-As Senators Raise Concern
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
As the debates over who is getting the salary and benefits for Bong County in the Liberian Senate intensify since the exit of Senator Jewel Howard Taylor following her election as Vice President of the country, some senators of the Liberian Senate want to know the actual recipients of the salary and benefits.
Already, some Senators have started raising concerns over media reports about Bong County benefits being reportedly collected by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.
During the Liberian Senate Thursday, August 16, 2018 session, two Senators, Daniel Naatehn and Thomas Grupee of Gbarpolu and Nimba Counties respectively raised the issues of Bong county benefits within the plenary of the Liberian Senate.
Senator Naatehn said it would be preferable that the Senate provide the payroll of the Senate so as to ascertain who has been taking the benefits of Bong County since it has been reported in the media.
“The Ways, Means and Finance committee has to make a report so we can know who has been signing for Bong County benefits for the past six months,” Senator Naatehn shouted in open plenary.
This further said the new Bong County Senator, Dr. Henrique Tokpa and Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph salary and benefits should be given following their induction to fill the vacant seats.
“All the people benefits should be given to them as of today’s date since they have now been inducted into the Liberian Senate,” he added.
The Gbarpolu County Senator was buttressed by Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba County who also said “we want to know who has been signing for Bong County Benefits.”
But the two Senators were responded to by the Senate Committee chairman on Ways, Means and Finance, Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County, who said “if you do not vest, you do not have arrears.”
“The law says you must vest before you claim arrears” Senator Saytumah said, which means one must work before she or she gets pay.
Upon the closed of session, reporters chased the Gbarpolu lawmaker into his office to provide further clarity, but told journalists that he cannot comment on the matter further until the Senate can address his concern that has been raised in Thursday’s session
When contacted, Senator Morris Saytumah who happens to be the Senate Committee chairman on Ways, Means and Finance, told journalists that he has no idea concerning the matter being raised by his two colleagues.
These comments by the two senators spark heated debate in the Liberian Senate that lasted for over thirty minutes 30minutes as others were for and against.
The two Senators comments came when the two newly elected Senators, Dr. Henrique Tokpa and Saah Joseph were inducted into their official seats as Senators for both Bong and Montserrado Counties respectively.
It can be recalled that the Front-Page Africa Newspaper in its Thursday, August 9, 2018 edition published a story alleging that Vice President Taylor is still collecting benefits belonging to Bong County Senator in the tone of US$2, 200.00 for the past six months even though she gets pay as Vice President of the country.
Following the paper’s publication, the Liberian Senate denied the report through a statement issued Friday, August 10, 2018 by its Press and Public Affairs department stated that Vice President Taylor is not receiving any benefits belonging to the office of Bong County Senator.
The statement, according the Senate Press department clarified that media report linking the Liberian Vice President to double collections of benefits and salaries is untrue and far from the reality.
“The Liberian Senate has dismissed and termed as untrue media reports that Liberia’s vice President is still receiving benefits belonging to the office of Bong County Senator,” the statement clarified.