The Inquirer (Monrovia)

11 June 2014

Liberia: Hailing the Minister's Appearance, But...

editorial

THE ARCHITECT OF the Liberian Government's most prioritized ministry, the Ministry of Public Works, yesterday informed Plenary of the House of Representatives that she is not "Jesus Christ to perform miracles" on road-constructions in the country.

DR. ANTOINETTE WEEKS is under immense pressure from the public and other groups on her work at the ministry and is being pressured to step down because no practical work has been done since her appointment to that ministry.

AFTER SERIES OF investigation, the House Committee on Public Works advised Dr. Weeks not to proceed with payments to contractors currently working on roads because there was poor quality of work being carried out by some of those contactors.

BUT DURING HER appearance yesterday before members of that August Body, Dr. Weeks explained that she met on the book 34 contracts that were already signed by her predecessor. She further said that she met the amount of US$21 million in the ministry's coffers of which she expended 18 on existing works.

SHE INFORMED THE lawmakers that the remaining three million was used for maintenance of roads and bridges in each of the 15 counties.

NOW THAT DR. Weeks has opened the debate blaming her predecessor, Kofi Woods for signing contracts that are said to be substandard, we are of the view that the former Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods must assist with the ongoing investigation.

WHAT IS KNOWN in recent times since her three times appearances at the Legislature, Dr. Weeks has consistently blamed Atty. Woods of signing contracts that are substandard, empting the Ministry's coffers and at the same time, breaching the Public Procurement Commission (PPCC) law. In short, Madam Weeks has refused to take any blame though she has been at the ministry for about seven months.

GIVING A CLEARER picture of this situation, and in doing justice to the doctrine of due process, we call on the Legislators to invite the former Public Works Minister, Woods to provide some explanation on contracts signed by him during his time at the Ministry of Public Works.

THIS, WE THINK will do justice to the process and in the interest of not only the current minister, Atty. Woods, but also the general public that is also interested and eager to know the outcome of the ongoing debate over the signing of contracts and what is happening at the Public Works Ministry presently.

OUR MAJOR INTEREST is that many of the previous road projects including the Somalia Drive has been delayed due to the many accusations without action. Let the lawmakers encourage Atty. Woods to assist in the ongoing hearing to respond to some of the issues in which Dr. Weeks made reference to his administration. This we believe will clear some of the issues that have created doubts as a result of the minister's appearance.

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