The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Personalities of the Year

column

As part of its tradition, the INQUIRER Newspaper during its last publication of each year honor those to whom honor is due for their dedicated and hard work over the year. It is this vein that with entries sent to the paper by the public and the prompt judgment of the paper's editorial staff the following individuals have been selected as the INQUIRER's personalities of the Year 2012.

Those who came forth after tougher investigation and scrutiny are President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Achiever of the Year; Justice Minister Christiana Tah; Minister of the Year, the Acting Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Cllr. Elizabeth B. Nelson is Woman of the Year; Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Economic Visionary of the Year and Finance Minister Amara Konneh, Energy Advocate of the Year.

Others awarded by the INQUIRER are the United Women Business Center headed by Ms. Derlene Johnson as the Women Group of the Year; Public Defender of the Year is Arthur T. Johnson; Sexual and Gender Based Advocate is Vera K. Manly; Director General of the Year is Philomena Bloh Sayeh, Director General of the Center for National Documentation and Archives; the Workaholic of the Year is Public Works Minister Samuel Koffi Woods and Entertainer of the Year is Mulbah Morlu.

The INQUIRER's Education Institution of the Year is We Care; the President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) Mr. John B. S. Davies is Banker of the Year; the United Bank of Africa (UBA) is the Bank of the Year while West Oil Liberia is our best Petroleum Importer of the Year. Defense Minister Brownie Samukai is the Disciplinarian of the Year; Dr. Isaac Wiles, Humanitarian of the Year. The Insurance Company of Africa, Insurance Company of the Year; Institution of the year is the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP); Politician of the Year, Ambassador George Manneh Weah; and Outspoken Lawyer of the Year, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe.

The INQUIRER's Manager of the Year is the Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System Mr. Ambrose Nmah; Garage of the Year is Reelin, dealers of Toyota Vehicles; Liberian Company of the Year is LINTRACO; United Nations Agency of the Year is UNICEF; Lawmaker of the Year, the President pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate Gbehzohngar Findley; Determined Woman of the year is Nobel Laureate Leyman Gbowee; Security Officer of the Year, Police Director Chris Massaquoi and Administrator of the Year, Father Ambrose Kroma. Achiever Of The Year: President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

Our achiever of the year 2012 award goes to Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia. The President has achieved lots in the year 2012 winning several international awards from renounced groups around the world. The President was awarded France's highest award recently and other important awards in the year 2012.

Besides winning international awards, the Liberian leader on the home front, was able to craft the Vision document 2030 intended to direct Liberia's developmental drive. It was at this conference that ordinary Liberians were given the opportunity to decide on how they want their country to be 28 years from now.

Madam Sirleaf as head of the Mano River Union (MRU) a sub-regional body that comprised of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast was very much involved in calming the situation at the Liberia/Ivorian border thus, stabilizing the precarious situation with the Ivory Coast. The President used her experience as a leader to solve many of the problems that were obtaining in the West African basin including the situation in Guinea Bissau, Mali, The Ivory Coast and other troubled areas. With all of these strives being made by President Sirleaf, it is no doubt that she is our Achiever of the year.

Lawyer Of The Year Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe

Our lawyer of the year is the most vocal, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe. Cllr. Gongloe during the year has stood up for social justice and has constructively criticized the Government of Liberia for some of its policies. He has been very studious in pursuing justice for the ordinary citizens and pressing for the ordinary citizens to benefit from government.

While many think that Cllr. Gongloe should have been in the courtroom pleading cases, the renowned Liberian lawyer has been the voice of the voiceless and continues to remind the government of its responsibilities to the citizens and the state. When President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf suspended all of her cabinet ministers for administrative reason, Cllr. Gongloe refused to go back into government because he felt that the President should have done the appropriate thing by weeding out those government officials who did not do well instead of suspending all officials at the time. He has been vocal and resilient in his pursuant for social justice and respect for the rule of law.

Minister Of The Year: Cllr. Christiana Tah

The Justice Minister of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Christina Tah is indeed our Minister of The Year. Cllr. Tah as Minister of Justice continues to ensure the security of the state by resorting to dialogue whenever there are tensions in the country.

The female Liberian lawyer uses her experience and the rule of law to settle disputes without discrimination. She was very instrumental in the November 7, 2012 memorial services organized by the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) which was held in a very peaceful manner.

The Minister prior to the memorial service was informed that CDCians were to march on the principal streets of Monrovia before going to their headquarters for the memorial service held in honor of one of their partisans who died during the November 7, 2011 political violence in Monrovia.

Based on the information Minister Tah immediately cited officials of the CDC, religious leaders and security officials to a meeting at the Ministry of Justice at which time she heard from all of the parties involved. Following her timely intervention, she was able to swiftly calm the storm by allowing the CDC to peacefully walk to their headquarters without any disturbance. The memorial service ended peacefully and there was no report of security harassment of CDCians.

Politician of The Year: George Weah

Our politician for the year 2012 is Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) political leader, George Manneh Weah. Weah though young, used his disciplinary skill to work with the Liberian Government for the promotion of peace and stability in the midst of tension by partisans of his political party and state security.

Mr. Weah, despite disagreement with some policies of the government, accepted the post of Peace Ambassador from President Sirleaf responsible to head the peace and reconciliation initiative being undertaken by government. His role allows him to work directly with the President and other government officials despite their differences.

Weah has on several occasions met with President Sirleaf for the promotion of peace and tranquility in recent times, all geared towards maintaining the peace for which Liberians yearned for many years ago. He has proven himself as a disciplined politician with humble background as the leader of the main opposition party in the country.

In spite of the numerous complaints by his party that the CDC was cheated in the 2011 Presidential and General Elections, Mr. Weah continues to engage the government constructively as can be seen with his presence at the Vision 2030 Conference held in Gbarnga, Bong County recently. Based on all of these and many others, we are sure that you will agree that Mr. Weah is the politician of the year. Banker of the Year:

John B.S. Davies-LBDI President

Mr. John B.S. Davies believed to be the youngest bank executive of our time is indeed our Banker of the year 2012 considering his many achievements in a relative short period of time.

Since his ascendency as President of the LBDI, Mr. Davies has effectively increased the bank's capital from US10.5 million to US12.5 million. Our Banker of the year has also introduced the EBID (ECOWAS Bank for Development & Investment) as new shareholder.

Added to his many achievements, Mr. Davies under his leadership as President of the LBDI established the country's premier mortgage finance program for home owners making it possible for 10-year loans; has also established a strategic partnership with the National Housing Authority and sustained the bank's deposit growth of over 10% yearly.

Under his leadership, the young Liberian Banker reinvigorated the Bank's human resource program sending staff to several countries including India, Scottland, Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, among others for long term and short term training.

Banker of the Year:

John B.S. Davies-LBDI President

Mr. John B.S. Davies believed to be the youngest bank executive of our time is indeed our Banker of the year 2012 considering his many achievements in a relative short period of time.

Since his ascendency as President of the LBDI, Mr. Davies has effectively increased the bank's capital from US10.5 million to US12.5 million. Our Banker of the year has also introduced the EBID (ECOWAS Bank for Development & Investment) as new shareholder.

Added to his many achievements, Mr. Davies under his leadership as President of the LBDI established the country's premier mortgage finance program for home owners making it possible for 10-year loans; has also established a strategic partnership with the National Housing Authority and sustained the bank's deposit growth of over 10% yearly.

Under his leadership, the young Liberian Banker reinvigorated the Bank's human resource program sending staff to several countries including India, Scottland, Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, among others for long term and short term training.

Woman of the Year:

Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson NEC Boss

Indeed, Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson is our woman of the year considering the many achievements under her administration since her ascendency as Acting Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Cllr. Nelson has undoubtedly proven that women are ready and prepared to execute their responsibilities at all times. The female Liberian lawyer took over the Commission at a very critical period when Cllr. James Fromayan resigned due to persistent pressure from some political parties.

Since her ascendency as Chairman of NEC, Cllr. Nelson has conducted two successive By-elections in two districts including the By-election in District#3, Sinoe and District#11, Montserrado Counties. During those elections, the Commission decentralized the conduct of By-elections by conducting those elections in the various counties and districts.

The professional, peaceful and orderly conduct of the two major elections in the country has contributed significantly to the consolidation of peace and stability of Liberia.

Under her Chairmanship, NEC has embarked upon appropriate measures that will improve and enhance the overall electoral system of Liberia by holding consultative meetings with stakeholders including international experts for the crafting of an Electoral Reform Law.

Following the 2011 elections, the NEC hosted a three-day comprehensive lesson learnt at the conference with the view of taking stock of the 2011 electoral process. The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to assess all of the processes leading to the conduct of the 2011 elections and make recommendations where indeed, Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson is our woman of the year considering the many achievements under her administration since her ascendency as Acting Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Cllr. Nelson has undoubtedly proven that women are ready and prepared to execute their responsibilities at all times. The female Liberian lawyer took over the Commission at a very critical period when Cllr. James Fromayan resigned due to persistent pressure from some political parties.

Since her ascendency as Chairman of NEC, Cllr. Nelson has conducted two successive By-elections in two districts including the By-election in District#3, Sinoe and District#11, Montserrado Counties. During those elections, the Commission decentralized the conduct of By-elections by conducting those elections in the various counties and districts.

The professional, peaceful and orderly conduct of the two major elections in the country has contributed significantly to the consolidation of peace and stability of Liberia.

Under her Chairmanship, NEC has embarked upon appropriate measures that will improve and enhance the overall electoral system of Liberia by holding consultative meetings with stakeholders including international experts for the crafting of an Electoral Reform Law.

Following the 2011 elections, the NEC hosted a three-day comprehensive lesson learnt at the conference with the view of taking stock of the 2011 electoral process. The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to assess all of the processes leading to the conduct of the 2011 elections and make recommendations where necessary for the enhancement of future elections in the country.

Madam Nelson disclosed that some of the recommendations at the conference include the need to reform the electoral laws of Liberia in order to reflect current reality. She said the current demanding need of the electoral system of Liberia is a reform of the elections law.

In fulfillment of the key recommendations from the conference, the Commission under Madam Nelson has over the past six months been massively holding a series of nation-wide consultative forums to solicit the inputs of citizens in the electoral law reform process.

NEC has also built the capacities of its staff and the various departments under Cllr. Nelson as Acting Chairman of the Commission. The Commission has also developed a strategic plan that runs from 2012 to 2015, among many other achievements.

With these facts, you will agree with us that indeed, Cllr. Elizabeth J. Nelson is the woman of the year 2012.

Public Defender of the Year:

Attorney-at-Law Arthur T. Johnson

Attorney-at-Law Arthur T. Johnson is our Public Defender of the Year and we are convinced that this gentleman deserves this honor because since he left the Law School and began his practice in courtrooms across Monrovia he has not only been a defender but a researcher, one who knows his clients and studies the crux of the matter at bar before appearing in court for proceedings.

Atty. Johnson with his vast legal experiences, pleaded about 75 cases that were subsequently dismissed by judges in Courts 'A,' 'B,' 'C' and 'D' as well as at the level of the Magisterial Court for prosecutions' lack of sufficient evidence to proceed. He was the public defender in the Dan Morias Case from Maryland County; the Israel Arkinsiya Case VS the Lone Star MTN which was subsequently dismissed. Atty. Johnson also served as the lead defender in the famous Coca cola Factory Case that ended up in a hung verdict with tough lawyers like Cllr. T.C. Gould, Charles Abdullai and Augustine Fayiah, among others.

Even though he has tendered in his resignation as public defender of Montserrado County, Atty. Johnson is still remembered for his willingness to give attention to those vulnerable clients and for that he is known as 'poor man's lawyer.'

Sexual & Gender Based Advocate of the Year:

ACP. Vera K. Manly

We have decided to award this title to Mrs. Vera K. Manly of the Liberia National Police. This fine police lady is the head of the Women and Children Protection Division, a unit that is solely responsible to prosecute and forward cases involving SGBV to court. She has over 20 years of experience in policing in the country and gained public trust to a great extent.

Mrs. Manly decentralized the Women and Child Protection in the entire country. She established a data base system to collect data and track cases and established four major units within the section which include sexual assault squad, domestic violence squad; juvenile violence squad and information and data base unit.

From January to November, she has successfully handled 1826 cases of which is 369 SGBV, 917 domestic violence and 540 capturing other offences and sent to court 412 cases while 611 are pending investigation.

Director General of the Year:

Mrs. Philomena Bloh Sayeh

Madam Sayeh has been working overtime since her ascendency as Director General of the Center for National Documents and Records Agency (CNDRA). Since the relocation of the Archives center to its original location on 12th Street in Sinkor, Madam Sayeh has worked tirelessly in modernizing land records and recording systems following a 20-year civil conflict in Liberia.

The preparation for digitizing records for the nation has been ongoing for a couple of years, but started digitizing in December 2011 following a six-month pilot digitization process. At this point there are already 14 persons trained for the digitization process in both the Digital Scanning Center (DSC) and the Customer Service Office.

Currently, the Centre has begun digitizing older paper land deeds and is about to open a Customer Service Office and digitization will start for new concurrent land deeds. Before persons were recording land deeds by hand but with the Customer Service as one enters into the building now with his or her deed, it will be put straight into the agency's database through the computers; this includes registration of new properties.

Most importantly, the digitization will increase land tenure security because it is the road to a comprehensive land information database for the country. This land information database cannot only enhance economy; it will be used for infrastructural planning and development; the payment of taxes and provision of social services to the people.

The use of the registry to verify land deeds for people trying to get loans by local banks is proof of the economic value of registry and can only multiply benefits after digitization.

Labor Reformer of the Year: Vabah K. Gayflor

Our Labor Reformer of the year is no other than Labor Minister, Vabah K. Gayflor, and first female Minister of labor in the history of Liberia is based on the level of progress the Ministry has made under her leadership for the promotion and regulation of the labor sector of Liberia.

Since her ascendency as Minister of Labor, the Ministry of Labor was able to embark on the development of Terms of Reference (TOR) or what we call Job Description for every position at the Ministry of Labor as a means of providing job efficiency, productivity and internal coordination.

As part of its functions to promote social dialogue at all workplaces in the country, the Ministry of Labor through its Division of Trade Union Affairs, witnessed and attested to eight Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA); which were signed between Managements and workers' unions.

In an effort to ensure full compliance to the Labor Practices Laws of Liberia and to restructure the Inspectorate Division which is the policing arm of the Ministry, ten university graduates were recruited to work as Labor Inspectors. Additionally, the administration also employed six Attorneys-at-law to serve as Hearing Officers and Labor Solicitors.

As way of strengthening the capacity of the Regional Labor Offices in the 14 counties outside Montserrado County, the Minister also hired and assigned additional Labor Inspectors who are all university graduates, Labor Commissioners and Clerk Typists to the counties.

Under Madam Gayflor's leadership, the Ministry constructed three Regional Labor Offices in Lofa, Gbarpolu and River Gee Counties for the use by the Labor Commissioners and their staff. Those buildings are now awaiting dedication.

During the year, the Ministry thru its National Bureau of Employment (NBE) launched a Career Awareness Program for high school students which helped students enter employable skills in universities and colleges.

The Ministry of Labor facilitated the payment of 170 Inter-con Security officers who were declared redundant in the tone of US $ 100, 390.00 through its Bureau of Labor Standards and disposed of 194 cases. Payment was done in the amount of LD$ 974,479.07 and USD$ 173,804.19 to complainants in whose favor rulings were rendered. Peace Promoter of the Year:

National Traditional Council Of Liberia

Our Peace Promoter of the Year is no other than the National Traditional Council of Liberia. This group that comprises of Liberia's finest old folks known as the senior citizens has used their wisdom to settle lots of disputes in the society.

The National Traditional Council has been there always whenever there were disputes. They were even at the national Legislature when there was a dispute between the Executive Mansion and the Capitol Building and the matter was speedily settled through their timely intervention.

The Traditional Council has also been advising the Government of Liberia in several key areas thus sustaining the peace and stability in the country. With their role of settling disputes in the country, the National Traditional Council of Liberia is indeed, our Peace Promoter of the Year.

Lawmaker Maker of the Year:

Sen. Gbehzohngar Findley

Our lawmaker of the year for 2012 is Grand Bassa County Senior Senator and President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Gbehzohngar Findley.

Sen. Findley has brought some stability in the Chamber of the Liberian Senate following years of disputes among members of that august body.

Findley succeeded Sen. Cletus Wotorson. Since his ascendency, he has put into place mechanisms that have brought credibility to the Liberian Senate. Besides his work at the National Legislature, Sen. Findley has been reaching out to the citizens where several marketers and farmers have been empowered by giving them some funds.

With such achievements, we have chosen the Grand Bassa County lawmaker as our lawmaker of the year.

Humanitarian Of The Year:

Dr. Isaac Wiles

Like many of our achievers, Dr. Isaac Wiles has also been selected as The INQUIRER's humanitarian of the year 2012 for the many educational activities he has undertaken throughout the country.

Dr. Wiles is the founder and owner of the Dr. Isaac G. Wiles Foundation for Education and Community Empowerment Inc. (DIGFECOE). Recently, he distributed several educational materials for the foundation's Adult Literacy Program in some of the counties. He has designed a strategy to reduce illiteracy in the country.

Dr. Wiles has deployed over 50 high school graduates in the various counties to conduct the adult literacy program in two villages of each county throughout the country. Six villages have been selected in two counties where the young graduates will teach the illiterate adults.

Education NGO Of the Year:

WE-CARE Foundation, Inc.

WE-CARE Foundation is an Educational NGO that runs a public Library program on a free of charge basis. The program, which started as a Book-Chain in 1992, where books were circulated from one reader to the other, became a functioning Library in 1995 and located on Carey Street. Today, WE-CARE is a full fledge educational NGO operating the WE-CARE Library. The Story Hour for Kids program teaches children to read in the economically challenged communities and trains teachers, writers, illustrators including other professionals. In 2012, We-Care Foundation along with her partners CODE and OSI trained 822 and currently has 305 teachers undergoing training including 196 males and 109 females.

Under her Reading Liberia program, WE-CARE and her partners also completed the production and publication of 109,000 copies of children books in 2010 and 60,900 copies of readers for the Liberian School System in 2012.

As part of the program, WE-CARE Foundation along with CODE conducted capacity-building by training illustrators and writers, mainly from the Liberian Association of Writers (LAW) and its students' writers club to write and illustrate the children's books. The Foundation also trained book designers specializing in software program called In-Design.

The Foundation completed renovation of 26-project schools library/reading rooms and supplied them with books and trained 52 teachers from these schools to serve as 'teacher librarians', to operate the school libraries/reading rooms.

WE-CARE runs a public library located at the corner of Carey & Gurley Streets. This ideally placed library has, apart from general library reading materials: children's room, audiovisual room, and a vast collection of textbooks for grade schools and college students. It also has Internet service. All services at the library are FREE.

A total of 12,086 (10,653 males and 1,433 females) Liberians and foreign nationals visited the Liberia for 2012. WE-CARE Library is opened to the public from Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Entertainer of The Year:

Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr.

As per the tradition of the INQUIRER Newspaper, at the end of every calendar year the institution gives honor to those who distinctly perform their duties/responsibilities in respect to their area of specialty for the betterment of Mama Liberia.

In this regard, after a careful examination, observation and entries sent to the institution in the category of Entertainment, Mr. Mulbah K. Morlu, Jr. the Vice Chairman of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is our winner of the Entertainer of the Year Award.

Mr. Morlu's selection came about when he performed the role of a Lead Actor in a Liberian Record-Breaking Int'l Movie called 'Hatred' I&II. The movie which is a thrilling search for National Reconciliation stars local and two international actors and actresses in persons of Nollywood's talented Damsel and UN Peace Ambassador Oge Okoye, and Ruffy Samuel of Ghana, Mulbah K. Morlu of Liberia, Josephine Blamo of Liberia and Aloysius Taylor of Liberia.

He has a proven maverick in such diverse tactical appeal as a politician and movie actor despite gaffes he encountered in his many years of popular justice and anti-impunity activism that landed him in prisons many times, The young political guru has recasts himself in an enviable movie-making prominence.

When Courage 'The Rock' Borbor sought the popular appeal of a politician to act alongside Nigeria's Oge Okoye, and Ghana's Academic Award Nominee, Ruffy Samuels, the name that prevailed was Mulbah Morlu. He did not only win an audition involving 20 other public figures, he moved on to convince international critics that something good can come out of Liberia's film industry.

His deftness and natural display of raw, genuine and impressive talent before the camera established him as the most promising future in Liberia's industrious film arena. Playing Prince Dahn, who had to be crowned in his father's stead, a king lost to death; the young Prince combined the brilliance of leadership and the power of romance to drive his way through the hearts of his people and surrounding hostile chiefdoms. In the end, the much sought reconciliation for his people after tribal divisions was achieved through compromises and sacrifices of love and betrayal.

The primary objective of the film is to drive a message of reconciliation in our country coming from a long period of civil crisis where there is so much hatred among us Liberians.

The movie 'Hatred' is an ancient epic film that teaches lessons for postwar Liberia staring Mr. Mulbah Morlu, Jr. as Prince of Dahn/Mano Kingdoms where the custom of the Dahn Kingdom dictates that the first born son (Prince Dahn, Mulbah Morlu, Jr.) is immediately crowned as heir of the throne, but he must first get married.

Security Officer of the Year:

Police Director Col. Chris Massaquoi

We are honoring Police Director Chris Massaquoi for his dedication to duty and his team's ability to fight crime in the country especially the seat of government in Monrovia. As the festive season drew near, and there were reports of armed robbery on a daily basis, Col. Massaquoi's leadership at the Liberia National Police (LNP) launched 'operation safe haven' instituted regular night time patrol. The Police under Col. Massaquoi did not stop there but began serious investigation as what is leading to or facilitating the robbery at night. Following this investigation, the LNP in consultation with the Motor Cyclist Union of Liberia restricted the movement of motor bikes after 10 p.m. an action that paid off well leading to a serious reduction in armed robbery up to present.

Manager of the Year: LBS Director General Ambrose Nmah

Since his ascendency to the position of Director General of the Liberia Broadcasting System, Mr. Ambrose Nmah has diversified the operation of the state-owned broadcasting station by entertaining those with descending views on the operation of government. His diversification efforts yielded fruit when Talk-shows allowed people with critical views on the operations of the Government of Liberia to speak out openly without being cut-off as was done in the past. Mr. Nmah's administration also introduced new programs during the year and other entertainment programs that did improve the image of the state.

Determined Woman of the Year:

Nobel Laureate Ms. Leymah Gbowee

Despite numerous criticisms from women group following her criticism of the country's reconciliation process and her subsequent resignation from an appointed post as President Sirleaf's choice to push the reconciliation process forward, Madam Gbowee continues to be determined and focused on the running of the Gbowee Foundation. Although she could address further media questions as to her action to resign, the Nobel Laureate is still working to empower young people become future leaders, an effort that is gaining international attention.

Garage Of The Year:

Reelin Liberia Incorporated

The garage of the Year is Reelin Liberia Incorporated otherwise known as Toyota Garage. This entity was chosen for the able manner it is serving vehicles and the sale of durable Toyota vehicles that can be seen through out the country. With a state of the art equipment to serve their customers satisfactorily, Toyota Garage has been lifting up to this task by serving with distinction under the able leadership of Mr. Seymour Grann who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director.

Institution of the Year:

National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP)

The National Social Security and Welfare Corporation made great strive during the course of the year. It successfully hosted the conference of the International Social Security Association (ISSA). The conference brought together several countries and the Corporation being sensitive to manpower development over the years embarked on an immense "human capacity building," from which many of its staffers have benefited. Besides, it has automated and re-documented its record system. Noticeably, the corporation's multi-purpose complex at the ELWA Junction, which architectural design has been admired by many, is almost completed. Because of these and many more, we have selected this corporation as the Institution of the year.

Liberian Company of the year:

LINTRACO

LINTRACO, a Liberian-owned company, headed by Mr. Myer Karteh, has over the years engaged in many businesses and has encouraged investors to come to the country to make use of the conducive business atmosphere in the country. It has moved to its own office on the Gardnersville Freeway and has embarked on many projects, some of which are expected to begin soon. We are honoring the company because of its determination to invest here, something that will create job opportunities for many Liberians.

Best Petroleum Importer of the Year:

West Oil Liberia Incorporated

The availability of petroleum products on the market is a serious matter and there are few companies that will do that at ease. With the experience and expertise, West Oil Liberia Incorporated has been up to this task not only to make profit as a business entity but to provide the requisite services that the state and its people need. West Oil though not the only importer has been consistent in providing service. With its keen interest in a passion to serve and deliver, the Company pumped thousands of gallons of petroleum products that play a significant role in getting the wheels of industry turning throughout 2012.

Women Group of the Year:

The United Women Business Center (UWBC)

The UWBC as a-women group collectively put their effort together during the year and assured that they have a market of their own and not to wait for government to do it for them. The group through its determination to have their own thing was able to lobby with Chervon Liberia, a move that landed some cash for the building of a market of their own. This group is so organized that in the not too distance future its working will be glaringly visible.

Administrator of the Year:

Rev. Father Ambrose Kroma

Fr. Kroma is the Parish Priest of the St. Kizito Catholic School located in Paynesville City. Since his appointment as head of that Church, Fr. Kroma has achieved both economic growth and development in that parish. In the past few years, the church's membership has tremendously increased, with a correspondent increase in its income, or what we call collections (monthly dues, special collections and offerings).

There is transparency and accountability at the church. For example, he accounts for the number of newspapers he buys daily. He has also motivated members to be proactive in working for the church. Fr. Kroma has instilled enthusiasm amongst his members which has resulted to everyone wanting to see himself/herself playing a particular function in the church. More besides, he has undertaken several projects and established additional major organs in the church. With the support of his members, Fr. Kroma has constructed Multi-Purpose Parish Hall named in honor of venerable Fr. Robert G. Tikpor, who is still visibly looking strong and the oldest of all Catholic Liberian Priests in the country. The back of the hall is named in honor of Archbishop Michael Francis as the "Archbishop Francis Peace Garden", and "The Queen of Peace Annex." These are some of the reasons for his selection.

Disciplinarian of the year:

Minister Brownie Samukai

Since he took over the Defense Ministry, Minister Samukai continues to ensure that there is discipline in the national army. Truly to his commitment, the people of this country can boast of having a professional and well-trained army. Because of the level of discipline, when the army was deployed at the borders during the Ivorian crisis, they exhibited high degree of professionalism, which brought credit to the government. Additionally, though the army went through professional training, the Ministry, with the help of its partners continues to provide advanced training opportunities for the men and women of the army. Today, some of them are undergoing training in some countries such as the United States, Nigeria, China, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Australia.

Workaholic of the Year:

Minister Kofi Woods

The name Kofi Woods is now synonymous to hard work, dedication and commitment. Minister Woods has distinguished himself as someone who is up to the task. Because of his hard work and commitment to the country's reconstruction process, many projects such as roads and bridges, have been completed. There are several others, including the ongoing Voinjama Road projects that are under construction. Even in the City of Monrovia, the Ministry has improved many roads in the past few days. Those plying the streets from Capitol Bye-pass to the Foreign Ministry can attest to this. Minister Woods is not an armed- chair administrator because he is always seen on the field with his men, even at night to make sure that the work is done.

Diploma of the year:

Ambassador ZHAO Jianhua

Our Diploma of the year is Chinese Ambassador ZHAO Jianhua.

Ambassador ZHAO Jianhua was born December 1965 and has Masters degree in Economics, Masters degree in International Policy and Practice. He is married and has one son.

Under the administration of the our diplomat of the year, the Chinese Government has agreed to build a multi-purpose Ministerial Complex that will house several Government Ministries and agencies for the smooth operation of government.

Besides, China under his administration continue to provide scholarships to Liberians in all sphere of life to further their studies and return home with the aim of contributing to the nation's development efforts after years of war. From Military personnel, to would be medical doctors as well as developing other academicians, China is today one of Liberia's development partners.

Since 2011 he has been Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China accredited to the Republic of Liberia. He is a seasoned diplomat who has worked for his country in different diplomatic portfolio.

Energy Advocate of the Year: Minister Amara Konneh

The Ellen-led administration point man on the nation's reconstruction strategy, Liberia's Finance Minister Amara Konneh knows first-hand what access to electricity can bring to the developing countries, particularly in his post-conflict Liberia where the need for restoring the energy sector is vital to sustainable growth and development.

Minister Konneh, an outspoken advocate of energy access for all Liberians is working to prove that there are smarter energy strategies that can benefit Liberians. He is optimistic that with energy, most especially with the Mount Coffee's hydro coming back online, Liberia will flourish and tempt high productivity in the economy.

A passionate campaigner, the Minister, during the year 2012 took the administration campaign to major conferences around world including this year's annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that convened in the industrial city of Tokyo, Japan. Minister Konneh maintains that to keep Liberian economy booming again, no one Liberian should be left in the dark. Therefore, investing in the energy sector is key.

Insurance Company of the Year:

Insurance Company Of Africa

(ICA)

The Insurance Company of Africa popularly referred to as (ICA) has been in existence for more than 40 years. This company is our Insurance Company of the 2012 due to prompt service and care for humanity. It is a composite company that does both life and non-life business. The cash amounts paid out to this company's numerous clients in the form of death; accidental disability; policy loans; paid & surrender value benefits total over L$60 million and US$140,000.00 over its 40 years of existence.

Under the life policies, one can get a portion of the benefits paid if one decides to cancel or decides not to pay anymore premiums after the policy had been in force for three conservative years. Between 1973 and 2009, ICA has paid out a total ofL$14,151,011.03 and US$57,128.91 in surrender value benefits; and L$123,069.21 and US$25,752.80 in paid value benefits. It is critical to note this policy provision, came in handy for policyholders during the 1990 war as it provided a financial relief for them.

This product has afforded the insuring public the opportunity to access health care in the country and outside Liberia. Between 1994 and 2009, over 20 persons were sent to Ghana and United States of America for treatment. The expense for the same period were US$111,739.39 and L$46,930,370.61.

The litmus test for any insurance is its ability to settle claims promptly. And from its inception, ICA has settled claims to the tune of over L$12 million between 1978 and 2009.

ICA through the marketing of its Mortgage Protection Assurance Plans, the ordinary employee who finds it extremely difficult to access housing facilities was able to do that during the pre-1990 civil war.

The company also facilitates the granting of bank loans to its policyholders by using their respective life policies as additional collateral under the employee loan scheme (SMES program). Presently, such assistance is rendered to 3 major clients of ICA.

Just as it did in the pre-1990 war, ICA now supports national socio-economic development programs and projects. Three of such projects were the LAMCO; Bong Mines and BF Goodridge Rubber Plantation. Currently, it supports most of the major mining and oil companies in the country. The effect of this support on employment and other development agenda cannot be emphasized

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