Liberia: Sen. Teahjay's Vague Argument

Sione County Senator J. Milton Teahjay's challenge against his colleague, Senator Abraham Darious Dillon of Montserrado County about salary, allowance and benefits for a senator lacks fundamental basis to say the least. In his noise on Monday, 30 November in plenary, Senator Teahjay didn't provide any new information against what Dillon had disclosed except window-dressing the issue.

In making his disclosure recently on how much he earns as Montserrado County Senator, Dillon was clear that he provided gross figures about his salary, allowance and benefits as received from the Senate Chair on Ways, Means and Finance Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County.

But Teahjay vainly argued that Dillon didn't not compartmentalize or break down the figures he received from Senator Saytumah. Instead, he read them to the public in lump-sum.

The question is, compartmentalized or not, was there any variance in the figures, as read out by Senator Dillon? This is what Senator Teahjay attempted to insinuate unsuccessfully on Monday.

Even if Dillon had erred, as Teahjay tried to impress on the public, whose responsibility is it to state the right figures or to clarify? Surely not Teahjay, but Senator Morris Saytumah, who chairs the Committee on Ways, Means and Finance, instead.

Where did Teahjay get his authority to challenge figures that did not originate from him in the senate? If there were inaccuracies, we think the rightful person to have blamed is Senator Saytumah; not Dillon because the former read directly from the handwritten paper he received; nothing else.

Every pay check indicates a gross salary before a breakdown of deductions for taxes, social security and insurance, among others. Hence, it is never wrong to say I earn a gross salary of X amount.

But then we understand why Teahjay is foaming. Dillon did what the Sinoe County Senator had not done in the past nine years or more - disclosing how much he earns as a senator, which should be a public record.

From the past administration to the present, Lawmakers at the Capitol during every fiscal period allot to themselves fabulous salaries, allowances and incentives that drain the national budget and deny attention to other critical sectors. Besides, they have refused to be audited for public money received.

That Senator Dillon is departing from the past by shinning light on how much taxpayers' money goes to an individual senator, let alone a member of the House, while the people whom they claim to represent died from lack of drugs, tools and power in hospitals across the country, exposes the depth of greed, selfishness and sheer insensitivity of our national leaders. So, it is out of shame and apparent embarrassment that Teahjay spoke, for what was withheld from the people, has come to light.

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