By Kruah Thompson
Montserrado County District#9 Representative Frank Saah Foko, Jr., says President-elect Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s $5K for inaugural party should stay clear of his district because it is an inducement for lawmakers to support the election of Unity Party Representative Richard Koon for the speakership.
The offer was reportedly made by President-elect Boakai recently during a meeting with Lawmakers-elect and other prominent individuals at his private residence in Paynesville.
“My district and I categorically reject anything that smells corruption, so JNB and his 5K inducement should stay clear of our district and people”, Rep. Foko writes.
In a recent announcement on his official Facebook page, the CDC lawmaker, who retains his seat in the House of Representatives, revealed that President-elect Boakai during the meeting promised the sum of US$5,000 to each district in Montserrado for inaugural party if the UP’s candidate (Rep.Koon) is elected Speaker.
Foko also told this publication that such inducement was part of an apparent strategy to sway outgoing Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa of the CDC to withdraw from the race into submission, which he deems as a potential move to compromise the independence of the 55th Legislature.
Rep. Koffa, a CDC candidate vying for the speakership, has garnered significant support from among his colleagues and outside the Capitol.
Allegations suggest that he enjoys substantial support from former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, thou it is not independently confirmed.
As a result, President-elect Boakai, former Vice President for Madam Sirleaf for two terms, is exerting every effort within his means to prevent Koffa, now in opposition, from securing the speakership, fearing that it could impede his legislative bills, hence his ‘rescue mission’ for the country.
Deputy Speaker Koffa on the other hand, has pledged independence of the 55th Legislature, if elected.
He poses a potential threat to the incoming administration, escalating debate for the Speaker position.
However, both the President-elect and Koffa have met with incoming lawmakers separately, to secure votes for the speakership election today, Monday, January 15, 2023.
Following these meetings, support for Koon has suddenly swelled. Hence, District#9 Representative Foko is apprehensive about the $5,000 promised to each district for the inaugural program, viewing it as an unwarranted interference.
He highlights that such meddling was previously exploited by the Unity Party against the CDC, cautioning against potential international repercussions.
According to him, the attempt to influence legislative votes constitutes early tampering, which is an impeachable offense.
He says affairs of the Legislature should be solely handled by legislators themselves.
He calls on President-elect Boakai to refrain from such practices, noting that if funds are needed for an inaugural party, the district can raise them independently, without hidden motives. Editing by Jonathan Browne