With the raging criticisms going on against the latest reported disbursement of another $15,000 to each of the lawmakers in the country, there are indications that some of them will be rejecting it and instead will ask the executive to use said amount to combat the upsurge of the new wave of COVID19 in the country.
Senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence and Abraham Darius Dillon all of the Liberty Party and the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) must have dropped the hints of the decision of rejecting it when a release from the office of Senator J. Emmanuel Nuquay claiming that the Margibi County Senator had already received his and has in fact gone ahead to procure motorbikes for some of his constituents.
Senator Lawrence took to her Facebook page to declare her intention to reject the money once it is paid to her account and ask the government to use the same to confront the pandemic in the country.
“A Press Release circulating on Facebook supposedly from the Office of our Colleague, Senator Emmanuel Nuquay, indicating that Lawmakers have received the second portion (15k) of a 30 K budgetary allotment for Legislative Engagement has claimed my attention. It can be recalled that the first disbursement of 15K of the said Legislative Engagement Fund sparked necessary outrage among Liberians who believe that though budgeted and legitimate, making direct disbursements of public monies to Legislators for legislative engagement is insensitive to the welfare of the people; particularly amid the raging COVID-19 crisis”, she said.
She said while she was yet unaware of this latest disbursement as being reported by the Office of Hon. Emmanuel Nuquay, she would like to restate in no uncertain terms her position that it’s untimely for Legislators to accept said disbursement in the face of the country still going through the COVID-19 crisis.
“Accordingly, in adherence to the outcry of our people, I encourage all of my colleagues to join me in requesting the Executive Branch to direct the money to the fight against COVID-19 and or other national priorities. Should the Executive insist on making the disbursements, I shall reject mine unconditionally”, she concluded.
In similar vein, Senator Dillon who had earlier raised a red flag when the first tranche was paid out to the lawmakers, said he will not take the money physically but will advise the government to use it for the purpose of augmenting its budget to battle the COVID19.
Speaking through his Cyber Team, Dillon said his attention was drawn to the letter circulating on the social media from the office of Senator J. Emmanuel Nuquay that portrayed that the lawmakers have received the second installment of the $30K meant for legislative engagement and public accessibility.
“I want to say for the record that Senator Abe Darius Dillon, have not seen or have not been told about the availability of any balance 15k. He has not received or got any alert of receiving any $15k. Let it be made clear that when and or if said amount reaches the office of Senator Dillon, he will send it back to Government coffers for use in the fight against Covid-19”, the team said.
The team said this money is needed the most at this time to save lives, as such, Mr. Dillon is not willing to accept any such money.
There has not been a clear cut decision taken by the opposition bloc in the national legislature but it is getting clearer that the decision to return the money to the national treasury will be based on personal volition given the posture in which some of them are speaking from.
Information reaching us says some of them are even asking for more to be able to implement projects earmarked in their constituencies which will put them in the right position to launch re-election bids in 2023.
A lawmaker speaking on the condition of not unraveling his identity said that the money for the legislative engagement was timely to assist them undertake some projects in their areas because for a long time, the government has not been able to release the usual county social development fund and legislative projects like how It used to be during the regime of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The coming days will once again see the lawmakers getting swipes from the public who will term their decision to accept the money as being insensitive to the plight of the Liberian people especially in the period when the pandemic is taking a serious toll on the country.