It appears that the last tranche of the $30,000.00 allocated and approved in the national budget for each lawmaker to be used for legislative engagement has already been disbursed to them.
Making the information known to the public yesterday, Thursday, July 15, 2021, Margibi Senator J. Emmanuel Nuquay, in a press statement issued by his office said that he has received the amount of $15,000.00(fifteen thousand dollars), as the second disbursement of the legislative engagement fund as allotted in the 2020/21 national budget.
“A check bearing the amount was received on Thursday 15, 2021. This amount will be augmented and directed to the acquisition of twenty (20) motorcycles. Fifteen of the motorcycles will be given to the lower Margibi commercial cyclists and the remaining five will be given to other well-meaning margibians as a means of empowerment.
“This scheme for the cyclists in Margibi, is in fulfilment of a promise made by senator Nuquay under the campaign “don’t take ride for gas but empowerment”, the statement said.
The statement said that already, the office of the senator has contracted a Margibi based enterprise Z Group of Businesses, owned by prominent entrepreneur Mawolo Jallah, to procure the motorcycles and deliver the same to the beneficiaries.
The development if confirmed with other senators will definitely spark another way of outrage from the public against the background of the bad state of the economy and the untold sufferings of the masses in the land.
When the information of the first tranche emerged the lawmakers some of whom had even exhausted theirs before the public could get to know about it, came under heavy fire with various groups demanding them to return the money to the treasury as, according to them, it was wrong for them to appropriate the money in the budget for use in any manner or shape.
There is no information available to support any claim that any of the lawmakers ever returned the money.
A number of them who summoned the courage to speak to the press put up justification that besides the amount being small for what they wished to have done, there has never been any constituency fund set aside for them to execute in the various areas they represent in the national legislature like how it was done in the past.
Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe got tongues of the public wagging when he said that he was making a passionate plead to any of his colleagues who wish to return the money to give it to him because Bomi County needs the money more than other counties as there are a lot of challenges the county was going through. He said he will use the $15,000.00 to complete a town hall building which was started but could not be finished by a fellow lawmaker in the county.
Speaking on a local radio station this week, Bong County Senator Henrique Tokpa said that lawmakers in the country are taking the burden that ordinary should not be theirs and any attempt not to oblige to the many demands from their people, they will be regarded as being insensitive to the plight of the people. He named some of the demands from the people as payment of school fees, delivery and medical bills, rental bills, feeding, among others and lawmakers need more money to address them.
Given the official number of the 103 lawmakers who make up the national legislature, the total amount allotted in the national budget is $3,090,000.00. However, two senators, Brownie J. Samukai, senator elect of Lofa County and Simeion Taylor of Grand Cape Mount County are yet to take their seats fully while bye elections to Replace Zoe Emmanuel Pennue, Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jeremiah Koon and Prince Moye of Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Nimba and Bong Counties are yet to be held.
With the amount involved and the prevailing conditions in the country, the coming days will witness serious backlash from the public to agitate against the money being dished out to the lawmakers who according to many believe are taking home a large portion of the national budget on salaries and other huge and doubtful benefits.