Justice Yussif Kaba It took the government over seven months to get close to the end of a bond strife for five current and former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on trial for their alleged involvement in the ‘missing’ L$16 billion.The impasse was resolved on Wednesday, September 4, when Chamber Justice Yussif Kaba revoked his alternative writ of certiorari issued on Monday, September 2, to review the judgment of Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’, who is presiding over the trial of the case.Judge Dixon had earlier remanded former CBL governor Milton Weeks and two other co-defendants, including Richard H. Walker, director for operations, and Dorbor M. Hagba, director for finance, at the Monrovia Central Prison, until they can file a new bail each in the amount of L$1,058,000,000.Dixon also released the two other defendants, Joseph Dennis, deputy director of Internal Audit and Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles Sirleaf on medical grounds, but with an order to pay their L$1,058,000,000 within a week.Dixon’s action was due to a new charge of money laundering brought against the defendants, adding yet another accusation to a series of corruption charges against the CBL’s officials.However, Justice Kaba said that the defendants should surrender their passports or all of their travel documents to the office of the sheriff. He also warned that “the defendants (petitioners) should not travel beyond the cities of Brewerville, Paynesville and the Atlantic Ocean.” He added that the defendants should report to the sheriff’s office weekly, each Friday.Initially, Weeks filed a property evaluation bond to the amount of US$909,319.88 to secure his release from pre-trial detention, while the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company (ACICO) secured the bond for Charles E. Sirleaf, deputy governor in the amount of US$60,000.The company also secured a US$60,000 bond for Richard Walker, director for operations, Joseph Dennis, deputy director for internal audit and Dorbor Hagba, director of finance.Those bonds were to secure their release on the first charges, which include economic sabotage and theft of property. Later, the prosecution added a new charge of money laundering, which Dixon set the bail to L$1,058,000,000, leaving to the defense team to appeal against the new bail before Justice Dixon.The charges were brought based on the release of the USAID-backed Kroll report, and the report by the Special Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), which uncovered a wide-range of discrepancies in the printing of new Liberian banknotes worth billions of LRD, and the controversial disbursement of US$25 million intended to be infused into the economy to curb the rising exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars.It is yet unknown when the trial of the case will resume.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
As harsh as it may seem, over the years, all scooters have inherently started to look the same. With manufacturers following a set recipe of picking out the best-selling product, subtly tweaking a few design elements, matching mechanical performance and voila, you’ve got a new scooter.ALSO READ:Honda Shine SP is swift and smooth through trafficThen came along Piaggio with the Vespa. Reborn with neo-retro styling, an astonishing price tag and lifestyle appeal that set it apart. In fact, traits that should’ve pulled it down actually worked for it, making the Vespa a premium product. Yamaha’s Fascino is another prime example minus the exorbitant price tag and it is gaining steady popularity.Being a 125cc engine, it almost never feels strained even while sitting at its top whack of around 90kmph for extended periods. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Suzuki now steps in with the all-new Access 125 and quite evidently, the new design has premium written all over it. The chrome bezel around the headlamp, mature styling elements and the right amount of modern touches make this scooter quite a looker. It is an attractive design and going by the television commercials, it’s aiming at an audience that desires a good looking scooter.Being a 125cc engine, it almost never feels strained even while sitting at its top whack of around 90kmph for extended periods. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb) Suzuki has opted for plastic panels for most of the bodywork barring the metal front fender and apron. This has helped them shave off 10kgs and this quite obviously has altered its dynamics too but we’ll get to that a little later.ALSO READ:Mahindra Mojo lives up to its sports tourer credential advertisementThe new scooter is 90mm longer and 35mm taller than the previous model while the width and ground clearance remain the same. The wide seat is much like the older Access but in a slimmer profile thus retaining the 780mm seat height despite the increase in overall height.Neo-retro styling, useful features, sturdy build quality. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)The rear grab-rail is a simple pick and refit from the old scooter and I would’ve much liked Suzuki to have given it the same treatment as the Access 125 SE, an old-school steel unit lashed in chrome and fitting to the neo-retro image that the Access is trying to project. The taillight unit spreads to almost the width of the scooter’s rear section and looks appealing.Currently only a steel wheel and drum brake variant is on offer with a disc and alloy version on the anvil. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb) We received the steel wheels and drum brake iteration of the scooter and I have to tell you that the optional alloy wheels and front disc brake should be a definite pick as they complete the look and undeniably add to the premium appeal.ALSO READ:Honda Navi: Something really newSuzuki has now switched the wheels to a 12- and 10-inch front and rear combination compared to the 10-inch wheels on the previous model. A bigger front wheel just adds surefootedness to the handling while managing bigger potholes better with the added diameter.Luggage hook and mobile holder are thoughtful features for the seat. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)Suzuki claims that the engine is all-new too albeit power output remaining similar. The 124cc engine gets SEP tech (short for Suzuki Eco Performance) that promises powerful performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. This new engine still produces 8.7bhp of peak power but a slightly increased 10.2Nm of torque compared to 9.8Nm of the previous model.Luggage hook and mobile holder are thoughtful features for the seat. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb) On the move, the shed weight shows through in the way that the Access feels lighter on its feet while the larger front wheel offers more confidence with a taller, more upright stance. The new Access is nimbler than its forerunner for sure but surprisingly changes characteristics in a few areas where the latter excelled. The added torque and lesser weight makes for brisk starts off-the-line but beyond 65kmph, power delivery softens in the mid-range and tapers off towards the top-end of the rev-range. This is quite unlike the zippy, sprightly performance of the older scooter.ALSO READ: Triumph Thruxton R is a cafer for todayThe straight exhaust design remains from the older model. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb) But being a 125cc engine, it almost never feels strained even while sitting at its top whack of around 90kmph for extended periods. The CVT unit is new and clearly, emphasis has been given to bottom-end performance for ease of use in traffic. The ride quality is stiff and again, surprising as the older model managed this aspect rather well. The front telescopic suspension has good low-speed damping qualities where small undulations on the road aren’t felt but jerks on the handlebar go up progressively as speeds increase.Ignition key controls lock. (Photo: Nishant Jhamb)You do get more feel of the road surface due to this trait and turning into a corner feels more confident. It’s the rear suspension that has probably been worked upon considering that the scooter will always be ridden with a pillion. It is set stiff to the extent that the rear tends to step out of line and bounces back harshly over rumble strips and small speed breakers.advertisementThe new Access also has a longer wheelbase than the previous scooter improving stability but not like it was bad in the first place with the older model.ALSO READ: Ducati 959 Panigale is a stealVerdictThe latest Access 125 brings better engine technology, rideabilty and new features to the table. But what is a little baffling is Suzuki selling three Access models side-by-side. Models mind you not variants, separated by less than Rs 2,000. Suzuki has also packed the new Access with thoughtful features like a charging socket in the 20-litre under seat storage as well and generous leg space. For its price though, VFM and quality are on par with the best out there.