Monrovia — Senator J. Milton Teahjay (UP- Sinoe County) has made a confession to FrontPageAfrica of how Senate committee chairs bargain with nominees of the Executive Branch to employ persons of their interest in order to get their votes to be confirmed.
Sen. Teahjay's latest revelation comes days after he was replaced as chairman of the Senate standing committee on Autonomous Agencies. He has been replaced with Dr. Henrique Tokpah (UP-Bong County).
On Thursday, July 9, 2020, it became clear that the tough-talking Milton Teahjay had lost grip of one of the most important committees of the Liberian Senate just few months after he presided over what many described as a controversial confirmation hearing for board members of the National Elections Commission (NEC).
FrontPageAfrica gathered that Senator Teahjay was removed on allegation of receiving US$$20,000 from Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike when he was nominated as Chairman of the NEC. The Senate, however, refused to confirm him based on inconsistency in the citizenship information.
Senator Teajay when contacted via telephone denied the claims of being removed as chairman of the Senate committee on allegation of bribery.
According to him, it is the power of the Pro-Tempore to reshuffle committee members after every three years and it was in that line the action to replace him was taken.
"I have a kind of tradition in my office which is when I am confirming people, I tell them the truth that we are the ones giving them the job, because if we don't, they will not get the job. So, by God's grace if we succeed in confirming them, they will have to help me with one or two names in their agency they are going to for employment. That corruption pa I get it, I can't lie because me that's how young people with me survive, I don't run country and ministries," he confessed.
He added: "To say Milton Teahjay showed his hands and someone gave him five dollars, that's not true. People always try to find way to be destroy people's character. If I wanted money, Nwabudike would have been confirmed."
In a Memo from the office of Pro-Tempore Albert Chie dated June 30, Teahjay's committee appear to be the only committee affected by the sudden change in senate leadership.
In the pro-Temp's Memo, part of his reason for the changes was to bring some vigor to the oversight responsibility of the senate. "Please be informed that in accordance with the standing rules of the Liberian Senate, I have affected changes to the composition of some of the non-statutory committees of the Senate. These changes take effect as of July 1, 2020 and are intended to bring vigor to the oversight responsibility of the Senate."
As per the rule, each committee chairman should serve for the period of three years. Known as one tough provocative individual, it is believed that the Sinoe County senator has accepted the decision by the Pro-Temp to end his tenure even before its three years expiration date.
Rule 15 Section 2 of the Senate standing rule gives the Senate Pro-Tempore the power to appoint co-chairpersons and members of the leadership committees. "He/she shall also appoint the Chairpersons, Co-Chair-persons and members of all Standing, Conference and Ad Hoc Committees."
Also, in Rule 43 Section 5, Removal of Regular Standing Committees Chair-persons and Member of any Committee: "The chairpersons, co-chairpersons and members of any Committee of the Liberian Senate may be removed for cause as determined by the Senate Leadership Committee."