Liberia: House Demands Clarity On Boakai's Travel

Members of the Liberian legislature
23 February 2024

The House of Representatives has voted to invite the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning next Tuesday to update lawmakers about President Joseph Nyumah Boakai's travel.

The vote on Thursday, 22 February 2024 was triggered by controversial Montserrado County Electoral District #10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah's communication.

In his communication, Kolubah who supported Boakai's presidential bid, called on the august body to invite the Minister of Finance and Development Planning and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs to give clarity about the presidential travels.

It all started when Margibi County Electoral District #5 Representative Clarence Garr made a motion for Kolubah's communication to be opened for discussion.

That motion didn't go down well with Nimba County Electoral District #6 Representative Dorwohn Gleekia and Representative Foday Fahnbulleh of Bong County Electoral District #7.

Both lawmakers had argued that the communication should not be open for discussion because as lawmakers, they do not have the right to question the President's travel.

Gleekia Fahnbulleh said they would be ready to vote if lawmakers could understand the importance of the President and the role he played.

Rep. Fahnbulleh said for a lawmaker to walk up in session and question the travel of the President is below the belt.

Fahnbulleh however provoked members of the opposition Congress for Democracy Change (CDC) and the matter into a heated exchange among lawmakers.

The tense debate leads the Presiding Officer, Deputy House Speaker Thomas P. Fallah to ask Nimba Rep. Gleekia to get outside of the Chambers.

For his part, Montserrado County Electoral District #9 Representative Saah Foko said for the last time, President Boakai informed the Liberian People that he had been living on loan and he did not have money.

Foko said in less than a month of his presidency, President Boakai was able to leave the country allegedly on a private jet. He said it is good that they get clarity on his travel.

In Rep. Kolubah's communication, he said over the past time, Liberians have cried on the issue of corruption (lack of Accountability and Transparency).

Kolubah said these are among the issues that led to the failure of the Weah-led Government, especially the failure of its re-election.

He said when samples of these things start to come out, it is their responsibility to set checkpoints so that they cannot go out of hand before trying to arrest the situation.

It can be recalled that the President of Liberia wrote that August body informing lawmakers about his two-day working visit to Ghana. At that same time, Liberian Vice President Jeremiah Koung had also gone to Nigeria and Casablanca on working visits.

Kolubah said he believes such trips require the government's sponsorship, and if it is not the government-sponsored trips, they need to know as the people's deputies.

Besides, he said it became a concern when it was stated that the Vice President traveled on a private jet plane.

"Considering that we don't want to do business as usual, we crave the indulgence of this August Body to invite the Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs to appear before the plenary of the House to provide detailed information on the travel cost of the various travels by the President and Vice President as stated above," said Kolubah.

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