Defense Minister Samukai Vex With PUL, Newspaper

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The Minister of National Defense, Brownie J. Samukai, said he is annoyed with the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) over a local daily “wrongfully” quoting him on issues of national security.

On December 30, 2015, Minister Samukai filed a complaint to the PUL against the Hot Pepper Newspaper for “misrepresentation.”

“In the December 18, 2015, edition of the Hot Pepper Newspaper, a reporter published an interview it claimed to have conducted with Minister Samukai captioned ‘After Cross-Border Attack: Six Ivorian Dissidents Arrested in Grand Gedeh–Liberia Defense Minister Discloses.’ This, the ministry said, was a blatant lie as the Defense Minister at no time granted any such interview as was published. In this regard, the MOD formally complained to the PUL and copied the management of Hot Pepper Newspaper, calling for the issuance of a mea culpa in the spirit of professionalism.

Regrettably, the MOD said the communication, as a matter of simple courtesy, is yet to be acknowledged by the PUL, noting, “Had it been the other way around, there would be no doubt enthralling headlines in multiple papers against the MOD.”

“Unless the issue raised is substantially addressed, the MOD considers this matter, for historical references, unresolved whether the PUL or the Hot Pepper choose to ignore the matter or treat it with triviality,” the Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

In another development, the MOD said it has tracked in recent times, accusations from some quarters that Minister Samukai has taken possession of 10 vehicles donated by the US State Department for campaign purposes. The vehicles are intended for use by the defense sector. “This information is a total falsehood as the donated vehicles have been appropriately issued to functionaries of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Central Administration of the MOD,” the Ministry responded.

The MOD noted that the visit by Minister Samukai to Foya, Lofa County, during the festive season was a part of an annual event when he feasted with residents of the area, as is similarly done by him in Keabah Community in Monrovia and in Nimba County, respectively.

“It is hoped that this release will serve as a closure to the falsehood permeating the electronic and print media that Minister Samukai granted unto himself 10 of several vehicles which have been donated by the US State Department for use by Liberia’s Defense Sector,” the Ministry Assistant Minister of Public Affairs, David K. Dahn, told this paper via mobile phone late yesterday.

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