ALJA Wants Fonati Kofa, Musa Dean Rejected

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The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has called on the House of Representatives to exercise caution and refrain from electing any individual with a checkered record to the critical position of Speaker of the House of Representatives. ALJA, in a release issued on Monday, expressed particular concern regarding the candidature of Cllr Jonathan Fonati Koffa, emphasizing that his criminal history makes him an unsuitable fit for the Speaker position, which, as per the Liberian constitution, holds the distinction of being the third in line of succession to the Liberian presidency. ALJA noted Mr. Koffa’s background as an ex-convict and felon in the United States, particularly drawing attention to his conviction in the early 2000s while practicing as an attorney in Zebulon, North Carolina. The conviction, stemming from embezzlement charges totaling nearly $500,000.00 from clients and the US Department of Agriculture, resulted in a prison sentence of more than two years and a subsequent prohibition from practicing law in the United States. ALJA says it firmly believes that Mr. Koffa’s criminal history renders him unfit for the esteemed position of Speaker of the House of Representatives. The association calls on all well-meaning citizens of Liberia, particularly members of the House of Representatives who hold the power to elect the Speaker, to discourage and prevent Mr. Koffa’s aspirations to assume this influential role.  ALJA emphasizes that electing an individual with such a background could tarnish the image of the legislature and expose Liberia to ridicule on the international stage. Meanwhile, the Association is urging the Liberian senate to reject the recent nomination by President George Weah of Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean to the Supreme Court. The Association asserts that Minister Dean has failed to meet the demands and expectations of his current role as Justice Minister and such a track record raises serious doubts about his suitability for a position of such paramount importance as a Supreme Court Justice. ALJA described Minister Dean’s appointment as deeply troubling and counterproductive to the principles of competence, accountability and meritocracy. The US based Liberian Journalists organization stressed that while it acknowledges President Weah’s constitutional authority to make appointments within the government, it questions the appropriateness of making significant judicial appointments during this “lame duck” period. At the same time, ALJA has extended condolences to the families of the dozens of individuals recently killed in the gas tanker explosion in Totota, Bong County. ALJA described the incident as a tragic loss and has urged government to launch a speedy investigation into the incident in order to avoid recurrence.  The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas is a 501 (C) 3 organization founded by former Liberian journalists based in the United States in 1998 and was revived in 2014 after a period of dormancy. ALJA advocates for good governance, rule of law, democracy, freedom of speech and of the press and provides capacity building for practicing journalists and media institutions in Liberia.

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