Legislature Vows to Use “Teeth” on Corrupt Officials

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(L-r) Outgoing Joint PAC Chairman Rep. Thomas P. Fallah and the current Chairman of the Joint PAC Sen. Henry Yallah

To Support President George Weah in Fight against Corruption

The new leadership of the Joint Public Accounts and Expenditure Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, has pledged to use its ‘Legislative Teeth’ to  critically review all audit reports from the General Auditing Commission, and they expect President George M. Weah to act upon their recommendations.

The Joint Legislative Committee of Public Accounts is a select committee comprised of members from both Houses which is responsible to oversee government expenditures, and  ensure they are effective and honest. The committee is seen as a crucial mechanism for ensuring transparency and accountability in the financial operations of the government.

On Wednesday, February 7, the Joint PAC of the 54th Legislature assumed responsibility with renewed commitment to collaborate with the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Internal Auditing Committee (IAA), and other anti-graft institutions to ensure that audit reports are implemented to their logical conclusions.

Speaking Wednesday at the official turning over program, the new chairman of the Joint PAC, Senator Henry W. Yallah of Bong County, indicated that the PAC under his leadership stands ready to fight corruption and control wasteful spending.

Chairman Yallah pointed out that the objectives of the PAC cannot be realized without “political will” from the Executive to implement the recommendations as contained in the committee’s findings.

“I am happy that in the President’s first annual address he talked about the need for support from the Legislature, and the PAC is fit in this support that he talked about,” Sen. Yallah said.

Chairman Yallah indicated that the PAC is not a “sleeping giant”; as such, it is left with the Executive to exercise the requisite political will.

The Senator also noted that he is seeking more training opportunities for members of the PAC and to strengthen the PAC Secretariat, which he described as the engine of the committee.

Also speaking at the occasion, the chairman of the PAC of the House of Representatives, Edward Karfiah, indicated that although the task is huge, however, the current team is set to achieve its goals.

Speaking earlier, the chairman emeritus of the Joint PAC, Rep. Thomas P. Fallah, expressed confidence in the new leadership to sustain and add on to the gains made.

He commended the GAC, the Executive, and partners for their collaboration during his tenure.

For her part, the Auditor General of Liberia, Yusador S. Gaye, assured members of the Joint PAC of a cordial working relationship between the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the 54th Legislature.

According to her, the GAC directly reports to the Legislature the findings of the audit reports reviewed by the Joint PAC before making its submission to the Executive for action.

Madam Gaye indicated that the GAC as an integrity institution will work tirelessly in the interest of the Liberian people in the fight against corruption.

The GAC boss told members of the committee that her institution will be robust in supporting the CDC-led government’s agenda on accountability.

She called on the committee to speed up the review of audit reports currently on the desk of the PAC, in order to make way for other reports to be submitted.

She informed members of the committee that there are dozens of reports which have not been acted upon by the committee.

She urged the Legislature to at times respond to public criticism against the GAC, because the entity reports directly to the Legislature.

Accordingly, the GAC has completed 177 audits, but she did not say how many audit reports are before the Joint PAC.

The tenure of the chairmanship of the Joint Committee on PAC alternates every three years between the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate.

Sen. Yallah replaced Rep. Thomas Fallah, who completed the three-year tenure of Rep. Ben Fofana.

The co-chairman of the Joint PAC is Rep. Edward W. Karfiah, who also chairs the House’s PAC.

The membership of the PAC of the 54th Legislature includes Sen. G. Alphonso Gaye, co-chairman of the Senate PAC; Sen. Dallas A.V. Gueh, Sen. Nyonblee K. Lawrence, Sen. Jim Tornorlah, Sen. George Tengbeh, and Sen. Edward Dagoseh.

Others members are Rep. Clarence Garr, co-chairman of the House PAC, Rep. Matthew Zarzar, Rep. Ben. A. Fofana, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, Rep. Francis S. Dopoh II, Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Rep. Acarous M. Gray, and Rep. Robert F. Womba.

This newly established Joint PAC is expected to serve for three years because, according to the Rules and Regulations of the House and Senate, the House appoints statutory and standing committees every three years, while the Senate has elections every three year for statutory committees.

The Deputy Auditor General of GAC, Winsley S. Nanka, and the Director of the Internal Auditing Agency (IAA), E. Barthan Nyeswa were also in attendance.

7 COMMENTS

  1. We heard this same lousy talk before, about how corruption would be “Enemy #1!” And what ever happened to that pledge? Perhaps only brown envelopes could tell. And this committee needs no “training” on anything in order to carry out its fiduciary responsibilities of allocating funds, monitoring and appraising the implementation of the projects for which those funds were allocated by the legislature, to ensure accountability and fidelity. That’s all there is to that. Except, of course, these other jokers just want to impress us they are of different breed. Really? But how long is 6 years, in that regard? We shall see.

  2. Who amongst them, the PAC group, that is capable of throwing a stone? The whole thing sounds like a joke. Very hilarious indeed. How is it possible for a superb job to be done when they are all members of the same flock?

    Let’s start from somewhere….
    How’s about the declaration of assets, liabilities, yearly incomes of all Legislators, Ministers and their deputies and the perks (incentives) received? Why don’t the people of Liberia know how much the members of the three branches of government earn yearly and? That would be an ideal place to start.

    In the US, the members of the Lower House and Upper Houses earn $170,000 yearly. The Speaker of the Lower House earns a little more plus incentives. It is equally true of senate majority leader. The US Secretaries of the various departments earn the Same amount of $170,000 yearly. Everything is out in the open. In this way, if something cracks open mysteriously, an oversight congressional committee can launch an investigation, live on C-Span! Also in the US, if an insurance agent wishes to sell any kind of a policy to a potential buyer, it’s a sure bet that the said agent is insured across the board. It’s an idea that works.

    I have a feeling that PAC wants to do a good job. I wish them well. But, in order for an effective job to be done, PAC must soul-search from within. Otherwise, their effort to present a clean slate to the Liberian people will be construed as a joke.

  3. The only true accountability will be if the president be the last signatory of whatever contract showing the original approved bidding amount on it and cautioning the accepted party of his/her commitment to the contract signed. Otherwise than this there will always be brown envelopes which will result into where we are today (poor quality work)

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