Sell Pay: What Lesson House of Elders (Senate) Teaching Liberians?


MONTHS AGO PRECISELY IN 2016, last year, the Liberian Senate, which is supposed to be the House containing “elders” of the land, in outright violation of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) law, took, on ‘sell pay,’ some vehicles from a vendor for their personal use, each 30 members of the Senate.

BEFORE WE GO FURTHER, let’s tell our outside friends, what ‘sell pay’ means. ‘Sell pay’ in Liberia is the act of taking things (anything) on credit in order to pay later. Basically, the history behind sell pay is that petite traders, mainly those plying their trade on Monrovia’s streets, go to bigger traders, especially the Lebanese and Chinese businessmen, take goods from them, and after their day’s trading,  go back and pay the principles (price for good) than take home the meager profits from their sales. However, the terminology has now slightly metamorphosed to mean taking something on credit and paying later. And this is true for the Liberian Senate!

HOWEVER, NOT ALL OF THESE TRANSACTIONS have ended well between these petite traders and those Lebanese or Indians or Chinese and even the banks, which lend monies out. Some Liberians, like their Senators in this case, have been very dishonorable. They have absconded, either by changing their addresses or have out rightly refused to pay. Most of these cases have had to be resolved in court.

IN A CONFIDENTIAL LETTER obtained by this newspaper in 2016, all 30 members of the Senate acknowledged breaching the PPCC regulations regarding the purchase of the vehicles. They ran to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, begging her to intervene on their behalf by paying United Motor Corporation, which is the vendor. Well, it seems the President hands are just full. She didn’t look their way as the vendor had to recently run to the Debt Court in order to compel the Senate to pay for the cars it took from his garage last year.

WHILE THERE ARE TWO MAIN things involved in our editorial: breaking the PPCC law and taking on sell pay, our emphasis in today’s piece is, however, the latter and what lesson is there to teach Liberians, especially our younger generations.

LIBERIANS, BEGINNING with their government, are noted for being pathological beggars. Despite being in the midst of plenty that Nature has bestowed on their “sweet land of liberty,” they still beg about everything from their outside friends. They are sitting on plenty, getting little of their own pie while their foreign friends take a lion’s share of their pie.

IT IS FROM THESE FOREIGNERS and aliens, that they have to stoop low in order to scoop their living, including living luxuriously, like what their Senators did.

BUT THESE SUPPOSED ELDERS, in order for them to live luxuriously, had to out rightly break the law by taking on sell pay, from this foreign vendor, those vehicles, which they have not paid for more than 12 months.

FOR US, WE THINK THIS IS not a good example for the elders of our land to set for younger generations to emulate. They should be very responsible enough especially when they allocate for themselves in the national budget, money to buy themselves vehicles of their choices. In our opinion, these senators had no need to go and credit the vehicles.

IN FACT, WE THINK EACH of them was financially potent, having stayed years in the Senate and taking the astronomical salary package, to have purchased cash down those cars.

THEIR IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDE only sends out one bad message about them and our country: they are not responsible or honorable enough to be elders of the land. Their attitude on this matter also says about Liberians that we are not ready to rid ourselves of this very bad practice of dependency syndrome on foreigners or foreign aid. What lesson are the “elders” of the Senate showing for our younger generation to emulate from them? Sell pay? Or You take you pay?