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Government representative threatens legal action against newspaper over article implicating him in oil deal with foreign company

(CEMESP/IFEX) - The management of the "Liberian Express" bi-weekly newspaper has been threatened with legal action by a member of the House of Representatives of Liberia.

Representative Dusty Wolokollie accused the newspaper of publishing what he termed "a falsehood against him" and boasted that he will take the newspaper to court for libel and will demand US$20,000 in damages.

The ruling Unity Party representative made the threat against the newspaper on 3 May 2007, World Press Freedom Day, after the newspaper published an article linking him to a meeting allegedly held in London to make an oil deal with the management of the Broadway Consolidated company. Broadway Consolidated is a UK-based mineral company which entered into an off- shore concession agreement with the Government of Liberia.

Wolokollie says he will not request that the newspaper retract the story, nor will he file a complaint about the newspaper to the Press Union of Liberia. He says, instead, that he intends "to teach the Liberian media a lesson".

The managing editor of the "Liberian Express", former Press Union of Liberia president James Kiazolu, says his newspaper stands by the story.

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