Amara Konneh: Liberia Senate attempt to jail finance minister fails

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Amara KonnehImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Amara Konneh was named African finance minister of the year by a banking magazine

Liberia's Supreme Court has stopped the Senate's attempts to jail the country's finance minister after he tried to clamp down on politicians' expenses.

London-based Banker Magazine awarded Amara Konneh its African Finance Minister of the Year award in 2014.

But on Tuesday the Senate voted to jail Mr Konneh for acting beyond his powers by proposing a $1.2m (£800,000) budget cut.

The Supreme Court ordered a halt on his imprisonment "until further notice".

Senate leader Armah Jallah told the BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia that the Senate had voted unanimously to jail the finance minister because he did not have the powers to reduce their budget.

Analysis: Jonathan Paye-Layleh, BBC News, Monrovia

The issue of how much politicians get paid is often the subject of radio talk shows and public debate here in Liberia.

The 103 lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives get monthly salaries of $13,000 (£9,000) each.

And now there is an extra pressure for scrutiny about that pay.

The decline in the country's two main foreign-exchange earners - rubber and iron ore - has cut the country's budget to below $500m, meaning all sectors of the government are coming under pressure to cut their budgets.

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