It is not often that a member of the 73-member House of Representatives would muster the courage to stand up among the rest of his colleagues and demand from the Executive accountability and transparency.
But that’s exactly what River Gee County District#3 Representative Francis Dopoh II, did last Thursday, 31 January during the 7th day sitting when he walked out of the session, protesting against majority members of the House for stalling the exercise of check and balances over the Executive on the collection and expenditure of public funds.
“Since the passage of this budget, we are yet to receive reports from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning,” Rep. Dopoh noted in a communication to plenary.
He said it beats his imagination that in a country where the budget is a cash-based balance, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is over performing in revenue generation, while expenditure lines are under-performing as being reported. And that in such a case, he suspects ongoing-off-budget spending.”
“Mr. Speaker, Deputy Speaker… the importance of these financial reports are intended to give this Honorable House an understanding of the performances of various budget lines and to help us guide the direction of the government’s fiscal stance”, Rep. Dopoh underscored.
He further emphasized that Section 4 of the 2018/2019 Budget Law requires the Ministry of Finance to, within 45 days following the end of the first quarter of the current fiscal year, submit a reconciled statement of the Consolidated Fund Account to the House of Representatives and the Senate for the previous Budget Year.
But this is not happening, and the lawmaker is upset about the way the Executive is conducting financial matters of the state, which seems to leave no room for accountability and transparency.
We wonder how many lawmakers in the 73-member House are ready to stand up to the Executive and demand the right thing should be done for our country. They will not come out. But these are the real pro poor issues, the way the national revenue is being managed.
We salute Representative Dopoh for standing for the truth and standing alone. Posterity would record him as the lawmaker who walked out of session because the right thing was being ignored. He truly represents the interest of the Liberian people, not those self-seeking opportunists, who’re masquerading the corridor of the Capitol as lawmakers.
We are in solidarity with Dopoh for his critical stance. We demand scrupulous implementation or adherence to the Budget Law in the collection and expenditure of state revenue, because our people are dying in abject poverty, disease and misery.