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Audit the legislature

-Sen. Dillon writes plenary

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Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darious Dillon writes the plenary of the Liberian Senate, calling for a forensic audit of the entire Liberian Legislature.

A communication dated January 13, read in plenary inside the chambers, on Tuesday, January 14, under the signature of Sen. Dillon says the financial history of the first branch of government should be audited.

“I extend my compliments and have the honor to request the endorsement of plenary to institute a comprehensive audit of the Liberian Legislature. There is no history to the best of my recollection of this body been audited, since 2006 up to date,” Dillon asserts in his communication addressed to the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie.
According to him, in order to ensure fiscal probity, a sound financial system, accountability and transparency at the legislature, it is the ardent hope that, that body will give his request due consideration and institute said audit.

The call for audit is an old choral by new lawmakers entering the Liberian Legislature; on May 19, 2019, some lawmakers stressed the importance of protest, including Representatives Vincent S. T. Willie (Independent) of Grand Bassa County District #4), Francis S. Dopoh of Unity Party, River Gee County District #3, Robert Flomo Womba of UP, ( Bong County District #4), Lawrence Morris (Independent, Montserrado District #1) and Cebee C.D. Barshell (Unity Party, Montserrado District #3).

They stated that auditing the House of Representatives is not just to promote accountability and transparency, but to place the House in a better position to ably exercise its oversight responsibility by holding the Executive and other sectors accountable.

“I support the issue of auditing the House because that will not only bring improvement in our economy but will give a clear understanding as of the workings of the House and the way forward,” said Rep. Barshell.
“For over a year now, I still don’t have a clear understanding, concerning [the] benefits and salaries of this House because there is no much understanding.”

Also on January 16, 2014, Maryland County Representative, Bhofal Chambers, requested the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to audit the National Legislature in order to account for resources allotted to that august body over the years.
The intent, Dr. Chambers said, is to provide a high degree of transparency and accountability in the operations of the first branch of the Liberian government.

According to him, since the inception of the former Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government at the time, no agencies had been able to conduct audits on money and goods used by the Legislature. As such, “it is pivotal that a holistic audit is carried out in order to change public perception about lawmakers [and the Capitol Building].”

Chambers, now Speaker of the House, had maintained that auditing the Legislature would encourage other spending agencies of government to conform to the tendency of being accountable to the state, but these calls fell on deaf ears, as the leaderships on Capitol Hill both past and present seem not willing to submit to financial best practices. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne