The Minister of Internal Affairs, borrowing from previous Government Ministers before him, has finally donned the cloak of “I am too busy attending to important prior engagements” by failing to appear before the plenary of the Senate.
Instead, Minister Morris Dukuly has written the Senate to request his appearance before that body scheduled for Thursday, March 6, be deferred to Tuesday, March 11; and his request was granted.
The Senate on Tuesday invited Minister Dukuly to appear before the Senators on March 6, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. to further clarify issues emanating from recent complains filed against him by some Senators.
The Senators accused Minister Dukuly of unilaterally dismissing chiefs based on their advanced age and placing a moratorium on County Development Funds and Social Development Funds
Gbarpolu County Senator J.S.B. Theodore Momoh, complained that four rejected District Commissioners in his county were still working on the order of Minister Dukuly, while River Cess County Senators, J. Jonathan Banney and Dallas Advertus Gueh, alleged the Minister was placing the names of certain local officials on the Government of Liberia pay roll; the management of Social Development Fund and County Development Fund; and the re-documentation of local officials.
The Internal Affairs Committee then among several decisions recommended that for the unilateral decision to place moratorium on SDF and CDF without legislative approval, the Minister must pay a fine of Liberian Dollars 4,999.99 into Government of Liberia account in 24 hours.
It was further ordered that he pays all arrears owed by County Education Committees within 15 days of the Internal Affairs committee’s decision; that the re-documentations of local county officials be halted until chieftaincy elections are held, and that those affected should be immediately reinstated.
Though majority Senators accepted the recommendations, others argued that the Minister be afforded due process by inviting him to appear and make clarifications on the recommendations where necessary.
Acknowledging receipt of the Senate communication inviting him to appear Thursday, Minister Dukuly expressed regret over his inability to appear because of what he described as prior major national undertakings.
“I also take particular note of the subject on which the Senate requests that I address them during my appearance. Regrettably, I am constrained to request that you please convey to the honorable Senate my respectful appeal for deferrer appearance from today, March 6, at 11:00 a.m. to Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. My request is based on prior engagement in several other major national undertakings.”
Minister Dukuly continued: “Meanwhile, it is my understanding that the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, Governance & Reconciliation of the Liberian Senate has a prepared report on my recent appearance and that this report has formed a basis of public newspaper stories, and form the decision of the plenary to invite me to appear.
I will therefore, appreciate if you could please be kind with permission of the Senate to forward a copy of the report to help enable me to prepare for my March 11 appearance…”