Liberia: Rep. Foko Blames Corruption among Lawmakers to Pressure from Constituents
MONROVIA – Montserrado County District # 9 Representative, Frank Saah Foko has told a church congregation in Monrovia that personal assistance from lawmakers directly to individual electorates’ personal interests is one of the factors breeding corruption mainly among members of the Liberian legislature.
Representative Foko said it’s often seen that citizens mount pressure on their lawmakers for personal assistance rather than prevailing on them for projects or interventions for the general good of the community they live in.
According to him, the many requests from individual members of the public cannot be serviced by the salary justly earned by lawmakers; hence, they’re left with the option of getting additional resources from other sources to satisfy their people in order to remain in power.
“Let’s forget about too much personal help when we put people in leadership because this thing can push your leaders to be corrupt. This is why we still have more corrupt leaders in power most especially so when it comes to the legislature because sometimes our friends in the legislature look for money just to please you.
He called on residents of his district to encourage him to do projects that would impact the public, instead of pushing for personal interest.
“In the end you will push me to steal; to be corrupt. It’s about time that we push our leaders to do projects. We should push our leaders to make the right decision that will have a trigger down effect on our lives and our children’s lives”, the Montserrado lawmaker cautioned.
The governing party lawmaker was speaking on Sunday April 17, 2022 at program marking the official closing of the Chosen Vessel Church of Jesus Christ’s weeklong holy convocation or conference held at Lakpazee Zoo in Sinkor.
There have been countless reports of rampant corruption among members of the Liberian legislature.
In November 2021, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) released its 2021 State of Corruption report implicating several members of the legislature in high-level corruption.
The report forwarded to President George Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, accused lawmakers of payroll paddling, and allocating millions as subsidies to their privately owned institutions.
The report said between 2012 to 2021 Nimba County Representative Jeremiah Koung received nearly one million United States dollars to run his privately owned hospital, the Esther and Geraldine Hospital in Nimba County.
It said the African Dream Academy, a private school owned by Representative Samuel Enders was entirely being funded from the national budget.
The CENTAL report also said Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph, in 2020, as Chairman on the Senate health committee annually allocated US$ 141,000.00, to his company for ambulance services.
Also, during the National Transitional Government of Liberia headed by Charles Gyude Bryant, the plenary of the Transitional Legislative Assembly constituted a special ad hoc investigative committee to investigate complaints that certain lawmakers were in the habit of pocketing their employee’s monthly salaries and benefits, while some of the employees were on a daily basis being dismissed and replaced with family members of lawmakers.
These instances of alleged corruption could be blamed to pressure from the electorates as insinuated by Representative Foko.
Meanwhile, Representative Foko has charged newly ordained Ministers of the Gospel of the Chosen Vessel Church of Jesus Christ to beware of wrong advice by family members and others who has the proclivity to divide the church.
Those ordained as Ministers of the Gospel by General Overseer Rev. Garmonee Eastman Sarkpa are Pastor Henry D. Boe, Madam Sarah Dehgar, Mr. Daniel S. jiffan, and Hans S. Moses.