By: Laymah Kollie
Monrovia -July 11,2023-WTNVEWS: The Plenary of the Liberian Senate on today July 11,2023, mandated Public Works Minister Ruth Coker-Collins and her team
to reappear on Thursday 13th July with their legal team under contempt charges.
The contempt charge appearance is based on the Minister and Team lying under oath while providing information to the Liberian senate on the poor road conditions in the country.
The Public Team during their appearance at the senate, submitted a report on the maintenance of the ITI Bridge corridor to Greenville(Rivercess to Sinoe Counties). Senators argued that the report provided conflicting details on the matter.
The Public works team included Assistant Minister for Operations Madam Kaustella Kialain Sarsih, Deputy Minister for Administration Joseph Todd and Deputy Minister Amos Barclay along with the minister proper, Madam Ruth Coker-Collins.
During the Ministry’s appearance, Assistant Minister Kaustella told Plenary that the “ITI Bridge corridor to Greenville contract was awarded to Desire Construction Company and it has completed eighty-three percent(83%) of work done on the road” a situation which triggered Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie and others in sitting angry and requested her (Kaustella) to go to prison for 24hrs.
According to Senators Milton Teahjay and Albert Chie of Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties, whom are usual travelers along this corridor, roads in these areas mentioned are deplorable and heart breaking; referencing the Minister’s action as “lying under oath before the August Body”. “Where is the road? In the air? Senator Chie asked.“There is no road there, grass have overtaken the place” Senator Milton Teahjay stated.
Pro-Tempore Chie further instructed Senator Numene Bartekwa, Sr. of Grand Kru to file a motion for short-jail (24hrs) for the Assistant Minister as penalty for providing inaccurate information to Senators in Chamber. The situation exacerbated tension between Senators as some requested that the Assistant Minister should not be punished without her boss Minister Ruth Coker-Collins.
They stressed that madam Kaustella was acting based on the directive of the Minister of Public Works; as such, the entire team should face a 24hr jail term.
However, after a heated debate, Grand Kru County Senator Numene Bartekwa, Sr. filed a motion seeking to recite the Ministry and its legal team for contempt before plenary Thursday.
Meanwhile, seventeen (17) Senators voted in favor of the motion, two abstained and one against. Those abstained are Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe of Bomi and Senator Daniel F Naateh of Gbarpolu while Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County voted against.
It can be recalled Thursday, July 6,2023 the Liberian Senate cited the Minister Ruth Coker Collins, along with the Managements of New Millennium, Desire, Clen Construction, future builders, prime Plus, SSF and all other companies that were awarded contracts with funding for the construction and maintenance of roads in Liberia, regarding the deplorable road conditions in the country coupled with contracts awarded with payments made to companies that have failed to live up to the intend and obligations of said contracts. Others cited were Authorities from the National Road Fund and Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC).