Speaker Bhofal Chambers: “House Tenured Positions Unconstitutional”; Dismisses Allegations Of 2018-2019 Budget Tampering

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Monrovia, Liberia- The Speaker of the 54th Liberian Legislature, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, has termed tenured positions created under the Unity Party-led government as unconstitutional.

During the regime of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the 53rd Liberian Legislature passed into law, an Act which created certain positions to be served based on tenure. Several agencies of government were covered under the act.

However, in an attempt to override the law, President George Weah submitted a bill to the House of Representatives asking for the Lower House to terminate all tenured positions; something that sparked heavy debates and received criticism from the opposition.

Meanwhile, Speaker Chambers speaking to reporters Tuesday informed journalists how former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, pleaded with the 53rd legislature to include the Governance Commission on the list of entities covered by the law, reasons he said are unknown up to this date.

The bill submitted by President Weah, after a committee’s review process, received majority votes but excepted the General Auditing Commission (GAC), National Elections Commission (NEC), and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), prompting a reversal by the President’s Office.

Speaker Chamber at a news conference on Tuesday also said, the law is not applicable in the United States, as the U.S. constitution empowers the President to appoint and dismiss.

“Even lawmaker who appoint staffers have the right to dismiss if they are unable to adequately perform,” Speaker Chambers added.

In another development, Speaker Bhofal Chambers has termed as false, rumors, that the health category of the 2018-2019 approved national budget was tampered with by some lawmakers of the Lower House.

The Speaker was responding to allegations by Nimba County Representative Samuel Kogar and fourteen other lawmakers who expressed surprise at the way the budgetary process was carried out by the House Ways and Means Committee.

In what Rep. Kogar and his group of lawmakers colleagues call a stunning discovery, observed that  a million United States Dollars was reallocated to private clinic and health centers without the committee’s full approval.

However, at a news conference on Tuesday, Speaker Chamber said, the budget was reviewed by the Lower House with the Senate full participation, and wondered how a budget which had been processed by the House of Representatives and the Senate could be tampered with. The Speaker told reporters that the first session of any new legislative body is a learning curve for most new legislators, a statement which was debunked by Representative Samuel Kogar.

Representative Samuel Kogar, in response to Speaker Chambers statement, said it was an error on the part of the Speaker to refer to he and his colleagues  as being on a learning curve. He said, although the Speaker did not include their concerns on the agenda, he and his colleagues are planning to reintroduce said communication on the floor for the purpose of addressing the issue in the interest of the public and fighting acts of corruption in that body.

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