Liberia: Second Batch of Chopping

As lawmakers receive another US$15k each

After their first chopping of a whooping US$15,000 each stirred public anger here, Liberian lawmakers are again receiving the second batch of the same amount of US$15,000 dubbed "Legislative Engagement Fund" as allotted in the 2020/2021 National Budget.

A communication available to the NewDawn newspaper, dated 15 July 2021 under the signature of Ebenezer Wilson, Chief of Staff, indicates that Margibi County Senator J. Emmanuel Nuquay has received US$15,000 "as the second disbursement of the Legislative Engagement Fund as allotted in the 2020/2021 National Budget."

"A check bearing the amount was received on Thursday July 15, 2021," the communication says.

The communication says on 10 June 2021, Senator Nuquay received the first disbursement of US$15,000 of the Legislative Engagement Fund and directed it to the Dolo Town Youth Center project that is soon to kickoff.

Members of the Liberian Legislature continue to be bombarded by heavy criticism from across the Liberian society barely a week after they all received a whopping sum of USD15, 000 each under the guise of project fund, with calls that the money is returned.

Liberia, one of the world's poorest countries, currently has 28 sitting Senators with 73 Representatives, bringing the total to 101 lawmakers. The number of sitting lawmakers - 101 multiplied by US$15,000 amounts to US$1,515,000.

In case each of the 101 sitting lawmakers receives the second batch of US$15,000, it means in total US$3,030,000 would be disbursed among the sitting lawmakers for the first and second distributions combined.

Liberia's Legislature actually has 103 lawmakers, but two Senators - elect have not yet been seated since the 2020 December polls either due to election disputes or other legal issues which have contributed to the reduction of sitting lawmakers to 101.

Members of the public, including opposition leaders, have been condemning the allotment and receipt of the US$15,000 by each of the lawmakers on grounds that such money could have been directed to other national efforts, mainly in the fight against Coronavirus for a country that has a very weak health system.

Meanwhile, Nuquay's office says the US$15,000 received Thursday, 15 July will be augmented and directed to the acquisition of 20 motorcycles, 15 of which will be given to the Lower Margibi Commercial Cyclists, and the remaining five will be given to other well-meaning Margibians as a means of empowerment.

"This scheme for the cyclists in Margibi is in fulfillment of a promise made by Senator Nuquay under the campaign "don't ride for gas but empowerment."

The communication adds that Nuquay's office has contracted a Margibi - based enterprise - Z Group of Businesses, owned by prominent entrepreneur Mawolo Jallah, to procure the motorcycles and deliver them to the beneficiaries.

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