By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
The woman who took over from Atty. Samuel Koffi Woods about a year ago to supervise, construct or rehabilitate all roads, bridges and other infrastructures in the country, has told the House of Representatives that she is not “Jesus Christ to perform miracles” on road constructions in the country.
Controversial Public Works Minister, Dr. Antoinette Weeks, has come under immense pressure from the public and a youth group to step down because no practical work has been done since she started work at that ministry.
She is expected to face contempt charges at the Liberian Senate tomorrow for impeding the work of the Senators. The Senate’s Plenary requested her to appear along with a lawyer to show reason(s) why she should not be held in contempt.
While Dr. Weeks was awaiting the Senate’s decision, the House Plenary summoned her yesterday to explain series of allegations made against her by the House Committee on Public Works headed by Representative Edward Ford of Montserrado County.
After series of investigations, the House Committee on Public Works advised Dr. Weeks not to proceed with payments to contractors currently working on roads because there was poor quality of work done by some of those contractors.
But during her appearance yesterday before members of that August Body, Dr. Weeks explained that she met on the book 34 contracts that were already certified by the Public Works Ministry with no objections from the Public Procurement Concession Commission(PPCC).
Dr. Weeks who visibly appeared feeble before the lawmakers disclosed that she got US$21m at the ministry when she took over but used US$18m to pay for existing works currently taking place while the balance US$3m was used for maintenance of roads, bridges in all of the 15 counties.
In her explanation, she indicated that US$49.2m is needed to pay contractors and that the ministry has zero balance in amount for now which caused her to say, “I’m not Jesus Christ to perform miracles”.
Her argument was Jesus Christ has been the only one to walk on water and so she would be like him to perform such work without budgetary support. According to her, no amount of noise or criticism will construct roads for Liberians unless financial support be allotted to the ministry.
When asked as to what practical work she has done since her ascendency, Dr. Weeks said she has made intervention on the Fishtown Harper Road, the commencement of Somalia Drive Road, and the conclusion of the Gbarnga-Ganta Border Road.
Considering the length of time Minister Weeks took to respond to questions from lawmakers, with numerous concerns coming from the floor, House Speaker Alex J. Tyler requested a motion to defer the appearance of Dr. Weeks to tomorrow, Thursday, June 12, 2014.