Liberia: “Foreign Minister Kemayah Still Enjoys Confidence of Pres. Weah” – Information Ministry Clarifies Resignation Speculations

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MONROVIA – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, is not going to resign. As a matter of fact, he has not been told to resign, contrary to the social media speculations, the Minister of Information, Ledgerhood Rennie has told FrontPageAfrica.

Over the weekend, social media, particularly Facebook, was flooded with speculations that Minister Kemayah has been asked by President Weah to resign or be dismissed.

In recent, concerns heightened about the absence of the Minister Kemayah on the Liberia’s delegation to the United States. The delegation which had gone for bilateral discussions comprised the Minister of State, Mr. Nathaniel McGill, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Samuel Tweah, Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, among others.

FrontPageAfrica, however, gathered that the recent speculation about the Minister being asked to resign was fueled by internal wrangle within the Ministry, especially by a faction of employees who believe Mr. Kemayah should not be Minister.

A Challenged Ascendancy

Mr. Kemayah’s ascendancy to the post was challenged by a sudden allegation of sex abuse in New York while he served as Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

The allegation came up in less than a week after he was nominated as Minister of Foreign Affairs by President George Weah.

Madam Wynee Cummings Wilson, an employee of the Mission in New York, alleged on social media last September that she was molested and sexually harassed by Mr. Kemayah when he served the Mission.

While some took to the streets in demand for President Weah to recall the nomination over the allegation, others also questioned why Ms. Wilson never spoke of the alleged harassment until nine months after it occurred.

There has been no evidence provided since the allegation was made by Ms. Wilson.

Besides the initial allegations of sex abuse, some in the ministry unhappy with reforms undertaken by the minister are resorting to push for his ouster. Revisit recent stories relating to the passport saga and actions taken by the minister

Reforms by Kemayah

Since his ascendency to the Foreign Ministry, Minister Kemayah had been bent on instituting reforms within the Ministry and its foreign service.
In March this year, Minister Kemayah shutdown what he termed as a “black market” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wherein Liberians and the government of Liberia were being exploited.

It is believed that this shutdown could be a motivating factor behind the push for his replacement at the ministry, employees familiar with the developments at the Ministry informed FPA.

“We have closed the general black market that people used to use to collect fees that were not going in government coffers,” Minister Kemayah said at the time.

Minister Kemayah, at a briefing, said it was observed that payments for the services of obtaining laissez-passers, apostilles or attestations and corporate jackets were not going into government revenue but into individual accounts.

The services were suspended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after it was realized that individuals were embezzling the funds generated by the ministry and diverting them to private use instead of government coffers.

“When we realized that it was another general black market established and being used by individuals to exploit the system, we immediately suspended the services for obtaining laissez-passers, apostilles or attestations and corporate jackets,” the minister averred.

It is against this backdrop that both the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs have come up with joint Administrative Regulation concerning the Official Fee Structure for services being rendered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as it relates to laissez-passers, apostilles/attestations and corporate jackets.

Under the new regulation the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will absolutely not receive any corporate document/payment/fee(s) for processing through any employee/staff/official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister Kemayan warned employees of the ministry not to get involved in any process of obtaining diplomatic documents and urged the general public to follow the rightful procedures in obtaining their documents. “Do not use anybody at the Ministry by giving them money to get documents for you, not even me as the Minister; follow the rightful channel to get your papers,” the minister said.

According to the regulation, applicants must first prepare the Articles of Incorporation and print two copies of the Articles of Incorporation on legal papers and then proceed to the Liberia Business Registry (LBR) with the Articles of Incorporation for billing and payment of corporate and filing fees, and obtain the Government of Liberia/Liberia Revenue Authority (GOL/LRA) receipts.

The regulation also requires individuals to pay a stipulated fee of United States Five Dollars (US$5.00) and obtain a receipt for a Corporate Jacket at any Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Booth instead of the US$75 that was being charged during the black-market era.

The regulation requires that absolutely no document(s) will be finalized without the revenue receipts for corporate fees and corporate jackets(s), respectively.

Govt Response to Speculations

Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie informed FrontPageAfrica that the speculation surrounding the Kemayah’s resignation is far-fetched and only intended to distract the Minister.

He said, Minister Kemayah still enjoys the confidence of President Weah.

“There has never ever been a time where His Excellency President Weah expressed dissatisfaction to Amb. Kemayah about his performance; let alone asking him to resign. As a matter of fact, His Excellency President Weah’s level of confidence in Foreign Minister Kemayah is at an all-time high,” he said.

Minister Rennie said, Minister Kemayah also has the confidence of and cordiality of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps in Liberia for his dedication and diligence to his work and the Reform Process at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and commitment to rebrand Liberia’s Foreign Service as expressed by Representatives of the Diplomatic Community; including remarks by the Doyen and Deputy Doyen of the Diplomatic Corp and the Former Dean of the Consular Corp at the recent Cocktail Reception hosted by the Ministry in honor of the Diplomatic Community.

Minister Rennie said, “Though these detractors are going at lengths daily in their efforts to continue to malign Foreign Minister Kemayah, the Government of Liberia encourages and fully supports Amb. Kemayah to continue his exceptional performance and ongoing Reform Process of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Liberia’s Foreign Service. Minister Kemayah will accompany His Excellency President Weah to Accra, Ghana to attend an extraordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Mali which begins tomorrow, Sunday, May 30th.”

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