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Saturday, July 20, 2024

MLB LEADER CRITICIZES SPEAKER KOFFA’S STAFF HIRING AS BIASED AND UNETHICAL

Date:

MONROVIA – The leader of the Movement to Make Liberia Better (MLB), Alex ChuChu Jones, has condemned the Speaker of the Liberian House of Representatives, Fonati Koffa, for what he called an unfair, biased, and unethical staff hiring process in the Legislature, particularly in the Speaker’s office.

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, Speaker Koffa announced the appointment of Ms. Telia Urey as Senior Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Legislative Engagements. In his statement, Speaker Koffa said, “I am pleased to appoint Ms. Telia Urey as the Senior Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Legislative Engagements in my office. Ms. Urey will spearhead the Speaker’s agenda to foster collaboration between the Liberian Legislature and other international legislative bodies. She will coordinate, advise, and guide the Speaker’s foreign affairs initiatives within the Legislature. She will work in concert with the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. Ms. Urey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Economics from McGill University and a certification from the London School of Economics in Business, International Relations, and Political Economy. She is a politician, philanthropist, and businesswoman with over a decade of experience in leading and directing enterprises across Africa.”

However, Jones reacted strongly to this appointment on Friday, June 21, criticizing the selection process. He pointed out that Ms. Telia Urey, daughter of Benoni Urey, initially supported the Unity Party (Rescue Train) but later switched her support to the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Fonati Koffa’s party, during the second round of the 2023 presidential election.

Jones, a critic of both George Weah and now Joseph Boakai’s government, stated, “It’s okay for Fonati Koffa or any member of the house or government to hire whoever they choose as advisors and staff, but it should be done after the job is listed publicly and other Liberians desperately seeking employment are interviewed and given equal opportunity for said job, especially since it is the Liberian taxpayer and not Fonati’s or a Legislator’s personal money that is paying the salary. As such, all government and legislative employment must be done under an open and equal opportunity employment framework.”

Mr. Jones, who chairs MLB, a Liberian international think tank and pressure group, and is a regular panelist on the nationally syndicated political live podcast program, “The Closing Argument,” also serves on Smart Media Group’s Editorial Board. In an interview, he argued against Speaker Fonati Koffa for awarding legislative jobs on a partial “who-knows-you” basis, cautioning that this practice contributed to massive inequality, suffering, and the Civil War in 1990. He stressed that when only the rich and politically well-connected in Liberia get government jobs, scholarships, and opportunities, it exacerbates social divisions.

Jones further asserted that Telia Urey does not need to collect a government salary, considering she is a direct beneficiary of her father’s war and economic crimes against Liberians. He highlighted that Benoni Urey was named as one of those most responsible for the Civil War in Liberia and who benefited economically from the war, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC). Urey used his ill-gotten wealth and government connections to acquire businesses and financial interests in Lonestar Telecommunications Company along with other corrupt Liberian leaders, including warlord Charles Taylor and Emmanuel Shaw, a notoriously corrupt former public official who once served as Samuel Doe’s Finance Minister and President Weah’s top economic advisor.

Mr. Jones called on Speaker Koffa to set up an independent outside Legislative hiring review committee/office to evaluate all candidates for legislative staff positions to avoid tribalism, nepotism, incompetence, and cronyism. He emphasized the need to make the Legislative branch the honorable body it was intended to be, rather than a discriminatory political oligarchy based on personal connections.

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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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