront from Judiciary officials, under the “LOA” arrangement frequently used by government agencies executing donor supported projects.The Judiciary paid this money upfront rather than as per completion of milestones or benchmarks as would ordinarily be the case. New contractors hired to complete the project according to available information, firstly condemned previous work done on the project and accordingly demanded “Front Loading”.But the problem was Semoh Group of Companies had already been “Front-Loaded” and the Judiciary was not placed to provide the required funds for new “Front-Loading”. It is our understanding that the owner of the Semoh Group of Companies had been separated from the UNDP after he fraudulently manipulated the bid results, although his fraudulent act had not at the time been discovered.The point being underscored here is that our financial and accountability systems especially those concerning procurement of goods and services have over the years been bastardized and transformed into instruments of personal control and self-enrichment. Consider how, for example, the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission was conveniently left out of the process selecting the road contractors in the recent road financing agreements.The both loan agreements appear to be smelly of the odious “Front-Loading” arrangements. The raucous cheers from legislators, calling on the George Weah Government to source yet more loans, without even subjecting the loan agreements to rigorous scrutiny, ring loud bells of suspicion about the unprecedented haste with which those agreements were approved by the Legislature.As it appears, the uncompleted Belle Yella road project and several uncompleted projects around the country which are all suffering from the “Front-Loading” syndrome have not taught our leaders any lessons at all. More worrisome is the prospect of possible failure of the newly proposed road projects, since no performance bonds required of the proposed contractors.Why were all such lapses including the virtual waiver of due diligence requirements permitted to stand? Is it because our officials have been “Front-Loaded”? The practice of Front-Loading must be stopped and it should be done NOW.Donor agencies are called upon to ensure that funds intended for the use and benefit of ordinary Liberians are not used to “Front-Load” corrupt officials.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Product still on the shelves of local supermarkets

first_imgGA-FDD’s recall of LAILAC infant milkThe International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA) Guyana Ltd is ignoring a recall issued by the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) for LILAC Infant Milk.LAILAC Infant Formula on the shelf of a leading supermarket in GeorgetownIPA is the local distributor of LAILAC Infant Milk. It insists that although the product does not comply with the GA-FDD’s substantive standards to be defined as infant milk, nor with its procedural requirements to be imported into the country, the product should be available for sale to the public.The GA-FDD, in early February 2016, issued a recall for the product.When Guyana Times visited several supermarkets on Wednesday, more than six weeks after the recall deadline of March 22, 2016, the product was on the shelves. The IPA has persistently disregarded the GA-FDD’s instructions contending that LAILAC Infant Milk is a milk-based baby formula.It was also reported that LAILAC Infant Milk is still being sold at retail and wholesale entities in and around Georgetown.The GA-FDD issued the recall on two grounds – the product’s noncompliance with Food and Drug Regulation (12) of 1977, which prohibits distributing a product in Guyana that is not distributed in its country of origin. The IPA has admitted its LAILAC product was not sold in France, the country of origin but only in the Third World. The IPA continues to argue that the product is being distributed in France, but under a different brand.The company said that LAILAC was a regional brand name for products manufactured by the French Company Nutribio for the African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern markets.The IPA also argued that the product LAILAC Milk is distributed in France under the name NUTRILAC. This publication also checked a number of retailers of infant milk in France, but none of them have LAILAC as a product on sale locallyGA-FDD Director Marlon Cole was quoted in other sections of the media as saying that LAILAC was not and could not possibly be sold in France as milk.“Our regulations clearly state that the product must be free distributed in the country of production. That product is not sold in France. No other Caribbean country has LAILAC Milk. It is not milk,” he was quoted as saying.Cole has based his conclusion on a reading of the product’s label which shows that the product is labelled infant milk although in the production process vegetable oils were used to replace milk fat.This is the second ground on which the GA-FDD based its recall order.According to the GA-FDD, in making the product as close as possible to “mother’s milk”, some vegetable oils were added to the cow milk-based substance. When digested by infants, the formula can prove to be dangerous since the fatty acids in the triglycerides produced influence their function negatively.last_img read more

Man shot 7 months ago dies of wounds

first_imgLA PUENTE – A man shot seven months ago in La Puente has died of his wounds and police still have no suspects in his death, officials said. John Quesenberry, 22, died Saturday after being hospitalized at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Los Angeles since July, officials said. Sgt. Richard Garcia of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said Quesenberry was shot about 11:25 p.m. July 2 at a Jack in the Box restaurant at 1805 Hacienda Blvd. “The victim and two of his friends were in the drive-through at Jack in the Box when they were approached by a couple of male Hispanics,” Garcia said. “One of them fired into the vehicle, which struck the victim in the head.” Garcia said the shooting is believed to have been gang-related. No one else was injured. Police have no additional information on the suspects and are asking for the public’s help, Garcia said. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. nisha.gutierrez@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109 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

Tottenham line-up v Real Madrid: New signings to start and hero to make shock return?

first_imgTottenham Hotspur, rather oddly, have not one but two pre-season games this week, just days before they begin their campaign against Manchester United on Saturday.Spurs’ first test over in Munich, as they compete for the Audi Cup, is the mighty Real Madrid and the prospect of facing a couple of friendly faces in Gareth Bale and Luka Modric on Tuesday evening.With their first game of the season so close it will be intriguing to see how Mauricio Pochettino manages his squad, especially when they will face either AC Milan or Bayern Munich tomorrow.How Tottenham could line up against Real Madrid: Tottenham Hotspur players celebrate Harry Kane’s goal against MLS all-stars GoalkeeperTottenham Hotspur have been handed a huge boost ahead of the new season with reports Hugo Lloris could be fit to face Manchester United on Saturday. He’s been pictured training despite fracturing his wrist earlier in the summer. Deputy Michel Vorm is still likely to be the starting shot-stopper against Real Madrid though.DefenceIt’s shaping up to be one hell of a battle for the role of right-back at White Hart Lane this season. Kyle Walker’s career has stalled with poor form and injuries leaving him a little way off his best, while Spurs swooped to sign Burnley’s talented Kieran Trippier. As Walker started against MLS all-stars, we could see the later play from the off against Real Madrid.Elsewhere, despite interest from Chelsea, Danny Rose should start at left-back, and in the middle Jan Vertonghen is likely to team up with compatriot Toby Alderweireld in the middle of the back four, while Federico Fazio and Kevin Wimmer will replace them.MidfieldThankfully, Pochettino has plenty of options in midfield so the team will be rotated heavily. It could allow the Argentine to give new boy Dele Alli a test against a higher level of opponent, while also giving Ryan Mason some much-needed pre-season minutes.Youngsters Harry Winks and Josh Onomah also travelled but expect them to play a bigger role in Wednesday’s match and Eric Dier, who played at right-back and centre-back last year could reprise a defensive midfield role too after three pre-season matches in this position.Either Thomas Carroll or Nabil Bentaleb is the likely partner for Alli, while, further forward and on the wings, Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen will feature.AttackTottenham have named just forward in their squad for these two games and it is – you’ve guessed it – Harry Kane. He won’t play both games though and we could see Chadli, or even Mousa Dembele, operate as a frontman at points. 1 1last_img read more

MY DONEGAL …….LETTERKENNY CHAMBER CEO TONI FORRESTER

first_imgToni Forrester is CEO of Letterkenny Chamber. She may be a native of Belfast but her heart belongs to Donegal and its people. This is her Donegal.Letterkenny Chamber Chief Executive Toni ForresterWhat is your favourite place in Donegal and why? Well obviously I spend a lot of time in Letterkenny and it has some fantastic features, but I am also a bit of a fan of Kinnego Bay. I love it’s history but more importantly I love the golden sand and the beauty of this special place.If you could change one thing about Donegal what would it be?The access to Donegal in terms of roads and how fantastic it would be to have a rail system through the county. Who is the one person in Donegal that you look up to and why?I have a great admiration for all the business people and managers of companies that I have met through the Chamber. They are all determined, positive and committed to both their businesses and to Letterkenny.Daniel O’Donnell or Packie Bonner?It has to be Packie Bonner – I remember way back to the glory daysWhat has been Donegal’s proudest moment in recent years?Letterkenny hosting the All Ireland Fleadh was a special time. This is a huge event and it was so successful for all involved.What was Donegal’s saddest moment? I can only mention the tragic road deaths that are thankfully reducing, but over the years there have been some very sad times.What is your favourite Donegal-made product?I am a bit of a fan of Donegal Rapeseed oil. I first heard of it at an event here locally with food by Rathmullan House and now I use it all the time.Who is Donegal’s greatest ambassador around the world and why? There are people like Hugh Green who have done so much for Letterkenny and Donegal but we also have to appreciate what Daniel does as an ambassador for the CountyWho is Donegal’s most successful businessperson in your opinion?Sir Gerry Robinson, and by coincidence Letterkenny Chamber has an event coming up with him in SeptemberWho is your favourite Donegal sportsperson of all time?Packie BonnerWhat is your favourite Donegal restaurant?The Yellow Pepper, right in the heart of LetterkennyDonegal’s golden eagles or basking sharks?Golden EaglesYour nomination for Donegal’s most stylish person?Clare McNickle , owner of Clare ClothingWhat is your favourite Donegal saying or expression?“Imagine if we had the weather”Will Donegal win the All Ireland this year?Of course they will.What is your favourite Donegal food?The wonderful fish found round our shores and I am a bit of a dulse fan.Is there anything that really annoys you about Donegal or its people?Sometimes there is a lack of confidence in ourselves and we can be a little parochial. We are all ambassadors for the North West and we need to be able to sell what we have here with confidence. We need to see teamwork and co-operation to really make things happen.If you had a million euro to spend on improving something in Donegal, what would it be?I would like to look at Market Square in Letterkenny and really make it a centre of attraction for bands, gatherings, markets, etc.MY DONEGAL …….LETTERKENNY CHAMBER CEO TONI FORRESTER was last modified: July 11th, 2012 by StephenShare 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)Tags:CEOLetterkenny ChamberMY DONEGALToni Forresterlast_img read more

Stoke manager speaks out on Jack Butland to Chelsea rumours

first_img Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ LATEST TRANSFER NEWS Butland has returned from holiday for Stoke’s pre-season Butland was part of the England squad which reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia and has been heavily linked with Chelsea this summer.But Rowett told Stoke’s official website: “I don’t believe any rumours if I’m honest.“I understand the good players are going to be linked with good clubs which is great, I get that.“That shows the level of player we’ve got at this club.“It shows the level Jack Butland is at as a young keeper and that those clubs might potentially look at him.” The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star 2 targets moving on REVEALED Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father LATEST Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade center_img Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti Stoke manager Gary Rowett has dismissed speculation linking England goalkeeper Jack Butland with a summer move.Butland reported for pre-season training on Friday after being given extended leave by Stoke this summer. LIVING THE DREAM Butland has been linked with Chelsea Stoke’s 10-year stay in the Premier League came to an end in May and the Potters start their Sky Bet Championship campaign at Leeds on August 5.And Rowett also confirmed that Butland will play in the Potters’ final pre-season game against St Pauli in Hamburg on Saturday.Rowett said: “We’ve given him as much time off as we think we can.“He will travel with the team to St Pauli and he’ll start the game against them because we think we need to get him some minutes with the team.” targets Man United joined by three other clubs in race for Erling Haaland RANKED IN DEMAND 2 Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summerlast_img read more

Giants make big schedule change for night games at AT&T

first_imgThe Giants can’t promise they’ll get off to a better start in 2019, but at least their night games will be getting off to earlier starts.In a letter to season ticket holders, Giants president Larry Baer revealed weeknight game times at AT&T will begin at 6:45 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than previous seasons.Baer said the earlier starting times for home games on Monday through Thursday will “better serve fans and families during the work week.”The Giants’ “Orange Fridays” will continue to start …last_img read more

Lucy Gets a Date with Big Man

first_imgAnother specimen of Australopithecus afarensis has been announced from Ethiopia.  This one supposedly preceded Lucy by 400,000 years, and according to its discoverers, belonged to a group of primates that shows they “were almost as proficient as we are walking on two legs, and that the elongation of our legs came earlier in our evolution than previously thought.”  The discovery by Yohannes Haile-Selassie’s team, was published in PNAS.1  It was immediately announced in the press by National Geographic, Science Daily and PhysOrg.    True to tradition, the discoverers had to give the specimen a catchy name for the press.  In the local Afar tribal language, it’s Kadanuumuu, but in English, it’s Big Man.  That’s because the male had substantially larger stature than Lucy – 5 feet instead of her 3 feet.  The researchers claim this specimen is 3.6 million years old (compared to Lucy’s 3.2 million).  Ardipithecus ramidus (Ardi), found in the same general area, is said to be 4.4 million years old.    The main claims about Big Man is that it shows upright posture more than Ardi, based on pelvic positions and limb proportions.  Only a scapula, a few ribs, parts of the neck and one shoulder, parts of the pelvis, one arm and one leg were found – no skull fragments.    Only National Geographic offered a dissenting opinion.  Its writeup included the observations of Zeresenay Alemseged, an anthropologist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.  He doubts that it belongs to A. afarensis, and says that without skull fragments and teeth, it is hard to make a positive identification.  He also thinks Lucy and another baby specimen claimed to be 3.3 million years old show evidence of living in the trees.    In the paper, the team admitted that fitting the new find into an evolutionary sequence requires a bit of punctuated equilibrium.  Here’s what the last paragraph said:The total biomechanical pattern of Au. afarensis involves a host of specialized postcranial characters, all of which are fully consistent with data reported here for KSD-VP-1/1,2 those previously available for Au. afarensis, and the Laetoli footprints (58, 60), which at 3.66 Ma are just slightly older than KSD-VP-1/1 (61).  Equally important are similarities between the Au. afarensis pelvis and the recently described H. erectus specimen from Busidima (BSN49/P27a�d) (11).  These similarities are particularly striking, especially in light of the time separating them (at least 2.2 million years).  Such constancy of morphotype suggests that highly derived terrestrial bipedality enjoyed a long period of stasis punctuated only occasionally by additional modifications to the postcranium of apparently decreasing selective significance (e.g., length of pedal intermediate phalanges, lower limb length).It should be noted that the Laetoli footprints, dated earlier than this specimen, are identical to modern human footprints (03/22/2010).  Haile-Selassie seems to be claiming that bipedality evolved in a few hundred thousand years, then remained essentially unchanged except for minor details for almost four million years.1.  Haile-Selassie et al, “An early Australopithecus afarensis postcranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Published online before print June 21, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1004527107.2.  This is the designation for the new fossil.This is the lightning flash before the thunder.  The news media all light up on cue, but then the long peals of thunder hit when the other teams get angry at the Ethiopian team for trying to put the spotlight on their Big Boy, making him the new star on the Human Evolution Walk of Shame (06/10/2010).  Just you wait.  This is not the History Channel, you know; it’s the Follywood Squares.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA aims for more women in justice

first_img8 August 2012 Women continue to be under-represented as judges in South Africa’s court system, with only about a quarter of them receiving permanent appointments, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday.“In the justice sector in particular, women are still the least represented category across the entire hierarchy of the courts.”Radebe, speaking at the opening of a new courthouse in Palm Ridge for the magisterial district of Alberton in Ekurhuleni, said that of the 233 permanent judges appointed to different Superior Courts in the country, only 65 were women. Of that number 45 were black and 20 were white.The minister said the problem of women in justice was not limited to judicial appointments.“The allocation of legal work and briefs to legal practitioners is one area where there is almost a complete absence of women,” Radebe said.Radebe said the government was beginning “radical reforms” to the State Legal Services to address the problem of women representation in South Africa’s justice system.These were aimed at ensuring that the government, as a consumer of legal services, would introduce programmes that increased the number of black and women law practitioners.The reforms would particularly affect the fields of constitutional litigation, competition law, aviation and social and economic transformation.Radebe added that his department was considering reopening Sexual Offences Courts in the country to improve the conviction rate for sexual crimes against women.Radebe said the number of rapes in the country was “startling” and had to be curtailed.“I therefore urge all role players and the judiciary in particular, to join hands to rid South Africa of horrendous crimes which damage the country’s reputation both at home and internationally.”Sapalast_img read more

Durban’s first black female deputy harbour master talks about her job

first_img18 May 2016Pinky Zungu would not have minded working as a pilot on a ship until the day she retired. But she was given what she describes as a more exhilarating position at Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA): Zungu is the first black female to be appointed the deputy harbour master: nautical at the Port of Durban.Her new position requires more managerial functions than operational, according to Zungu, who comes from Lamontville, in eThekwini. She enjoys it, though. “It has been exciting. This is not a foreign industry for me. I know the gaps exist and I am open to learning even more.“The benchmark has already been set and it is now up to me to perform accordingly.”Her highlight is teaching what she has learned over the years. “My in-depth knowledge of piloting gives me the chance to motivate and encourage the up-and- coming junior licence pilots.”Zungu took up her new position on 1 May 2016.The beginningShe first made her name as one of three women in Africa to obtain a marine pilot open licence in 2011. A week after that, Zungu, now 33, made news headlines again when she piloted the MSC Chicago, at the time the largest container vessel to visit South Africa’s shores.This was just after the entrance channel at Durban harbour was widened to make way for a new generation of container ships. She has since had seven years’ experience of guiding vessels of any size up to super tankers and mega container vessels into the Port of Durban, putting her in an ideal position for her new role, according to TNPA’s press statement.In 2011, Zungu was selected by TNPA as a development candidate and is said to be one of the women who are changing the face of the male-dominated maritime industry.In an interview with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa), she said that before she started studying at the Durban University of Technology, she had never seen a ship. “So everything was new to me. Progression from studying to becoming a pilot has been a long journey, but one that I have enjoyed.“I went to sea, became a tank master. I enjoyed that a lot – driving the tank. Then I started studying piloting and I got my open licence in August 2011. I love piloting more than anything!”When she was chosen as a Samsa Seafarer of the Year (shore-based category) in 2011, she said she would pilot ships till the age of 65. She shared the seafarer award with two other women – Precious Dube and Bongiwe Mbambo.Male dominated industryOne of the challenges has been to be in command of men. “You have to be firm,” is one of the lessons she has learned. “You have to be firm, because you are working with captains who are old and grey. (Some) are not used to you being a female. So you have to assure them: ‘I’m well-trained and I know exactly what I am doing.’”Watch Zungu talk about other challenges she has tackled:She studied maritime to travelGrowing up on the outskirts of Durban, Zungu had dreams of becoming an airline pilot but her parents could not afford the training. Instead she did a two-year course in maritime studies because it would give her the opportunity to work on ships and travel the world for free. “I didn’t realise that this came at a price,” she explains.“While I got to see most of Europe and West Africa during my cadetship with (shipping company) Unicorn, I spent the first eight months on a bulk carrier as the only woman in a crew of 28 Russian men. The only person who could speak a little bit of English was the captain.“It’s a tough environment for women. On board you have to have the physical and mental strength to perform the role. Only when you’re on land can you put on your skirt and heels and be a lady again.”After her cadetship Zungu completed a compulsory oral examination with Samsa to obtain a Class 3 ticket to be a junior deck officer responsible for auto piloting vessels and managing safety equipment.She then trained and worked as a tug master at TNPA manoeuvring ships in and out of the port with the aid of small tugboats. Following that, she completed a year-long pilot training programme to qualify as a junior pilot before progressing through the various licence grades, starting with smaller ships of about 16 000 gross tons, then 20 000, 25 000 and 35 000 before qualifying for her open licence.As deputy harbour master: nautical, one of Zungu’s key responsibilities is managing the marine pilots under her wing. These include a number of young black women, as TNPA’s efforts to provide opportunities for the historically disadvantaged, including women, continue to gain traction.“Being a marine pilot is a huge responsibility. You have to study the sounding charts daily and have an accurate mental picture of the seabed. You have to know what’s underneath you, including port depths, as the equipment on board the visiting ships doesn’t always work,” she explains.The mother of three says she has achieved her career success with the support of her husband, Sphiwe, a senior lifeguard at eThekwini Municipality. Like her, he grew up in Lamontville.last_img read more