By Abraham Morrisfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Plenary of the House of Representatives, through a motion filed by Representative Moses Acarous Gray, has agreed to reprimand the Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Ways Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning, Representative Moses Kollie, for his failure to present the House’ quarterly financial report.
The decision by the Plenary of the House of Representatives was triggered by a communication to that body from Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah, outlining several violations of their rules.
According to communication, the persistent violations by the Chairman of the Ways Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning to provide quarterly financial report to that body, contravenes Rule 57.4 (b&h) of their standing rules.
Rule 57.4 b states that “All matter relating to the finances of the House, preparation of the House’s budget and custody and disbursement of the House’s funds subject to the approval of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker; must present to the House written financial report every three months.”
“Honorable Presiding and Distinguish Colleagues, consistent with Rule 57.4 (h) it is mandatory that the Chairman of the Ways Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning provide written financial report quarterly; unfortunately for the fiscal year 2015-16, that Committee failed to produce a single report as per its mandate. This action has incapacitated us, their peers from what the status of the finances is for the entire year,” the communication stated.
Accordingly, the communication further noted that the committee’s failure to provide copies of the budget raises accountability issues as it appears to be a deliberate action by the Committee leadership to keep the Plenary in the dark of their finances.
Therefore, Dunah’s communication indicated that Plenary should note in addition that the same Committee Leadership’s failure to process the national budget within statutory time, compelled them to extend session and also setup a technical committee under Plenary to expedite the Liberian people’s business, it (Ways Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning Committee) has exhibited total disregard for the principles of accountability and transparency as per their rules.
In view of the foregoing, Dunah in his communication recommended that Plenary sets up a select committee to work with the Finance Department to prepare and present to members consistent with Rule 57.4 (h) the four quarterly reports for fiscal year 2015-16 along with all attachment.
He also recommended that Plenary further directs the preparation of their budget review and passage along with the national budget. And that Plenary reprimand the leadership of the Committee on Ways Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning for these very grave failures to perform its statutory duties, a decision that was overwhelmingly endorsed by that body.
Deliberating on the issue, Bong County Representative, Lester Paye, called on his colleagues to ensure the Committee provides the report rather than calling for the leadership of the Committee to be reprimanded.
But Nimba County Representative Prince Tokpa urged the Presiding to take seize of the matter for decision so as to carry on the Liberian people’s mandate and foster unity in that body.
Commenting on the mater, Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, noted that the Technical Committee was only set up to fast-track the delayed budget, but since Representative Kollie has dragged the Plenary to Court, the communication has to be deliberated fully.
Also speaking, the Chairman on Ways Means, Finance, Budget and Development Planning, Representative Kollie welcomed the request by his colleague and further reminded Plenary that he has always and consistently presented these reports in Executive Session.
He, however, promised to provide the report as request by his colleagues.
Meanwhile, Representative Kollie is calling on the Plenary of the House of Representatives to institute an audit of the legislature in the next two weeks so as to inform the Liberian people of their dealings.