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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Weah’s Men Quit For More Money

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By E.J. Natheniel Daygbor

Several officials serving within the executive branch of the Liberian government have resigned in a push for better paid and leisure-prone service in the legislature
nearly one month after the President asked cabinet members seeking lawmaker role to quit.

Oracle News Daily have gathered close to dozen officials have left government’s service after the April 7 deadline set for public officials vying for the Senate and the
House of Representatives to quit as required by the code of conduct for government workers and employees.

Smith Toby, deputy presidential press secretary said the listing is being worked on and will be released to the public later.

The following Key senior officials have resigned Managing Director of the Liberian Civil Aviation Authority, Moses Kollie who is seeking senate seat in Lofa County, Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation Managing Director Duanna Kamara vying for Bomi County’s Senate l seat, Commerce Inspector General Josephine Davis, Montserrado County Electoral District #10 representative hopeful, Rivercess County Superintendent Bismark Karbiah, contesting for Senatorial seat there and the Director General of the National Identification Registry Tiah Nagbe who is eying Maryland County Senate seat.

Why the Legislature?

Research shows more than half a billion United States dollars has been spent on the activities of the legislature including lawmakers salaries, benefits and other operational outlays since the return of democratic governance in 2006.

Between 2006 and 2023 an aggregated $604.4million United States dollars was appropriated in national budgets for lawmakers’ usage, civil society group NAYMOTE said in a recent report.

From 2018-2023, the current legislature has received about $271.4 million as share of the nation’s generated revenue for the collective of members of the House of Representatives and the assemblage of members of the Senate.

The benefits of lawmakers is a looming controversy. In 2012 during the Council on Foreign Relations interview with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the issue was raised.

Professor Bernadette Atuahene from Fordham Law School asked: I wanted to talk briefly about this issue of corruption. One way to fight corruption is to give people increased salaries. But what we see now is in the 2012-2013 budget law — each lawmaker’s entitled to up to US$30,000 in benefits. So at what point do we go too far and at what point is this idea of good governance or legitimacy corroded by these kinds of salaries we’re giving the legislators, especially since other — you know, in order to balance the budget, we’re expecting all sectors of societies to take cuts, but legislators, lawmakers are still receiving these very hefty salaries? I just want to get your thoughts and opinions on how that fits into your vision of good governance and perhaps your critique or — of that particular practice.

Johnson Sirleaf responded: We didn’t give it to them; they took it. (Laughter.)

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