Liberia: Capitol Rotunda Floods Ahead of Senate Return

-- Meanwhile, Cllr. Nwabudike visits Senator J. Milton Teahjay of Autonomous Commission and Agencies

Journalists and staffers who visited the seat of the First Branch of Government, the Capitol, were greeted by pools of rain water, with the floor of the Rotunda the largest.

The pools of water which is as a result of the heavy downpour of rain in recent days, started from the now almost abandoned original Chambers of the Senate and through the floor of the former offices assigned to vice presidents.

The situation started on low scale during the administration of former President Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and minor renovations were done. In fact, our Legislative reporter recalled a situation where a cited Finance Minister under the regime of former President Sirleaf, who was seated near a leaking desk, was reminded that the situation is responsible for the lack of funding to do rehabilitation.

Since the completion of the Chinese-funded and constructed Annexes, the Senate has retreated to that facility for normal sitting, which is not as spacious as the Tubman-regime Chambers.

With the current outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Senate has been convening session in the Rotunda of the Capitol, as a means to properly observe the protocol of social distancing.

Senators, including the Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie and House of Representatives Speaker Bhofal Chambers, were all seen at the Capitol yesterday.

Neither the Pro Tempore, nor the Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration could be reached for comment on the flooded floor of their current seat of their Legislative deliberations. Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence also could not be reached by phone.

The Senate is expected to resume session Wednesday, two weeks after taking an emergency break after the Assistant Secretary of the Senate Madam Jennave Verdier-Massaquoi tested positive for the coronavirus pandemic.

The two important items on the Senate's agenda are expected to be the presentation of the communication nominating the Chair of the National Elections Commission and a deputy commissioner, and time for their confirmation hearings; they are also expected to focus on the fiscal national budget 2020/2021 which is yet to be officially submitted to the Legislature.

In a related development, the embattled head of the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission, Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike yesterday resurfaced at the Capitol, but avoided speaking to the media.

Cllr. Nwabudike, whose fate to practice as lawyer in Liberia is currently before before the full Bench of the Supreme Court, reportedly held a long closed door discussion with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agencies, Senator J. Milton Teahjay.

Senator Teahjay and his committee members, few months ago unceremoniously ended confirmation hearings of Cllr. Nwabudike, who was then nominated to chair the National Elections Commission, after he was found to have given conflicting reports regarding both his naturalization and date of birth.

Attempts yesterday to interview Cllr. Nwabudike both in the corridor of the Senate Annex and outside the building failed as he was whisked off in his official Government of Liberia vehicle.

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