The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) is currently investigating the House of Representatives concerning the alleged US$1.2 million allocated to the House by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
The allocation was to facilitate the travel around the country by House members, led by Speaker Alex Tyler, to hold “Gas and Oil Consultations,” in order to test the people’s will on the draft Gas and Oil bill before the House.
The LACC is seeking, we presume, to determine how that money was spent. This is a legitimate concern, for US$1.2 million is a lot of money in a country where at least three quarters of the people live on less than a dollar a day.
Margibi County’s Emmanuel Nuquay, chairman of the House Ways, Means and Finance Committee, and Rep. Prince Moye of Bong County are the House’s chief financial officers.
House Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, who presided over the nationwide consultations, pointed an accusing finger at Nuquay and Moye, implying that they were responsible for the money.
But reacting to the allegations on a radio talk show last week, Rep. Moye told the Liberian people that he had “signed several blank checks before departing for the United States.” By this he was implying that he knew little or nothing about how all this money was spent. Because he was traveling to the USA, he signed the blank checks and left them with other House officials and staff to spend in his absence.
What a travesty (mockery) of governance! No wonder Liberia is in such a mess! With all our resources, Liberia remains perpetually one of the world’s poorest countries. For people who call themselves Liberia’s leaders—and they are, since they are members of the very first branch of government—to play with massive sums of money like that, US$1.2 million—clearly demonstrates that they have total disregard for the plight of their people and are only in power to look after their own selfish interests.
Nuquay and Moye themselves hail from rural Liberia, where the people live in abject poverty and survive on subsistence farming only. They live in poorly ventilated thatched huts, no indoor toilets or bathrooms, certainly no running water. Most of them fetch their drinking and cooking water from creeks or streams from which they and their children are subjected to all kinds of waterborne diseases.
When they and their children become sick, or mothers are about to give birth, they have to travel for miles, often on foot, to get healthcare services. Many of the children have to walk for miles every day to attend school.
Because the majority of our people, the teeming men, women and children who parade the streets and marketplaces in the urban areas like Red Light, Waterside and Duala in Monrovia, live at the margins of the money economy, they spend precious time and youthful energies dragging a listless (lethargic, exhaustive) existence. Meanwhile our lawmakers, as soon as they attain state power, think and act only for themselves totally forgetting about the suffering masses that elected them. We wonder whether these politicians ever think about how much their ordinary, impoverished rural and urban compatriots earn at the end of each weary day.
Most times our lawmakers don’t bother even to think about their people’s plight because they (lawmakers) are rather too busy looking after themselves, seizing and grasping every opportunity looking after their own perks (benefits) and comforts. Look what happened to the US$1.2 million: you mean the lawmakers absolutely do not care how the people’s money is spent, so Mr. Moye will sign blank checks then jump on a plane and fly to America? Where did he get the money to fly to America—from his farm in Bong County—if he has one?
The lawmakers BOAST of their “oversight responsibility,” yet they themselves have little or no appreciation for transparency and accountability.
God help us! But we frankly do not know how God will, dealing with us Liberians who one young writer has said “are selfish because we are stupid, and stupid because we are selfish.”
We are sure the Bong and Margibi people will vote “Honorables Moye and Nuquay,” and all like them, back into office come the next election—unless the people finally decide to wake up to reality.