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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Senators Doubt $1.5 Million Subsidies Payment to Counties

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By Blamo N. Toe

Senator have kept under oath and ordered Deputy Finance Minister Samora Wolokolie to reappear before that body on Oct 30 with documentations backing his claims that each of the 15 counties received $100,000 United States dollars as County Development Fund.

The Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs on Thursday, October 26, 2023, honored Senate’s request, citing him to update members on the status of the fund. He said the money has been paid. Many Senators doubted his testimonies.

Laemakers launched inquiry into the matter after Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman complained about reported failure or deliberate refusal of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to disburse the money as appropriated in the  2023 national budget.

Minister Wolokolie told the lawmakers that the total of $1.5 million was given to all 15 counties. He said each county received the sum of US$100,000.

Although his briefing  raised many questions and curiosities from senators, the deputy finance chief  said the records will prove wrong lawmakers and local government officials who claimed they have not received a dime.

“It is my hope that by the time we shall have provided all of the evidence available to substantiate that the amount of $1.5 million United States dollars was disbursed to the 15 counties in the Republic of Liberia, either the Fiscal Superintendent or the Superintendent or the Senator or whoever provided the information, will just be fair to us to make the public to know that we did not provide misleading information,” Wolokolie said.

“As a professional accountant, as a lawyer and as a statesman, I will not come before the Liberian Senate and give misleading information to the Liberian Senate. I heard Senator Zargo mentioned and reminded me that I’m a young lawyer; indeed I am. I have my professors sitting right in here as members of the senate and colleague lawyers sitting in here as well,” he said.

“I have never ever appeared before the Liberian Senate or anybody of the legislature and made misleading statements.”

Prior to his comments, Bomi, Montserrado, River Gee, River Cess, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, Bong, Grand Kru Senators said the Minister was not telling the truth while under oath.

“I just called my Fiscal Superintendent and he denied your information. My county has not received any county development fund,” Senator Edwin Snowe of Bomi County said.


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