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Monday, April 22, 2024

Liberia: Senate’s $270,000 Research Fund Disappears

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By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor

An estimated $300,000 United States dollars appropriated for the functioning of Legislature’s research and information unit cannot be accounted for, rendering the entity useless.

Senate Pro Tempore Albert Chie’s mobile phone did not connect when call was placed. SMS and WhatsApp messages are still unanswered after two weeks of inquiries. Senator Morris Saytumah who manages the Senate budget declined comment.

McCarthy Weh, the Director of the Legislative Information Service has cried poor, placing responsibility for the mismanagement of the fund at the feet of current senate leadership.

Money appropiated to his department under the Liberian Senate’s budget cannot be accessed for nearly five years, he said in February letter to the legislature’s leadership.

“The Liberian Senate which manages the department’s fund, has not been forthcoming in making funding available as should.This led to the near-collapse of the department.

“Out of US300, 000.00, the department has only been able to receive a meager $30,000.00 in the last five years.

Weh said the information center is currently without internet and local newspaper and other publication subscriptions have leaving his office dormant.

The research unit was in good state until Chie and Bomi County Senator Saytumah, assumed leadership as Pro Tempore and Ways, Means and Finance Chairman respectively, he alleged.

Established as part of the legislative modernization program post-civil war, the Legislative Information Service helps in policy analysis, writing policy papers, and legislative bill summaries to improve the quality of lawmaker’s workings with respect to their oversight, representation and lawmaking roles.

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