-Cummings roars, as Sen. Dillon bows
Members of the Liberian Legislature continue to be bombarded by heavy criticism from across the Liberian society barely a week after they all received a whopping sum of USD15, 000 each under the guise of project fund, with calls that the money is returned.
On Tuesday, June 15, the Alternative National Congress (ANC), political leader, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings joined the chorus condemning lawmakers for taking the money, while calling on them to return same.
He said the mere distribution of the money without the possibility of audit and any acceptable means of accountability, the disbursements, and receipts by individual legislators of USD15, 000.00 (Fifteen Thousand United States Dollars), violate the Public Financial Management Law.
The PFM Law provides that all disbursing and receiving entities, and individuals, must account for public monies disbursed, received, and or entrusted into their care. This continues to not be the practice. Liberia, the world poorest country currently has 29 sitting Senators with 73 Representatives bringing the total to 102 lawmakers, multiply this by 15,000, meaning a total sum of USD1, 530,000 (One Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Thousand United States Dollars) was distributed among them at the time the country is appealing to friendly nations for budget support in the face of increasing COVID-19 positive cases.
Thus in his condemnation and call for the return of the money, Mr. Cummings, whose party is part of the four Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) observed that the action by members of the Legislature was not right at this time particularly when the country’s economy is under severe stress, while the government is begging for budgetary support from friendly nations, including to meet its payroll obligations.
Cummings, a former Coco-Cola executive further observed that the timing of the lawmakers taking the money was not in the interest of the Liberian people especially at a time “reports are pointing to a rise in confirmed cases of Covid-19, and Liberia could be at the dangerous onset of a new wave of transmission of the virus with increasing health risks to Liberians, and further risks to the crumbling economy.”
“Under these conditions, no responsible government would be spending wastefully, and with no accountability. It is why it is wrong and inexcusable for the Liberian Government to be spending money to take care of the political interests of those at the top, and not provide for the livelihood of those at the bottom who need to be helped the most, especially as the threat of Covid-19 hangs over the nation.
I join my voice in condemnation of this continued irresponsible behavior of the Weah-led government.” Said Cummings.
Meanwhile, minutes after the ANC political leader issued his press statement, Sen. Darius Dillon told a press conference that he was returning his portion of the money over to LACE for the construction of a public library for Montserrado County. By Othello B. Garblah