15 November 2012

Liberia: Ellen Apologizes to Senate?

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Wednesday paid an unannounced visit to the Capitol for the second time this year precisely to meet with members of the 53rd Liberian Senate, following weeks of bad blood between the two branches of government.

Parties Meet Behind Closed Doors

The stalemate between the two branches of government came after members of the Legislature accused President Sirleaf, alleging that she used derogatory statements against that body while visiting the United States.

Some law makers addressing various press conferences here had alleged that the president accused them of prioritizing personal interest, relegating the plight of the Liberian people.

But source told this paper that when the president denied ever making such comments and demanded the source of the information, she was told by members of that body that they heard it in the press.

However, although she denied ever making such comments, sources say she expressed sincere regrets over the reported comments and any public disrepute it would have brought on members of the Liberian Legislature.

When greeted by the media in the corridor of the Capitol, President Sirleaf declined to speak to the press on details of the meeting with the Senate, but instead referred the media to Senate President Pro-tempore Gbenzongar Milton Findley after the three hours closed doors encounter.

Senator Findley emerging with a smiling face told reporters that the meeting with the President centered on national issues, including close coordination between the three branches of government, and national security, among others.

Pro-tempore Findley said the President provided clarity on her statement in the United States, but differed on the issue of apology, requesting members of the press to closely monitor the statement before reporting on the matter.

He appeared slow and hesitant in responding to reporters' questions on the matter. Findley also clarified that the President's visit has no connection with the current rigmarole at the General Auditing Commission.

"Look, let us [say] something right; the Auditor General does not report to the President so the President has nothing to do with [it]; he reports to us as his employers, and not the Presidency. So, there is no way that the President can come here for his lobby", said the Grand Bassa County senator, who is a staunch executive of the governing Unity Party.

He said the leadership of the Liberian Senate met with the Supreme Court Bench at the Temple of Justice in a closed doors meeting.

"This may be a strange phenomenal in the Liberian political terrain, but we are trying to build such a unique [relationship] that we will work together, but as distinctly as separately as required by the Liberian Constitution", he told members of the Legislative press corps.

Mr. Kilby dismissed over 40 staff of the General Auditing Commission, citing financial constraint and other lapses amidst vehement public outcry.

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