Liberia: MICAT Reportedly Using Court Power To Strip-off Franchise From Miss Liberia Wokie Dolo

Miss Liberia Wokie Dolo

Monrovia – The Government of Liberia has been accused of using police power as a subtly means through the court to stop current Miss Liberia Wokie Dolo from hosting the Miss University Africa pageant in Monrovia.

Although Ms. Dolo has the official intellectual rights to organize and host the event, the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism has demanded that she quit organizing the event.  

On Saturday, August 9, 2019 staff of La Queen Entertainment, owned by Miss Dolo, had set up the stage to host the pageant but they were told by the management of the hotel they had earlier booked that the Government demanded they discontinue the event.

“My staff told me that four police officers came asking for me but I wasn’t there, only for the management to inform us that they couldn’t allow us to host the program,” Ms. Dolo said.

Cape Hotel was the new venue for the program. And on Tuesday, August 13 a “Contempt of Court” writ was served on Ms. Dolo and the Cape Hotel for disobeying the court’s stay order on the hosting of the event.

The writ stated that Dolo and the hotel management “were given notice to stay the hosting of the pageant show, in defiance to the court’s order moved to the Cape Hotel venue…, where the both defendants connived and conspired [and] hosted the show in disobedience to the order of the court.”

Ms. Dolo and the hotel are expected to appear before the Monrovia City Court Wednesday, August 14 to show a reason why they shouldn’t be held in contempt.

But Ms. Dolo denied being served the stay order writ as mentioned by the court in its Contempt writ on Tuesday.

“I am even surprised that they will say there was a stay order on the program because I have no idea and we did not receive any court’s order,” Dolo said on Tuesday.

“I have my lawyer and will go before the court tomorrow [Wednesday] but I don’t understand why the Government of Liberia will focus on things that they wouldn’t benefit from.”

The government insists her firm has no authority to host the event since she no longer holds the Miss Liberia crown. Dolo has been recognized as the reigning Miss Liberia after winning the crown in 2017. She is yet to be succeeded since the competition has not been held.

A May 16, 2019 letter from Princess Turkolon, MICAT Assistant Minister for Tourism, barred Ms. Dolo from hosting the pageant.

In the same communication, MICAT mandated the Liberia National Student Union to conduct the pageant in collaboration with the previous host; focusing on the reigning queens of all universities in the country.

FrontPageAfrica has also gathered that MICAT has given the franchise to Monique Modelling Agency – a firm reportedly owned by Montserrado County lawmaker Munah Pelham-Youngblood. 

But Taylor Nazzal, who is the president of Miss University Africa Organization based in Lagos, Nigeria  – the firm which owns the franchise to host the pageant across the African continent – says he’s unaware that MICAT has transferred the intellectual rights to host the event to a new firm.

“We wish to inform the general public and all well-meaning Liberians that we do not have any records/application from Monique Modelling Agency seeking our franchise or to represent us in Liberia,”  Nazzal wrote in a statement to FrontPAgeAfrica.

“All franchise/appointments for country directors MUST first be vetted by us and approved with an official letter sent to such individual/agency before they can represent us in their country. This is not the case of Monique Modelling Agency.”

Miss University Africa was established in 2010 as a non-bikini pageant comprising 54 African countries aimed at discouraging indecent dressing, promoting good neighborliness amongst African, empowering African women to believe in themselves thereby becoming better leaders on the continent. It is a registered International Trademark.

Mr. Nazzal said the franchise holder is Ms. Dolo of La Queen approved to send a delegate from Liberia for 2019 contest.

“We are therefore asking all well-meaning Liberians to ONLY work with Ms. Dolo as our franchise holder and not Monique Modelling Agency.

“Miss University Africa is an international trademark and registered intellectual property solely owned by us. MICAT does not have the authority to issue our franchise to anyone without our approval. It is like the Ministry of Commerce in Liberia appointing the Managing Director of UBA Bank without getting the head office approval.”

He continued: “Ms. Dolo sent us her company’s registration in Liberia with proof she is a taxpayer. She was screened by us before she was approved. We have NEVER worked with any organization called Monique in the past as some lies have been going around. We will defy them to produce proof of a letter from us to Monique appointing them to act on our behalf.”

But the Assistant MICAT Minister Turkolon argued that Miss University Africa Organization cannot dictate to the Liberian government in deciding who should have the franchise in the country.

“They cannot be in their country and want to tell us who should carry the franchise, we know that someone had the same franchise and it has not expired,” Turkolon said, adding that the pageant held by LA Queen at the Cape Hotel was illegal and the court’s action will serve as a warning.

“We wouldn’t allow anyone to do anything illegal, she has no right to host a pageant, it’s not because you have a crown as miss Liberia so you can violate the law.”

Meanwhile, the Miss University Africa Organization said they have also officially written the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Republic of Liberia and copied the Assistant Minister of Tourism to this effect.

“I personally called assistant minister princess informing her that Ms. Dolo is our only recognized franchise holder in Liberia. I have proofs of my WhatsApp chats to her and also the minister himself,” Nazzal told FPA in a text.