By Bridgett Milton
Campaigners for Good Governance Citizen of Liberia, a local group petitions the Liberian Legislature to return US$ 15,000.00 dished out to each Lawmaker recently for constituency engagement.
Presenting the petition Thursday, July 8, 2021, on the grounds of the Capitol in Monrovia, the head of the group Furbbie Henries said, Article 34(d)(ii) of the Constitution of Liberian states that “No monies shall be drawn from the treasury except in consequence of appropriations made by the legislative enactment and upon the warrant of the President, no coin shall be minted or national currency issued except by the expressed authority of the Legislature. An annual statement and account of the receipt and expenditure of all public monies shall be submitted by the President to the Legislature and published once a year”.
He also reminds that Article 36 further states that Senators and Representatives shall receive from the Republic remuneration for their services to be fixed by law, provided that any increase shall become effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
Mr. Henries says in light of the provisions and in line with Article 17 of the Constitution, each lawmaker refunds the amount (US$15,000.00) for legislative engagement to the Government of Liberia’s General Revenue Account and revert to the status quo ante.
Article 17 of the constitution reads that all persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances, and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions, and other organizations.
He notes that Legislative powers have limitations and must be adhered to at any given point, warning that crossing those limits sets a dangerous path for the country’s democracy.
“We are confident that the Legislature is cognizant of its powers and limitations (as a first branch, we expect members there to do better). For too long, Liberians have branded the Legislative branch as a corrupt body. For once, we expect you all to redeem that image”, the petition concludes.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the House of Representatives, Bong County District #7 Representative Joseph Papa Kolleh said, he will present the document to the committee on claim and petition for onward submission to the full plenary. Editing by Jonathan Browne