…As Speaker Koffa Releases 100-Days Deliverables

By Mark N. Mengonfia

MONROVIA-The Speaker of the 55th Legislature, Jonathan Fonati Kofa has spent 100 days in office as Speaker of that august body after taking over from defeated and former Speaker, Bhofal Chambers.

After spending 100 days in office, he has been acting on major instruments with the most popular one being the establishment of a ‘War and Economic Crime Court.’

The Speaker upon singing the instrument weeks ago, said just for the Liberian people it was important to ensure that those who committed crimes pay for their deals which he described as a great deal for Liberians as it will end impunity.

The House of Representatives under the gavel of Koffa, voted to establish a War and Economic Crimes Court nearly 21 years after two conflicts between 1989 and 2003 which witnessed widespread atrocities including massacres, rape, and the use of child soldiers.

Speaking yesterday at his Capital Building office, the Political Affairs Officer of Cllr. Koffa, Menipakei Dumoe said some of the major things done under the stewardship of the House Speaker was the establishment of the court and it is now before the President of Liberia to have his will.

Since the instrument was signed by the two Houses, the President of Liberia is yet to act on it but responding to a question from a legislative reporter, Dumoe said there is a provision in the law that gives a time frame to to President to act on Bills or Resolutions form the Legislature and if he fails, it becomes a law.

Speaking on other achievements of the Speaker, Dumoe said apart from the establishment of the tribunal, the House of Representatives has approved an audit by the General Auditing Committee (GAC) in a move to enhance accountability.

Since the coming into force of the Liberian Legislature, it is not clear as to weather or not it has been audited although there are provisos that allow the Legislature to be audited.

Few list of the achievements of the House of Representatives with Koffa being the Speakerathe House agreed to declare and publish assets (Speaker declared assets); the House returned to Executive Draft NationaI Budget for FY-2024  to enable the President to include his ARREST in the Budget; the House implemented enrollment and renewal of National Identification Cards for Lawmakers and Staffers.

Others are the House summoned CBL Governors to address circumstances regarding how much was left in the CBL Reserve by the immediate past government; the House constituted a Specialized Committee on Drugs, Rehabilitation and Reintegration; the House cited LTA boss to interpret President Boakai’s Youth Development Plans (to explain how effectively 10,000 young people will be trained in various digital skills); the House mandated its Committees on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Maritime to investigate the reported crisis between NaFAA and LAFA.

The House also agreed to conduct employees payroll audit to ensure transparency and accountability; requested audit from General Auditing Commission (GAC); agreed to GAC’s proposal of System Audit; the House convened an emergency leadership meeting on February 12, 2024 to address the persistent protests by wives of Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) personnel reviewed a Bill to amend the Aliens and Nationality law of 2022; House Plenary instructed its joint Committee on State Owned Enterprise and Public Utilities to investigate the acute LEC power outage; the reported interruption in the supply of electricity by LEC.

Also, Plenary of the House mandated its Committees on Investment & Concession, Mine & Energy, Contract Monopolies, Judiciary, Good Governance and Labor to probe China-Union (Hong Kong) Company limited and China-Union Investment over alleged failure to live up to its Mineral Development Agreement (MDA); the House reviewing possibilities to revitalize the Agriculture Bank of Liberia; the House cited Ministry of Education to provide update about Government Compulsory Primary Education and Special Inclusive Education for the Deaf and Visually Impaired; to avoid government from shutdown, the House approved President Boakai’s US$ 41.3 million budget request to cover government’s operations for the month of February 2024.

House Speaker, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa on February 21, 2024, met with employees of the House of Representatives. He said the House would continue to improve the welfare of its employees, pointing out the House will make provision of vehicles to commute workers to their various locations. He reemphasized the importance attached to an ongoing employees’ payroll and personnel audit of the House of Representatives.

Plenary of the House has mandated its Committee on Education and Public Administration to investigate claims regarding Liberian students residing in the country, those studying abroad and the outstanding financial obligations of the Liberian Government to the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

House Speaker, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa took a decisive decision to set up an Ah-hoc Intervention Committee to probe the protest at Bea Mountain Mining Company in Cape Mount on February 29, 2024; the House is deliberating on prospect of urging the Executive Branch of Government to withdraw Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) soldiers and Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers from all mining company facilities in Liberia.

The House of Representatives reviewing possibilities of 73 ambulances for all districts; House’s Leadership met President Boakai on Governance and Coordination Issues; the House endorsed resolution for the establishment of War and Economic Crime Court; the House forgave LRA after apologizing of misinterpreting the Law on Duty Free to Lawmakers; the House Convened Extraordinary Session on President Boakai’s Recall to scrutinize the budget, passed laws of national interest, others.

Under the leadership of Speaker Koff, the House voted to punish Bea Mountain over various violations; the House also reviewed draft law to create Railway Transport; the House reviewed draft law to establish Liberia National Tourism Authority; the House also reviewed possibilities to employ all supplementary teachers; the House probed American Missionary Lucas Richards ‘Not Guilty’ Verdict; the House reviewed draft law to establish the Technical Vocational Educational Training Program; appointed ECOWAS Parliament Delegation; designated delegation on Global Parliamentary Forum and reviewed the possibilities to establish Paynesville Community College.

Among other things, the House under the leadership of Speaker Koffa, and the Liberia Senate scrutinizing the 2024 budget; the House concurred with the Senate on War Crimes Court; summoned LACC and Cllr. Edward Kla Martin on the leakage of former President Weah’s asset declaration; voted to ask Executive to lift Moratorium on Exportation of Unprocessed rubber; expressed empathy on the burning of Speaker’s home; US embassy congratulated the House for passage of War and Economic Crimes Court.

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