Deputy Speaker Collected US$50K in PUP Benefits

first_imgA dismissed managing director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) being tried for allegedly misapplying US$6 million from the Private Use Permit (PUP) funds told Criminal Court ‘C’ that Deputy House Speaker, Hans Barchue, received over US$50,000 from the permits.Witness Moses Wogbeh in his testimony claimed that the money was part of what his administration collected from companies that were operating under the permits across the country.“The Speaker received the money as a cash contribution for the people of Compound #1 in Grand Bassa County,” the defense witness further alleged, adding, “the US$50,000 was received from Forest Venture one of several logging companies operating under the PUPs in the county.”Wogbeh together with three other managers of the FDA and a senior surveyor of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) were accused of issuing 61 PUPs that authorized commercial logging on nearly 2.5 million hectares of farmland in the country.They are facing charges including criminal conspiracy, forgery or counterfeiting and deceptive obstruction of government by public servants.Besides Speaker Barchue’s US$50,000, the defense witness claimed that government also received an undisclosed financial benefit from the PUPs that were issued.He went on to say that the financial benefit was through export tax, and administrative and block inspection fees, while the communities also received cash benefits including repair of roads, bridges and the construction of clinics.”He made the revelation when he was asked to explain whether government or a community under whose approval he issued the PUPs received financial or material benefits.Further in his testimony, the defense witness admitted issuing the permits but failed to say how much of the 61 permits his administration issued to companies to carry out logging activities in the county.“We relied on the 2006 National Forestry Law and its regulation to issue the permits to companies in the country,” he contended.This is the second time that witness Wogbeh has accused senior government officials of being aware of the issuance of the controversial PUPs.Recently, he implicated Agriculture Minister, Florence Chenoweth, who was then chairperson of the Board of Directors of the FDA, of approving the issuance of the PUPs, a claim to which the minister is yet to respond.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ireland braces for Hurricane Ophelia, most severe cyclone in 50 years

first_imgIreland is beginning to brace itself for Hurricane Ophelia, the worst storm to hit our shores since Hurricane Debbie in 1961.Met Eireann has warned that this is the strongest hurricane to form in the Atlantic Ocean since records began.Currently classed as a hurricane, Ophelia will be downgraded to a post-tropical storm by the time it hits the south west of Ireland. Met Eireann told the Irish Independent that Ophelia can be compared to Hurricane Debbie, which struck Ireland 66 years ago, killing fifteen people and causing severe destructionMinister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney says: “Anybody not taking storm Ophelia seriously should think again – I don’t remember ever seeing a forecast for the south coast quite like this.”The National Emergency Co-ordination Group will meet today to discuss preparations to cope with Hurricane Ophelia. Officials from a number of Government departments as well as emergency services and the Defence Forces will meet to discuss co-ordination for the event.Evelyn Cusack @MetEireann briefing the National Emergency Coordination Group meeting on weather developments this am— OEP (@emergencyIE) October 15, 2017 Met Eireann has issued their most severe weather warning ahead of Hurricane Ophelia’s arrival, in which people are advised to “take action to protect themselves and/or their property”.The warning is in place for counties Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry from 9am on Monday until 3am on Tuesday.All other counties have been issued an orange warning. That may be upgraded for other counties including Donegal.In a statement, Met Eireann says: “Hurricane Ophelia is expected to be near the southwest tip of Ireland by Monday morning.“From there it looks set to track northwards close to the Atlantic Seaboard at a fast pace to be roughly situated 100-200km northwest of County Donegal by midnight on Monday.“Met Éireann forecasters have been monitoring this situation closely all week. We have been liaising with our international colleagues, especially at the UK Met Office, and as we are now in the 48 hour window, with access to our high resolution models, we have decided to issue specific warnings. “The warnings will be updated as required.”Latest guidance from the National Hurricane Centre.Bear in mind times shown are AST so add 5 hours.Centre of low hits SW coast approx 11am— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 15, 2017Department of Education says that where a red weather warning is in effect, schools are encouraged to stay closed. Bus Éireann has also announced that they will suspend school runs in areas that have been issued a red weather warning.Ireland braces for Hurricane Ophelia, most severe cyclone in 50 years was last modified: October 15th, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalHurricane OpheliaIrelandred weather warningstormlast_img read more