GNN Persons Of The Year – 2018

As it is traditionally done at the end of each year to grade those individuals and institutions that have over the past twelfth months; from January to December, played their nationalistic role in the development and growth of Liberia, the management of Global News Network, publisher on one of Liberia’s most reliable online platforms, GNN-Liberia of www.gnnliberia.com is pleased to release the name of those that have met its bench match during the year under review.

This year we release the names and institutions in separate categories including MAN of the year, WOMAN of the year, MINISTER of the year, LAW MAKER of the year. DIRECTOR GENERAL of the year, PUBLIC OFFICIAL of the year, SECURITY OFFICER of the year, BUSINESS MAN of the year, LEGAL PRACTITIONER of the year, and DIPLOMAT of the year.

President George Manneh Weah – GNN Man of the year 2018

MAN of the year

Our MAN of the year status goes to Liberia’s 24th President, George Manneh Weah, whose election to the nation’s highest seat on; the presidency placed Liberia on the map of wonders, the first being the former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was elected as Africa’s first female president, and now he; President George Manneh Weah being the first soccer star to ascend to the presidency.

His selection as GNN-Liberia MAN of the year-2018 is from the backdrop of his numerous achievements in the soccer world; World Best, Africa Best and European Best, and now into the nation’s political arena becoming President of Africa’s oldest republic.

Even though his critics sees him as a man who lacks all of the qualities that is needed to rescue Liberia from the hands of corrupt officials who believes that the only best thing they can do for themselves is to rob the nation of its natural resources, and bring their ‘Master’, the President to public ridicule.

But the GNN-Liberia management hopes its ‘MAN’ of the year-2018 will see reasons to disprove his detractors that the role of the presidency is to seek the interest of his people be it partisans of the ruling party or not, must also be vigorous in order the immediate prosecution of those who will be caught stealing the resources of the country and believe that they should live at the mercy of taxpayers’ and with the culture of impunity.

Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Woman of the year 2018

WOMAN of the year  

Our WOMAN of the year-2018 is ‎Liberia’s Peace Activist, Ms. Leymah Gbowee; her advocacy for his people both back home and abroad has won her lots fans, with many describing as Liberia’s ‘Peace Warrior’ has been captured as our woman of the year.

Ms. Gbowee. Nobel Peace laureate has brought pride and dignity to Liberia’s womanhood since her advocacy over the years from the mobilization of women from across Liberia’s ethnic and religious divides during the country’s brutal civil war when she and her group fearlessly called to an end of this nightmare, amid the shells and bullets at the time.

Her advocacy did not only center on Liberia but also other African countries building bridges of peace and understanding amongst people and their governments.

Her crowning achievement grew in 2003 when she brought thousands of women together to protests in the capital, Monrovia, helping to push Mr. Taylor – who is now in prison in the UK on war crimes charges.

Her selection as our woman of the year – 2018 is based on her numerous contributions to the peaceful existence of Liberia and its people, and also her political activism over the years in Liberia and around the globe.

Prof Wilson K. Tarpeh, Minister of the year 2018

MINISTER of the year

Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry is our MINISTER of the year; his role since taken over the helm of authority of that ministry, a lot has reportedly been done in the interest of the Liberian people and the business community in general.

His administration robustly tackling of businesses that finds pleasure robbing the Liberian people through unwholesome practices by selling expired goods and arbitrarily increasing prices at the determent of the Liberian people and the entire consumers populace has added more grease to his elbow to independently capture of Minister of the year title.

His recent pronouncement at the just ended ‘Street Sale’ aimed at promoting Made in Liberia products organized by the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) in collaboration with the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) that the Liberian Government for the first time infuse One Million Liberian Dollars in the market to supplement Liberian businesses in their bid to strengthen their capacity financially has been welcomed.

‘Prof Wilson,’ as he is affectionately called for the shortest time at that ministry has made his marks with the business community, with many applauding him for his professional handling of issues defusing any would be tension between the business community and the government was the case during successive administrations.

In the news, the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in collaboration With the Swedish National Board of Trade conducted Stakeholders bilateral Consultative meetings on the ratification and implementation of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement recently.

Minister Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan

Most Committed Public Official of the year

The Minister of Public Works,Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan is our committed public official of the year; his untiring efforts since his appointment to see road connectivity around the country has won the hearts of many who have considered him as the most committed public  official in the CDC-led Government.

His quest to see Liberia graduating from the lack of roads in the country has placed him top amongst his colleagues as we cataloged his services at the Ministry of Public Works since his ascendancy:

The signing of the ADB-GoL Funded Road Construction Deal in Southeastern Liberia, the Doe Community-Before Intervention, newly paved dedicated Somalia Drive, and several projects being taken care of through the watchful eyes of Minister Nyenpan.

Due to his committed services to the country and its people, Minister Nyenpan during the 2018 under review was honored by a pro-democracy group, African Media Network of Liberia in partnership with the Independent Civil Society Network .

Minister Nyenpan being honored by a pro-democracy group in 2018

The African Media Network of Liberia is a consortium of media practitioners and CSO actors operating as a pro-democracy institution.

Highlighting summary of the Minister’s achievement over a short period of time, the media group said it recognized the Minister and delegation negotiation visit to Japan, Tokyo where bidding process for the commencement of rehabilitation work on the other two lane of the Somalia Drive was launched.

In addition, the group mentioned the Minster and delegation’s inspection tour of roads in the Southeast as an initiative intended to end the travelling difficulties usually experienced by people in that part of the country.

Speaking further, Mr. Paye said the recent visit in Asia for the negotiation of a US$536 million loan agreement for the Coastal Highway, plans to connect Bali Island and 12th street with Kessely Boulevard  are among many reasons why they think Minister Nyenpan and his team should be honored.

“Your role in the negotiation of US$536 million dollars agreement for the Costa Highway, your plans to connect Bali Island and overhead bridge to connect 12th Street with Kessely Boulevard are the motivational factors behind our decision to honor you Minister, said Group Chairman Jeremiah E. Paye.

Accordingly, the group noted that, these activities speak volume of Minister Nyenpan’s commitment and willingness to serve the Liberian people.

The group maintained that people should be criticized, but at the sometime they should be giving their flowers for doing good work.

“It is in the spirt of recognizing hard working government officials that we have come to honor you”, Paye conclude.

Accepting the award, the former Sinoe County Senator thanked the African Media Network of Liberia for the honor bestowed on him, adding, he was delighted that, having serve as minister for only 2 months, a pro-democracy group has recognized his work and have decided to honor him and his team.

“We are delighted that having serve as minister for precisely 2 months, you have recognized our efforts and have decided to honor us”, Minister Nyenpan told the group.

He told the group that Liberia’s infrastructure challenges are enormous, and that he sees his calling as Public Works Minister as a herculean task.

He termed the award as not only public recognition but a motivation and challenge to work harder and bring relief to the people Liberia and promote trade and commerce.

“What you have done today is a clear demonstration that, there are people in society that are watching, and is this type of watch dog activities that keep our feet to the fire to do more”, he emphasized.

Meanwhile, Minister Mobutu Nyenpan has praised his staff for their support to him, noting, without them, his effort will not have been recognized.

Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Lawmaker of the year 2018

LAWMAKER of the year

GNN-Liberia LAWMAKER of the year-2018 is Grand Kru County District #2 Representative, Jonathan Fonati Koffa who is also a legal practitioner earned this title following countless number of questionnaires sent out to people in his home county as to his selection.

According to information received from that county on his legislative programs in that part of the country, it was disclosed that since his ascendancy as their lawmaker, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa has tremendously made his presence visible amongst his kinsmen due to the level of huge legislative projects he has undertaken and is still undertaking.

Educationally, the Grand Kru County lawmaker has accordingly provided several scholarships to the youthful population of that county making them to adequately learn and be useful to their county and the greater society in the future.

His quest for a better and improved Grand Kru County, accordingly has always one of his agenda; making sure that all daughters and sons of the County who have been away for decades including President George Manneh Weah return home to build their beloved County.

As a result of his desire to see a develop County, our lawmaker of the year on a monthly basis visit his district in the county aimed at making sure that all his legislative projects are on course in the best interest of his people.

Dewitt vonBallmoos Director General , Director General of the year 2018

DIRECTOR GENERAL of the year

Dewitt vonBallmoos Director General of the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) is our DIRECTOR GENERAL of the year; his nationalistic contribution to the growth and development of the Liberian economy has given rise for his selection as Director General of the year-2018.

His ascendancy as ‘DG’ of that very important public corporation has added more value when want think of Social Security and the benefits to be received whenever one retired from his job, plus that NASSCORP as it is commonly called also offers lot more than just retirement benefits.

Liberians are experiencing the importance of the existence of NASSCORP, more than that under the leadership of vonBallmoos, there are also benefits if you become disabled, survivor benefits if you die and benefits if you need medical care. All of these benefits offer a valuable safety net for risks that could occur decades before retirement.

vonBallmoos’ administration has made many Liberians to publicly appreciate the valuable services of the team at NASSCORP; its five year strategic plan is successfully yielding a fruitful results  with its headquarters building nearing completion, the availability of its new housing estate solely funded has also given rise to the professional services of the management team at NASSCORP under vonBallmoos.

In order to fulfill the purpose of the social security program and to build and sustain the trust and confidence of stakeholders and the public, the plan targets effective service delivery by making benefit payments reliable, regular and prompt. In 2008 the management began the process with thorough verification of beneficiaries’ payrolls to make sure those showing up were the rightful beneficiaries.

The process was followed by the introduction of a direct bank payment service described as an efficient and risk-reduction measure to safeguard the interest of beneficiaries and the corporation. As a result, beneficiaries have no reason to come to NASSCORP’s office to receive checks since payments go directly to banking institutions around the country at the end of each month.

The next scheme introduced was a biometric identification program, a protective measure intended to avoid duplicity of beneficiaries’ payrolls and accelerate benefit payment. During the exercise, bio-data or each and every beneficiary was recorded into the corporation’s database. This has reduced the burden of verifying or distinguishing between identical names and has also curtailed the pilfering of beneficiaries’ accounts by unscrupulous individuals.

The first phase of the biometric exercise commenced in 2010 targeting 6,000 persons. Of this number, 3,500 beneficiaries underwent the exercise within a year. This was a clear indication that many of those on the payrolls tampered with accounts of beneficiaries. A second biometric was conducted in 2013 to update records in the database, the end of which recorded 6,764 beneficiaries as of December 2013.

Benefit payments have been unhindered with a cumulative amount of US$15.96 million from 2008 to 2013, this should be considered as a plus for the current management team under Mr. vonBallmoos, a stake that has made GNN-Liberia to vote him as its Director General of the year.

Mr. Theophilus Dekonty Joseph

CERTIFIED FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT Of The Year

Theophilus  Dekonty Joseph Liberia’s foremost Forensic Accountant and Fraud Examiner is our CERTIFIED FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT Of The Year – 2018; the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of the Corporate Governance & Forensic Solutions Inc. (CGFS) and Managing Partner of VOSCON INC.

Both CGFS and VOSCON are Member Firms of VOSCON International Services; Theo is a Liberian USAID-sponsored scholar. He is a United States of America qualified Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the State of New York. Joseph  is Assistant Professor of Accounting (Accounting Theory, Cost Accounting and Auditing) at the University of Liberia.

His Areas of expertise are as follow:

Member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA),  member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPAs), he is a Fellow of the Rhode Island State Society of Certified Public Accountants (RISSCPAs), Member of the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA),  member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in Austin, Texas, USA, and member  of the association of Forensic Certified Public Accountants (FCPAs) of Seattle, Washington State, USA.

His professional services both in Liberia and abroad during the year under review has qualified him to be our person of the year – 2018

Martin S. Kollie, Chief Executive Officer/, LNLA

PUBLIC SERVANT Of The Year

Our PUBLIC SERVANT of the year is Martin S. Kollie, Chief Executive Officer of the Liberia National Lottery Authority (LNLC); his services to the Liberian public during the year under review have been graded by our pollsters justifying him as our 2018 person of the year.

‘Martin’ as he is affectionately call, serves diligently to keep the institution running peacefully, and further maintaining an effective and cohesive senior management team for the Corporation; setting the tone for the Corporation by exemplifying consistent values of high ethical standards and fairness.

His administrative role during the year by leading the corporation to fulfill its vision in a peaceful status despite of detractors’ quest to dilute his able leadership, Martin is doing all in his power to keep this institution running.

For his refined and professional leadership at that important institution, Mr. Kollie has been chosen as GNN Person of the year 2018.

 

Josephine W.A. Davies, Public Official of the year 2018

INSPECTOR GENERAL of the year

Josephine W.A. Davies is GNN-Liberia PUBLIC OFFICIAL of the year; her fearless performances as Inspector General at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry making sure that the responsibilities given her by the Liberian leader, President George Manneh Weah is carryout robustly and professionally.

Since her ascendancy to carry out this task as Inspector General at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Madam Davies fearlessly closed down unscrupulous businesses that were in the habit of selling expired goods without remorse of conscious to the public.

Her crackdown on these unscrupulous  businesses brought a renewed sense of civility in the importation of goods with expiration tags that are meeting the satisfaction of the consumers and local buyers, while at the same these business houses have now resolved to avoid the selling of expired goods as was done previously.

This energetic youthful Inspector General has deployed inspectors all over the country making sure that the safety of the consuming public is intact; avoiding the selling of expired goods including the edibles are sole to the public without any danger to the health needs of all Liberians and residents. This, on the part of the Inspector General has been welcoming, thus affording her to be chosen as our person of the year- 2018.

George Haddad, Businessman of the year 2018

BUSINESS MAN of the year

Mr. George Haddad one of Liberia’s true partner in progress is our BUSINESS MAN of the year – 2018; his selfless services to the people of Liberia over the years despite of bad business climate which is slowly killing his businesses in Liberia has vowed to remain in the country, being a true partner in progress.

In the face of US$10.7 million owed his company, the Prestige and Alliance Motors by the former government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for vehicles supplied up to present our Businessman of the year is yet to receive his payment despite of legal pressure being mounted.

The delay by the court to award this Lebanese businessman his just payment after spending all his resources for the supply of these vehicles from his overseas suppliers would have compelled him to leave the country like others have done, but instead decided to stay in Liberia and do his business under unbearable conditions gave rise to his selection as our businessman of the year 2018.

Whether the current government of President George Manneh Weah will agree to pay the money the government of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf owed the company, several who spoke to our staff noted that since government is a continued process, this government must see reason to settle this payment without any condition.

BANKER of the year

GNN Banker of the year is one of Liberia’s renowned   bankers, Dorbor M. Hagba who over the past  years has made his hallmarks in the Liberian banking sector; his  working experience in the areas of Accounting, Finance and Banking during the year under review.

‘Hagba’ as he is affectionately call has explicitly exhibited his professionalism by displaying what many considered as a sound knowledge of work process, a move that has admired by many who have publicly voted him as GNN Banker of the year – 2018.

His committed and acceptable services include:  Director/Finance Department; Central Bank of Liberia,     Supervise Financial Reporting and Budget Preparation and implementation. Advise management on investment and spending decisions at the Sustainable Development Institute,  Financial Management Consultant; Sustainable Development Institute

He also served at PKF Liberia as Auditor, and further conducted annual audits of commercial banks and other clients of the auditing firm.

Mr. Dorbor M. Hagba, BBA, MBA,  has a vast experience in the banking sector worldwide ink sector is our Profile of the week; his professional working relationship at the Central bank of Liberia (CBL) as Director of Finance gives him the upper hand over others to capture our weekly slot as our Banker of the week.

“Hagba” as he is affectionately called by many of his peers and professional workmates, and relatives is a soft-spoken gentleman who believes in principle; serving people honestly and doing justice to those justices deserved.

He is a man who many admire and respect his professional approach to issues at all times be it at work or at social gathering.

A well-schooled Liberian banker, whose academic background has proven that indeed he is a man for the job which he occupies, and has obtained a credential from several well meaning academic institutions both in Liberia and abroad, has always .

His   Master of Business Management and Administration (MBA) Degree was obtained in 2007.  From the University of Stellenbosch Business School, Cape Town, South Africa,  Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, Cum Laude in 2000, University of Liberia.

Certificate of Participation in a course titled “Financial Independence, Reporting and Accountability for Central Banks at Christ’s College, Cambridge University, England, United Kingdom, September 10, 2013.

Certificate of Participation in a European Central Banking Course on Financial Reporting for Central Banks, Frankfurt, Germany, June 2011, and received a certificate of participation in a WAIFEM Regional course on Financial Risk Management. West Africa Institute of Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) Banjul, the Gambia- March 2013

Certificate of Achievement for successful completion of Advance Budgeting and     Financial Control Course- at Modern Management Institute in Nairobi, Kenya, June 24, 2011.

Cllr. Taiwon Gongloe, Legal Practitioner of the year 2018

LEGAL PRACTITIONER of the year

GNN-Liberia legal person of the year is the newly elected President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Taiwon Gongloe; his advocacy over the years has won him this title as LEGAL PRACTITIONER of the year-3018.

Cllr. Gongloe matured approach to legal issues either for his client or other victims who in dire need of legal assistance over the years has won the hearts of many Liberians who also approved his selection as our person of the year.

Gongloe who is also considered as ‘Poor Man’ legal defender during the year under review took up time to represent the legal interest of Amos Brosius who has been a victim of the power that be for over past five years has been fighting a legal battle between him and a foreigner who is doing everything possible to seize his Ducor Petroleum Incorporated Company through James Sirleaf, one of the sons of ex-president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Cllr. Gongloe’s involvement in this landmark case drew the attention of Liberians whom who condemned James Sirleaf and his collaborators for attempting to deprive Mr. Brosius of his business and applauded the learned Liberian legal practitioner (Cllr. Gongloe) for defending the legal interest of a Liberian businessman.

This case is just one of the dozens other cases that our legal practitioner of the year has spent his time providing legal defend in order to bring justice to those who have been denied of their rights, this many see to agree with the GNN-Liberia that yes indeed his selection is timely and appropriate.

Ambassador Christine Elder, Diplomat of the year 2018

DIPLOMAT of the year

Our Diplomat of the year title goes to the current United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder; her professional and matured administrative role being exercised in Liberia during the year under review has been noticed, and admired by Liberians described her as a true American envoy.

Ambassador Elder’s swift acceptance to call for forensic investigators amid of the alleged missing billions to disapprove or approve that yes indeed billions was missing has been welcomed with dozens of Liberians and foreign residents applauding the move on the part of this US envoy.

As a direct representative of the world superpower, the United States of America to Liberia, Ambassador Elder recently announced to Liberians that the forensic investigators hired by the embassy based on a request from the Government of Liberia to assist in the discovering of the alleged missing billions will shortly release its findings to the public.

This declaration by the US envoy brought relief to the quest of the Liberian people many of whom who are anxious as to hear the facts surrounding the alleged missing billions also lauded the

With all of these observations, our Diplomat of the year is no other but the United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Liberia, Madam Christine Elder.

Hon. J. Henric Pearson, Security Officer of the year 2018

SECURITY OFFICER of the year

Normally, the security of the people is at all-time paramount, without a well-trained and professional security networking the nation and its citizens will always live in perpetual fears.

Therefore, the National Security Agency (NSA) during the year under review under the leadership of its Director, James Henric Pearson has extremely performed well to the expectation of many Liberians who have voiced out their gratitude to the administrative arm of this institution, while at the same time recommending that due to his professional services over the year the head of this entity be regarded as the Security Officer of the year – 2018.

Being quite, swift and professional, Director Pearson’s module of work being imparted in his well-trained men has helped in aborting unforeseeable security threats in the country quietly.

Grinded in the field as a professional security expert for over three decades, our Security Officer of the year has been appreciated by a cross section of Liberians and foreign residents for his professional services to the people of Liberia and the sub region.

His inclusion as GNN-Liberia person of the year was overwhelmingly voted for by many as a result of his role over the years as a professional security experts; bravo to our security officer of the year.

Facilities at Riverside Resort (Inserted is the Managing Director, Alvin Oniyama

FAST GROWING INVESTMENT of the Year

The Riverside Resort & Villas has been considered as our fast growing and prospective investment of the year – 2018, its modern facilities as a beckon of potential tourism in Liberia has won the hearts of Liberians and foreigners.

Managed by one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the history of Liberia’s tourism sector, Alvin Oniyama is doing everything possible to promoting the tourism industry of Africa’s oldest republic; situated at the bank of the St. Paul River, the Riverside Resort & Villas facilities are unique and can be compared with the western world.

Its Managing Director Alvin Oniyama, who holds Masters in Accounting has resolved to adequately preserve the legacy of his father, Dr. Nelson Oniyma, a well grinded Liberian businessman who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the nation’s only brewery company, the Monrovia Brewery, and owner of chain of businesses in Liberia.

At the Resort there is also the luxurious collection of 24 beautifully designed and furnished villas, craftily fitted into eight (8) buildings overlooking the scenic Saint Paul River that features a 5 Star Restaurant, Bar, Swimming Pool, Tennis Court, Water Sports, a variety of boats for sailing and fishing down on the St. Paul River, a Conference Hall with Seating Capacity of 200 persons, Spa, Shuttle Service and Car Rental Service.

The 18 Hole Review View Golf Course offers very generous tree-lined fairways and overlooks both the sea and river. The course is scenic and easily walkable, offering a great opportunity for extra exercise. It delivers an exciting experience and the GNN staff had an exciting experience as Mr. Oniyama led it to the course and explained about the nature of the game.

Another exciting experience is for clients to cast off their lines, and put on their bathing suits and enjoy the beautiful Saint Paul River. There is also a variety of boats available to tour the Saint Paul River and that’s not all, ski down the river banks and enjoy the warm waters and scenic views of the Bushrod Island.

The Review Golf Beach is managed by Mr. Mohammed Deep who was excited to meet the GNN team. “What would you like to have?” was the welcome greeting that met the team, as Mr. Deep displayed a scene of affection that was so infectious. After our brief visit, he encouraged us to come back for fun.

Riverside Resort & Villas provides a home away from home and extraordinary living and Mr. Oniyama admits it caters to the sophisticated traveler, the businessman seeking rest and relaxation, and the perfect family vacation destination.

“We are trying to create beautiful sceneries with tourism potential in our country,” he says. “And now our Villas are being occupied giving a remarkable experience for our clients.”

On the Riverside Resort Villas each has a terrace for enjoying the sunset and the majestic flow of the St. Paul River and Mr. Oniyama notes that the 2 level, 1 and 2 Bedroom Villas come stylishly furnished with a private balcony and enough space for a family of four overlooking the spectacular view of the Saint Paul River and swimming pool.

Whether it’s a short visit or long stay Riverside Resort, Oniyama says “We offer the perfect facilities to make your stay pleasant and provide refreshing amenities, signature services and wide range for activities that can be tailored to your need.”

Amenities that are offered at the River View Resort & Villas to guests include Bar, Restaurant, Spa, Health Club, Swimming, Free Parking, Car Rental and well-fitted gymnasium that can make any guest’s home away from home exciting.

Note:

The selection of GNN-Liberia persons and institutions of the year – 2018 was done through a voting process by a team of our editorial staff, this exercise took nearly a month before the above list was released.

 

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About Cholo Brooks 8205 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.