2016 Who’s Who: GNN Personality Of the year

Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa
Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa

As we gradually approaching the year 2017 after crawling through twelfth (12) months of the year, we are once a pleased to lineup our personalities of the year 2016 comprising of man and women who have over the year made their marks successfully.

The selection of these individuals and institutions was done holistically through the sampling of views from a cross section of the Liberian populace, with each individual interviewed given their input as who is qualified to be named as our personality of the year.

Our Man of the year – 2017 is the Chairman of the Special Presidential Taskforce (SPTF) investigating the damning Global Witness (GW) report on senior Liberian government officials, and also Minister of State Without Portfolio, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa.

His appointment by the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf early this year drew huge speculations that he would have failed in performing his task as head of that presidential initiative to probe officials linked to the Global Witness report linking several officials of government and those outside the government.

As he began his work in bringing to justice those linked to the GW bribery scandal including some heavy weight like Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman, Chairman of the ruling Unity Party (UP) and Mr. J. Alex Tyler, then Speaker of the House of Representatives appeared in court to clear their alleged link to the scandal.

As Cllr. Koffa’s teeth began to bit, Liberians from all segment of the Liberian society publicly began to pour praising SPTF Chairman and his committee for having the will power to bring alleged corrupt officials to court despite of their status in the society..

Being aware of the legal implication in this investigation at the dismayed of his detractors, on June 2, 2016, the SPTF again made a move when Minister Koffa announced that he has handed the prosecutorial role of the SPTF over to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), a member of the SPTF, which is a tripartite conglomeration.

However, six days later Justice Minister Frederick Cherue being also aware of Cllr. Koffa’s professional handling of the case, publicly re-assigned the prosecution of persons indicted by his Task Force, advising him to “proceed to investigate and prosecute those found to be criminally responsible for the allegations contained in the Global Witness Report.”

The Justice Minister further granted Cllr. Koffa the “Letter of Patent” required by law to serve as a Special Prosecutor for the Global Witness case, situation that made several Liberians to rebuild their trust in the Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa SPTF.

From all of these backgrounds, many of those who spoke to our team agreed that yes indeed despite all of the probabilities from his detractors, all were been done bring glory to his works as head of the taskforce.

According to reports, Minister Cherue stated that his Ministry is already working closely with the Task Force in the matter, and that it is still “willing to provide additional lawyers as well as other assistance to aid the work of the Task Force in ensuring that the case is resolved.”

Another move that overwhelmed his detractors was his initiative that led the Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) delegation to the United States and the United Kingdom to seek more evidence in the prosecution of those linked Global Witness Sable Mining bribery allegations against senior Liberian government officials and others has given him a remarkable profile as our Man of the year 2016.

Mrs. Matilda W. Parker
Mrs. Matilda W. Parker

Our Woman of the year – 2016 title goes to the former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Madam Matilda Wokie Parker for her professional and nationalistic role played over the years during her assignment at the National Port Authority (NPA) as Managing Director which has now become a nightmare for many.

On April 23, 2015 the Liberian leader with immediate effect, suspended the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Madam Matilda W. Parker, and the Comptroller, Christiana K. Pealay, respectively.

Their suspension of these individuals, according to the Executive Mansion, was based on findings of an investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), while at the same time it was directed by the President that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) collaborate with the LACC, and all accused persons associated with the ongoing investigation to inform additional actions, should they be required.

Following the presidential action, Madam Parker and others were taken to court and went through all of the proceedings for a yearlong, but the shock of many up to date no guilty verdict has been brought against Madam Parker and others, a situation which has baffled many Liberians to ponder over the country’s judiciary system.

Due to all of these unbearable situations Madam Parker went through in the hands of critics and paid agents whose plans are to bring this reputable woman to public derision, standing the test of time to stay post in the face of all of these situations, GNN-Liberia is pleased to give her the title as our Woman of the year 2016.

 Dewitt VonBallmoos,
Dewitt VonBallmoos,

Our Director General of the year – 2016 is Dewitt VonBallmoos, the Director General of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has captured our ‘DG’ of the year 2016 for his resoluteness in making the presence of NASSCORP to be felt in Liberia and beyond.

Yes indeed NASSCORP touches the life of everyone which has come to a reality over the year; improving the livelihood of Liberians through shelters and other services through the administration of its Director General has over overwhelmed the nation’s population.

The administration of the Director General the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) Dewitt VonBallmoos has recommitted its financial support to the mandate of the National Housing Authority (NHA) to build affordable houses for middle income Liberians, a move that has been lauded by Liberians and other foreign residents.

Two years ago a US$11 million commercial complex was dedicated by the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who termed this process as a classic example of the process of transforming Liberia, and also noted “By the dedication of the building,” stressing, “it would now fast track the completion of the civil service and pension reforms that will enable government to fulfill its obligations to NASSCORP in order that they expand their activities to other parts of country.”

With this high level of work undertaken by the Director General and his team we are also delighted to grade him as our ‘Director General of the year- 2016.

Minister Leen Eugene Nagbe
Minister Leen Eugene Nagbe

Our Minister of the year – 2016 is Liberia’s Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism; his professional services to the media and the Liberian people over the year have been admired.

Being a journalist himself, Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe has been described as the right man in the driver’s seat as his relationship with the Liberian media has been considered as ‘Perfect and commendable’ as compare to previous ministers who were ‘Misplaced’ in their position as Minister of that important entity.

Considered as the right man in the driver’s seat for the proper coordination and the dissemination of the Liberian Government policies, and helping to build a renewed vibrant relationship between the Liberian Government and the Liberian media, Lenn Eugene Nagbe is our Minister of the year – 2016.

Since his ascendancy as Liberia’s new information minister, Eugene has made it his sole professional duties to making sure that the cordial relationship between the Liberian media and the government remains as perfect as any ‘old hands in this business could think.

Minister Nagbe who many observed and believed as a man of in integrity have been doing well, taking a strong stand to initiate reforms that will not only satisfy the whims and caprices of the political elite.

Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay
Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay

Our Politician of the year – 2016 is Emmanuel J. Nuquay, Speaker of the 53rd House of Representative and who is also the direct representative of District #5 in Margibi County since 2006, accordingly has greatly impacted the lives of many of his people in his County (Margibi) through his legislative performances over the years.

Despite of his official portfolio at the legislature, many see him as a man of principle who is always willing to come to the rescue of the neediest.

Due to his service to his people, few months ago thousands of citizens of Margibi County, including traditional chiefs, students, women and elders, thronged the streets of Kakata in his district to celebrate his ascendancy as Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Second Speaker of the 53rd Legislature.

Speaker Nuquay, 48, is a two-term Representative of Margibi County District # 5 (previously known as District # 1, during the honoring program held in Kakata City Hall, Weala Clan Chief Musu Yango and other traditional chiefs gowned Speaker Nuquay for his preferment.

Speaker Nuquay always reiterated his vision to reconcile and rebuild the image of the legislature. He described himself as the “General of Peace, Reconciliation and Development. He is our politician of the year.

Inspector Abraham S. Kromah
Inspector Abraham S. Kromah

Security Officer of the year – 2016 is Col. Abraham S. Kromah is the head operations at the Liberia National Police who is assiduously working for the peaceful transferred of power in the ensuring 2017 general and presidential elections.

During the Liberian civil war, our Security Officer of the year played a pivotal role in helping to restore peace when he was requested by Mr. Traverse Gordon Summers; the UN Secretary General Representative to the Liberian peace process, to serve as a liaison between his office and that of Mr. Alhaji Kromah’s office, which he did effectively resulting to the deployment of the UNIMIL in the ULIMO held areas.

When the internal wrangling ensued between the ULIMO forces, he returned to the police and was reinstated and continued his career as a police office. He was later appointed as Deputy Director of police for CID affairs, in the LNP, during the interim Government, where he work with Directors Joe Tate, and Brownie Samuka respectively to address Armed Robbery, drug Trafficking and other lawlessness. Hon Kromah was later appointed Deputy Commission of Maritime for administration, and work along with Mr. Urey to monitor the Liberian Maritime registry.

At the end of the 1996 April 6, mayhem, Hon. Kromah was appointed by the interim government to lay the basis for the restructuring of the AFL and named the Chief of Staff with a rank of a Lieutenant General. After the election of President Taylor, Hon. Kromah resigned his post, because of philosophical and ideological differences.

He became a wanted man by the Taylor Government. Hon. Kromah got Visa to the USA, in 1997 and began a new life, where he earned three (3) Master degrees; one in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, two from Seton Hall University, focus on human resource management, and another in Education.

Hon Kromah worked for the State of New Jersey superior court. Prior to his employment with the state of New Jersey, he works with an autistic institution, where he mentored kids with behavior problems.

The inclusion of Hon. Kromah on the staff of the LNP leadership during the second turn of the Sirleaf administration, record a strong place in our history of successful and decisive police leadership, Liberian still cry for today.

His decisive action against law breakers and criminals left the society safe and secured. It is now cleared that his unceremonious removal left a vacuum in the LNP that left the security apparatus with a very fragile and uncertain security force.

On September of this year, Abe Kromah was reappointed by the Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and subsequently unanimously confirmed by the Liberian Senate, as Deputy Inspector General of Police responsible for operations.

It is wildly spread in Liberia that Hon Kromah effectiveness and the lack of evident in the many street talks and innuendos, about his character, was the basis of his reappointment and unanimously confirmed by the Liberian people. Liberians are hopeful and in most cases optimistic, for a safe conduct of their general and presidential elections come 2017 as a result of the appointment of Abe Kromah in the LNP, headed by Hon Gregory O.W Coleman.

As a student at the University of Liberia, Abe, as he was referenced on campus, was active in student politic, and is a founding member of the mass based Student Democratic Alliance,-STUDA, which is a strong student political party on the campus of the University of Liberia.

Elected as the Northern New Jersey Representative to the Board of Directors of the Union of Liberia Association in the Americas (ULAA) 2009 and subsequently elected 2nd Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Union of Liberian in the Americas (ULAA) in -2011, Kromah has always been on the frontline for social justice and the protection of people’s rights.

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About Cholo Brooks 16097 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.