By Ethel A Tweh
The Plenary of the Liberian Senate on Thursday, 2 December 2021 fined Agriculture Minister Jeanine M. Cooper L$4,999 for obstructing Legislative functions.
The fine followed a contempt hearing in which the Minister was found guilty on Tuesday, 30 November 2021.
She was tried based on counts of noncompliance and gross disrespect to the Senate’s standing committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The Senate’s decision to fine Minister Cooper was based on a motion made by Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.
The Agriculture Minister was mandated by the Plenary to pay into government revenues the L$4,999 with a receipt presented to the Secretary of the Senate on or before the next sitting of the Senate.
The Minister is also mandated by the Plenary to resubmit herself to the committee to have the unresolved issues discussed and possibly resolved.
Responding to the charges against her on Tuesday, Madam Cooper said it has never been the intention of the Ministry of Agriculture and its officials to deliberately, willfully, and intentionally refuse to comply with requests from the relevant committees to appear.
She explained that whenever duly cited, the Ministry of Agriculture is represented by her when she is in the country or in her absence, the Acting Minister will appear along with relevant documents to answer queries.
Minister Cooper also informed the Plenary of the Liberian Senate that she was misled by her Deputy Minister for Technical Services, Robert Kerkulah Fagans, who was acting as Minister while she was abroad on an official trip.
“I have done all within my power and personal abilities to reinforce and facilitate legislative oversight including by and through the provision of reports to the House of Representatives, to various Committees in the Senate, including the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,” she said.
“Briefings are being given as to the senior leadership of the House of Representatives, to cabinet colleagues, to the international community, and to the world at large,” she concluded.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/agriculture-minister-guilty-of-contempt/