By-Aminata S Kromah, Legislative Correspondent
Capitol Hill, Monrovia (February 28,2023): The Plenary of House of Representatives today voted unanimously to invite the Minister of Justice, Frank Musa Dean under Contempt charge.
The Contempt is based on the Minister’s refusal to honor the House’s invitation to provide updates on ‘why importers are not in compliance with the Government of Liberia in relation to paying the National Road funds.
On January 31, 2023, the House cited authorities of the National Road Fund- NRF, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning- MFDP, the Liberia Revenue Authority- LRA and the Petroleum Importers following a Communication from Nimba County District#2 Representative Prince O. S. Tokpah to provide updates on the remittance of levies on petroleum products collected or withheld by petroleum importers in keeping with the Act that established the National Road Fund.
Based on that, the House also invited Justice Minister Dean to appear along with the Petroleum Importers.
On today, February 28, 2023, Petroleum Importers appeared in the absence of Justice Minister Cllr. Dean. The House’s clerk read no communication of excuse to the Plenary, this prompting a contemptuous appearance.
Scores of Lawmakers expressed dismay over the Minister’s adamant posture to appear and provide the needed information.
“This issue they are talking about is something that borders on the lives of the People of Liberia, if they can not pay the taxes of the government through the Road Funds, Schools, Hospitals , and Roads will not be functional and it’s important for him to come”, Lofa County District 1 Representative Francis S. Nyumalin.
The National Road Fund is intended to ensure that National, Sub-national and feeder roads have sufficient share of the total funds to enable roads operate as an integrated network.
For Nimba County District 2 Representative Prince O.S. Tokpah, funds generated should finance roads and bridges maintenance and directly associated planning, programming, and Management activities. “But looking across the country, it becomes difficult to comprehend whether the National Road Fund is meeting up its tasks. Majority of our roads across the country are impassable, especially during the peak of the rainy season”, he noted.
Meanwhile, Plenary voted to ensure both the petroleum importers and the Justice Minister appear under oath on Thursday March 2, 2023.