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GeneralLiberia news

Legislature pressured for audit

By Bridgett Milton

NAYMOTE partners for Democratic Development is pressuring the Liberian Legislature to submit itself for a full-scale financial and system audit.

Releasing the Second Edition of the Legislative Digest, the civil society organization argued that an audit is required of all other public institutions in Liberia.

NAYMOTE Executive Director Mr. Eddie Jarwolo said the total budget allocated to the Legislature in 2022 amounted to USD64,383,926.00.

From that amount, Jarwolo claimed that there is no publicly available financial report to account for the use of that money.

Jarwolo lamented that popular demands to audit the financial records of the Legislature have yielded no results.

According to Jarwolo, the annual budget of the Legislature from 2018-2022 accounted for US$228,666,183.00. 

Despite the huge financial support to the Legislature, he lamented that the body does not have any regular (official) publications on its activities, and there is no official website for public information. 

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“The assessment did not also find any voting record, making it nearly impossible for citizens to track their elected representatives’ legislative and voting decisions,” Jarwolo added.

Similarly, he said, it is impossible to access reports of ministries and agencies at the Legislature, apparently because the ministries and agencies have not been submitting periodic reports to that body since 2018.

He suggested that this further indicates that the Legislature has been derelict in exercising its oversight responsibilities over the Executive branch.

NAYMOTE’s Second Edition of the Legislative Digest covers the period from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022.

The first edition, published in 2022, covered the period from January 1, 2018, to December 1, 2021.

According to NAYMOTE, the assessment found that the Legislature held 167 sittings, of which 106 (63%) were regular sittings.

It said 36 (22%) were secret/executive sittings, and 9 (5%) were special sittings, 16 (10%) were extraordinary sittings. 

The report said there were 29 public hearings held during the year, and all secret sittings were held by the House of Representatives in 2022.

“The Legislature passed a total of 53 bills during the year 2022, of which 35 (66 %) originated from the Executive/presidency,” the report said.

It continued that 12 bills (23%) came from the House of Representatives, and 6 bills (11%) came from the Senate.

Mr. Jarwolo explained that although the number of ‘secret’ sessions reduced in 2022 when compared to 2021, it is still striking that more than one-third of legislative deliberative sittings were held in ‘secret’ or executive sessions.

He warned that this undermines efforts at transparency and public participation, and engagement with the Legislature.

Jarwolo detailed that more bills were passed in 2022 (53 bills) than in 2021 (29 bills); but oversight of the implementation of the enacted laws, by the executive branch, remains weak. 

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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