By: Staff Writer
Lakpazee Zoo, Sinkor, Liberia: Corruption has been highlighted as one of the main challenges confronting the Country’s development. This has been stated by many including International partners, specifically the United States Government.
While those international counterparts blame weak and poor governance as factors confronting corruption’s fight, Montserrado county district 9 Representative Frank Saah Foko has a different view.
The allegation that the Legislature is corrupt especially with the passage of bogus deals that hamper growth and livelihood of the Liberian people, Rep Foko averred that Constituents are the direct cause of Lawmakers corruption practice (s).
His assertion is based on constituents requests for personal issues to satisfy personal interest from the Lawmaker (s).
Representative Saah Foko made the disclosure while addressing a church congregation recently at Lakpazee Zoo in Sinkor.
The Coalition Democratic Change Lawmaker said, it it often seen that citizens mount pressure on their lawmakers for personal assistance rather than prevailing on them for projects or interventions for the general good of the community they live in.
He believed the many requests from individual members of the public cannot be serviced by salary justly earned by lawmakers; hence, they’re left with the option of getting additional resources from other sources to satisfy their people in order to remain in power, which borders on corruptional acts.
“Let’s forget about too much personal help when we put people in leadership because this thing can push your leaders to be corrupt. This is why we still have more corrupt leaders in power most especially so when it comes to the legislature because sometimes our friends in the legislature look for money just to please you,” he intruded.
Representative Saah Foko however called on residents of his district to encourage him to do projects that would impact the public, instead of pushing for personal interest.
“In the end you will push me to steal; to be corrupt. It’s about time that we push our leaders to do projects. We should push our leaders to make the right decision that will have a trigger down effect on our lives and our children’s lives”, he cautioned.
Over the period, there has been countless reports of rampant corruption among members of the Liberian legislature.
However, in November 2021, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) released its 2021 State of Corruption report implicating several members of the legislature in high-level corruption.
The report which was forwarded to President George Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, accused lawmakers of payroll paddling, and allocating millions as subsidies to their privately owned institutions.
It was also established in the report between 2012 to 2021 Nimba County Representative Jeremiah Koung received nearly one million United States dollars to run his privately owned hospital, the Esther and Geraldine Hospital in Nimba County.
It said the African Dream Academy, a private school owned by Representative Samuel Enders was entirely being funded from the national budget.
The CENTAL report also said Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph, in 2020, as Chairman on the Senate health committee annually allocated US$ 141,000.00, to his company for ambulance services.
In addition to CENTAL’s report, in the period of the National Transitional Government of Liberia headed by Charles Gyude Bryant, the plenary of the Transitional Legislative Assembly constituted a special ad hoc investigative committee to investigate complaints that certain lawmakers were in the habit of pocketing their employee’s monthly salaries and benefits, while some of the employees were on a daily basis being dismissed and replaced with family members of lawmakers.
These and many other instances of alleged corruption, could be blamed to pressure from the electorates as insinuated by Representative Foko.
At the same time, the District #9 Lawmaker charged newly ordained Ministers of the Gospel of the Chosen Vessel Church of Jesus Christ to beware of wrong advice by family members and others which has the proclivity to divide the church.
Those ordained as Ministers of the Gospel by General Overseer Rev. Garmonee Eastman Sarkpa are Pastor Henry D. Boe, Madam Sarah Dehgar, Mr. Daniel S. jiffan, and Hans S. Moses.