Liberia president shuffles cabinet, cites need for "competence"

MONROVIA Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:08pm GMT

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R) speaks after a meeting with her Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia January 31, 2013. REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (R) speaks after a meeting with her Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia January 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/ Thierry Gouegnon

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MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia's president appointed new ministers of transport, commerce, justice and labour on Monday - key areas for her agenda of improving infrastructure and employment and combating corruption.

"I have transferred some individuals from one area of responsibility to another, and a few have not been reappointed," Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said over state radio, announcing the cabinet reshuffle.

"We have to place premium on the criteria of competence, integrity, commitment and loyalty."

Liberia is one of the world's least developed countries following a 1989-2003 civil war that left infrastructure in tatters and stalled investment in its rich natural resources, which include iron ore and possible oil offshore.

Liberia's mines and energy minister, Patrick Sendolo, remained in place.

Johnson-Sirleaf, who was Africa's first elected female head of state when she came to office in 2006, signed a performance contract with her ministers late last year aimed at ensuring they met certain goals.

"I urge all of those appointed or reappointed to observe these criteria seriously," she said. "Let there be no mistake: I will not hesitate to make a change."

(Reporting by Alphonso Toweh; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Robin Pomeroy)

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