Amara Konneh is Liberia’s Finance Minister. He was nominated for the position by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2011 after he won his re-election bid. The Liberian Senate confirmed him in February 2012 and he’s been reported to be pivotal to whatever economic growth has been attributed to the war-torn country. His efforts to rebuild the country won him an award two years ago from the Bankers magazine, published by the Financial Times for Finance Minister of the Year.
It would seem however that Mr. Konneh’s altruistic efforts are not very much appreciated in the higher echelons of society as on Tuesday, the Liberian Senate ordered his arrest following his refusal to apologize to them for sending a letter asking them to cut their personal allowances. The country’s economy which as stated earlier had seen an improvement in his tenure, had not been strong enough to withstand the ravaging of 2014’s Ebola outbreaks and needs to shave almost $70 million from its annual government budget.
The news of Konneh’s arrest had angered his colleagues who shared the view that he was being punished for merely doing his job. James Kollie, his deputy is quoted in the Uk based Telegraph newspaper as saying; “The senate is angry about Mr Konneh’s proposal to cut their budget,” continuing, “they will have to cut their budget by about $1.2m, which will mean they will lose out on things like vehicle allowances, home allowances, and other things. This is all about their personal perks. It is an abuse of power, and a means to try to intimidate him so that they cannot be cut.”
Senators however insist that it is a simple matter of Mr. Konneh stepping beyond his boundaries and powers by proposing a $1.2 million cut to their budget. Liberia’s Supreme Court however ordered a halt to his arrest until further notice. Mr. Konneh also told the Telegraph that shortly after his arrest was ordered, the imminent threat was temporarily lifted when a member of the Senate filed for a motion for reconsideration of the order.