Liberia: “Senate’s Evil Pension Bill Not of Govt, CDC”
— Rep. Frank Saah Foko
Montserrado County District #9 Representative, Frank Saah Foko, Jr., has expressed his thanks and appreciation to the House of Representatives for their historic non-concurrence posture, having unanimously voted to ‘reject and return’ the Senate’s bill, which he described as an “evil pension bill”.
The Senate’s pension and Benefits bill calls for 50% benefits of salaries to some members of the three branches of Government.
Foko said the Senate’s Pension and Benefits Bill did not originate from the CDC-led government, “but something that comes from the hands of the majority in the opposition, who every day questions the government on frivolous issues [yet], in actuality, they are the ones designing plans to continue milking the system.”
“Prominent amongst the opposition lawmakers that proffered the bill are Sen. Abraham Darius Dillon, Sen. Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, Sen. Steve Zargo, Sen. Varney Sherman, and others,” he said.
“Are these not the people who believe the country isn’t going anywhere except they come to power?” Rep. Foko ranted. “Are these not people who say the country has failed under President George Weah? Are these not the hypocrites who say Liberia and Liberians deserve better? Are these not the people who claim that the economy is in the toilet? How come they want a pension for their lifetime which will eventually increase the wage bill of the country?”
Foko posed these open questions during Thursday's debate in session, saying: “The bill is wicked and it is from the belly of the devil. Let’s see this bill as though it never appeared here. Though it is from the House of Elders, it should not be granted based on the current economic situation facing our country and people.”
Reading his communication in the House’s first-floor conference room to members of the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOOL), he smiled, saying: “I present my heartfelt compliments and wish to congratulate our colleagues from the House of Representatives for unequivocally rejecting what I would refer to as the EVIL PENSION BILL, proffered by the Liberian Senate.”
And then he frowned: “Mr. Speaker, it's saddening that amid the hike in school fees by private institutions and the economic woes left behind as a result of COVID-19 and the ongoing Ukraine/Russia conflict, [which] we as a government are trying to sort out, [we would] be apportioning pensions for ourselves in the Legislature that only benefits us and our families. I can’t fathom how the Senate, where some profess themselves as LIGHT, will sign onto a document that gives them a pension that goes as far as their unborn children.”
The Montserrado County Representative added: “l am neither surprised about the hypocrisy of this so-called LIGHT nor baffled about a man who held accountable Darlington Karnely for Airport Managing Director based on his credentials but had his friend Israel Akinsanya confirmed at the LTA with mere or no high school paper.”
“Though we can’t question the will of the people but those who brought these fake lights on us, now see what you have done! Little over two years, this so-called light has received US$30,000 for quote-unquote constituency visits, lied about his ticket of flying business class, and got US$40,000 cars after condemning others prior to being a senator.”
Foko argued: “Mr. Speaker, if we continue to pay ourselves handsomely, how will we make a better appropriation to health, education, water and sanitation, youth development, or infrastructural development?