Police say foiled assassination bid on Liberia Finance ministerBy KEMO CHAM in Freetown | Wednesday, May 23 2012 at 18:56
Liberian police say they thwarted a possible assassination attempt on the country`s Finance Minister, Amara Konneh.
Mr Konneh survived an arson attack on Tuesday at his private residence with initial police investigations identifying two “strange objects" found under the minister`s car as petrol bombs.
A trusted ally of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mr Konneh has attracted criticism for controversial policies which have seen scores of employees at the ministry of Finance lose their jobs over corruption allegations.
There were no arrests as of early Wednesday, but police spokesperson George Bardue told journalists that the unexploded bombs were in police possession and investigations were on.
Petro bomb attacks are increasingly becoming a common place in Liberia, used mainly against political opponents.
This latest attempt brings to five the recent number of such incidents in Monrovia and its environs.
Similar incidents have been recorded targeting a defecting official of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Eugene Nagbe, who now serves as Transport Minister in the Sirleaf government.
That was followed by an attack on the offices of the ruling Unity Party (UP), a privately owned Love FM radio station and then the current national chairperson of the opposition CDC.
The Ministry of Finance said in a short message that Minister Konneh was “well and remains upbeat”, and urged the public to contact the police for any further information as they relate to the investigation and its outcome.
Mr Konneh has been the subject of threats relating to his hard-line stance since his transfer to the Finance ministry during President Sirleaf`s cabinet reshuffle at the beginning of her second term as president.
He instituted a controversial policy of “house cleansing” targeting corrupt employees and those “who fail to do their work.”
“I am not begging you to do your job, but I am demanding that you do your job. If you can’t do your work, we will put you outside and bring other Liberians who want to work,” he was quoted telling employees during a conducted tour of the ministry in March.
A particularly controversial issue has been his handling of a missing $11.2 million in the budget of the Ministry of Education.
Scores of Finance ministry officials have been sacked in relation to those findings.
That fuelled rumour of factionalism within the Liberian cabinet as his opponents have accused him of targeting supporters of his predecessor at the Finance ministry.
There have been calls for President Sirleaf to set up an Independent Committee, to replace the one set up by Konneh himself, to probe the matter around the missing millions.
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