Public Works Minister Risks Contempt Tuesday

By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie

Liberia’s controversial Public Works Minister, Dr. Antoinette Weeks, has fallen into hot water with the Plenary of the Liberian Senate after her refusal to allow the Senate Committee on Public Works to seek inquiry on her latest operation at the ministry concerning road projects since she took over a year ago from her predecessor, Atty. Samuel Koffi Woods.

Embattled Minister Weeks appeared before the Senate’s Plenary twice this week to clarify or explain reasons why road projects around the country have been delayed.

At yesterday’s session, several Senators got angry with Dr. Weeks during her clarification because she seemed to be uncertain with almost all of the questions asked concerning major road constructions and the delay of contractor’s payment.

With barely a year at the ministry, Dr. weeks who is an engineer by profession told the Senators that the ministry lacks documentation and finance to proceed with reviews or signing of new contracts.

According to her, the ministry lacks documents because there were no turning over ceremony and she did not meet a sitting minister there.

Concerning her poor human relation at the job site, Minister Weeks laughed and described the allegation as a mischaracterization of her character that she has a bad working attitude.

“I can’t account for perception about me. I am who I am. Show me a non-technical engineer then I’ll show who a bookkeeper is,” Weeks asserted.

Dr. Weeks admitted to the Senators her refusal to sit with the Committee on Public Works to discuss matters affecting the ministry and blamed her office assistant for giving her wrong communication.

Margibi County Senator, Oscar A. Cooper who chairs the Committee on Public Works blasted Minister Weeks for allowing the sour relationship to occur between her ministry and the committee.

“I feel you should not go free because your stubbornness to work with this committee has brought us to where we are today. You compelled us to request Plenary to invite you here. We blame you for all that is taking place at Public Works,” Senator Cooper stated.

The interaction which lasted for about two hours plus, reached an agreement among Senators that Dr. Weeks should reappear on Tuesday June 10, 2014, with her lawyer to show reasons why she should not be held in contempt.

In his motion, Gbarpolu County Senator, Armah Jallah, proffered that Dr. Weeks be given the due process of law before any action from the Senate, so it was prudent that she appears with her lawyer.

The motion was overwhelmingly voted for by many Senators except for Grand Gedeh County Senator, Alphonso Gaye, who voted against the Senate’s decision.

Immediately after the motion was passed, the Grand Gedeh Senator later filed in a motion of reconsideration which was granted by Senate Pro-temp Findley and is also expected to be tested next Tuesday.