The New Dawn reliably gathers that the Comptroller General of Liberia has placed a hold on payment of the balance US$1 million to the National Elections Commission to conduct the Montserrado County by-elections.
Speaking to this paper via mobile phone late Wednesday, 24th July in Monrovia, the National Elections Commission chairman, Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya discloses the board of commissioners were beaming with smiles after receiving news that the remaining US$1 million has been made available for the two by-elections in Montserrado, but their joy was short-lived when the Comptroller General of Liberia, Mr. JangaKowo placed a hold on disbursing the fund to the NEC’s account.
Chairman Korkoya explains that Comptroller General Kowo, who is also the National Secretary of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, maintains that unless the NEC submitted expenditure report for the US$1.5 million disbursed earlier for the polls, it would not release the last disbursement.
The NEC chair notes that the position of the comptroller general has a propensity to undermine a peaceful conduct of the already delayed by-elections, arguing that the process for which the money was disbursed is still in progress, and that full report will be provided at the close of the entire electoral process.
However, Chairman Korkoya discloses that the commission, in a spirit of coordination, forwarded financial report to the Office of the Comptroller General, but Mr. Kowo is yet to respond to the report up to the time he left office yesterday evening.
The Liberian government had earlier provided US$1.5 million against the US$2.5 million budget submitted to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning for the pending senatorial and District#15 by-elections in Montserrado.
When questioned about the holding of the by-elections, Chairman Korkoya says the commission has put in place all mechanisms for the polls on Monday, July 29.
He, however, expresses fear if the US$1 million were not made available before 29 July poll workers may create tension at the close of voting.
When Comptroller General Kowo was contacted via mobile phone for comment, his phone rang endlessly without a response.The senatorial by-election is as the result of the death of Senator Geraldine Doe Sherif after a protracted battle with cancer and the death of Montserrado County Electoral District #15 Representative Adolph Lawrence, in a car crash along the Roberts International Airport-Monrovia highway after celebrating his 50th birthday in Buchanan, Grand Bassa. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne