By Lincoln G. Peters (Contributor)
The political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) and Liberian businessman Simeon Freeman has blasted members of the 54th Legislature over their receipt of US$30,000 each, terming their action as alleged constitutional breach.
Freeman said Monday, 2 August 2021 that the action taken by the legislators is in total violation of Article 90 of the Constitution of Liberia and the Public Financial Management Law of Liberia.
Speaking during a live interview aired on multiple local radio stations, Mr. Freeman said he is holding consultation with his people and other stakeholders as to what to do for the alleged constitutional and financial breaches.
He said they will have to fight to redeem Liberia from such disingenuous acts which have the propensity to slow development and promote [lack of accountability] and transparency.
Freeman raised a concern that there will be no accountability and transparency for the funds received by lawmakers because the law doesn’t give the General Auditing Commission (GAC) the right to audit lawmakers.
He noted that Article 90 of the Construction of Liberia states that no person, whether elected or appointed to any public office, shall engage in any other activities which shall be against public policy or conflict of interest.
Additionally, he said the provision states that no person holding public office shall demand and receive any other emoluments or benefits, directly or indirectly, on account of any duty required by the government.
Mr. Freeman believes that the Legislature has violated the Construction of Liberian and lawmakers should bear the full weight of the penalties prescribed by the Constitution.
He argued that the function of the Legislature is to make law, give oversight and representation, adding it’s not to become an agent of the developmental arm of government, reminding lawmakers that Article 34 of the Constitution of Liberia talks about the separation of power or duties.
Freeman lamented that the 2019-2020 National Budget of Liberia with the code 0527 showed that the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) had US$2,539,000 allocated in the budget for its operation.
In 2020/2021 National Budget, Mr. Freeman said the Legislature didn’t allocate anything for LACE, rather placing US$3.6 million in the budget for what they called “Legislative Engagement and Public Accessibility” for themselves.
“Now that they have made LACE powerless by diverting its funds, the National Legislature [is] now compelled to implement LACE’s projects, something which is in violation of our Constitution and financial laws,” Mr. Freeman notedhttps://thenewdawnliberia.com/simeon-freeman-suggests-more-testing/.