Yesterday’s anticipated extraordinary session, which should have started the “transaction of business” especially the debate and subsequent approval over the printing of new money in the tune L$35 billion, amid support from about 56 lawmakers, has been deferred to unknown date.
The Daily Observer has gathered that House Speaker, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, on Sunday, November 17, through text messages, communicated to members of the House of Representatives that the ‘The Opening of the Extraordinary Session has been rescheduled because of Technical Reason.”
The Speaker didn’t explain ‘the Technical Reason’ but it is rumored that the ‘Technical Reasons’ was caused by President George M. Weah.
In the Speaker’s text messages to his colleagues, he reminded them about the regular Monday Leadership Meeting, which was well attended.
Leadership is however tight-lipped on the rescheduled date as well as whether the President has issued a Proclamation of the Extraordinary Session.
Up to yesterday, It cannot be confirmed if the President issued a proclamation followed by the signing of a certificate of extension by members of the Senate and House of Representatives.
According to Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia, it says the President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate, signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a Regular Session of the Legislature beyond the date of adjournment or call a Special or Extraordinary Session of that Body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.
But a Unity Party (UP) Representative, who begged for anonymity, told the Daily Observer that the opening of extraordinary Session has been rescheduled for the President to raise the “needed resources”.
He told the Daily Observer that members of the House of Representatives and the Senate have agreed to reconvene following full payments of arrears in “salaries and benefits.”
Besides the owing of two months salaries, which have been divided 80% US dollars and 20% Liberian dollars, five months gas are still outstanding.
Other sources said the deferral of the Special Session would be due to consistent pressure from anti-graft institutions as well as from the international community on the printing of the New Liberian Banknotes amid the alleged missing L$16 billion and the unaccounted US$25 million mop-up money.
There are also reports that the postponement of the Extraordinary Session is because of the non-finalized financial (loan) agreement from Qatar, which involves leveraging the Wologisi Mount as collateral.
It may recalled, the President told Liberians through communication the Speaker and President Pro Tempore, about “rapid depreciation value of the Liberian dollars and global economic factors.”
A staff in the office of Chief Clerk Mildred Siryon confirmed the cancellation of yesterday’s session but did not say whether an Extraordinary Session has been rescheduled.
Article 29 of the Constitution said the legislative power of the Republic shall be vested in the Legislature, which shall consist of two separate houses: A Senate and a House of Representatives, both of which must pass all legislation, and must be enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia.
As to whether the Senate might begin session today amid the House’s decision to delay, it has not been confirmed up to press time as Senate Secretary J. Nanborlor Singbeh could not be reached.
However, the Constitution provides that a House can begin session ahead of the other House and also neither House can adjourn session for more than five days without the consent of the other, as well as both Houses shall always sit in the same city, in accordance to Article 40.