Liberia: Senate Probes U.S.20,000 Bribe Claims

The Liberian Senate has launched an investigation into a claim by Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence's Administrative Assistant and Liberty Party (LP) Vice Chair for Press and Public Affairs Daniel Sando that senators here took US$20,000 bribe to sign a resolution to print L$48bn banknotes.

President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate Albert T. Chie has instructed the Secretary of the Senate to review the accusation as levied against the body by Mr. Sando, accord him due process and report to the Senate's leadership after the Easter Break.

Sando's accusation against the Liberian Senate comes at a time the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL's) request to print the L$48bn has caused stir here due to the controversies still hanging over billions of Liberian dollars earlier printed as well as a controversial US$25m mop up exercise, among others.

Sando was recently suspended by his boss Senator Karnga - Lawrence for one month without salary for accusing her colleagues.

The LP political leader and chair of the opposition Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) Senator Karnga - Lawrence came down hard on her party stalwart for putting her colleagues against the public.

In a statement issued recently, the Senate welcomed the decision of Senator Lawrence to have taken an immediate step to suspend her Administrative Assistant Mr. Daniel Sando who has accused members of the Senate of taking bribe to sign a resolution for the printing of a family of new banknotes.

The Senate says while it encourages free speech and freedom of the press as provided for under Article 15 of the 1986 Constitution, it notes also that free speech and freedom of the press come with responsibility.

Under the laws of Liberia, bribe is a serious crime, and the burden of proof lies on the shoulder of the accuser.

The Senators however thanked Sen. Lawrence for the initial step taken to suspend Mr. Sando for a period of one month without pay. The report of the Secretary of the Senate will determine whether additional sanctions are justified to be imposed against him.

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