Home Economy Officials “Hold Govt Down” …Tweah Opens Up

Officials “Hold Govt Down” …Tweah Opens Up

by News Manager

By: Varney Dukuly

MONROVIA: Samuel Doe Tweah Jr., Minister of Finance and Development Planning, has accused Heads of State ministries and agencies of holding down the incumbent government of Liberia, headed by President George Manneh Weah.

Minister Tweah said this is done by the unnamed state officials by not submitting their respective financial reports to the Finance and Development Planning Ministry on time as prescribed by the Public Financial Management (PFM) Law of Liberia.

The PFM Act was passed into law in 2009 aimed at ensuring accountability and fiscal discipline in managing public funds.

Tweah: “The law says if a Minister is not reporting on time, the Minister of Finance can hold the salaries of the head of the entity.”

“I did not make that law, the National Legislature passed that law,” Minister Tweah clarified.

Speaking on Monday, June 5, 2023, in Monrovia when the government of Liberia and European Union (EU) signed US$88 million financing agreement, he told the gathering that the Public Financial Management law which conferred on the Minister of Finance the authority also provides that failure on the part of the Finance Minister to take disciplinary action where required shall itself be a breach of the PFM Law.

Minister Tweah further told the gathering that if he is asked as regards why the PFM law is not being implemented or why he is not holding salaries, his response could be, “Oh Kpaku da my man.”

Though the Finance and Development Planning Minister acknowledged that it is his responsibility to implement the Public Financial Management law of Liberia, he said: “It is about time that we move from this Kpaku da man thing” to serious governance.

“That Kpaku da man thing has been holding us (Govt) down,” he declared.

Tweah urged his fellow cabinet Ministers and Directors of agencies to report on time in keeping with the PFM law or risks the full weight of the law.

“So, we are about to move there, if there are entities that are not reporting, the Minister will hold your salaries. “It is the law. I am not just enforcing the law,” he stressed.
Tweah’s statement seems to back claims in some quarters of the country that one of the tedious challenges the Weah-led govt. faces is ensuring full compliance with provisions of the laws of the country by individuals or groups whether in the public or private sector.

Part ‘A section 20 of the Public Financial law,’ indicates based on recommendations of the Minister of Finance or the Auditor- General, disciplinary action for misconduct shall be taken against the head of government agency who has contravened any instruction specified in these regulations or accounting manual.

Disciplinary measures and expected actions from the Minister of Finance over the breach of PFM Law are consistent with the Civil Service Code which includes the following:
“(A) a written or oral reprimand, (b) suspension with loss of salaries and other remunerations, (c) demotion in grade with or without reduction in remunerations (d) interdiction for a period prescribed in the condition or scheme of service, (e) termination or dismissal from employment, (f) surcharging the officer with the amount lost and the applicable penalty, if any or (g) prosecution, depending on gravity.

(6) The sanction may include one or a combination of any of the above depending upon the gravity of the offence.

(7) Failure to take disciplinary action where required under this regulation shall itself be a breach of financial discipline under this regulation,” the PFM law highlighted.

The assertions by Minister Tweah comes five months ahead of the 10, October, 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections during which the incumbent regime may or may not secure a win.

“I think the IAA is going to a score sheet where entity that is not reporting on time will be flagged, we will release public report to see who is reporting and who is not reporting. It is your responsibility when you receive public money to account and report it,” he stressed.

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