Despite being granted two separate excuses, unimpeachable sources within the Liberian Senate have hinted to this paper that the Senate’s earlier decision to cite Minister of Internal Affairs, Morris Dukuly, to face the Senate plenary still stands.
The sources said the leadership of the Senate would ensure that Minister Dukuly honors the invitation as promised during his last appeal for excuse. He is expected to answer questions arising from findings compiled by the Senate committee on Internal Affairs and Governance after investigations into activities concerning his ministry.
A few weeks ago, the Senate— during plenary sitting— invited Minister Dukuly to appear before the Senators on March 6, 2014 at 11:00 a. m. to further clarify issues emanating from recent complaints filed against him.
The Senators had accused Minister Dukuly of unilaterally dismissing other local government officials and dismissing chiefs with the excuse of ‘old age’; and for placing a moratorium on the use of County Development Funds and Social Development Funds.
One of the complaining Senators, J.S.B. Theodore Momoh, informed his colleagues that four nominees for the posts of District Commissioners in his county and whose confirmations were rejected by the 2nd session of the Senate, were still working on the order of Minister Dukuly. River Cess County Senators, J. Jonathan Banney and Dallas Advertus Gueh, alleged that the Minister was placing the names of certain local officials on the Government of Liberia pay roll. They also accused Minister Dukuly of mismanaging Social Development Funds and County Development Funds; and the re-documentation of local officials.
The Internal Affairs Committee headed by Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Zulu Jallah, recommended that Minister Dukuly’s unilateral decision to place moratorium on SDF and CDF without legislative approval be fined LD4, 999.99 to be put into the Government of Liberia’s account in 24 hours.
It was further ordered that the Minister pays all arrears owed by the County Education Committee within 15 days of the Internal Affairs committee’s decision; and that the re-documentation of local county officials be halted until chieftaincy elections are held, and that those dismissed should be immediately reinstated.
The Senators accepted the recommendations, but argued that the Minister be afforded due process by inviting him to appear and make clarifications on the recommendations where necessary.
It was at this juncture that the Minister was invited to appear before the plenary on March 6, at 11:00 a.m. The Minister in response expressed his inability to appear on the above date, citing prior engagements in several other major national undertakings; but rather appealed that his appearance be differed to Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 11:00 a.m.
However, the Senate Pro Tempore, Gbehzohngar Findley, on March 14, during plenary announced that Minister Dukuly had again requested to that body for a postponement of his appearance under the excuse that he needed to go for preparations in counties that were earmarked for President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s tour, which was —again— agreed upon by that body.
The President returned to Monrovia over the weekend after her tour to Sinoe, Grand Kru and Grand Bassa Counties.
It is based on these developments that our sources were emphatic that the Minister would appear before the plenary this week.