Now that the Speaker of the Lower House is a Vice Presidential candidate, he and his peers must recuse themselves from budget proceedings
NOW THAT EMMANUEL NUQUAY has been chosen as the running mate to Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, eagles like eyes are going to be watching his every move during these budget proceedings, including those who have pledged their support to the bid of the President of the Senate.
THE LEGISLATURE IS NOTORIOUS for playing a game of chess with the budget, sometimes having a deadlock with the Executive if compromises—well in their interests—weren’t reached.
IN 2012, THE PRESIDENT launched a blistering attack against the Legislature while addressing the United States Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
SIRLEAF THEN ACCUSED THE lawmaker of “seeking its own interest to that of the Liberian people.” The President was specifically responding to a question from Professor Bernadette Atuahene from Fordham Law School on the issue of corruption and how each Lawmaker in Liberia is entitled to up to US$30,000 in benefits. The President then said, “lawmakers tend to take things and allot benefits to themselves.”
THE PRESIDENT DID NOT stop there, She added that “this is a battle that is ongoing and the public has expressed disgust over the attitude of the Lawmakers. We didn’t give it to them; they took it. We’re still fighting that battle,” Sirleaf said.
Nuquay served on the powerful Ways, Means, and Finance Committee of the House and it was in that position when President Sirleaf made those scathing remarks.
THE LEGISLATURE HAS GAINED notoriety of mishandling the budget for personal gains. It was discovered that former House Speaker Alex Tyler used the dormant Liberia Opportunities and Industrialization Center budget line as loophole to funnel money to support his bid for the presidency.
IT’S SO COMMONPLACE that even the Senate Pro-Tempore is said to be using a school named after his father to also funnel cash. Then along came Edward Ford whose words of “you eat I eat” is still an albatross on his neck which cost him the primary of his party.
THE BUDGET PERIOD IS a critical moment for the lifeblood of any country, especially during election period. For most African countries, it means paying keen attention to those who determines who gets what.
DURING THIS PERIOD, IT’S ALL about pecuniary gains for some. This, we believe, Speaker Nuquay is quite aware because being head of that influential committee makes you quite crafty.
ALREADY, IT SEEMS LIKE it’s a body above the law and accountable to nobody but themselves.
TO STAVE OF FEELING OF any kind of mishandling the budget to suits UP’s interest, it’s incumbent for those who have pledged support to the VP to recuse themselves very much from in any proceeding on the budget.
THIS WOULD EASE OFF feelings from many, including the opposition who are already suspect that the Speaker sits in position of influence to arm twist his colleagues to acquiesce to his wishes.