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Monday, June 17, 2024

LIBERIA: FINANCE MINISTER ON THE RUN?

Date:

MONROVIA – The House of Representatives has issued an order for the arrest of Finance Minister Samuel Tweah for failing to comply with two contempt charges presented by the lawmakers. Rather than appearing in person, the Minister sent a letter of excuse, citing illness, and requested Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Samora Wolokollie, to appear as his proxy.

The House dismissed this excuse and deemed the Minister’s absence unacceptable. Following a four-hour recess, it was reported that the Sergeant-at-arms and staff were unable to execute the order, as Tweah was absent from both his workplace and residence. The Sergeant-at-arms was then instructed to seek assistance from the appropriate law enforcement agency in the country for the Minister’s arrest.

Lofa County District #1 Representative, Francis Nyumalin, proposed a motion to declare Finance Minister Tweah “wanted.” He explained that contempt of the Legislature entails actions that hinder the Legislative function or obstruct the duties of its members and officers.

According to the House’s rule #4, contempt charges can result in a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment in a common jail for a maximum of one month or the duration of the current session of the House. Such decisions are not appealable. The House’s Plenary made this decision on Tuesday after the Finance Development Planning Minister failed to comply with another citation to attend discussions on national matters of concern, along with his principal deputies.

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