Amid recent media reports of row in the Liberian senate over the distribution of special sitting allowance, the Senate Press and Public Affairs Department has clarified that there was no misappropriation or embezzlement of funds, detailing how the special sitting allowance was shared among senators and staffers.
According to the Press and Public office, the Senate constituted an ad-hoc committee to review and investigate information about 100 percent payment on account of the Special Sitting.
It said the committee’s report shows there was no malpractice, noting that instead, the government only paid 50 percent of the total allowance with commitment to have paid the balance on Monday, November 28.
Last Thursday, this paper reported that the Liberian Senate was unease especially, for Senate President Pro- Tempore ArmahJallah leadership as angry senators went wild after hearing that their allowance for the Special Sitting called by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been allegedly tempered with.
Lawmakers here should have gone for annual vocation to return in January, 2017, but the President had requested for a special sitting, which requires allowances to enable them to debate on and legislate important bills, pending before that august body.
It all started Tuesday, 22 November when Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, Grand Bassa County Senator NyonbleeKarnga Lawrence and Grand Gedeh’sAlphonso Gaye created an uncontrollable scene in demand of their allowance from a special committee headed by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Dagoseh.
The committed was constituted by Pro-Tempore Jallah to work along with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to ensure the money is delivered for the Special Sitting.
The protesting senators demanded that their allowances be paid in full, and that they have received credible information the ministry had disbursed the amount. Based on the tension among senators, which Pro-Tempore Jallah could not put under control, Tuesday’s executive session ended in deadlock with senators storming out of the session in anger.
But document in the possession of the paper shows that the senate received US$210,000 from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for the special sitting, which represents 50 percent of the total allowance for the sitting.
Of that amount, Senate President Pro-Tempore ArmahJallah reportedly received US7500; while the senate leadership comprising of eight senators received US48,000, Senators of Category One comprising of five senators received US$4,500, followed by Senators of Category Two comprising of six senators received US$4,000 and Senators of Category Three, US$3,500, comprising of 10 senators.
Also benefiting from the allowance packages are the Secretary of the Senate, NanborlorSingbe, US$1,500, while his deputy received US$1000.
The document also flagged that the Public Account Committee of the Liberian Legislature received US$5,775, while staffers of the Pro-Tempore received US$4,268 with central administration staff bagging US$50,000 and operational expense, US$10,457. Editing by Jonathan Browne