Senate: ‘Ministers of Finance, Internal Affairs in Breach of Budget Law’

2
2119
Maryland County Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown

The Liberian Senate has voted unanimously to order the Ministers of Finance and Internal Affairs to withdraw communications requesting superintendents to move all County Development Funds (CDF) accounts to the Central Bank of Liberia.

“The instructions from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Internal Affairs that Social Development Funds and County Development Funds be deposited at the Central Bank of Liberia, runs contrary to Section 9(a) of the Budget Law,” said Senator Varney G. Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County and Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Sen. Sherman added, “I move that the Senate adopts a resolution that orders the heads of the two agencies to revoke that instruction, under penalty of contempt.”

The decision of the Senate to endorse Sen. Sherman’s motion came as a result of a 2021 communication from Maryland County Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown. In his communication, Sen. Brown informed his colleague that the Ministry of Internal Affairs had instructed County Superintendents to close all existing accounts with commercial banks, and move it to the CBL.

According to Sen. Brown, the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ action was predicated upon communication from the Ministry of Finance under the signature of the Comptroller General of Liberia.

“The opening of the County Accounts at the commercial banks was authorized by the Budget Law of Liberia for the smooth implementation of County and Social Development Funds. 

“Section 9(a) of the Budget Law states that: “for the purpose of managing and controlling the County Development Funds and Social Development Funds, each county shall establish and manage, at a local bank, a County Account in the name of the county,” added Sen. Brown, who once served as Superintendent of Maryland County.

Sen. Brown furthered that Section 9 of the Budget Law clearly spells out the criteria, modalities, and controlled measures for the management and operations of the County Development Accounts, as such, the ministers’ actions are wrong and misplace.

Sen. Brown, who currently chairs the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, viewed the mandate by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Comptroller General for the closure of the County Accounts is a clear violation of the Budget Law of Liberia.

Senator Brown further warned that the plan by the two ministries to move all county accounts to the Central Bank of Liberia will undermine decentralized service delivery as envisaged by the Local Government Act, and pose serious impediments to the smooth implementation of the County Accounts and Social Development Funds.

“Considering this adverse impact and the violation of the Budget Law, I request the plenary to instruct the Secretary of the Senate to write the Minister of Internal Affairs to rescind their decision to close County Accounts being held with commercial banks,” Sen. Brown said.

The County and Social Development Funds were established during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and it may be recalled that some county superintendents were found wanting for the misuse and/or misapplication of those funds.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Good step in the right direction Minister Samuel Tweah. Shut down the counties’ financial bank accounts. And to restructure them in line with developments and better control.
    There are too many double and triple dippings of the county development funds and social responsibility funds by lawmakers of the counties detriment to the under development of the counties. For the past 12 years, under the previous regime, lawmakers have taken advantage of both accounts by playing two roles as elected national lawmakers of the entire country while representing their respective counties, which is a political role at the legislature. And at the time serving themselves as head of the elected legislative caucus leaders of their respective counties in control of the county’s bank account, or have greater influence over the count’s financial system. Referring to themselves politically as direct Representatives or lawmakers of the people.
    How is this some kind of decentralization ? That works only for the lawmakers and their interests. They passed the funding bills for the counties, and then returned as legislators of their respective county and financial implementers ? Is this what the foolish jokers are national legislators called decentralization of the local government ?
    Good job Minister Samuel Tweah. Let then hold you in contempt. The budget law is not illegal, but has been manipulated by the very lawmakers that have come the leading factor for the under development of the counties.
    Take the legislature to the Supreme Court. To make the participation of the lawmakers as direct implementers, and for establishing and having greater authority and influence over the county development funds and social responsibility funds as unconstitutional. They can not be allowed to be the national lawmakers appropriating funds to the counties and at the same time returning to their respective counties to be part of the financial system of their respective counties. Conflict of interest makes it unconstitutional. Their participation as legislative caucus leaders also unconstitutional.
    Past and present legislative caucus leaders from the National legislature have their signatures on every bank accounts. Past and present legislative caucus leaders from the National Legislature have their signatures on withdrawals slips, or deposit slips.
    The Finance Ministry has records to show, amounting to millions, and millions of US dollars received by the National lawmakers through their respective local caucuses. With no direct impact on the lives of the people. That they usually referred to “Our People Are Suffering”.
    Closed the account and take those bumps to the Supreme Court for their unconstitutional practices.
    Take Those God Forsaken Bumps To The Supreme Court. To Throw Them Out Of The Affairs Of The County’s.
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  2. What needed are guidelines on the managing and auditing the use of the county funds coupled with legal actions for violators. Similarly, the national govt overseers must also set better examples as well.

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