NEC’s Lapses Worry INCHR

first_imgSince the voter registration (VR) was launched on February 1, the process has been marred by a barrage of irregularities ranging from misspelling of potential voters’ names to malfunctioning equipment and the “trucking” of eligible voters.The VR problems have now caught the attention of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) which said in a statement, that it is deeply concerned and worried about the waves of irregularities and other irregularities surrounding the VR process at various registration centers.Specifically, the INCHR said it has observed with grave concern the lack of logistics, abandonment of centers due to untimely payment of stipend to VR registration workers, insufficient registration centers and lack of security personnel in electoral districts #11, #15, #17, #5 and several other centers inMontserrado County as well as Grand Kru, Lofa, Nimba, Maryland, Bong and Grand Gedeh counties.“We have also observed that cameras, scanners and other equipment assigned to these centers to identify and prevent electoral fraud are malfunctioning, thereby either slowing down the registration or completely halting the process,” Commissioner James D. Torh said in a release.“The magnitude of these limitations,” the INCHR release said, “seriously challenges the resolve of Liberians and this government to ensure free, fair and transparent elections is held where every Liberian is afforded equal access, opportunity and space to exercise their political rights.”Another organization that raised similar concerns recently was the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC), which spoke of similar irregularities the VR process has encountered.The ECC spoke on the issues at a news conference in Monrovia where it also made mention of late arrival of staff at registration centers, miss-location of registration centers, misspelling of the names of registrants, defective cameras, and lack of security officers at registration centers.“Overall reports from the ECC observers across all 15 sub-political divisions (say) there have been challenges such as some centers not opening or issues with the cameras, but these have not been widespread,” said head of ECC’s Steering Committee, Oscar Bloh.Meanwhile, the INCHR strongly reaffirmed its commitment to promote human rights during the electoral processes and called on the government to expeditiously provide the necessary support to NEC to avert undue derailment of public trust in the upcoming elections.The INCHR is also calling on all eligible Liberians to register and report all and any behaviors inconsistent with the VR guidelines.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Fired execs to sue local Red Cross

first_imgPASADENA — Two former Red Cross executives announced Thursday that they are suing the organization. One alleges sexual discrimination, and the other says he was retaliated against after refusing to comply with a cover-up. Public Relations Director Dereck Andrade, fired Tuesday, and former chief development officer Elizabeth Lopez, who was fired in March, made their announcement on the sidewalk outside the headquarters of the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross at 430 Madeline Drive. Michael Zoeller, chairman of the chapter’s board, dismissed the accusations, calling Andrade a “disgruntled employee.’ The board fully supports the actions taken by Red Cross CEO Angie Turner, Zoeller said. Andrade provided a copy of his July 5 review, conducted by Turner, that described him as “loyal,’ “supportive of the CEO’ and a “true asset’ to the American Red Cross. Andrade and Lopez say they each received salary increases based on merit in 2003 and 2004. Both employees earned $70,000 per year. Andrade and Lopez’s complaint, which is scheduled to be filed today, is the latest in a string of events that have followed the Sept. 21 revelation that Turner hired five-time felon Fred Brito to the chapter’s top fund-raising position. Brito was hired even though a background check flagged his most recent grand- theft conviction. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Brito says he stole no money, but city officials and others are now asking the charity to account for donations. The chapter has raised $2.4 million for Hurricane Katrina relief, most of it during Brito’s tenure. Red Cross officials say an internal investigation showed no money missing, but community leaders are asking them to be transparent with their accounting procedures. According to the expected lawsuit, Lopez was wrongfully dismissed while she was away on medical leave. On Feb. 14 Turner approved the 12-week leave, according to a letter provided by attorney James Otto, who is representing both of the former employees. On March 29 Turner dismissed Lopez via another letter, saying the chapter needed to immediately hire another chief development officer and could not afford both employees. Lopez tried to return to work immediately, but her employment was terminated, the expected lawsuit says. Lopez filed suit July 15 against the American Red Cross and Turner for wrongful termination. The case is separate from the action announced Thursday. In August the San Gabriel Valley chapter replaced Lopez with Brito, who falsified his credentials to get the job. In the search process all resumes or applications from women were excluded because, Turner said, “men do the job better than women,’ the complaint says. On Sept. 12 Andrade was asked to testify that Lopez was “undependable, insubordinate and incompetent at her job,’ according to the complaint. Andrade responded that Lopez was an excellent employee, and that he would not cover up any discrimination, the suit says. Four days later, Andrade became suspicious of Brito’s behavior and found published reports on the Internet about his deceptions. Andrade immediately reported Brito to Turner. On Sept. 21 a story about Brito’s dismissal from the Red Cross chapter was reported in the Pasadena Star-News. The expected lawsuit says Red Cross officials accused Andrade of leaking the Brito story to news reporters. He was fired because he opposed the action against Lopez, the claim says. Marshall Allen can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4461, or by e-mail at marshall.allen@sgvn.com. center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more