10 January 2013

West Africa: Prosecution Looms Over Liberian Envoy

The government of Liberia has threatened to prosecute individuals who reportedly sneaked into Ghana to represent the country in the just ended ECOWAS Peace Pageant.

Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Mr. Issac Jackson Wednesday told this paper in an exclusive interview that the matter is already undergoing investigation.

"If the investigation establishes that indeed there were people who purported to have represented Liberia at the ECOWAS Pageant, then the government will prosecute these people," Minister Jackson stressed.

"The government will prosecute them because fraudulent representation is a criminal offense under our law. Additionally, if these people did this without the government's consent, then it means that they want to spoil the country's image."

Minister Jackson did not cite legal provision allegedly violated, but insisted that the government had no prior knowledge of the individuals in question.

There have been reports that former Miss Liberia contestant and Montserrado County District #8 Representative Munah Pelham headed an illegitimate Liberian delegation to the ECOWAS Pageant, but such reports are yet to be authenticated.

"We heard that Representative Pelham is the one who led the group to the ECOWAS Pageant, but we're still investigating and verifying this information," Minister Jackson told New Democrat Wednesday. But whether his pronouncement will be seen as a veiled threat or will truly be actualized remains to be seen.

A row over Liberia's 2012 Beauty Pageant subsequently led to the cancellation of the results of the national beauty contest.

The government released a position statement on 11 July 2012, informing the Miss World Beauty Pageant that due to the conflicts that ensued following the Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant, it would not be participating in the world's most famous beauty gala until the dispute was settled.

"We present the compliments of the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism and wish to inform you that Liberia will not be participating in the 2012 Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant," a MICAT release then said.

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