Senators’ return uncertain

Senate Pro- Tempore Albert Chie has expressed uncertainty over the possibility of Senators boycotting their recess to open special session, in reaction to speculation here that legislators were gearing up to return to Capitol Hill.

He says to legislative reporters in an interview conducted Friday, 5 September that as far as the Legislature is concerned, it will reopen in January 2019, but that it is at the it is looking forward to the possibility of reopening sooner than planned.It can be recalled that the House of Representatives issued a statement last month announcing that it will resume a special session in the coming days due to the alleged missing L$16 billion.

But Senator Chie continues that any special session of the Legislature outside of lawmakers’ working periods has to be done through a proclamation by President George Manneh Weah.He says he cannot confirm when the Liberian Senate will resume special sitting, amid report here that the House of Representatives is expected to reconvene in a special sitting to probe the alleged missing billions Liberian Dollars.

Ahead of the release of a finding from an investigative team set up by President Weah, the Central Bank claims that there is no missing money, telling the public that the entire $15.5 billion printed between 2016 and 2018 is in its reserve vaults.Individual lawmakers have spoken out on the alleged money issue, claiming that they are not aware of the additional printing of 10 billion Liberian Dollars by the Central Bank of Liberia after an initial five billion was authorized.

Some lawmakers have suggested that it is likely a public hearing with the Central Bank will be conducted to answer questions over how the Bank went ahead to print additional banknotes between 2016 and 2018, increasing the money from five billion to 15.5 billion Liberian Dollars.

But Pro – Tempore Chie says an investigative team is already probing the alleged missing L$16 billion, adding that there is no need to comment on the issue.According to him, opening of the Legislature outside of its normal working period should be in line with the Constitution.

He references Article 32 (b) of the Liberian Constitution that requires that a proclamation from the president in order for the Legislature to resume special session outside of the normal working periods.Meanwhile, Pro-tempo has indicated that there are still lots of unfinished business that need to be addressed including lack of roads.

“As we speak now all roads leading to the southeast are not passable and my people and myself are suffering,” he complains.The Senate Pro – Tempore adds that due to the bad road condition, he is unable to visit his constituency since the agriculture break.But he notes that government is doing everything possible to make sure those roads are paved.

By Bridgett Milton–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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