Gov’t Shake Up Looms: Kollie to Maritime; Kamara to Finance; Weeks to CBL?

Monrovia – Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appears to be on the verge of making what some administration officials told FrontPageAfrica Thursday, some major changes to her government, as she looks to fill key voids at the Central Bank of Liberia, the Liberia Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

FrontPageAfrica has reliably learnt that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is on the verge of making some major changes in her administration as she looks to fill voids at the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Liberia and the Liberia Maritime Authority

Multiple Executive Mansion sources confirmed to FrontPageAfrica Thursday that President Sirleaf who recently accepted the resignation of Binyah Kesselly as Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) is poised to name Mr. James F. Kollie, the current Deputy Minister of Finance for Fiscal Affairs as Kesselly’s replacement.

The President, one source said has asked Mr. Milton Weeks, currently a member of the board of the Central Bank of Liberia as her permanent replacement for former Governor J. Mills Jones.

Looking the fill the looming void at the Ministry of Finance, President Sirleaf is reportedly made an offer to Mr. Boima Kamara, currently Deputy Governor for Economic Policy at Central Bank of Liberia as her new Minister of Finance. The appointments, sources say are expected to come in matter of hours or days.

Kamara, who holds a Master in Monetary, International Health and Econometrics from the University of Ghana, previously worked as Assistant Director for Research and Policy and Director of Research, Policy and Planning Department at the CBL. Mr. Kamara has been a strong advocate for an integrated economy that nurtures inter-sectorial energies, linkages and job growth among African States.

Mr. Weeks, the man reportedly tipped to replace Jones, has worked in numerous African countries (including Liberia, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Nigeria) with financial institutions in various senior level positions over a period of 25 years before returning to Liberia in 2007.

He is said to have a strong base in credit evaluation, financial assessment of corporate entities, financial structuring and financial modeling, and has served as Chief Executive of banks in three Africa countries (Liberia, Malawi and Nigeria).

Mr. Weeks has worked as a director on numerous corporate boards including Du Investment Corporation, Du Development Corporation, MILCHAR Incorporated, Business Development Services & Incubator, Auriole Enterprises and serves as Chairman of the Board of Safeway Cargo Handling Services.

Mr. Weeks is also a former Chairman of the Board of the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (2009-2012) and an Executive Council Member of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce. He has served as an Assistant Governor for Liberia for Rotary International District 9101 and is an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigeria; Fellow of the Institute of Credit & Risk Management, Nigeria and Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration, Nigeria.

At the LMA, sources say, outgoing Commissioner Kesselly has already notified the board of his departure following the end of his tenure which was not renewed by President Sirleaf.

His replacement, Mr. Kollie , the first Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, previously worked in the private, non-profit, and public sectors, in the areas of accounting and finance, policy analysis and program evaluation, with significant cross cultural background, special interest in development programs, poverty reduction strategy, and pro-poor policies; public sector financial management and budgeting; as well as public sector reform processes, and grassroots democratic empowerment.

As Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs (DMFA) of the MFDP, Dr. Kollie, has been responsible for developing fiscal policy, manage the financial resources of Liberia, develop and administer the financial rules and regulations of Liberia as well as overseeing and executing all matters relating to government accounting, including pay, pensions and other allowances.

Since 2012, Mr. Kollie has served the government of Liberia as Deputy Minister of Finance for Revenues at the erstwhile Ministry of Finance, in which capacity he supervised implementation of the country’s revenue and finance law relative to all revenue generating activities including Customs and Excise, Real Property and Internatal Revenue.

As Deputy Minister of Finance for Revenues, Dr. Kollie also represented the Minister of Finance at negotiations involving fiscal issues relative to revenue generation. Mr. Kollie holds an MBA in Corporate Finance from the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis (2004).

The departure of Minister Amara Konneh has been known for some time now since FrontPageAfrica reported that the minister had accepted a World Bank post in Nairobi, Kenya.

The minister was selected through a competitive managerial selection process to become Manager, Fragility, Conflict and Violence CCSA, at the World Bank office in Nairobi and is expected to start work in May.

Mr. Konneh's new challenge will be to manage delivery of support to World Bank's operations in 43 fragile countries, including forced displacements as in the refugee crisis in Europe.

The President is reportedly also considering a number of options to fill the void at the Ministry of Justice where Cllr. Benedict Sannoh recently stepped down in the aftermath of the Harry Greaves death controversy.  Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes, the Deputy Minister for Administration and Public Safety at the Ministry of Justice, has been acting in Sannoh’s absence.

Interestingly, it is the surprise choice of Kamara that is likely to raise some eyebrows.

Vice President Joseph Boakai, according to sources had been lobbying behind the scenes for Mr. Sumo Kupee, a former Senator from Boakai’s hometown in Lofa County to fill the looming void at Finance. It is unclear what has prompted the sudden change of a potential fortune for Kupee or why his name was suddenly removed from the short list to replace outgoing minister Konneh.

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