9 June 2014

Liberia: Amara Konneh's Fate At Disposal of Leadership

Monrovia — The House of Representatives says it still remained consistence on the appearance of Finance Minister Amara Konneh, and has taken Minister Konneh's case to the leadership of the lower House of Legislature to decide the fate of the Minister of Finance, but Lofa County Representative, Moses Y. Kollie differ, saying that the matter needs to be discussed in plenary.

However, as it is the operation of the Legislature, majority consent to referring Konneh's fate to the House's leadership which means the leadership will suggest the punishment that Mr. Konneh is to face to the full House in Plenary, the highest decision making body, which will have to review and sanction it.

Usually, legislative sanctions include detention for contempt, a vote of no-confidence that compels the dismissal of executive official of warning with conditions attached.

The House in Plenary took the decision last week following Minister Konneh's refusal to appear to before the Plenary on many times when he was invited to address himself to salient national issues.

Mr. Konneh was to address himself before the House Plenary to the issues concerning the poor quality of roads and infrastructures in Liberia. He was also to make him available to lawmakers on issues relating to the state of the Liberia economy and the proposed draft fiscal budget 2014/2015.

Minister Konneh who is currently attending the African Peer Review Mechanism Focus Point Meeting (APRM) in Dakar, Senegal has been reported on many instances of boycotting legislative summons before the House Plenary, which the House has considered a defiance and an abrogation of the rules of National Legislature which calls for the appearing of each government officials for hearings on the status of their respective ministries or agencies.

Speaking at Thursday in plenary, the Lofa County Representative FofieSaaBaimba in a motion told the House plenary that communication sent by the Finance minister asking to grant him an excuse, be sent to the leadership of the House for review.

But Montserrado County District # 16 Representative Edward Forh, in his input into the deliberation, thought that at one point they as legislators need to start dealing with the institution as it is represented.

Representative Forh indicated the Minister of Finance as head of the Ministry invited could respond the legislative summons through his principal Deputy, James F. Kollie, Jr., who was not necessarily the focus of the summons sent to the Finance Ministry.

He told the House Plenary that if there is an acting minister who could address the matter and the letter is address to the minister, “I think it was incumbent on the acting minister to appear instead, and to the extent that the information we need is not sufficient from him, then we could ask the minister to come.”

According to him, “... for the Finance Ministry to have a head present on the ground and that head referring to another head that is not on the ground, I think is something we need to talk about; that's my observations.”

For Lofa County Representative, Moses Y. Kollie, the Minister of Finance should have appeared on June 3, 2014 and he didn't do without any excuse to the House's Plenary.

Representative Kollie further said that Minister Amara Konneh has already gone against the rules of the House Plenary before his belated excuse to the House as though he is the only minister capable of responding on behalf of the ministry.

The Lofa County lawmaker said in his view, the House should open the discussion of the fate of Minister Konneh as an agenda for discussion so that Plenary would take an appropriate action instead of sending the issue to leadership of the House of Representatives.

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