Liberia: Legislative Staff Plan to Disrupt Pres. Weah Signing of Book of Condolence for Reps. Munah Pelham Youngblood and Nagbe Sloh Over Slashed Benefits

Monrovia — Staffers of the Liberian Legislature have again given another ultimatum to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Bhofal Chambers and the leadership of the House of Representatives to retroactively pay staffer of the House of Representatives their benefits owed them.

The aggrieved staffers are also protesting what they termed as plans by the Senate leadership to delay ongoing investigation by a three-man committee named by Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie.

Senator Chie had given the committee five days to investigate the staffers' complaints and present a report.

Mr. Charles Brown, the spokesman of the legislative staff, gave House Speakers Chambers 24 hours to return all the benefits taken from staffers under the Government's salary harmonization program.

In their threat, they also promised to undermine President George Weah's signing of Book of condolence for two falling members of the House of Representatives.

President George Weah is expected to, on Tuesday August 4, 2020, sign the book of condolence for Representative Munah Pelhm-Youngblood (CDC-District #9 Montserrado County). The event is expected to take place in the rotunda of the Capitol building.

In recent days, members of the legislative staff protested against their salary cut. During their protest, they called on lawmakers to settle their salary issue.

They accused the Senate of extorting money from them under the Government's salary harmonization scheme carryout by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning even although the Ministry had said that the legislature was not affected under the salary harmonization program.

On July 20, in continuation of their protest, the staff locked the doors of the finance department of legislature for failing to provide the staff payroll.

In a meeting last week, it was reported that Senator Gble-Gbo Brown of Maryland County requested the comprehensive and updated payroll of the Senate, but the department is yet to provide those payrolls.

The Liberian Senate has constituted a three-man committee to investigate Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County over claims of staff salary cuts.

The committee is being chaired by Senator Alphonso Gaye of Grand Gedeh County. Senators Abraham Darius Dillon and Henrique Tokpah of Montserrdo and Bong Counties respectively are members of the committee.

The committee is charged with the responsibility to investigate how US$5 57,000 was distributed among staffers.

Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie asked Senator Saytumah to turn over to the committee the payroll of the Senate. The committee has five days to complete its investigation and report to plenary of the Senate.

Senator Saytumah is the Senate's Committee Chairman on Ways, Means and Finance. After the harmonization process implemented by the government, the Senate agreed to take a cut of over 30%.

According to senators, the decision to take a salary cut was to protect their staffers from being affected by the harmonization and in that process, an amount of more than half a million was allocated to staffers.

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