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Senate Quizzes Tweah Today

By Alex Yomah

Members of the Liberian Senate will today September 2, 2019, host Liberia’s fiscal manager, Samuel D. Tweah Jr., Minister of Finance Development and Planning (MFDP) to address himself to concerns being raised by government’s employees over the issues of ‘salaries cut’. The Liberian Senate summoned Minister Tweah on allegations of illegal salary cuts; violation of Article 35 (d) (i ) and amongst other allegations levied against the nation’s fiscal manager.
The communication to invite Mr. Tweah was written by Gbarpolu County Senator, Armah Zolu Jallah requesting plenary to have the Minister to submit the government’s ‘ Salary Harmonization plan’ inclusive of the three branches of government and autonomous agencies.
The Minister of Finance and Development Planning was also cited to speak to a communication written by Maryland County Senator, Dan Morias for the ministry to provide reasons for deducting US$ 1.1 million United States dollars out of the Tubman University’s budget.
Members of the Liberian Senate described the salary harmonization by the Ministry of Finance, Development Planning as transgression and voted overwhelmingly to have him invited to explain reasons given him to execute a proposal without the approval of the Legislature as required by Article 34(d) of the Liberian 1986 constitution.
During Thursday’s session, the Senate’s Chairperson on Ways, Means and Finance and Budget, Bomi County Senator, Morris Saytumah said he knows nothing about proposal called “budget harmonization.
Senator Saytumah’s assertion was triggered by plenary’s decision to invite Mr. Tweah. Commenting on Senate’s Finance representative on the budget, Sen. Saytumah, Grand Gedeh County Senator, Alphonso Gaye expressed bitterness and sought his colleagues indulgence to ask the President to order Tweah to halt the ongoing pay-cut scheme due to its illegitimacy.
“As far as I am concerned, the decision to execute budget harmonization has not been documented. Our Senate’s Chairperson on Ways, Means & Finance and Budget is saying that he is not aware of the harmonization is troubling,” Sen. Gaye averred.
“We should not procrastinate; I think the Senate should communicate to the President to advise him to put halt to any salary-cut,” he said.
He said, “It is disgraceful that some of them [Senators] with the academic credentials that they can boast of, can’t explain to their constituents the issue of harmonization.”
Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naathan indicated that MFDP’s action to reduce people’s salaries violates Article 35 of the institution. He then sought his colleagues to ask Minister Tweah all of the hard questions that would be in the best interest of the citizenry.
For his part, Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Varney G. Sherman encouraged Liberians who are affected by the harmonization scheme to drag government of Liberia to the Supreme Court seeking prohibition vowing to provide free legal service for anyone that will sue government.
According to Cllr. Sherman, the action by the Ministry of Finance under Samuel Tweah’s watch has created what he called an embarrassment not only to the Legislature but government.
He argued that if there is any agency of government that has absolute power to appropriate funds, there is no other institution than the Legislature.

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