The House’s joint Committee on Commerce, Ways, Means, Finance and Development has mandated the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) to furnish the Joint Committee with copies of the statutes or laws that give them authority to auction (publically sale) seized businesses from street sellers.
The Committee’s request to the LNP and the MCC was a result of complaints from small Liberian business owners, through the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL), owing to the “bad economy of the country and the inhumane behaviors of the LNP and the MCC officers against them.”
It may be recalled that PATEL staged a three-day protest which led to the shutting down of all businesses in Monrovia and its environs.
The chairman of the House’s Joint Committee, Nimba County District # 5 Representative Samuel Kogar, in a meeting on Wednesday, instructed the LNP and the MCC to submit the documents within one week.
Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman and the City Police Commander, Kenneh Harris, admitted to PATEL’s claims of auctioning “seized goods” but rejected the accusations of brutalizing street sellers.
The LNP and MCC argued that confiscated goods are usually auctioned within 24 hours or shared among inmates.
The meeting was characterized by claims and counterclaims between the marketers (the sellers), who claimed that the officers deliberately consume their markets, while the officers countered that their actions were backed by laws.
The meeting brought together other members of the House’s Committees on Commerce, Banking and Currency, Judiciary and National Security.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Elfrieda Tamba, told lawmakers that a new act to repeal the Common External Tariff (CET) Tax Law is being crafted to suit Liberian businesses.
Mrs. Tamba admitted that the CET Law, a tariff levy across the ECOWAS region, was one of the factors for price increases, but assured lawmakers that the new law will eventually lead to considerable reduction of prices.
It may be recalled that PATEL noted among other things that duplication of functions on the part of the International Shipping Inspectorate, BIVAC, APM Terminals, customs and customs brokers were factors causing inflation in the country.
On the contrary, the LRA pointed accusing fingers on most Liberian importers, who Mrs. Tamba alleged, do not fairly state the actual amount of goods they import, a dishonest habit, she reasoned, is the cause for multiple inspections.