Min Tweah: “I Think I Violated the Law”

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Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah

— Promises Senatorial Elections will not be one hour or a month late

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel Tweah has apologized to Senators for usurping their functions by writing the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) to begin the procurement process for the up-coming senatorial election in the absence of budgetary allotment.

In a rare confession, Minister Tweah informed Senate plenary that to start the midterm Senatorial Elections process, he has written PPCC to begin the procurement process for the election when he did not have the authority to do so in the absence of legislative budgetary allotment

“I think six to seven million United States Dollars, about three or four months ago; I now stand here publicly to say that I did not have the authority to write that,” the minister said.

Minister Tweah continued: “So clearly, in writing PPCC to move forward, I think I violated the law because the money is not in the budget; so the Minister was essentially committing a procurement process to money that was not in the budget; but had I not done so, it means we would have lost a significant step, so my apology in writing, partiality usurping your function knowing that that amount of money was not in the budget.”

The Minister assured the lawmakers of the government’s definite commitment to hold the October midterm Senatorial Elections, emphasizing that elections are statutory Constitutional responsibility, which he said any meaningful government should prioritize; “because without them we don’t have constituted authority.”

“This present administration has been working with the National Elections Commission from the submission of its original budget of US$23 Million. We worked to bring it down to US$17.8 million, where it is now, so we have shown the highest level of commitment, recognizing that time is of the essence… but as it stands, the current budget of which we are running does not have for the conduct of the elections, and only the National Legislature can provide the fix for that problem, remedy it through a budget for the elections.”

The Minister intimated that in the current processes in the House of Representatives and Senate, in terms of the recast process, “we should be able to remedy that situation once the Senate and House act fast, and we will have the authority to then commit funds to NEC.”

On the question of whether the Ministry’s delay in providing money to NEC is due to the fact that the current team of commissioners are going out in the next few weeks, Minister Tweah clarified that legally, since they have tenure, “they can receive that money and spend it; expediently. We are not releasing not because their tenure is expiring, because I just don’t have the authority to release that amount of money to them, but legally I should provide the money to them if it’s available…”

Minister Tweah informed the Senate that as part of the recast budget, the government has US$3 million proposals for the Legislators consideration in the current budget, and in the “next fiscal year’s budget we have US$6 million. The government is essentially saying that it will commit US$9 Million, while our development partners have agreed to come up with the rest of about US$8.8 Million. I can assure the public that there is absolutely no doubt there will be money for the elections.”

The Finance Minister further emphasized that having spoken some experts, they do believe that elections can be held and that there is no threat to the elections. “The last thing this government (administration) will do, will be to delay the October elections by one hour. So we have no incentive of delaying this election, and there is nothing we are doing to delay the elections at all, but legally we just have to hold them in October.”

During the recent appearance of the NEC Chairman and his team of commissioners at the Senate a few weeks ago, they told the Senate that they had not received a dime from central government, for the conduct of the October elections.

The Commission warned that “if by the 30th of May, the voter registration process is not completed and a credible roll established, the possibility of conducting the election by October, will be seriously handicapped.”

Apart from voter roll issues, authorities of NEC has alarmed that the Commission is running out of time for the preparations of the election and the referendum.

“I think it is good to start early to meet up with our timeline, I am worried that if we don’t have money now to start the education of our people for the election process it might be a problem,” the commission chair Cllr. Jerome Korkoyah said in January.

Cllr. Korkoyah further said that the timelines and regulations for the election have been developed and approved including all of the technical works leading to the election are set but there is no money to start the process.

In another development, Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon’s persuasive stance of calling for roll call before commencement of sessions seems to be paying off well. After the Senate failed to convene last Thursday, due to lack of a quorum, sixteen (16) Senators were present during Tuesday’s roll call, and four more Senators added to that number to bring the total present to twenty (20) Senators.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The overzealous junior Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah is liar . He knows the game that he is playing with the Liberian people and the election Commissioners. By presenting his own budget is his personal and primary intention to short change the Commissioners behind the backs of the lawmakers. And then argue to the nation that there is no money to hold the midterm senatorial elections . The overzealous Finance Minister has said on many occasions that he was not going to use the salaries of government employees to pay for the midterm elections. And to short change the Commissioners that were asking for a higher sum of money for the elections , the junior Finance Minister decided on his own to offer of six to seven million US dollars not directly to the Commissioners but to go through the back door of the PPCC to the Commissioners. Why is the Election Commissioners seemed to be secondary based on the communications between the junior Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and the people at PPCC ? Why not deal with the Election Commissioners directly and let them deal with the people at the PPCC ?

      • Where is the honesty of the overzealous junior Finance Minister, Samuel Tweah ? Where ? When he got his self caught doing something that is wrong, and only came clean about his dirty deal when he was questioned by the lawmakers. Let someone start breaking into your house with his tools, and when got caught by you, he starts talking that he was going to knock on the door to see if you were going to let him in. The article speaks of the overzealous Samuel Tweah going over the heads of the legislators to use the constitutional authority set aside for them without telling them of his dirty deal. Interpreting the article shouldn’t be that hard for you young man. Someone must have alerted the lawmakers before your honest Samuel Tweah came forward to apologize.

  2. Dear Hebrew Boys (Weah, Tweah and McGill),
    Stop playing dangerous game with the Liberian people. The delay tactics and pretense exhibited won’t augur well for your own offspring, as Liberians, in the medium and long terms. Don’t sell Liberia cheaply, I conjure you guys!

    The Hebrew Boys desperately want to deliver to the Liberian people by bringing in dodgy foreign investors to buy our lands cheaply, begin massive infrastructure development and embark on huge mechanized farming like Zimbabwe and South Africa.
    To succeed in their snare ordeals, they want to rush the referendum on the people wherein political parties and activists will not have enough time to explain to our unlettered population the dangers and advantages of the articles to be amended in the constitution. That tailored made constitution will then be voted unanimously by the people.

    Great development projects will then begin, and Liberia may be a shining star, like South Africa, in West Africa.
    Consequently, we (Liberians) will have to live in slums, work on the farms of our new monetary masters, rent their skyscrapers and condominiums, pay for driving on our own roads, pay high electricity and water bills, etc.
    The Hebrew Boys and families will then have assured their future in the USA with massive investments for themselves.

    Big brother Weah, it will be dangerous for Liberia.
    We can develop our country. Educate the populace. Let’s together formulate a development plan over 30 years to give a facelift to our country. Some articles to be amended in our constitution would be dangerous to the country. Our people must know how to vote. Let the process start as soon as possible, please!

    Beware, our constitution is sacred! It is our protection, the compass of the nation. The people need to change or refuse to change those articles amended conscientiously, NOT unconscientiously!

    Stop being a “don”, Mr. Tweah. You can deliver if you know how to harness our resources. Get critical and highly developed minds into team to help. Don’t close in on yourselves. The country is for all of us.

    A HINT TO THE WISE IS QUITE SUFFICIENT; HE WHO HAS EARS LET HIM HEAR WHAT THE PROPHET HAS TO SAY….

    • Mr. Dolo – Can you articulate which constitutional provisions your so-called “Hebrew Boys” are advocating that will lead to selling of the country to whoever? Is it the nationality provision? In addition, your use of a slur “Hebrew Boys” to describe government officials may be viewed as anti-Semitic because they are not Jews so you must be implying a sinister plot involving Jews. Please explain. In addition, there is nothing wrong with mechanized farming because you definitely cannot feed a population nor develop a modern agriculture sector using centuries-old farming techniques that we have in country. I also think it is a baseless argument to say that we cannot have large mechanized farming because it will lead to abuse of Liberian workers. It is like saying we should not have electricity in villages because it could lead to electrocution of illiterate people. Well, some people will be electrocuted but the benefit of electricity outweighs the risk of a few electrocutions. It is up to the government to regulate industries or else workers will be abused and that is not unique to Liberia.

      • Mr. George,

        “Hebrew Boys” is the code name used by those personalities. Why did they choose to be called so? II don’t know. They need to one day tell us why they decided to be coded ‘Hebrew Boys”.

        Personally, I have some problems with some provisions and the proposed amendments and also like some. I think we should not always copy what others do.
        – I think the 6 years tenure for the president should remain as it is, and not 5. Let’s first succeed in employing technocrats and other professionals in government agencies not based on political affiliation, and they should not be replaced when there is a change of government. When we succeed in doing this, we can even bring the tenure to 4 years as the USA.
        – On the other hand, I support the reduction of the tenure of representatives and senators. It would make them creative and innovative in representing their constituencies.
        – The nationality provision, given the period of war we have gone through, is fantastic and should be massively voted. I do not want for my children to be called Ivorians but Liberians.
        – I would like an addendum to the provision hereabove where Liberians in the diasporas should be able to partake in electing the president, vice president, senators and representatives in a country or state with at least 1 thousand Liberians.

        Nevertheless, I have a grave concern with one provision that may eventually push me to campaign against the entire amendments.
        This one is personal, Sir.

          • I hope you understood all that I wrote here.
            Calling me a racist convinced me that you did not understand me. I am not anti-Semitic, please!

  3. The Senate must take very strong actions against Mr. Tweh. Send him to jail for violating the Constitution of the Republic now!. Enough is enough. We are tired of the constant breaching of the Republic Constitution.

  4. The finance minister, Tweah, admitted that he flagrantly breached the constitution by unilaterally making a $7m budgetary allocation since such a transaction fell within the purview of the lawmakers only and not his office. Now, no outrage from the lawmakers neither the opposition concerning this serious constitutional violation was heard; he walked scot-free out of the hearing.

    This event underscores the fact once again that democracy cannot thrive under President Weah’s administration because he is tribal, imperialistic, and usurping. How long has Tweah not continue to violate the constitution and hold the lawmakers in contempt and nothing has come out of his insults and disrespect?
    Weah has access to the finances of the country and can authorize Tweah to make available whatever he needs to spend as he sees fit. So with such leverage, he often uses the security apparatuses to wage vengeance against the press and the opposition to serve as deterrence.

    Liberia is once again, fast approaching the tipping point where events are foretelling if something is not done to pre-empt the potential for chaos, any solution to the political stalemate will only lend itself to an outside intervention.

  5. Just to mention one of the obvious series of missteps in Liberia, where in commerce and industry, transactions in the market place, and budgetary appropriations in the private and government sectors, why are we communicating in monetary terms such as the “U.S. Dollar” and not the “Liberian Dollar”? Why should our press, as well as the ordinary Liberian in the streets, refer to the “U.S.” and not “Liberian” when it comes to monetary value of our national currency.

    President William R. Tolbert, Jr changed the U.S. currency, which was exclusively used in Liberia, to the Liberian Dollar in the 1970s. Since that time, Liberia has been using the US currency alongside the Liberian currency to the present. But hardly do Liberians count their money in Liberian currency nowadays. They rather say “US”.

    Why is this thought-provoked topic be raised by me? First of all, in the article under review, national budgets and monies were communicated only in terms of “US” dollars and not in “Liberian” dollars. It raises the cumbersome question about the psyche of the Liberian man/woman in government or in private of everything “US” since the Pioneers (Freed Slaves from America) landed on the shores of the Green Coast (now known as Liberia).

    It seems to appeal to our sub-conscience of chronic dependency on the United States! Since the 1820s to the 2020s, if I can still recall my elementary school arithmetic (math), it has been 200 years since Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society. When are we going to be truly independent, characterized by self-sufficiency, self-sustainability? I am not a psychologist, even though I think common sense gave birth to the field of psychology.

  6. My good people of Liberia, please let us not back wrong. While it’s true that some of us are die hard supporters of the Weah led government, let’s not make fool out of ourselves. I believe that Minister Tweah don’t do the Liberian people justice by bypassing the Legistture and writing the budget for the senatorial election. As you are well aware, it was under the watchful eyes of Minister Tweah when LD $16, ooo,oooo,oooo billions and a map up $25, ooo,ooo vanished in tin air without a trace. Minister Tweah action is criminal.

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