Liberia: Representative Yekeh Kolubah Blasts Speaker For Refusing To Subject House Of Representatives To Audit￼
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The return of members of the House of Representatives from their constituency break on Tuesday was marred by confusion and pandemonium when Representative Yekeh Kolubah (District #10, Montserrado County) was thrown out of session for his outburst against House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
The drama ensued when Rep. Kolubah made several amendments to the day’s agenda to be accepted by the movant (his colleague who proffered the motion to adopt the agenda). Among his amendments, he called on plenary to place his communication he had written four months ago calling on the House to subject itself to an audit, on the agenda.
He said the audit will augur well for the Legislature, as it will set a good precedent and send a strong message to Liberians that the Legislature is not above the law or exempted from being checkmated through an audit.
In his amendment he said: “Honorable Speaker, Fellow Colleagues, Mr. Movant, I will be ready to vote if you can add to this agenda a communication written by me four months ago calling for the House to be audited, and so the Liberian people can know that we are transparent.”
He also asked the movant to accept his request to invite Public Works Minister designate Ruth Coker Collins to plenary for allegedly ordering her team at the Ministry of Public Works to assault him and damage his property.
According to him, Madam Collins had earlier stated that she will only appear before the House unless she is not in an affairs with the Minister of State and Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill. He said the Speaker should now put an end to his recklessness and do the right things to save the face of the House.
With Yekeh’s outburst, Speaker Chambers called him to order, but as he was adamant, the Speaker then ordered the Sargent-at-arms to throw him out. The Speaker also mandated the House Committee on Rules, Order and Administration to place the Montserrado District #10 lawmaker under investigation for his ‘unruly’ action.
Can the House Subject Itself to Audit?
Since the inception of the current 54th Legislature in 2018, there have been calls from several segments of the Liberian society – from political activists to civil society organizations and religious community – for the Legislature to be audited.
It can be recalle in 2021, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), through its President Bishop Kortu K. Brown, called for a full comprehensive forensic audit of the Legislature in a bid to combat fraud, waste, and abuse in the first branch of the Liberian government.
The LCC’s statement quoted its President as urging authorities of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to take the lead and request an audit of the Legislature.
Bishop Brown said for several years, members of the First branch of government, in keeping with their constitutional mandate of oversight, have been checkmating officials of the Executive branch of government, especially those from anti-graft institutions and as such, it was now time the body submits to an audit.
Bishop Brown noted for legislators to be seen as honest and transparent in the exercise of their constitutional tasks and responsibilities, they must be open to an audi; adding an audit of the first branch of the Liberian government will build the public and officials’ trust and confidence in the Legislature.
Despite these calls, the Legislature has not officially responded. For Rep Kolubah, every time he raises the issues, he falls in trouble. In February this year, Rep. Kolubah was thrown out of session when he insisted that his communication calling for the House of Representatives to be audited, form part of the plenary’s agenda.
In the midst of his request, two lawmakers of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) threatened to beat him in session if he continues to rain invectives on President George Weah.
The lawmakers said since Rep. Kolubah keeps relying on the portion of the Liberian Constitution that exempt lawmakers from being sue or punish for their action while in session, they will use the same law to beat him for his continue unruly behaviors against the President nothing will come out it.