Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn is requesting Plenary to demand perusal of the payroll of the office of Bong County Senator due to claims that Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor continues to allegedly sign for salaries and allowances intended for her former office.
But the Director of Communications in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Solomon A. Ware has already trashed the allegation as mere propaganda and smear campaign against his boss.
During Senate’s sitting on Thursday, 16 August on Capitol Hill, Senator Naatehn said there were reports that former Senator Taylor, now Liberia’s Vice President has allegedly been signing for salaries, allowances, gasoline, GSM credit cards and things other assigned to the Bong County senator after being elevated to her current post.
In the just ended Bong County Senatorial by – election, Vice President Taylor fruitlessly fought to get her close aide Rep. Marvin Cole succeed her in the Senatorial officer in question, just few months after Cole was elected as representative.
But she lost the battle against Dr. Henrique Tokpa this time, a man who earlier challenged her victory at the Supreme Court following previous senatorial election in the county.
Senator Naatehn claims that there are reports that Vice President Taylor is signing for two salaries and allowances, one from the Senate and another from her Vice President office.
He wants plenary to ensure that the Senatorial payroll for Bong County be made available for perusal due to these troubling allegations against Madam Taylor.
Senator Naatehn says newly inducted Senators Dr. Henrique Tokpa of Bong and Saah Joseph of Montserrado have to receive their retroactive salaries and benefits as enshrined in the rule of the Senate.
The Gbarpolu lawmaker is strongly supported by Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee who adds that information gathered so far is disgusting and shameful on the chambers that many refer to as the ‘house of elders’.
Senator Naatehn’s request was greeted with serious arguments in the Senate.Senate Chairman on Ways, Means and Finance, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah argues that the two senators should not expect retroactive pay.
Senator Saytumah is arguing that in the past months when the seats were vacated, Senator Tokpa and Senator Joseph were not employees of the Senate and should not therefore be paid for such time.
According to him, one can only be entitled to pay and benefits when being certificated and commissioned by the National Elections Commission (NEC) as winners and subsequently inducted into office as senator.
But in the case of the two newly inducted senators, Mr. Saytumah contends that such rule is not applicable.
Margibi County Senator Rev. Jim Tornola also joins the debate saying there is no option, but for the leadership to give Senators Tokpa and Joseph their just benefits and salaries.
Senate Pro Tempore Albert Chie smartly avoided the debate, by calling for calm and assures that the matter will be handled properly.
There have been reports allegedly that Vice President Taylor has been signing for the coupons for the past six months, though her communication officer Solomon Ware terms this as mere propaganda and smear campaign against his boss.
Vice President Taylor won two nine years terms for the Bong County Senatorial seat and has been serving since 2006 until she was elected Vice President in December 2017 on the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) ticket with President George Manneh Weah.
Information gathered suggests that every Senator is entitled to 2,200 gallons of gasoline while those in leadership get 2,400 gallons.
Meanwhile, Senators Henrique Tokpa of Bong County and Saah Joseph of Montserrado County were officially inducted into office as and have resumed their respective functions as senators.
By E.J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley