It always takes two to tango, goes an old saying. In the context of contemporary Liberian politics, the Executive has often and nearly always taken blame for the wrongs of the government. However the government is composed of three (3) separate but coequal branches, namely the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary.
Unlike the Judiciary, which is basically preoccupied with interpreting the laws, by-laws and Constitution, the Executive and Judiciary are the two branches of government involved in policy making and execution.
And unlike its two other coequal partners, the Judiciary does not and cannot interfere in decision making and policy implementation, except where such comes into conflict with the law.
Even then, the Judiciary cannot not take up the matter on its own. The matter has to be formally brought under its jurisdiction by interested parties before it can act.
That said, the legislature is charged with representing the interests of their people (the body politic). And they are under legal obligation to do so at all times to the best of their ability and conscience.
This is because these individuals (legislators) are dealing virtually with life and death matters, literally speaking. The decisions they make and actions they take have deep implications not only for the continued and sustained existence of the nation, but for the ultimate benefit and welfare of the people they represent.
Notable is the fact that there are no penalties prescribed for remiss of duty, betrayal of the people’s interests for self-gain, and downright treasonous action against the interests of the state.
In many cases today and well before, legislators have arrogated unto themselves the right to make decisions without consulting the people or without doing sufficient due diligence before passing into law concession agreements.
Additionally, they have also, it appears, arrogated unto themselves the right to exercise, functions power and authority in other branches of government. For example, legislators are practicing law in the various courts, which is intrinsically against the spirit and intent of the Constitution.
In many cases legislators have been found representing the legal interests of organizations, institutions and individuals that run contrary to the interests of the state or their individual constituencies. The impunity that often attends their actions tends to encourage even graver acts of betrayal of the national interests.
For example, the legislature passed into law the Hummingbird Concession Agreement. Under this agreement, virtually the entire southeast of Liberia has been awarded to a fly-by-night company in which Senator Albert Chie, President Pro Tempore of the Liberian senate is a shareholder.
Sources have told the Daily Observer that huge sums of cash were allegedly paid out to legislators to secure a yes vote on its passage. Absolutely little or no due diligence was done at all by our legislators, which duty requires of them, neither did legislators submit the details of the concession agreement to the public for vetting and possible input.
In another example, an alleged bribery deal involving Grand Cape Mount Senator Varney Sherman for the sale of the Wologisi Mountain to another predatory fly by night company was uncovered by the international watchdog, Global Witness.
In the Global Witness report, Senator Sherman allegedly solicited money from predatory investors to bribe ranking members of the government, which he code-named Big Boy 1 and Big Boy 2.
The proposed deal was so rotten and offensive to the national interests that prompted President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to proffer criminal charges against Senator Sherman and had commenced trial before she left office. The George Weah administration, upon taking office, apparently decided not to pursue the case further in view of the very proactive and vigorous and, in some cases, blind support being drummed up by Senator Sherman in support of this government.
But, as events proved, such posturing and attempts to ingratiate himself into the good graces of President Weah. And his efforts did pay off because, in the end, Senator Sherman was cleared of the criminal charges.
As if this constituted a nod to continue with similar predatory pursuits, it has turned out, according to sources on Capitol Hill, that Senator Sherman is and has been the mastermind of a crooked and sinister deal to not only deprive the Liberian state of legitimate revenue but to further the interests of predatory businessmen seeking to undermine the investment climate in Liberia.
It is the same Varney Sherman who still stands accused of having fleeced Bong Mines workers of their legitimate benefits. He has also served as in-house legal counsel for Firestone Plantations Company where, according to sources, he played an active role in quashing workers demand for better pay, housing and benefits.
Further, as if all this was not enough, Senator Sherman is again in the news all for the wrong reasons and that is actively representing the legal interests of Fouani Brothers Corporation under a bogus investment proposal.
And most sad of all is that Senators, of whom the public least expected, voted to approve a stinking and rotten proposal that seeks the further impoverishment of the Liberian people by granting Fouani Brothers such waiver of duties and taxes for nearly 15 years.
At the end of the day, we will have a white elephant of an investment that glaringly lacks forward and backward linkages to the national economy. What if, just what if another pandemic unfolds later whose effects, like COVID-19, interferes with the supply chain?
Come to think about it, just what was the Fouani Brothers initial investment in Liberia? In other words, how much money did the Fouani Brothers bring to Liberia as initial investment capital?
Some people ought to be ashamed of themselves for their involvement in or support for this latest deal but, as our people say, “cat licked their face”; meaning they are shameless. But one day it will catch-up with them.
“Every day for rogue, one day for master”.