By Ethel A Tweh
The President Pro – Tempore of the Liberian Senate Albert T. Chie says the Senate’s action to pass a controversial pension bill was not intended to be selfish.
Addressing journalists at the closure of the special session Friday, 16 September 2022, Senator Chie said the Senate is the House of elders and it will not pass any bill at the detriment of the citizens.
Recently the House of Representatives rejected the controversial pension and benefit scheme after it was passed by the Liberian Senate with lucrative lifetime benefits appropriated for retired lawmakers and their families.
The Senate’s move drew a public backlash, especially for what many thought is their lawmaker’s insensitivity to the plights of the ordinary people in seeking lifetime enjoyment for themselves while the vast majority of the population lives in poverty.
But Senator Chie said they will always seek the interest of the Liberian people and will not pass any bad law.
In adjourning the special session, he thanked his colleagues for cutting short their constituents’ break to come to the call of President George Manneh Weah to work for the Liberian people.
President Weah on 9 August recalled the Legislature to address important national issues, including the National Census, the new election law, the confirmation hearing of the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia and other ministers of the cabinet.
The pension law is calling for the benefits of certain government officials, which include the President, Vice President, members of the legislature, and judiciary, among others to receive 50% share of their current salaries when they leave the position.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Senate has finally concurred with the House of Representatives on the passage of two major legislations.
The bill was passed by both houses but later subjected to a conference committee to rectify the disagreements in both acts.
Recently, Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon proposed an amendment to the Code of conduct session 5.2 which calls for appointed government officials desiring to resign two years prior to election.
The new amendment now calls for presidential appointees to resign one year. It also calls for asset declaration forms to be logged at the Liberia Anti-Corruption (LACC) rather than the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and secretariat of the Legislature.
The Senate also approved the 30 percent gender representation with a ten thousand United States Dollars fine for political parties who will not adhere to it.