Sinoe Supt-Designate Confirmation Hearing Aborted

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Members of the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs and Governance yesterday unanimously agreed to put on hold confirmation proceedings for Sinoe County Superintendent-designate Thomas Romeo Quioh. He was told that the Committee will hold a separate confirmation proceeding with him at a later date.

The decision by the Committee, chaired by Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Zolu Jallah, to halt the confirmation proceedings of Mr. Quioh came about when Rivercess County Senator Dallas A.V. Gueh raised concern over the General Auditing Commission (GAC) report indicting him (Quioh) and other Sinoe County officials for failing to account for hundreds of thousands of United States Dollars of both the CDF and SDF.

Mr. Quioh served as Development Superintendent under outgoing Superintendent J. Milton Teahjay, who is now running for Senator for Sinoe County. Both Quioh and Teahjay were indicted in the GAC report for embezzling County Development Fund (CDF) and Social Development Fund (SDF).

Expressing his concern, Senator Gueh said the nominee already had a serious problem with the Liberian Government while at the same time he is being nominated to another position.

“The nominee for the post must have a character that is suitable to be a Superintendent of Sinoe County. Therefore, he owes this committee an explanation to tell us whether he has been cleared of the charges leveled against him.  We must know the character of the person that we are sending to Sinoe.”

Supporting his colleague’s argument, Senator Cletus Segbe Wotorson said the reason why the President sends a nominee constitutionally to the Senate for confirmation is help determine the suitability of that nominee to serve.

Senator Jallah then made a unanimous motion to suspend the hearing of Mr. Quioh. At  the same time, Senator Jallah  declared that those who have information on what is being alleged are encouraged to present same to our offices by Wednesday, “so that the Committee will study [said information] and make a determination as to whether we can go ahead to confirm or not.”

He said information received by the Committee earlier from some individuals is not tenable in law because they lacked names or signatures."

Meanwhile, a group calling itself “Sinoe Citizens for Accountability & Equal Representation yesterday circulated a letter accompanied by a dossier revealing alleged financial transactions involving nominee Quioh and other Sinoe County local and Legislative officials.

The letter, which was addressed to the Internal Affairs Committee, showed, among other things, that the GAC in its November 2014 report indicted Mr. Quioh and others for failing to account for US$727,669.20 of the county’s development fund; making 44 bank payments without voucher support, making payments and failing to include same in the Project Management Committee’s financial reports, as well as receiving money for six projects that were since abandoned.

In a related development, several superintendents, local government officials and an Internal Affairs Deputy Minister-designate recently nominated by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, appeared before the Jallah Committee for a crowded hearing.

Among those appearing was a former Member of the 52nd Legislature for Gbarpolu County, Representative Armah Sarnor, who is now going as Superintendent. 

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