Liberia: House Suspects National Identification Registry Chief of Using State Resources to Campaign in Maryland

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MONROVIA – The head of the National Identification Registry, J. Tiah Nagbe has been called for questioning for allegedly issuing national ID cards to residents of Maryland County free of charge.

The National Identification Registry (NIR) is responsible for issuing a digital identity in Liberia to among other things, help the country’s economic and social development. It is issued for US$5.

However, in a communication to the plenary, Rep. Isaac Blalu Roland of (Maryland District #3) alleged that the Executive Director of the NIR was issuing the national ID card free of charge; while at the same time he (Nagbe) is advocating for increased budgetary allocation for the Registry.

Rep. Roland, craving the House’s indulgence to invite Nagbe for questioning, also told the plenary that the NIR boss’ action comes at the time he has declared his desire to contest for a legislative seat in Maryland.

 “I am pleased to present my heartfelt compliments and wish to ask this august body to invite J. Tiah Nagbe, Executive Director of the National Identification Registry to appear before this plenary to provide reasons for issuing free national ID card in Maryland County; especially now where he has officially declared his intention to contest.”  Rep. Roland writes.

During Fiscal Year 2020/2021 budget deliberation, the NIR boss, in defense of his institution’s budget before the Legislature, pleaded for full budgetary support. Back then, he noted that the institution was not implementing its full mandate as required by law due to low budgetary support.

In his communication, Rep. Roland stated that the NIR cannot continue to cry for budgetary support while its Executive Director is at the same time issuing national ID card free of charge.

“It is unacceptable for Mr. Nagbe to be appealing to the Legislature for full support in the National Budget and he is issuing thousands of national ID cards to people free of charge.”

Writing further, the Maryland District #3 Lawmaker said the NIR boss’ action will not only deny the Government of Liberia thousands of United States dollars in revenue, but it has the propensity to render the NIR paralyzed in its mandate as well as cause the national identification cards to end up in the hands of foreigners.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker’s request was granted and Mr. Nagbe will appear before the House right after the Independence Day break.

Mr. Nagbe, a presidential appointee came under fire when he declared his intentions to contest the county’s Senate seat.

According to the New Dawn Newspaper, Nagbe launched his pre-campaign activities in Maryland County back in April this year, when he rallied citizens to consider him as one of the best senatorial aspirants for the county in the next elections.

At that time, he arrived in the county to a rousing reception by cross-section of citizens, including partisans of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), market women, motorcyclists, traditional chiefs and elders from all three electoral districts of Maryland.

Formal receptions were held in his honor at the William V.S Tubman University in Harper and Jacksonville Township respectively; all in Electoral District #1, Maryland County.

He also addressed huge crowd at the Pleebo Intellectual Center in Maryland District #2 and Karluway and Barrobo in Electoral District#3.

In a campaign styled speech, he called on citizens to re-elect the CDC Government and all of its Senatorial and Representative candidates comes 2023 to benefit from more development.

“Marylanders, you have seen what has come to you in those years, if you will stay here and elect some of these same people to power, who have not done anything for the county, blame yourself,” he said.

“Because our vision is to transform the lives of the citizens and the future generations of the county. So, if you give me power, I will join the other CDC lawmakers to move the county to where we all want it to be. Let me say to you my fellow Marylanders, if we want to still enjoy this great opportunity as southeasterners, let us support all CDC candidates come 2023.”

Nagbe’s actions was in blatant violation of the Code of Conduct (COC) which sets out standards of behavior, and conduct required of public officials and employees of Government.

The Code also guides, regulates and ensures compliance with the norms and behaviors required of all public officials and employees of Government for the sake of impartiality, objectivity, transparency, integrity, efficiency and effectiveness in the performance of their duties and mandates.

It mandates any presidential appointee including Minister and Director who desires to contest for public elective office to resign said post at least two years prior to the date of elections.

It also calls on any other official appointed by the President who holds a tenured position and desires to contest for public elective office to resign said post three years before the elections.

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