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Miss Liberia Crown Under Probe



The Liberian Government through the Information Ministry has disclosed in Monrovia that a committee of competent experts will be constituted to review, investigate and advise on resolving the controversy surrounding the 2011/2012 winner of the Miss Liberia beauty pageant. An Information Ministry release issued said as a way of addressing the controversy, MICAT has requested a situational report from the Organizer, CT.COM Limited and the Judges of the Pageant.
But CT.Com Chief Executive Officer Christopher Onanuga told a news conference Tuesday that Lofa County's Contestant Leeda Knowlden (photo) remains the legitimate winner, and was processing her travel documents for the Miss World Competition.
However, the Liberian Government is anticipating a way forward from experts' advice for future conduct of the Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant.
Charged with the statutory responsibility to conduct the Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant, MICAT made the call following mounting criticisms of this year pageant which failed to produce a legitimate queen, as spectators, international judges and organizers could not reconcile the actual crown winner between the Montserrado and Lofa County contestants on the morning of April 15 at the Executive Pavilion down town Monrovia.
MICAT has, however, congratulated all of the contestants and attendees, assuring the general public that everything was being done to amicably resolve the situation and give relief to the contestants.
Judges from Ghana and Nigeria, who presided over the competition, disassociated themselves with the final decision that declared Miss Leeda Knowlden of Lofa County as winner. The judges said they had no hands in the decision taken by CT.Com, organizer of this year's pageant in declaring Miss Leeda Knowlden winner.
The declaration of Leeda by CT.Com Limited to the disapproval of the judges sparked debates both in Liberia and the Diaspora, raising concerns about what really went wrong.
The head judge, also Executive Producer of the ECOWAS Peace Pageant, Madam Maxine Menson said Miss Leeda Knowlden did not meet the standards set to become Miss Liberia 2012.
"We absolutely have no idea on her announcement as winner; we never sent her name as winner; what we said is that she has the highest online votes from text messages, and she is the most popular contestant, but not the winner."
Madam Menson noted that on the night of the contest, Leeda Knowlden received one of the least marks among the 11 contestants. Though the result of the expert investigation is far from determination, assumptions in certain quarters are that government may likely consider returning to the status quo, i.e. for Liberian organizers to take charge to avoid future embarrassment for Liberia.
Meanwhile, the prime sponsor of this year's Miss Liberia Pageant, Judges from Ghana and Nigeria, who presided over the competition, disassociated themselves from the final decision that declared Miss Leeda Knowlden of Lofa County as winner.
The judges said they have no hand in the decision taken by CT.Com, organizer of this year's pageant in declaring Miss Leeda Knowlden as winner. The issue has sparked debates both in Liberia and the Diaspora, thus raising concerns about what really happened on the night of the contest.
The head judge of the competition, who is also Executive Producer of the ECOWAS Peace Pageant, Madam Maxine Menson said Miss Leeda Knowlden did not meet the standards set to become Miss Liberia 2012.
"We absolutely have no idea on her announcement as winner; we never sent her name as winner; what we said is that she has the highest online votes from text messages and she is the most popular contestant but not the winner."
Madam Menson said on the night of the contest, Leeda Knowlden received one of the least marks among the 11 contestants. Though it is not clear as to what punishments await the organizers, there are reports that government was considering stern punitive measures for the embarrassing it has caused Liberia.
Meanwhile, the prime sponsor of this year's Miss Liberia Pageant, Cellcom has distanced itself from the decision-making process of the show. The GSM communication company said it "has never, and will never" influence the decision of any competition, emphasizing that it is only a sponsor of the show.
"As a sponsor, and under our terms of our contract with the organizers, Cellcom only provided the resources to ensure a successful event," the company said in a statement issued in Monrovia Tuesday.
SOURCE: AllAfrica.com, 4/19/2012

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