The plenary of the Liberian Senate have failed for the fifth time to hold discussions over alleged discrepancies in the 2012/2013 fiscal year budget, raised by the house Standing Committee on Ways, Means and Finance.
Following the passage of the 2012/2013 Fiscal year budget, the house standing on Ways, Means and Finance alleged that there were serious discrepancies carried out by the Finance Ministry in the approved National budget of US$ 672,050,415 million dollars.
According to the committee, through the Legislative budget office, it was discovered that the Finance Ministry's appropriation for some line Ministries and Agencies did not conform to the legislative mandate.
Document provided by the office states that appropriations for some ministries and agencies were understated, while some appropriations were divided into core and contingent when the National legislature expressly approved amounts as core.
The committee also alleged that they notice during their investigation that in other instances, the ministry of Finance completely failed to recognize appropriations for some LMAs as was approved by the Legislature.
In its further disclosure the document also said, the analysis to authenticate why the budget moved from US$ 672.05M and its finding reveals that there was a variance of US$22,326,941M.
As a result of the alleged discrepancies notice by the house committee, it was mandated by plenary to investigate the claims with senator Sumo Kupee (UP- Lofa County) appointed as chair.
Legislative observers say the committee, since it was established has failed to provide a report on their investigation but continue to give excuses whenever called upon by plenary.
On numerous occasion the committee will either complain about the absence of its chairman, or findings gather from their investigation, has not been circulated to other members of the Senate for further discussion.
Last Thursday, the committee failed again to provide a report to plenary to discuss the matter. According to a member of the committee, sufficient information have been gathered, but the committee was not in the position to discuss the report due to the absence of their ailing chair.
Like the committee on Ways, Means and Finance, other committees mandated to carry out similar functions by plenary have been unable to come up with a valid conclusion.
Last Thursday, the secretary of the Senate said one of the reasons for the many delays, especially when it comes to circulating reports of a committee on other lawmakers, has been the absence of a functional photocopier because the current ones are out of ink and as the result, copies of the report that should have been circulated to members of the Senate could not be made available.
Political observers say, in the wake of the latest carelessness exhibited by lawmakers, many are of the belief that they are not serving the purpose they were elected by the Liberian people.
Some have also raised questions and are expressing disappointments over the delays by lawmakers to finalize their investigation into allegations relating to the budget discrepancies.