22 February 2013

Liberia: Detention Aborted

The House of Representatives has ordered the detention for three days the embattled Montserrado County Superintendent Grace T. Kpan but Monrovia City Corporation Acting Mayor Mary Borh prevented the superintendent from going to jail.

As the Sergeant- At- Arms Martin Johnson was escorting Superintendent Kpan to the Monrovia Central Prison, Madam Broh was seen stopping Gen. Johnson from implementing the House' order.

Madam Broh succeeded in stopping the detention of Kpan as the superintendent boarded a waiting vehicle which took her to an unknown location.

It is not known whether Kpan was actually taken to jail after the uproar between Broh and the Sergeant At Arms.

The House said it took the decision for the superintendent's failure to implement a four-count mandate given her by that august body since January 17, 2013.

Recently, the House instructed Superintendent Kpan to open a single account where all funds for Montserrado County will be deposited.

She was further instructed to ensure the payment of all scholarship fees for lawmakers in the county and reinstate the dismissed Chairman of the County's Project Management Committee (PMC) Patrick Moore and restitute the US$50,739.50 she withdrew from the County's Forest Concession Fund. The Superintendent was given one week to implement these counts and report to plenary.

However, the lawmakers' decision was never implemented by Superintendent Kpan.

Appearing before the Representatives Thursday, it was observed that of the four counts mandated by the Legislature, only one was implemented.

According to our Legislative Reporter, besides the reinstatement of the dismissed Chairman of the Montserrado County Project Management Committee Patrick, the Superintendent refused to settle the payment of scholarship fess for lawmakers in Montserrado County, restitute the money in question and open one account for the county.

Madam Kpan argued that it was not her responsibility to close the extra account opened for the county but it was the duty of the Development Superintendent.

The Superintendent also told the lawmakers that the US$50,739.50 in question was expended for the intended purpose; as such, it was difficult for her to restitute it.

Superintendent Kpan said the money was used to purchase a bus and office furniture, which she maintained, was the intended purpose.

"Honorable Speaker, Honorable Speaker, Members of the 53rd Legislature, how can I restitute money that was used for the intended purpose, the money in question was given to all of the counties and Montserrado County used its portion for the purchase of a bus and office furniture," Superintendent Kpan told the lawmakers.

Following these counter arguments between the Superintendent and the representatives, Speaker Alex Tyler called for executive session where the fate of Madam Kpan was decided.

At the closed doors session, the lawmakers voted unanimously to place Superintendent Kpan in detention for 30 days but Representatives Munah Pelham-Youngblood, Edwin Snowe, and Nemune Bartewa appealed to their colleagues to reduce the sentence to 72 hours or three days.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called for an emergency session today to deal with the matter.

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