By Bill W. Cooper
The plenary of the of the House of Representatives has voted to recline to concur with the Liberian Senate on a mineral agreement forwarded to that august body.
The House took the decision yesterday during the 6th day sitting of the special session following a motion from Lofa County District 3 Representative, Clarence Massaquoi.
Members of the House of Representatives cited flagrant constitutional violation of Article 34d (i) of the Liberian Constitution.
Article 34d (i) states: “All revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imposts, duties or taxes, and other financial bills shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills. No other financial charge shall be established, fixed, laid or levied on any individual, community or locality under any pretext whatsoever except by the expressed consent of the individual, community or locality. In all such cases a true and correct amount of funds collected shall be made to the community or locality.”
However, prior to the House’s decision, the Liberian Senate in a community signed by its Secretary, Nanborlor F. Singbeh to that body stated, “I have the honor to present my compliments and by directive of the Liberia Senate (In special session) forward hereto attached Senate’s Engrossed Bill #5.”
It added, “An Act to ratify the Mineral Development Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Liberia and BAO CHICO Resources of Liberia LTD, the above-mentioned legislation was passed by the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at the hour 16:16 G.M.T, thus seeking your timely concurrence.,”
But in reaction to the communication, Montserrado County District 8 Rep., Moses Acarous Gray and Grand Bassa County District 4 Rep., Vicent T. Willie, their decision to speak against the concurrence of the mineral agreement from the Senate is not intended for the House with constitutional authority to usurp the function of their colleagues or any other Branch of government but to instead, respect the Constitution that governs the country.
According to Rep. Gray who is also the Chairperson on the House Committee on Executive, the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate are two separate and distinct functions, in line with the Constitution and as such, no one House should intervene or interfere with each other’s respective function as prescribed by law.
He added, “The Liberian Senate without due respect has no authority by the Constitution to Act on a revenue or financial Bills and be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrent.”
“In as much that we will not want to usurp their functions, we will also don’t expect them to usurp our Constitutional functions as well because this country is a country of law and order,” Rep. Gray stressed.
Meanwhile, the Montserrado County lawmaker at the same time recommended to his colleagues that a communication be written to the Executive Branch of government informing the President to ensure that all revenue or other financial Bills be firstly sent to the House for rectification which they will onward forward to the Senate for concurrence and not the other way round.
House Declines To Approve
By Bill W. Cooper