House Lacked Quorum for First Session After Elections

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Representatives Henry Fahnbulleh, Adam B. Corneh and Jeremiah McCauley

The House of Representatives was yesterday a sullen, cheerless scene as lawmakers met for their first executive session since the October 10 presidential and legislative elections.
According to the House Chief Clerk, Mildred Sayon, there were only 26 persons in session, falling short of the attendance required to constitute a quorum. A quorum is at least 37 persons in the House of Representatives.

Out of the 20 lawmakers who were present, 14 lost their seats in the October 10 elections. The losing lawmakers will end their terms on the second working Monday in January 2018, according to the Liberian Constitution.

The lack of a quorum compelled the House to convene an executive (secret) session, which witnessed the appearance of Finance Minister Boimah Kamara and Deputy Finance Minister Tanneh Brunson.

Two staffers of the Chief Clerk, who begged anonymity, told journalists that before the arrival of the Ministry of Finance officials for the “executive session”, there were emotional embraces among the tearful lawmakers.

“Failure is as much a part of life as success. It’s unavoidable. We can try to not fail, but sooner or later, reality catches up with us and we feel the sting of failure,” one of them said, according to our sources who noted, “They are now feeling the sting of failure; 45 out of the 73 lawmakers were replaced and only 28 incumbents were reelected.”

All of the lawmakers, including House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, who is also the vice standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party, refused to talk to journalists.

For his part, Finance Minister Kamara said: “Gentlemen we can’t talk now, I’m going to another meeting (at the Liberian Senate).”

Reports in the corridors of the Capitol Building say the appearance of the Finance Ministers was in regard to the failure of the government to provide its Social Corporate Responsibility to the people of Nimba County based on a letter from Nimba County District # 2 Representative Prince Tokpa. Another said the Ministers’ appearance was because of the delay in the payment of Lawmakers’ allowances.

Meanwhile, some of the items on Tuesday’s agenda included the two letters from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the Loan Agreement between Liberia and Kuwait Fund for ECOWAS Development for the Gbarnga-Salayea Road Project  and the “Act to amend Title 25, Patriotic and Cultural Observances Law, Chapter 3, Recognition of Distinguished Service, by adding thereto a New Subsection 64 to be known as the Order of the Republic.”

A letter from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) about “Assets Declaration” by officials of government was also on the agenda.

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