— To speak on Stimulus Package; passport scandal, respectively
The outgoing Minister of Commerce and Industry and current nominee for the post of Director of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), Wilson Tarpeh, is scheduled to appear before the Senate plenary this Wednesday, October 7, to give an update on the US$25 million stimulus food distribution program.
On Friday, October 9, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Henry Fahnbulleh, is expected to appear before the Senate plenary to report to that body on the investigation, if any, concerning the alleged passport scandal as confessed by former Director of Passport at that Ministry, Mr. Andrew Wonplo.
The Senate move to cite the Foreign Ministry’s hierarchy was as a result of a communication from Grand Gedeh County Senator A. Marshall Dennis, in which he requested his colleagues to play a leadership role, if necessary, ensure that a full-scale investigation is launched to help save the international image of the country.
Among top names mentioned in Mr. Wonplo’s daily revelations from a secret location are former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gbehzohngar Milton Findley and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill.
The expected appearance by the outgoing Minister of Commerce is necessitated by a concern raised by Senators, led by Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, requesting plenary to demand a report on the status of the US$25 million food stimulus package in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The committee set up by the Executive to distribute the food basket has not reported to this body; it is my view that we have failed, refused and neglected to get this body before us for accountability. We want to know the status of the stimulus package, where is it, how much has been spent,” Senator Dillon asserted, recalling that a similar package of US$25 million was recently approved by the 54th Legislature to be used as mop-up exercise, which yielded questionable report.
Senator Dillon further recalled that in the same vein, the amount of US$35 million was also approved by the Legislature for the health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic; “Health workers are agitating for their own go-slow for their hazard money. We, in the joint resolution, expressly and purposely stated that the recast budget would give priority to the hospitals within the 15 counties. Where are the medical equipment and other needs of hospitals to upgrade so that we can help to fight not only the COVID-19 but other complications?”
The outspoken lawmaker wondered why they, as Senators, are not exerting oversight in the interest of checks and balances. “So in the interest of our people, check and balance Mr. Pro-temp, transparency and accountability, we are asking the Liberian Senate plenary to take seize of these issues to immediately summon the folks spearheading the stimulus package for an update.”
Meanwhile, responding to a query by Senator Dillon on the status of his request for Senate intervention in the “illegal” stay of the embattled Cllr. Ndubusi Nwabudike at the helm of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, Pro-tempore Albert Chie has assured that the Leadership of the Senate will inform plenary Wednesday on the result of their intervention.