After almost two hours of grilling, the Liberian Senate Thursday, June 26, granted Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly a temporary reprieve, and asked him to reappear Tuesday, July 1, 2014 before the plenary for further hearings into complaints by some Senators.
Minister Dukuly, however, appealed that the Senate set another date for his reappearance, because, according to him, he will be leaving for Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties to ensure that preparations for the hosting of the July 26th Independence Day Celebrations to be hosted by those two counties stays on track. This, according to him, is especially because of the deplorable road condition and the time constraint, with less than a month to go.
It is expected that with the intervention of some members of the Senate’s leadership, Mr. Dukuly may be excused from reappearing next Tuesday.
Thursday’s hearing, which came after three attempts, was prompted after accusations from Senators from Bong, River Cess, Gbarpolu and Montserrado Counties, that Minister Dukuly had unilaterally placed a moratorium on the County Development Fund (CDF) and Social Development Fund (SDF); dismissed chiefs for old age and poor health, and allowed four District Commissioners whose nominations were rejected by the Senate to maintain their posts.
But speaking on controversial issue of the moratorium on the county and social development funds, Minister Dukuly clarified that the Ministry was carrying on a “selective review process” and not moratorium.
On the question of dismissals of chiefs, he explained that no chief had been dismissed, but noted that the Ministry was carrying out redocumentation of the local government structure, and that those chiefs who were found wanting either due to old age, poor health or long service, were retired.
Dukuly reminded the lawmakers that since 1986, there have been no elections for chiefs, and that most of the chiefs were either too old to function properly or some died and were replaced outside the approval of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He has meanwhile, promised to furnish the Senate with a complete update of the number of chiefs in the country by Tuesday.
Mr. Dukuly, whose earlier appeal to the Senators to address them in executive session was rejected, told the plenary that he was informed by an authority of the Senate that two of the rejected Commissioners had been confirmed by that body. He disclosed that the four Commissioners had been appointed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf since 2006, and were being renominated. The Minister could not, however, say whether the four are still working despite being quizzed by the Senate.