LIBERIA: Senate Pardons Finance Minister

K(LINA) – The Liberian Senate has pardoned Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh, bringing to an end attempts by that body to institute punitive actions against him for contempt.

The Senate charged Minister Konneh with contempt over a communication which the body termed as disrespectful.

The Senate reached the decision to pardon him at its 18th Day Sitting on Thursday following a month-long strife between members of the Senate and Finance Minister Konneh.

It can be recalled that the Liberian Senate on February 9 held Minister Konneh in contempt and recommended his imprisonment for 72 hours.

The Finance Minister could not, however, be subjected to the 72-hour jail punishment as a result of a “Motion of Reconsideration” filed by Grand Gedeh County Senator Alphonso Gaye.

On January 26, in a communication addressed to the Secretary of the Liberian Senate, Deputy Finance Minister James Kollie upon instructions from Minister Konneh informed the Senate of its revised recurrent appropriation for fiscal year 2015/16 in the tone of US$14,043,570, down from US$15,306,416.

The letter, among other things, requested the Liberian Senate to respond to said appropriation as stated in the communication or the necessary changes would be effected based on the discretion of the Ministry of Finance.

However, the Senate termed the communication as disrespectful and a violation of the Constitution of Liberia on grounds that the power to make budgetary appropriation was not the responsibility of the ministry but rather the Legislature.

Konneh, who apologized for the tone of the communication, noted that it was only

intended to inform members of the Liberian Senate about the shift in the nation’s budget occasioned by the impact of the global economic downturn on the Liberian economy.

The Liberian Senate, among other things, said their action to pardon Minister Konneh was based upon series of interventions from members of the Religious and Traditional Councils of Liberia.

 Earlier in a communication, Senator Gaye begged the body to forgive the Minister for his wrongdoing.

“Honorable Senators, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I wish you a happy Easter,” Konneh said in brief remarks in the chambers of the Liberian Senate.


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About Cholo Brooks 15636 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.