Rep. Briggs-Mensah Vows NOT TO RETURN A DIME OF THE US$15K.

Bong County-June 18, 2021-WTVNEWS: Following calls for the return of the US$15,000 dished out to Lawmakers for Legislative engagement, Bong County District 6 Representative has vowed not to return a dime of the money.

Rep. Moima Briggs-Mensah indicated recently that the money will be used for projects that will impact her constituency.

The 15K according to Legislative sources is not part of the Legislative Support Project which points to 30K yearly budget allocation. For the last three years, Lawmakers get to receive any of the LSP money.

The source hinted that the 15K distributed as part of the budget with line items called Legislative engagement which will support Lawmakers engaged their constituencies.

All 102 lawmakers (senators and representatives) have received the said amount while calls for the return of the money remain high.

Prominent Liberian women have been leading the charge, encouraging their female colleagues who are lawmakers to return the money as a means of ‘distinguishing themselves and setting the records straight.

But one of the 8 female lawmakers Rep. Briggs-Mensah has vowed not to distinguish herself by returning the money.

In an angry response to her peers, Rep. Briggs-Mensah wrote: ‘It’s a sad time. Wondering why you people will not call us on issues you don’t understand, and have no clue but decided to willingly bring us to public ridicule as the result of your limitations over legislative work,” she explained.

“For the record, I’m not giving a dime back! My constituents will directly benefit through my leadership ad it’s legal.”

The lawmaker has also been under immense pressure from her constituents to return the money to the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).

Paul Kerkulah, a student leader in the district, took to his Facebook account and pleaded with the lawmaker to return the money. He wrote: “Moima Briggs-Mensah, please return the US$15k. This is a legalized corruption. Your work is not to implement the project. The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) is responsible. We have been receiving so many concerns from our district regarding this issue. This is unfair to our people. We will run a series on this matter justifying why this is a legalized corruption.”

“Our people need to know because they are a concern. We will start with Radio Totota, a local radio station in the district. We have already gotten an appointment. Return the money or give it to LACE and you do the oversight. You can’t be the player and referee at the same time.”

“Your responsibility is lawmaking, representation, and oversight. You are not responsible to implement government-funded projects. This is legalized corruption and our people are a concern. Sharing public funds contravenes our laws. We will justify this in our upcoming articles. Do the needful to return it or give it to LACE and do the oversight.”

Like the district six lawmakers, other lawmakers have rejected the residents’ call to return the money to LACE for implementation of their legislative projects. Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillion indicated recently that his portion of the $15K will be used for the construction of a public Library in Montserrado County.

Senator Dillion disclosed during a press conference that the Money will be given to the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) for the Project Implementation.

LACE rejected the Senator’s decision, indicating that the LACE will go in contrast to its mandate on doing personal projects of lawmakers.

To date, other lawmakers have come in defense of the usage of the money. Prominent among them is Being County Senator Henrique Tokpa.

“The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has provided $15, 000 USD to each lawmaker for projects and programs in their various constituencies. The gesture is part of the government’s efforts to support legislative undertakings and constituency engagements. He stated it on his Facebook page to explain how he intends to use the money.

Bong County Senator Dr. Henrique F. Tokpa is commending the GOL for the gesture and wants to assure that the amount will be used to fast track ongoing projects in the county including the provision of arm-chairs to needed schools, and safe drinking water to several communities across the country, among others.”

“Sen. Tokpa has recommitted himself to ably representing the people of Bong County in getting more support intended for projects and programs in the county.”

But concerns have been raised about the senator’s plan to use a portion of the US$15,000 for providing chairs to various senior high schools in the county, after promising to fund such a project “from his pocket”.

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