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Saturday, July 13, 2024

COUNTRY IN UPROAR: LEGISLATORS ALLOCATE US$13.2 MILLION FOR PERSONAL USE WHILE CITIZENS SUFFER

Date:

MONROVIA – In a shocking turn of events, the national legislature has come under fire for awarding themselves a staggering amount of US$13.2 million under the guise of legislative projects. The involvement of Jonathan Fonati Koffa, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has left many Liberians astounded and disappointed.

The allocation of funds for personal projects by lawmakers has long been regarded as one of the primary ways in which public funds are misappropriated, causing immense harm to the masses. It is particularly disheartening that this brazen act of looting the nation’s coffers is taking place while the people are suffering from hunger and yearning for a savior.

Adding to the embarrassment and distraction, the Pro Tempore of the Senate, Nyonblee Kanrgar, has also been implicated in this scandalous affair. While attempting to play the role of a president, Kanrgar also shamelessly helps to steal from the suffering masses, further eroding public trust.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this entire situation is the involvement of Speaker Koffa. With their latest actions, Koffa and his cohorts have not only betrayed the trust of the Liberian people but have also shot themselves in the leg. Taking the people of Liberia for granted is a grave mistake that Koffa and his allies will soon regret.

It is clear that the Liberian people will not stand idly by while their hard-earned money is stolen by those who should be honorable representatives. A prominent Liberian political commentator expressed their lack of surprise at Koffa’s actions and emphasized that Koffa will be held accountable for this miscarriage of justice. Whether through legal means or other channels, Koffa and his accomplices will be made to answer for their “crimes against the nation.”

Liberians are angry about this. Lawmakers using their position to insult and keep Liberians in perpetual poverty will soon end, said another analyst.

Members of the House of Representatives and Senate have allotted US$13.2 million in the 2024 Budget for “Legislative Projects,” signaling a move towards decentralization and grassroots development. Each of the 73 Representatives has been allotted US$100,000 for district development funds, while Senators will receive US$150,000 each. This allocation translates to a minimum of US$500,000 for projects in counties with at least two representatives.

The breakdown of funds for Legislative Support Projects per county includes allocations such as Montserrado receiving $2 million, Nimba $1.2 million, Sinoe $600,000, Grand Bassa $800,000, and Maryland $600,000. Others include Margibi $800,000, Bong $1 million, Lofa $800,000, Grand Cape Mount $600,000, Bomi $600,000, Gbarpolu $600,000, Grand Gedeh $600,000, River Gee $600,000, Grand Kru $500,000, and River Cess $500,000. While the lawmakers claim they are doing this in the interest of the masses, others say it is an easier way for lawmakers to defraud the public.

Mr. Vandalark R. Patricks, a political commentator, who recently criticized Senator Chea’s stance on Boakai’s acquisition of earth-moving equipment, said the National Legislature itself lacks credibility in such matters. He points out that the Legislature recently allocated $13.2 million in the National Budget for “Legislative Projects,” which are to be exclusively managed by them, undermining the Local Government Act of 2018.

Furthermore, Koffa’s return to the spotlight with his law firm allegedly acquiring major concession holders raises even more concerns. It is alarming to witness a lawmaker prioritizing the interests of concession holders over the masses whom they are supposed to protect.

The Liberian people deserve better. It is high time that those in positions of power prioritize the well-being of the nation and its citizens, rather than engaging in acts of corruption and self-serving agendas. Only through accountability and a genuine commitment to the welfare of the people can Liberia progress towards a brighter future.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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