​Liberia: Pres. Weah Suspends Atty. Dennis for Usurping Executive Power

President George Weah.

President George Weah has suspended the Director-General of the National Bureau of Concessions for usurping his executive power to dismiss one of the agency’s deputy directors, who is also a presidential appointee.

The suspension of Attorney Edwin Dennis came hours after he had shocked many by outrightly dismissing the agency's Deputy Director for Administration, Nathaniel Bracewell, on grounds that his deputy is engaged in unwarranted verbal aggression against members of the senior staff.

The action by Atty. Dennis, which he says is in line section 10 (1) and 11(1) of the Act creating the National Bureau of Concessions… violates the country’s 1986 Constitution, which gives the President the exclusive rights to appoint and dismiss presidential appointments working the Executive as enshrined Article 54 of the constitution.

President Weah, in a release suspending Atty. Dennis warned all public officials to immediately refrain from exercising any powers, functions, and duties assigned to the President of Liberia and to act within the confines of their respective authorities.

President Weah sounded the warning yesterday when he voided the termination letter of Bracewell — describing the action by Dennis as arbitrary and without due regard to the Office of the President. Pres. Weah termed the dismissal as null and void.

The National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) is an agency of the government tasked to strengthen the administration of the concessions process by monitoring and evaluating compliance with concession agreements in collaboration with concession entities; provide technical assistance to concession entities and other organs of government involved with the implementation of concessions in compliance with the Public Procurement and Concessions Act (PPCA).

The NBC also provides technical assistance to ministries and other agencies, departments, or bureaus of the Government responsible for planning, bidding, negotiating, administering concession agreements, and maintaining a concession agreement database. 

According to Bracewell's letter, it says his service at the government agency… was being terminated for continuous failure to produce monitoring and evaluation reports for four since May of 2021 and the pocketing of undeserved salaries for a four (4) month period of unexcused absence (October 2021 - January 2022).

“Your services at the Bureau are hereby terminated for your continuing acts of unwarranted verbal aggression to members of the senior staff,” Atty. Dennis wrote. “As the President and his Cabinet are trying to improve the economic livelihoods of our people through the respective performance of our functions, the National Bureau of Concessions can no longer condone your acts of dereliction of your duties, coupled with other distracting acts of verbal aggressions and temper tantrums towards other employees.”

“In view of the foregoing, you are hereby advised to clear your personal belongings from the office (under the supervision of NBC security and asset unit),” Atty. Dennis says.

Meanwhile, Dennis’ decision yesterday led to serious tension breaking out at the NBC office when he ordered security personnel not to allow Bracewell to enter the premises. This situation occurred long before the suspension of Atty. Dennis by the President.

Bracewell then vowed to keep coming to work, describing his dismissal as a quasi-decision emanating from Dennis, who he also termed as one of the problematic officials in government. He later claimed that his boss has reportedly been using ladies working at the NBC to tell lies against him, adding that the case also appeared before President Weah and, following an investigation conducted, was found not guilty.