By Ethel A. Tweh
The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has cited Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweh under penalty of contempt.
Under the contempt charge, the Plenary mandated its Sergeant–at–Arms Brigadier General Toe Cheleh Toe to produce the living body of the Minister on Thursday, 24 November 2022 at noon.
Minister Tweah has been summoned to state why he should not be held in contempt by the Senate for his failure to appear before it after several citations.
He was invited on more than two occasions to appear before the Senate to explain how the US$11m that was allotted in the Current budget as a subsidy for the importation of rice was used.
Minister Tweah allegedly failed to honor the invitations.
Under his contempt appearance on Thursday, Minister Tweah will address the issue of delay in salary disbursement of Public Defenders, Prosecutors as well as Civil Servants across the country.
The decision was reached based on a concern raised by River Gee County Senator Johnathan Boycharles Sogbie asking his colleagues to probe speedily into matters relating to a statement made by the Chairman of the National Association of Prosecutors.
Sogbie said the association chairman’s statement was regarding strike and neglect of court duties by Public Defenders based on the delay of their salaries and other benefits.
Senator Sogbie explained that actions taken by prosecutors are worrisome and could lead to overcrowding of prisons.
At the same time, some Senators expressed regrets about the situation at hand and called on Plenary to take meaningful actions in saving the state.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning is expected to appear with his lawyer at 12 mid-day on Thursday, 24 November.
Tweah’s citation for contempt by the Senate comes after he faced similar action at Liberia’s Supreme Court early this month.
The Supreme Court ordered Minister Tweah’s arrest for delaying the payment of salaries for the judicial branch of government.
Justices on the Supreme Court bench accused the executive of cutting the budget of the judiciary and giving it limited support, adding that they were holding President George Manneh Weah responsible for the downward trend of the judicial branch of government.
But Mr. Tweah, following his appearance before the justices to explain why he should not be held in contempt for hindering the functioning of the judiciary, informed the court about the payment of salaries for September 2022.
He also promised to make payment for October.