They Do Not Deserve To Be Called Honourable Men & Women

ARTICLE 31 of the Liberian Constitution is clear, that each member of the Legislature, before taking his seat and entering upon the duties of office, shall take and subscribe to a solemn oath or affirmation, before the presiding officer of the House to which such person was elected and in the presence of other members of that House, to uphold and defend the Constitution and laws of the Republic and to discharge faithfully the duties of such office.

Lawmakers bring shame and dishonor to Liberia

Liberia has regretfully been short-changed by a useless and reckless bunch of thieves masquerading as Senators and Representatives, using every trick in the book to give themselves higher salaries and benefits while refusing to make their earnings public despite several Freedom of Information Act appeals by FrontPageAfrica as required by a law they passed and which has been signed by the President of Liberia.

SADLY, FOR THE PAST ten years, Liberians have been short-changed by a useless and reckless bunch of thieves masquerading as Senators and Representatives, using every trick in the book to give themselves higher salaries and benefits while refusing to make their earnings public despite several Freedom of Information Act appeals by FrontPageAfrica as required by a law they passed and which has been signed by the President of Liberia.

Senators AND LEGISLATORS are also notorious for advocating and pushing for increase to their salaries and benefits every year, even though, Article 36 of the Liberian Constitution requires that “The Senators and Representatives shall receive from the Republic remuneration for their services to be fixed by law, provided that any increase shall become effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year.”

THEY DO ALL THIS while doing very little to improve the livelihood of those languishing at the bottom of the economic ladder.

THE CONSTITUENCIES they claim to represent lack healthcare, hospitals and schools as shoeless children are seen daily toting chairs on their heads en route to a school that has no bench, schools made of mud and in most cases no blackboards; schools left for dead as teachers abandon their classrooms in search of their salaries in the city for nearly half of the school year.

LIBERIANS CONTINUE to linger in abject poverty while their good-for-nothing elected officials parade in wealth and abuse of financial resources to their benefit and to the detriment of the people they were elected to serve.

NOW, THE WORLD is finally taking notice. Dr. Linda Thomas Greenfield, a former Ambassador to Liberia, now the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during a recent visit to Liberia drew applause when she remarked: “We should fight corruption in this country, and don’t allow politicians to use their political connections to fill their bank accounts and their pockets here,” Ambassador Greenfield contended.

NOT SO LONG AGO, the European Union Ambassador, Tiina Intelmann emphasized that they were aware of corruption in Liberia and called on government to prosecute all cases on record.

THE RECENT Global Witness report unveiled a litany of allegations involving several senior-level government officials linked to bribery in the tone of nearly a million United States Dollars.

NOW COMES another embarrassing report, based on a communication obtained by FrontPageAfrica that members of the Upper House of the National Legislature, the Senate went on a shopping spree for vehicles in the tone of One Million Three Hundred Ninety Five Thousand United States Dollars(1,395,000.00 USD).

WHAT IS PATHETIC here is that each and every one of them breached the Public Procurement Concessions Commission regulations by taking the vehicles from the dealership without going through the procedure but instead later decided to write the President of Liberia to join them in the act to break the law by requesting that she intervenes on their behalf.

THE SECRETARY OF THE Senate J. Nanborlor Singbeh Sr. WRITES:

Your Excellency: I have the honour to present my compliments and by directive of the Liberian Senate (IN SESSION), apprise Your Excellency that, the Liberian Senate took thirty vehicles from vendors in favour of Members of the Senate in the total amount of One Million Three Hundred Ninety Five Thousand United States Dollars (1,395,000.00 USD), to facilitate to and fro work movement of its Members, so as to obtain quorum for the commencement of its legislative duties and County Visitation. This transaction is to be paid during the FY-2015/2016 Budget that is now coming to an end.

Accordingly, the vendors are currently mounting pressure on the Senate to effect payment for said vehicles, and PPCC is interposing objection to the process, accusing the Senate of not adhering to the PPCC Procurement Law. In view of the above mentioned, the Members of the Liberian Senate would have me to further inform Your Excellency, that the Body would appreciate highly were you to timely intervene, so that the vendors will receive their payments and save the face of the Liberian Senate in this manner. Please accept, Madam President, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.

WHAT MANNER of thinking went through the thought process of the authors of this communication? How did they conceive going about deceiving the Liberian people into what amounts to a scheme by men and women who should be making laws and not breaking them.

SADLY, THESE SO-CALLED lawmakers believe that they are above the law. They seize on the momentum of a campaign season and abandon those who put them there once they are elected.

BUT THE LAW IS THE LAW. “Any person who contravenes any provision of this(PPCC) Act like receiving or giving kickbacks or bribes, being involved with connivance, collusion, cohesion, conflict of interest, not timely or properly executing contracts, etc. commits an offence.  Any such person convicted by a Court of a violation of this Act shall, upon summary conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five (5) years and or a fine not exceeding US$100,000. Violation of provisions of this Act may also constitute grounds for debarment. The Commission may recommend for prosecution any person who in the view of the Commission has contravened in any material respect the provisions of this Act.”

LIBERIA WILL FOREVER REMAIN entrenched in a corrupt state of depression as long as we continue to give elected and appointed officials a free pass. What they get away here in Liberia, others are lingering in jail in other countries. Sadly, the so-called stakeholders continue to pour in millions of dollars into their coffers and expect that things will change when deep down they know, they won’t while repeating the age-old refrain, that countries should do more to curb graft.

LIBERIA HAS BEEN through a rough patch, a bloody civil war, periods of uncertainty and more-recently, Ebola. Sadly, 169 years have gone by and nothing seems to be changing as things continue to remain the same: The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. Even after a band of army officers ended more than a decade of Americo-Liberian rule, Africa’s oldest republic remains trapped in an archaic mind-set when so-called leaders fall for the same trappings that led others before them astray.

WHAT THESE Senators have done is take advantage of a system by abusing their constituents and deceiving them; some under the guise or on the backs of a grass-root mantra. If we stand by and do nothing, we fail those who labour and die in vain for our freedom today. We must not and cannot afford to allow Liberia to slip back into the abyss of chaos and uncertainty by standing by and allowing the evil forces who refuse to change to repeat the same mistakes of yesterday.  

HonorableLiberian Senate
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