2 July 2014

Liberia: Senate Seeks Clarity On U.S.$800,000 Scam

Members of the 53rd Liberian Senate are upset by recent revelation by Internal Affairs Minister, Morris Dukuly that a senator requested him to transfer US$800,000 to his (senator's) personal account to implement developmental projects, something, Minister Dukuly said, he vehemently rejected.

The senate wants the Internal Affairs Boss to give the name of the senator or risks contempt.

Despite the pressure, Minister Dukuly yesterday in the Chambers of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol Building refused to call the name of the senator, who allegedly requested for the US$800,000 unless he's taken to executive session.

But Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye has written the plenary of the Senate to prevail on Dukuly to disclose the name of the senator in question.

Senator Gaye, strongly supported by Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper, is demanding that Minister Dukuly should come up with the name or else plenary should charge him with contempt with the penalty of imprisonment.

At the same time, Senate-Pro-tempore, Gbehnzohngar Milton Findley, who presided over the tense, but stimulating session, said the Minister's view should be respected by taking to executive session.

Sinoe County Senator, Cllr. Joseph Nagbe, Grand Kru County Cletus Wotorson and Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Jallah insisted that the indicting statement was made in open session so the clarification shall be made in similar atmosphere. Senator Gaye of Grand Gedeh is infuriated and has described Dukuly's statement as insulting and bringing the integrity of the first Branch of Government to public dispute.

Gaye added that he has guided his credibility with his life and that no government official will play with his integrity, noting that the position of Pro-tempore Findley is in support of the Internal Affairs Boss. But the Minister of Internal Affairs succeeded when the senators eventually agreed to take him into executive session, chasing away everyone, including assigned media practitioners and members of the public.

The rule of the Senate says any statement or issues discussed in executive session is not to be made public and anyone found in contravening such rule would be punished. Last Thursday, the Minister of Internal Affairs launched a stinging attack against the House of Senate, saying some members of the 53rd Liberian Senate lack integrity and morals.

Appearing before the Senate's plenary, Minister Dukuly said there are some members of the senate who stand for principles with good intent for the common good of the State but a few bad apples were among the good senators.

Detailing his allegation further, he said many of the senators are in the habit of micro-managing county's projects, explaining that senators are engaged in forming construction companies with the sole intent of taking construction contracts intended for their counties from government, but at the end of the day, many of those contracts are abandoned while residents of the affected counties cried on national government to complete unfinished projects.

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