The Plenary of the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, voted generally to accept Montserrado County Senator George Manneh Weah report from the ECOWAS Parliament. Weah is Liberia’s head of delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament.
Weah’s report which was described as comprehensive and well-written by fellow Senators was in compliance with a mandate of the Senate that Liberian representatives to the ECOWAS should provide a detailed report, highlighting their activities at the parliament.
The Senate’s Plenary mandate came as a result of a report from Grand Gedeh County Senator, G. Alphonso Gaye, in which he requested the Senate plenary to mandate the Senate’s two representatives to ECOWAS, Senator George Weah and Senator Prince Johnson to present in open session a comprehensive report of their participation to the ECOWAS Parliament.
According to our legislative reporter, unlike Nimba County Senator, Prince Y. Johnson, whose report was described as nothing else, but minutes by Senator Alphanso Gaye, as he urged the Senate to reject the report, Senator George Weah report was explicit, as it highlighted Liberian representatives’ activities at the Parliament, as well as issues surrounding reports that some ECOWAS Parliamentarians were in the practice of receiving sitting-fees and not attending session among others.
Weah, who is opting to succeed President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during the October 2017 polls, termed as fake claims from Senator Johnson that he (George Weah) and others were in the habit of receiving allowances and not attending session.
“On the 10th of February, 2017, the Speaker of the Parliament called all heads of Delegations to a meeting to discuss new regulations pertaining to allowances. I represented the Liberian delegation. During the meeting, the Speaker circulated a memo entitled, “Attendance of Session, meeting and payment of allowances.” He clarified that according to the ECOWAS Fourth Legislature Rules of Procedure, Rule 10, refunds and allowances, every representative shall be entitled to allowance as determine by the authority. He added that against this backdrop, the Bureau of Parliament was concerned that a good number of the members of ECOWAS Parliament have not been demonstrating the expected measures of diligence through attendance of Parliamentary session as well as other important and or mission,” Senator Weah highlighted in his report.
He added that at the end of the discussion, it was agreed upon that members who unavoidably have to leave before the end of the session will have to forgo their allowances due them that period, something he said was presented differently by Senator Johnson, which was wildly aired by the state broadcast and other individuals via the social media.
“Unfortunately, news has been circulating on social media and the Liberian media that the memo was written because of my constant absenteeism. Since being elected as one of the Senate’s Representatives, I have attended every session at the ECOWAS Parliament and have contributed immensely in fostering the Country’s Economic, Political and Social agenda at the ECOWAS Parliament,” Weah further noted.
On issues surrounding Senator Johnson’s alleged abandonment, the Montserrado County Senator indicated that as head of delegation, at no time did he ever abandoned any member of the Liberian delegation including Senator Johnson.
“I met Senator Johnson along with his Assistant and other Liberian Senators that were transiting at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana and offered a business class lounge accommodation to my colleagues. Senator Johnson, his Assistant and I departed Ghana for Nigeria. Upon arrival in Nigeria, I passed immigration and was received by the ECOWAS protocol personnel and later accompanied to one of the fleet of cars assigned to pick up arriving Parliamentarians,” he said.
According to him, he was very surprised to have received a telephone call from a local journalist here in Liberia, informing him that Senator Johnson had complained that he (Sen. Weah) had abandoned him.
Weah said Senator Johnson had in past times complained that Nigerian immigration officers were in the habit of constantly delaying him at the Airport, something he (Weah) said he advised Senator Johnson to do a formal communication to the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament.
Senator Weah further indicated in his report that as head of delegation, he has over the time work to ensure that Liberia gets the best, something he noted led to Liberia ascending to the Third Deputy Speaker position, Finance as well as the Gender positions among others.
In closing his nine page report, Senator Weah recommended that in order to curtail travels and accommodations confusion during ECOWAS mission travels, all members of the Liberian delegation should submit itineraries of their travels to his office before departure.
He also recommended that report from Liberian delegation at the ECOWAS Parliament should be done collectively and not individually so as to promote teamwork among members.
Meanwhile, our reporter said members of the Liberian Senate voted to accept the report on grounds that it was comprehensive as such there was no reason to allow Senator Weah to further debate the issue. Read more on: www.thefrontierliberia.com