26 February 2013

Liberia: Kimmie Weeks Announces Plans to File One Million Libel Lawsuit Against People Newspaper

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) Dr. Kimmie Weeks has announced that he has directed lawyers representing the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation to file a US$1 million dollar lawsuit against the publishers of the People Newspaper for "an article filled with lies and intended to defame my character."

Dr. Weeks says in addition to the lawsuit, he has also filed a formal complaint with the Press Union of Liberia(PUL).

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Feb. 22nd, Dr. Weeks says the People newspaper carried a back page story published on Feb. 22ndcaptioned: "Corporate thievery" in which the paper alleged that in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of LWSC, Weeks had authorized the purchase of two high lift electric pumps for the corporation without following Liberia's public procurement laws.

Weeks presented journalists with a letter from the PPCC authorizing the corporation to single source the high lift pumps. In the letter, the Executive Director of the PPCC Ms. Peggy Meres writes: "The commission notes your assertions and relying on your assurances that the AB&N Incorporated is reliable, the Commission interposes "no objection" to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation sole sourcing the Goods from the above-mentioned contractor, consistent with Section 55 of the PPC Act."

Dr. Weeks went on to state that the paper had also alleged that he had acted "unilaterally" in authorizing the purchase of the pumps.

As proof to the contrary, he presented journalists a copy of a signed board resolution which states that the board had resolved to purchase two high lift electric pumps as part of LWSC's capital investment plans. Dr. Weeks asserted that the paper had not contacted him for clarifications on the matter.

"The only person to contact me was one Alfred Togba from the Movement of the Downtrodden who wondered why I had signed a request to the Finance Minister requesting duty free privileges for the pumps. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing illegal about that and as Chairman of a SOE in transition I maintain the right to communicate with government bodies on issues affecting the corporation."

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the LWSC disclosed that the electric pumps in question are currently being installed at the White Plains Water Treatment Plant and when completed would provide increased water supply to the population of Monrovia.

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