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Samuel Tweah violates Budget Law

River Gee County District #3 Rep. Francis S. Dopoh is accusing Finance
Minister Samuel Tweah of allegedly violating Section 4(b) of the Budget Law which requires the Ministry to submit to lawmakers a reconciliation statement of the Consolidated Funds Account at the Central Bank of Liberia.

The law quoted here states that “In order to validate the status of the Consolidated Funds Account at the Central Bank of Liberia as at June 30, 2018, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning is hereby mandated to have said Consolidated Funds Account reconciled and submit the reconciliation statement to the House of Representatives
and the Liberian Senate on or before December 31, 2018…”
The intent of the law is “to confirm the actual balances of the said Consolidated Fund account as at June 30, 2018.’

But Rep. Dopoh complains that up to the time he raised the issue Thursday,
31 January, lawmakers had not received that report.According to the River Gee lawmaker, they don’t know what the cash balance
is as of July 1, 2018.

He laments that it is only the Executive that knows what they are spending, and expresses fears that the Executive could go and borrow without the Legislature knowing.

Rep. Dopoh expresses fear that this could lead to budget shortfall.
He has written a communication to the House of Representatives requesting
plenary to invite the Minister Tweah and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to discuss the performance of the budget for the last two quarters.

Meanwhile, the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Montserrado
County District #7 Rep. Solomon George made a motion that the communication presented by Rep. Dopoh be discussed in Executive Session.
But Rep. did not agree with his colleague on grounds that this matter
is of public interest and must be discussed in executive.

Dopoh told a team of Legislative reporters after session Thursday that the importance of these fiscal out turns reports are intended to give the House of Representative an understanding of the performances of various budget lines.

Further, he says they are also intended to help them shape and guide the direction of the government’s fiscal stance.Rep. Dopoh continues that it beats his imagination that in a country where the budget is a cash – based balance budget, the LRA is over performing in revenue generations while expenditure lines are under performing as being reported.

He notes that for them to be able to support the Pro – Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), lawmakers must be able to perform the legislative oversight role.

According to Dopoh, there are some institutions around the country
that are complaining that they have not received allotments and some
have received allotments, even though full allotments were made for these institutions.The River Gee lawmaker insists that if this matter cannot be discussed in the open, he will not discuss it in executive.
–Rep. Dopoh claims

By Bridgett Milton –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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