3 September Press Brief

Monday, 3rd September 2007
Welcome to another session of Executive Mansion regular Press Briefing.

  • Let me begin by informing you that the President has been visiting Italy, where she has had a very successful visit.  In additional to meeting the Italian Prime Minister and President, the President held discussions with UN Secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon and other senior level UN officials.

During the meeting, the President and the UN Secretary-general discussed United Nations operations in Liberia and the future of UNMIL regarding the Missionís draw down plans.
The Secretary-general reiterated the UNís draw down plan, which he said, will be in line with the Liberian governmentís security sector reform. The UN Chief assured the President that there will be no premature withdrawal of the United Nations from Liberia.

  • The President has directed the Minister of Finance to look into an issue involving some police offices who have complained that that they have not been paid for two months. Our understanding is that the issue involves some twenty-five police officers whose names were inadvertently omitted from the payroll between June and April. There is no reason why these law enforcement officers should go without pay for this period. The Finance Minister will provide more details regarding the issue with the view of correcting whatever may have gone wrong.

  • Last week, we did inform you that the President had put a hold on the appointment of Cllr. John Stewart as Commissioner of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs. The decision was based on information that Cllr. Stewart is currently under investigation, facing multiply charges of financial improprieties and disbarment from the Office of the Bar Council in Washington, D.C., information Mr. Stewart did not divulge when he met with the President for an interview.

Based on the foregoing, Cllr Stewartís nomination as Commissioner of Maritime Affairs has been withdrawn. In addition, the President is also relieving Mr. Stewart of his post as Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs.

The President is taking the decision in keeping with her desire to recruit not only qualified and competent individuals to government but individuals with qualities of honesty, accountability and transparency. Cllr. Stewart was not forthcoming during his interaction with the President on the charges levied against him. This, in our view, is an act of dishonesty, on the part of Cllr. Stewart, which can not go unchecked.

We call on the Press to help the President and government in achieving the principles of honesty, transparency and accountability, by exposing any individual or individuals whose records or activities may not be in line with governmentís policies on good governance.

The President will not hesitate to act in the national interest, when there is irrefutable information questioning the backgrounds of officials appointed in government. To let such information swept under the carpet is to undermine governmentís policy on good governance; principles the President has sworn to uphold and will not compromise.

The President will in due course name replacements to fill in the vacancies in the Bureau of Maritime Affairs.

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