[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

GeneralLiberia newsON 2ND THOUGHT

On 2nd Thoughts: Boakai’s first burns

-As USD5000 or USD25,000 bribery claim spreads

By Othello B. Garblah

From all accounts, it appears incoming President Joseph N. Boakai has suffered his first severe burns from the ongoing claims involving US$5000 or US$25,000 offered to lawmakers during a meeting at his private residence in the Rehab Community in Paynesville, a few days ago.

Mr. Boakai recently met with 31 Representatives from the incoming 55th Legislature at his home just ahead of the highly contested Speakership election between Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa of the outgoing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Government and Rep. Richard Nagbe Koon of Boakai’s Unity Party.

News coming from the said meeting has been depressing, especially where it has been alleged that the incoming President offered bribe to lawmakers to enable them to vote for his choice at the Speakership election.

Even though, reports from that meeting are still conflicted, Mr. Boakai was said to have offered some amount to the lawmakers the actual amount now subject of debates (between US$5000 and US$25000), some say to be used in their various districts to fund parties for his inaugural celebration on January 22, 2024, while others say for development purposes.

Funding inaugural parties at district levels: The idea which is the first of its kind in the country, according to people on the Joint Inaugural Committee is to afford citizens residing in Liberia’s 73 districts who are unable to come to the main event center to host their own parties in their respective communities.

However, the mere idea that this amount was made public on the heels of a Speakership election, in which the stakes are high for the incoming Boakai administration has given it a different interpretation for all the wrong reasons.-And why so?

Representative Nathaniel Bahway of Grand Kru County District #1, one of 31 lawmakers of the incoming 55th Legislature who attended the meeting with Mr. Boakai was the one who lighted the fire when he told journalists that Mr. Boakai had promised US25, 000 to each lawmaker for district development purposes.

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1]

Rep. Bahway claimed during a press conference on Thursday, January 11, that though Mr. Boakai made the offer in the wake of the Speakership election, he did not see the promised US 25,000 as a bribe, but rather as a development fund.

“I was there when the old man (Joseph Boakai) made it clear that he would be giving US$25,000 to each individual (Lawmaker) so that they will see reason and support their district… I have not received it yet, but I’ll receive it,” Rep. Bahway said.

Meanwhile, there are arguments from the Boakai camp that the actual amount promised was US5000 to fund inaugural parties at the district levels and not to be used as a development fund as Rep. Bahway has stated. The UP folks maintained that Bahway did not pick up on the actual amount that was being promised by Mr. Boakai and accused him of inflating the figure.

But let’s assume that the argument from the camp of the Unity Party is correct and that the actual amount promised by Mr. Boakai is US5000 to each lawmaker amounting to US$365,000, more than half of the US$650,000 earmarked for the inauguration. Such commitment being made to potential voters ahead of a crucial election speaks volumes.

Boakai may have had a good intention, but the timing of his pronouncement on such a promise gave it an entirely different interpretation and as such has stained his incoming administration.

Boakai could have waited for the outcome of the Speakership election which is due Monday, January 15, at which time the leadership of the 55th Legislature has been made known before hosting such gathering and making such a commitment.

No number of countless defenses can right the wrong. Mr. Boakai has been burned, and he should learn from this error and move on.

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=1] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=2] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=3] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=4] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=5] [bsa_pro_ad_space id=6]
Back to top button