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Lawmakers asked to return UNDP money

Lawmakers ND26Three members of the House of Representatives and their staffers, who secretly received daily sustenance allowance or DSA from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) at a recent retreat largely boycotted by their colleagues in Ganta City, Nimba County have been asked to return the money.

The lawmakers involved are Montserrado County Representatives Edward Forh; Henry B. Fahnbulleh of the governing Unity Party; and Morais Waylee of Grand Gedeh County.

Apparently following consultation with House Speaker Alex Tyler, the chairman of the retreat, Nimba County Representative Larry Younqoi, has ordered the disobedient lawmakers and their staff to immediately return US$344.00 each received to the head office of the UNDP in Monrovia or risk serious penalty from plenary.

Speaking with reporters Wednesday at the Capitol Building in Monrovia, Rep. Younqoi said it is unfortunate and embarrassing that some of his colleagues bypassed or ignored the unanimous decision not to accept the DSA and went ahead and took the amount.

He maintained drivers and staffers of the House of Representatives, who benefited from the UNDP’s DSA, should kindly return the cash or the leadership of the lower House would not take it lightly.

According to Representative Younqoi, authorities of UNDP breached an agreement between the Constitution Review Committee, the leadership of the House and other partners, failing to duly inform the leadership about adjustment as it relates to payment, which led to a reduction of the DSA from US$100 per day to US$70.00.

“The action of the UNDP clearly tells us that Legislators were overlooked in the process and on the basis of that we respectfully decided to foot the cost of the retreat. But for anyone to think that we boycotted because of allowance that is not true,” the Nimba County lawmaker explained.

On November 17, 2015, members of the House of Representatives said they boycotting the constitution review retreat organized in Ganta City, Nimba County in demand of allowance.

The retreat was organized by the Constitution Review Committee or CRC and sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme. The exercise started last week Tuesday with an understanding to have ended on Saturday, but was boycotted by members of the House of Representatives on grounds that allowance promised them by the UNDP was reportedly reduced without prior notice.

Representative Younquoi, said the leadership of the House had agreed that Speaker Alex Tyler should receive US$125.00 as daily allowance, while chairpersons of three committees: Good Governance and Reconciliation, Judiciary, and Internal Affairs were to receive to US$115.00 per day and all members of the House of Representatives,who attended the retreat, to receive US$100.00 daily plus US$64.00 for gasoline.

But after the lawmakers arrived in Nimba for the retreat, UNDP informed them through its account department that each of the delegates present would instead receive US$70.00 as DSA and US$64.00 for gasoline daily.

Apparently the message did not go down well with the lawmakers, so they decided not to take the money, but their three colleagues and staffers felt that was too much to bear so they went ahead and received US$344 each, covering a period of four days.

Insiders, who represented the UNDP in Ganta, confided in this paper that Daily Sustenance Allowance or DSA for all UN staffers, including Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is US$70 per day so it is impossible for anyone to demand more than US$70.00 per day.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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