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Senate demands account for US$5M

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The New Dawn Liberia The New Dawn LiberiaThe Senate through plenary has mandated its secretary to write a formal communication to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, seeking detailed expenditure report within one week of the US$5 million loan approved by the Liberian Legislature for the government’s Ebola fight.

Last week, President Sirleaf provided an expenditure report for the US$5 million loan to the House of Representatives for action, but failed to forward same to the senate, which members of the upper House are not taken lightly.

Senators in a combative mood said it is unfortunate that the Office of the President would delay in forwarding performance and allocation reports to them on how the money credited from commercial banks through the Central Bank of Liberia was expended in the Ebola fight.

Senators Sando Johnson, of Bomi County; Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence of Grand Bassa County; and Geraldine Doe Sheriff of Montserrado County, respectively in writing to ask plenary to demand from the Executive performance report for the money.

The three senators furthered that besides financial report, the General Auditing Commission or GAC should audit the Executive to substantiate how the money was spent.

Senator Sando Johnson pointed out that the Liberian government has failed to purchase one ambulance from the US$5 million, noting that instead, officials of government are clustered at the General Services Agency under pretense of working in call centers.

He said the government seems to be paying less attention on transparency and accountability in the fight against the deadly virus. The Bomi County lawmaker also noted that while Liberians are dying in the streets, towns and villages, some officials were engaged in lip-service when in fact their real motive is chasing the cash.

For part, Senator Doe Sheriff of Montserrado stressed that audit will tell international partners and donors that funds generated by the government are being utilized rightfully, saying in the absence of audit, there will be high suspicions that government misapplied the loan.  

Contributing to the debate, Sinoe County Senior Senator Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan, said the senate made a great mistake by endorsing the loan agreement without a detailed work plan. Sen. Nyenpan added that there were reports that the leadership of the Liberian Senate has already received reports of the money, but Senate President Pro-tempore Findley quickly denied the claim.

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