15k Saga- the 54th National Legislature plums Liberia into further corruption crisis
We strongly detest the move made by members of the 54th National legislature as they boldly received US$ 15,000 each under the pretense of “ Legislative Engagements and accessibility fees.”
Whatever purpose this money was given for, typically and realistically, it is unwise, dubious, and clearly portrays a lack of sympathy to the perennial struggle of the Liberian people amidst the conditions of government hospitals, clinics, schools, and the breakdown of vital public services in the country.
This is a grievous demonstration on the part of members of the National Legislature showing a complete lack of interest and disdain for the conditions of the Liberian people. During these times, when most citizens are calling for immense fiscal discipline, proper rationing of national resources, and prioritizing areas of emergency, the National Legislature is leading an extravagance agenda. They are looting the public treasury while the mass body of citizens looms in deteriorating hardship, growing poverty, and a disparaging economy.
These micro-nationalists and semi-patriots shelter no remorse for their continuous role being played in the systemic multiplication of suffering on the Liberian masses.
“Legislative engagements and Accessibility fees”
In the 2020/2021 Fiscal Budget, the Government of George Weah allocated US$ 3,600,000 to 103 Lawmakers at the National Legislature as a way to so-called “enhance legislative engagements and legislative projects.”
Firstly, people have argued that said amount is not intended for the project, well, this is untrue and diabolical. Anyone reading through the budget can clearly see that this amount is itemized for a “ government-funded project.”
However, since this money has been disbursed to various lawmakers in the 54th National Legislature, the Liberian people have raised serious suspicions on how economically reasonably, logically wise, and how said funding satisfies good governance and enhances accountability in public office. These questions are being raised due to how the government and legislative activities usually go unchecked and unaccounted for.
At the National Legislature, lawmakers do not appear to owe the people their legislative agenda, most bask in arrogance believing that they are above the law of the state.
As we raised our concerns, we are building a strong argument against this broad-day stealing which appears to be a clever attempt to gift lawmakers unwarranted bonuses at the dare expense of the unsuspecting Liberian populace.
These are our concerns as it relates to this matter:
~~ The Government allocated US 3,600,000 for legislative engagements/public accessibility. And now, we have gotten information that each lawmaker has walked away with US$ 15,000 as their fair share of this budgeted fund.
Firstly, on the whole, if 3,600,000 is divided by 103 lawmakers each person will be walking away with US 34,951.45. But to our dismay, each lawmaker was given 15,000 each which when multiplied by 103 is 1,545,000.
3,600,000 minus 1,545,000 the remainder is 2055,00. What happens to the remainder of the money?
Note: Not all 103 lawmakers received from the recent disbursements. Notable absentees are those yet to be certificated by the National Elections commission from the just-ended elections and the other areas where their vacancy.
When these numbers are properly corroborated, the amount disbursed could likely be far lower, which suggests a significant portion of the 3,600,000 remains at the Ministry of Finance with no clear explanation of how the Government intends to use this money.
~ How does the government intend to properly ensure that all legislators who received said money properly account for it and provide a detailed receipt of expenditures and disbursements in line with the so-called purpose?
– As the budget year ends very soon, who will have the next sum of money, or what will be done with the remaining portion of the money that was not disbursed?
-Has the legislative branch of government taken on the responsibility of implementing projects contrary to the constitution of Liberia?
As we seek urgent answers to these concerns, we have begun effective mobilization of the young people of Liberia to demand that the 54th National Legislature be held liable for this broad day thievery against the state’s coffers.