11 January 2013

Liberia: Controversial Miss Liberia 2012 Beauty Pageant Saga Deepens

Photo: Facebook
Casting of models (file photo).

The committee setup to probe the controversial Miss Liberia 2012 Beauty Pageant is recommending for an audit to be conducted by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) on all activities relating to the pageant. It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia (GOL) cancelled the results of the Miss Liberia 2012 beauty pageant which was held on April 14, 2012 due to controversy surrounding the actual winner of the contest.

The pageant, which was organized by CT. Com and headed by Mr. Christopher Hayes Onanuga, took place at the Executive Pavilion in Monrovia. Miss. Rachael Knowlden from Voinjama, Lofa County was declared the winner of the pageant by the organizers, but few hours later, international and local judges dissociated themselves from the pronouncement.

Recently, the committee, which was headed by Madam Olive Whit, presented its report to the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT). In its report, the committee called for an audit in order to ascertain the actual amount of money received by CT.Com from government, sponsorship fees from various entities as well as intake fees for entry at the pageant.

The report also maintained the cancellation of the entire results of the 2012 Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant. The committee wants the vehicle earmarked for the winner sold and the money be equally distributed amongst the eleven (11) contestants.

According to the report, "All sponsors, whose goods and services were marketed by the contestants , should receive their just benefits for the services rendered. The GOL should provide scholarships for the contestants to attend any school of their choice within the country." Amongst others things, the committee also called for the investigation of Mr. Onanuga for alleged charges of abuse and molestation raised by the contestants.

The committee's report was partially read at MICAT regular press briefing on Thursday, January 10, 2012 by the Deputy Minister for Cultural Affairs Madam Elizabeth Hoff. According to her, the committee is also recommending the banning of CT.Com and its head from hosting Miss Liberia and any other event being sponsored by the Liberian Government for a period of five (5) years.

She re-emphasized that the 2012 Miss Liberia beauty pageant exposed the country to both local and international disrepute. She expressed dismay over the representation of Liberia at the Miss ECOWAS beauty pageant in Nigeria.

Minister Hoff stated that the government will take the appropriate action when the need arises concerning the unauthorized representation of the country at the pageant.

Of late, media reports had it that Liberia was represented at the Miss ECOWAS Beauty Pageant by Miss Meyatta Metzger and Briggette Brouhana and accompanied by Montserrado County District # 9 Representative Munah Pelham. But the media reports are yet to be independently verified by this paper.

Madam Hoff said: "We have some problems with people who should not have left the country to represent us at Miss ECOWAS, posting as Miss Liberia, and went to the pageant. We are not concern about who took them there. We are concern about the image of our country. You can't just have people stepping out there and representing Liberia. That has a negative effect on our country. And so, we're definitely going to be looking into that."

She added: "We are glad to say that we have received the final report from the committee and what we intend to do is to publish the full report."

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