Information gathered by this paper indicates that each member of the 53rd Liberian Legislature received a package of a little over US$257,000 for the five months break to hold town hall meetings in their respective constituents.
Currently, the House of Representatives has a total of 73 Representatives, while The Senate has 30 senators. Each lawmaker reportedly received US$25,000 for the break.
The leadership of both houses reportedly reached the agreement following series of consultations with the Executive branch of government through the Ministry of Finance for the release of the money from the Legislature's account.
The amount is expected to be used by the lawmakers to conduct town hall meetings and for their upkeep while away from the Capitol. It can be recalled that both members of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate left for annual break in early August.
According to the rules of the Legislature, during the break, respective lawmakers are to visit their electoral districts and counties to explain bills that were passed during sitting and the effects of those laws on the counties or electoral districts as well as to solicit views of the people and subsequently forward said information to national government for possible actions.
But it appears many of the lawmakers are using the break to visit the Diasporas, especially the United States, apparently to first discuss with Liberians in the Diasporas before meeting the locals. When the spokesman of the House of Representatives was asked, he denied the information.
Mr. Isaac Redd told The NewDawn-Liberia that at no time did members of the House of Representatives receive money for their constituents break.
According to him, lawmakers will only survive on their respective salaries. "The information of my bosses receiving that amount for their break is not to my knowledge. All I know they will continue to receive their allowances, benefits, and salaries, so please further verify your information again," he said.
The Press and Public Affairs Director of the Liberian Senate Jarlawa Topoe promised to contact the relevant individuals before making any public comment on the issue, something he has failed to do since a week ago.
Among lawmakers who have left the country for the Diasporas include Montserrado County Representative, Acarous Moses Gray and Bong County Senior Senator, Jewel Howard Taylor.
Speaking to The NewDawn about the reported huge amount received by the lawmakers, a student of the AME Zion University College, Mark Clarke, said the practice is detrimental to the country's coffers. Mark wants the Executive to abolish dishing out such amount on grounds that it proffers nothing to the country and its people.