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Editorial: What’s Irritating Min. Konneh?

Following the decision by President Sirleaf to reprimand the young Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs based on the Negbalee led committee’s report on the carbon saga, Minister Amara Konneh has “vehemently” rejected said report, saying that “it is lack of evidence.”

While it is reasonably normal, in such a situation, for the accused official to react and give some clarifications as it was the case with several other officials, this time the reaction of the accused is a bit bizarre. Minister Amara Konneh seems to be so irritated that he did not mince his words: “The Ministry of Planning is fully aware that as we approach elections, detractors would be bent on smearing the reputation of honest, hardworking professionals who are dedicated to nation building.”

Who are those referred to as detractors of the young Minister here? Is it Negbalee Warner or the other two members of his committee? Can we then say that the President is also one of those who want to dirty the image of the young minister as we get close to elections?

“The Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs unequivocally challenges the validity of the recommendations by the Committee that the Minister of Planning and his Chief of Staff be reprimanded based on speculations.” This was another reaction by the office of Minister Amara Konneh.

Does that mean that the Minister is challenging the decision taken by the President to reprimand him? If the President, after reading the report, decides to take action, that means she is convinced that the report is factual.

The New Dawn believes that instead of Minister Amara Konneh gulping down, he should provide convincing elements to prove his innocence. Is the Minister saying that the ministry did not issue any certificate? Then why did the ministry remain silent when the company started operation?

The fact that Carbon Harvesting Corporation was in the process of starting its operation in Liberia when Global Witness blew the alarm indicates that the company had already fulfilled all necessary legal requirements with the government of Liberia. If that is the case, Amara Konneh needs to revisit his arsenal by assuming his responsibilities as head of the Ministry of Planning.

The rejection of the Carbon Saga report and the subsequent challenging of the validity of said report by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, are in our view a complete act of insubordination on the part of Minister Amara Konneh. He is not challenging the report; he is instead challenging the decision to be taken by the President.

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Both Amara Konneh and Negbalee Warner are young Liberian technocrats at the service of the Government and people of Liberia. We believe that this report was one way or the order, shown to the parties involved before presentation to the President. Coming to the public and crying wolf is not the proper way to address the issue.

Finally, we are of the strong conviction that in this saga, if the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs did not get involved in any act of corruption, it should be blamed for negligence.

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