Defeated senators from the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Election have begun taking government’s properties assigned to them to their respective homes.
A vehicle with license plate SCH-WM-1 (Senate Chairman on Ways, Means and Finance) belonging to former Lofa County Senator Sumo Kupee, was seen loaded with desks, chairs, computers, leaving the Capitol on Wednesday, 7 January while another with license plate Sen-9, which belongs to former Grand Cape Mount County Senator Abel Massalley, was also loaded with office furniture, exiting the premises of the Capitol Building.
Statutorily, office furniture used by outgoing senators, should be turned over to the Procurement Department of the Liberian Senate for onward submission to the General Services Agency.
A staff from the office of former Montserrado County Senator, Joyce Musu Freeman Sumo, in his late 30s, said office equipment of the defeated senator has been turned over to the Procurement Department, but a verification by this paper established that no item was taken there.
A man, who claimed to be director for the Senate Procure Department opened the warehouse for journalists to check and indeed, it was established that not even single desktop was turnover.
However, some of the defeated senators and their personal aides were seen packing items, including desktops, desks, executive chairs, tables, printers, waiting sets, flat screen TVs, photocopiers and mini refrigerators, among others from their offices.
Despite the items being marked General Services Agency or GSA, indicating that those equipment belong to the State, outgoing senators with no regards to the Code of Conduct enacted, which prohibits officials from abusing or taking government’s properties are taking everything they lay their hands on away.
Eyewitnesses said since last Saturday up to Monday morning, staffers of defeated senators swelled the grounds of the Capitol Building, taking advantage of the festival holidays which had kept many people away from the building to loot offices that were once used by their respective bosses.
A man believed to be in the employed of one of the defeated senators remarked, “My brother, I never came out here of my own to take things from my boss office. It is his instruction I’m following and as far as we are concerned, these things are for my boss and not the government. Though government bought them for him and the new senators will get theirs from the same government, so what is your problem?”
A lady also on the scene said, government has a duty to buy new office equipment for incoming senators, asking, “So you think government is considering that the new senators will like to use those things that have already been used by the outgoing senators? That’s not possible; remember, this is Africa, taking into account the African juju and politicians don’t trust each other. So to cut long matter short, yes; we are taking them away to start new life. That’s what the Liberian people want. The best thing you (press) can do is to sue us to the Temple of Justice because BBC or VOA will not help you,” she irritatedly said.
Currently, both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate are enjoying their statutory annual break, waiting to return on January 16, 2015 when the senators-elect will be ushered in and subsequently sworn in office to steer the affairs of State for nine years.
Twelve of the 15 incumbent senators sought re-election but only Senators Jewel Howard-Taylor of Bong County and Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County retained their respective seats.
The other three – Isaac Nyenabo of Grand Gedeh County, was appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Ambassador to the European Union, while Senator Cletus Wotorson of Grand Kru County, backed-off the race due to health reasons and Senator Fredrick Cheru of River Gee County similarly threw in the tower.