OF “CRIMINALS & BUFFOONS” - KONNEH: A COMMENTARY

Datelined Landsdowne, suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Liberia’s Minister of Finance & Development Planning, the Honorable Amara Konneh, “fore saw and cautioned on how the Sirleaf Government expends revenue generated and warned ‘if revenue generated is not equitably expended across the population he foresees another April 14 Rice Riot-style incident in Liberia’” ( In Profile Daily, April 28, 2015).

This “cold water, from the alligator’s mouth” about alleged financial shenanigans in government, sent shock waves throughout the financial community with spine-chilling impact on the critical problem of national security. The Minister of Defense, onnational radio, allayed the fears of the people, that the nation is fully-protected.

The paper reported what it called“corruption is creating . . .Super Monsters”with photographs of the Honorables Binyah Kesselly, CEO, Liberia Maritime Authority; T. Nelson Williams, Jr., dismissed Managing Director, LPRC; Mrs. Matilda Parker, suspended Managing Director, NPA; including the Hon.Amara M. Konneh, the Nation’s Money Manager & Development Planner whose bombshell is stillon the lips of the other “Super Monsters” in offices, barbershops and salons or at lunches in fashionable Hotels and Restaurants; and the Liberian rank and file in “Fufu& Soup, Rice & Palm Butter Cook Shops and side-walk “debates”.

Now, while the nation’s elites and the Gayes/Kamaras are still reeling under the bombshell by the Hon. Amara Konneh of the Instant-wealthy “Super Monsters”, the Honorable Minister of Finance &Development Planning lashed out recently, with no names, at professional politicians – the contenders for the Liberian Presidency, come 2017.

Statement at Signing Ceremony

Said he, “The Presidency (of Liberia) is not for Criminals and Buffoons; gone are the days when criminals and buffoons occupied the Liberian Presidency”, in a statement at a signing ceremony of yet another gift of approximately US $11.4 million from the EU and US $1 million from the UNDP, our “Partners-in-Progress”, gifts that are highly likely to evaporate into the bottomless pits, the pockets of dishonest public servants.

While we are in agreement, strongly, with the reminder and call made by the Minister, but our question and problem is, why limit it to the Presidency? Since 1847, the founding of the nation, criminal acts, related dishonesty, buffoonery, cronies and sycophants have been and are everywhere in government, up to this day and date. Is it that the Minister of Finance & Development Planning, R. L. knows not this history?

• To begin, there had been, and are criminal acts and related dishonesty – demand for kick-backs at its many of its bureaucratic“corruption points” or the “paymaster demands payment from the people he/she pays” (2015, 168-year Independence Day Orator) – at the today’s MFDP, although the Ministry is over-paid, over-staffed with academics and specialized professionals, also over-budgeted.The MFDP has not, yet, answered the question or accounted for the Ebola donations, estimated at more than US $5 million.GSA Managing Director reported GOL receipt of some 307 vehicles, but 200 were reported and coded; the others just vanished in thin air.There is more to this that time and space do not permit.

• There are on-going investigations of criminal acts and related dishonesty of“diplomats”at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, right under the noses of the Nation’s President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.Possible dual citizens (one of the accused is an admitted, Permanent Resident of theUS, now at-large in the US. Allegedly stolen, public funds in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars of Japanese-donated funds.

• In all Executive Government departments- theministers & deputes; agency heads & deputies; managing directors/presidents & deputies/vice presidents of state enterprises; heads & deputies of special committees/commissions; boards of directors & chairpersons are all known to be deeply entrenched in criminal acts and related dishonesty, although over-paid & and over-staffed, that these agencies have become enclaves for the “connected” with easy access to the corridors of state powerand card-carrying members of the Liberia’sformerly “rampant” but now “roaring”corruption, Inc.

The Finance & Development Planning Minister conveniently ignored the criminal acts and related dishonesty that characterized Liberia’s judicial system, a subject of constant criticism by our “Partners-in-Progress;open, flagrant violation of Article 30 of the Nation’s Constitution by some members of the National Legislature and the National Elections Commission (NEC), whose Chairman has been accused recently by a Chairman of a leading political Party of being a foreign citizen. The article provides that only Liberian citizens shall be eligible for membership in the National Legislature; and the government-wide disregard, disrespect and disobedience of Article 3 of the Constitution on “Separation of Powers”.

And finally this big one, the June 30, 2013 Act of Legislature which has come to be known as “The Budget Law”.This Law is designed to regulate and control expenditure of annual County and Social Development Grants. However, those who wrote the law (members of the Legislature), apparently, were dominated by non-lawyers, a condition not unexpected in our country (in which members of the Upper House of Senate, the legal arm of the Legislature, should be lawyers or legally-informed, but a majority is not). The real impact, of the Budget Law as written, on the people and the counties may be described as Legal corruption, starring the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP), the original paymaster; the County Legislative Caucus (CLCs), the Legislator; and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), head of all counties.

The Legal corruption organization:

1. Original Paymaster, the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning(MFDP).
2. Custody & control of the County & Social Development Funds, Ministry of Internal Affairs(MIA).
3. Project Selection, amount to be expended, management & selection of County Council members,the County Legislative Caucus(CLC)andChair of the County Development Council.

The annual grants for County & Social Development – county roads/highways, health, education, county capital-city development, etc. - have become the easy prey for “chop, you chop, I chop”.There is quiet discontent nationwide about expenditure, non-expenditure of public projects to be financed byDevelopment Grants. People are afraid to challenge the “Honorables” from faraway county capitals, towns and villages.

With Bai M. Gbala, Sr. 

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