LIBERIA: House orders Minister Tweah arrested

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The House of Representatives on Thursday, December 7, 2023 ordered the arrest of the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Mr. Samuel D. Tweah for contempt.

The decision was taken by the Plenary of the House with a special mandate to its Sergeant–at–Arms to arrest the living body of the MFDP Minister.

It can be recalled that the House on December 5, 2023 cited the Minister to appear before it on Thursday, to provide reason why he should not be held in contempt for repeated unexcused absences before the august body.

Plenary took the decision Tuesday, 5 December 2023, after Finance Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah, failed to honor another citation of the body to appear along with his principal deputies in continuation of deliberation of national issues of concern.

Motion for Minister Tweah to appear under contempt for made by Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Representative, Moses Acarous Gray.

“Honorable Speaker, Co-presiding and colleagues, I move if I could obtain a second that a communication be sent to the Finance Minister, from the office of our Chief Clerk, that he appeared here on Thursday, at 10AM with his lawyer to show reason why he should not be held in contempt,” moved Rep. Gray as he sought a second to his motion.

A fellow lawmaker immediately seconded Representative Gray’s motion, setting the stage for the appearance of Finance Minister, Samuel D. Tweh, on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

And again, Minister still failed to show up thus prompting the order his arrest.

“Contempt of the Legislature shall consist of actions which obstruct the Legislative function or which obstruct or impede members or officers of the Legislature in the discharge of their Legislative duties. It is punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and/or imprisonment in a common jail for not more than one month or the duration of the current session of the House after a hearing consistent with due process of law. Decisions rendered from contempt charges are not appealable”, rule four states.

The House had previously invited the Finance and Development Planning Minister before the esteemed legislative body on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 to address pressing matters related to budgetary implications, but he then failed to show up.

Despite repeated citations, the Finance Minister has failed to appear before the august body, thus raising concerns about transparency and accountability in financial matters.

The House views this repeated absence as a matter of Contempt and demands that the Minister show cause for such persistent non-compliance with legislative citations.

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