Home Governance We Failed Our First Test -Amara Konneh Admits; Detests Vicious Cycle

We Failed Our First Test -Amara Konneh Admits; Detests Vicious Cycle

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By Our Reporter

MONROVIA: President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s strong-ally during the crucial 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, Amara Mohammed Konneh, has strongly criticized the Boakai-led administration for its recent method used to seize the properties of some former government officials including purported private vehicles.

The Gbarpolu County Senator believes that Liberia is struggling to find her best in leadership following two successive presidential transitions after the nation’s bloody civil conflict that was also characterized by unbridled and indiscriminate destruction of both public and private properties, desecration of the rule of law, and damage to its economy which is yet to recover to its pre-war status, as well as internal and external displacement of citizens.

Senator Konneh once served as Finance and Development Planning Minister during the erstwhile regime of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf before he headed to the World Bank Group during which he was assigned by the Bank in East Africa.

Konneh, a United States trained Economic Scholar returned home in 2022 and subsequently participated in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections, during which he won the coveted senatorial seat of Gbarpolu County in the Western region of Liberia.

The former Finance Minister also observed that people who are entrusted with state power, especially during transitional periods, often subscribe to “the same policies that are responsible for the country’s backwardness,” something which he said eventually leads to poorly managed transitions in the country in yesteryears.

“The same policies- six years apart – due to poorly managed transitions. The people our leaders entrust with the management of these transitions almost always let them down,” he asserted.

Senator Konneh opines that during transition periods in Liberia, the focus of politicians and other stakeholders has always been on how to gain appointment to big jobs rather than protecting the best interests of the country.

Such moves, he stressed, is often followed by unwarranted settling of political scores fueled by naysayers, foot-soldiers and other self-serving opportunists.

He stressed the need for Liberians to focus on the real or bread and butter issues affecting the country including electricity, water, education, health, roads, drugs war, garbage removal, jobs for the young people, etc.

He maintained that the same thing happened with the bank balance of the consolidated accounts at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) when both the old and new presidents gave different economic figures to the country.

“For this transition, almost everyone who maneuvered politically to head a cluster became the Minister or head of that sector in the government. I congratulate them. But we could have prevented all of this noise had we focused on accounting for what we were inheriting from the erstwhile Weah Administration and disclosing it to the Liberian people,” he added.

Part of the cluster works was to account for everything – I mean everything from policies to public assets in each entity. We had two months to do it,” he added.

According to the Gbarpolu Senator, on several occasions, he recommended to the new President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, and other high-ranking officials of his government to shift the governing trajectory, but his efforts have fallen on ‘deaf ears.’

“That was our first test. We failed. The court is now reversing the government’s actions on some of the seized cars by returning them to the owners. How do you seize private properties without any legal backing in a country governed by laws, not men? I guess, we learned nothing from the 2017 transition. Vicious cycle,” he characterized the errors of the Boakai government.

The former Finance Minister believes, however, that things will only change and get better for the Liberian people when errors in the government are pointed out constructively to “our friends and the government we helped to usher in. Nothing strengthens authority and unnecessary mistakes than silence.”

His response followed the Supreme Court of Liberia’s recent order, for the Asset Recovery Taskforce to, with immediate effect release all vehicles seized during its recent operation.

Thursday, March 28, the Supreme Court of Liberia mandated the Taskforce not to carry out any further pending seizure, until a pending conference in a Writ of Prohibition filed by the Management of Gracious Ride Incorporated is held.

This means, the Boakai appointed Asset Recovery Taskforce will now have to wait until an outcome from a hearing scheduled for today, Monday, April 1, 2024, is made in line with the Laws of Liberia.

The Management of Gracious Ride Transport, a service reportedly owned by former Executive Mansion Chief of Protocol, Madam Finda Bondo, pleaded with the Chambers Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, His Honor Yussif Kaba, to prohibit the Asset Recovery Team from seizing its vehicles offering transport services to the Nation.

The Asset Recovery Taskforce set up by President Boakai is to search, seize and investigate government assets, including vehicles, public funds/wealth, intentionally or unknowingly taken away.

Already the Asset Recovery Team has requested the Boakai administration to provide US$US$1.9 million to begin its work and subsequently gave former state officials 10-Day ultimatum to return all public properties including stolen funds.

However, last Wednesday’s operation by the Taskforce was met with mixed reactions via social media, as many criticized the work of the Taskforce.

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