House Speaker Bhofal Chambers says the Legislature cannot be invited by any institution [for inquiry], a day after U.S. investigative experts charged to probe Liberia’s alleged missing $15.5 billion met him and other key persons at the Capitol Wednesday.
“This Legislature cannot be invited by any institution. This Legislature brings checks and balances. This Legislature is under constitutional obligation to call anybody for questioning,” Speaker Chambers said at a press conference Thursday, 18 October.
The U.S. – sponsored investigators from USAID are here to help Liberia probe the nation’s biggest financial scandal based on government’s request amid mass protest here to return the alleged missing money.
There are claims that billions of Liberian Dollars printed, and brought into the Country went missing after being cleared from the Freeport of Monrovia and being escorted to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) by armed state securities and bank personnel.
There have been suggestions here that the investigation must include former and present lawmakers who were members of the 53rd Legislature, some of whom are also members of the 54th Legislature, and other agents of the Executive Branch of Government.
But Speaker Chambers says his humble submission to the people of Liberia is that the Legislature cannot be invited by any institution.
He emphasizes that he wants to tell the various organs of this architecture – the Government of the Republic of Liberia, that the House of Representatives is the fulcrum of the democracy here.
Having put the Legislature above the ongoing investigation, Speaker Chambers then comes forth to play the blame games against former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf and her children, with a charge of nepotism against the former first family.
Speaker Chambers claims that in this whole issue of printing banknotes, former President Sirleaf’s son and Deputy Central Bank Governor Charles Sirleaf was a kind of well – placed person in the decision making process.
According to him, Deputy Central Bank Governor Sirleaf went to the Capitol, made representation and talked about it.“This is why we’re saying nepotism is not a good thing for anybody to encourage or support,” he charges. Speaker Chambers thinks that former President Sirleaf should separate herself from her children, especially when they are of position to provide service to the people.
“The people from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) know the constitution especially, they know contemporary constitution and democracy and, doing so, is a failure on their part. This body cannot be invited, you can come and the House will decide. I did not create it that’s how it been,” he says.
The Legislators cannot be held accountable for any action while in session except murder, treason and breach of peace, according to the Liberian Constitution.But some Liberians believe that the alleged missing $15,5 billion Liberian Dollars can be equated to breach of peace on grounds that the missing billions have created serious tension here.
However, Speaker Chambers insists that anyone or group that wants to engage the House of Representatives here should formally request for such action and the House will decide on whether they agree to attend or not.
In apparent reaction to this paper’s Thursday publication that the Chief Clerk had been visited by some investigators, Speaker Chambers, says if that had happened, it was an oversight and it will never be repeated.