Vice President and President of the Senate, Jewel Howard Taylor has challenged Senators who are still delinquent in declaring their assets that the deadline to do so has expired.
While presiding over the Senate’s 13th day sitting on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Madam Howard-Taylor said: “I will just like to remind the Senate of the assets declaration’s requirement; the deadline has passed, and it will be good for members of the Senate to submit their assets to the secretary of the Senate so that the report can be submitted as to those who have done theirs.”
She informed the lawmakers that members of the Judiciary Branch of Government have completed their assets, while the Executive Branch, is working towards completing theirs; “I think members of the Legislature, who belong to the First Branch should be the first to complete this requirement.”
Several weeks following his election as President Pro Tempore of the Senate last year, Senator Albert Chie called on his colleagues to fulfill the Constitutional requirement by declaring their assets.
The Vice President’s call yesterday comes on the heels of a letter from the office of President George Weah mandating all those within the executive branch, who need to declare their assets within a specific time frame.
The call by both President Weah and his Vice President for government officials to declare their assets has come days following a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) video interview in which President Weah confirmed declaring his assets, but admitted that some members of the government, especially the executive branch, are yet to complete that requirement. When pressed, the President would not say whether he would compel his officials to declare their assets, but said that “they know that they have to declare their assets.”
Meanwhile, a report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on the confirmation hearing of Ambassador-designate George S. W. Patten, accredited to the United States of America, was received, never read in open plenary but was confirmed during yesterday’s executive session.
Amb. Patten, during his confirmation hearing on February 21, 2019, offered an apology to the Senate in their Chambers when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs for confirmation proceedings. He had been prematurely appointed and commissioned by President Weah outside the normal procedure of firstly appearing for confirmation hearing by the Senate.
During the confirmation hearing, Mr. Patten, a career diplomat and lawyer, was questioned whether he had fulfilled Article 54 of the Constitution before taking his assignment to Washington DC. “I am an emissary of the President and an envoy given an official letter to deliver, I serve Liberia and the President, but the realization was that I have to come back here and I complied; that’s why I am here.”
Patten in further questions asserted that his realization was based on the fact that the Senate has asked him to come back, “and that’s why I am here to have this discussion, this dialogue.”
He admitted being knowledgeable of the Constitution, but he emphasized that he is an emissary of the President “and when the head of state requires you to undertake an urgent assignment it challenged me to be there, but you could not possibly say no…”
He was positive of being confirmed because, for over 30 years, Ambassador Patten intimated that he had dedicated his life in serving his motherland in the foreign service since leaving school, to countries like the Gambia, Libya, Ethiopia and now the United States. “With the experiences that I have, I believe I can be very useful in Washington cementing that historical relationship between Liberia and the United States which we intend to strengthen further. “