Acting Public Works Minister Suspends Zonal Taskforce Head for ‘Assaulting’ Lawmaker

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Acting Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins

 A junior staff at the Ministry of Public  Works, Armadu Bility, was suspended on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 for two weeks after more than 45 minutes of closed-door meeting with members of the House of Representatives in Plenary.

Acting Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins, on behalf of the ministry, rendered an apology to the Lower House, especially to Montserrado County District #3 Representative Ceebee C.D. Barshell for the “insult and assault” levied against him by Zonal Taskforce Head Bility, when he went to deliver a “stop order” communication from the ministry.

The Minister on Tuesday, February 9 — the 9th day sitting after lawmakers’ constituency break, regretted the incident and said the Ministry had considered disciplining Bility by suspending him for two weeks with a cut in his salary and subsequently deposited into government’s revenue.”

But in a motion proffered by Rivercess County District #2 Representative Rosanna Schaack, which was amended by Sinoe County District #3 Representative Matthew Zarzar, it cut off the slice in salary to avoid double punishment; which makes Bility to only be suspended.

Speaker Bhofal Chambers also disclosed that besides the suspension, Mr. Bility will publish an apology to Rep. Barshell in three local dailies.

Prior to the apology, Minister Collins told the lawmakers that the Zonal Taskforce team was enforcing a zonal law of which stop order communication was served the David Barshell School in Thinker’s Village to halt ongoing construction.

She said the communication was served on October 14, 2020, and January 13, 2021 respectively. Then, on January 14, 2021, while serving the third communication, there was a scuffle between the Zonal Taskforce and the school’s security, but was taken care of by the police by detaining the security.

She said during the same day, the Zonal Taskforce head and the Lawmaker had regretful exchanges.

Plenary’s decision to invite Minister Collins and Justice Minister Frank Dean was owing to a formal complaint from Rep. Barshell, accusing Mr. Bility of insulting and assaulting amid the stop order’s communication.

He said the Zonal Taskforce stormed the David Barshell School campus with armed police and disrupted classes. 

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