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Team Gongloe Discusses National Road Funds

Team Gongloe Incorporated wants the Legislature to impeach President George Weah in violation of the national budget laws by alleged misapplication of US$25 million of the National Road Fund without approval and how realistically will it be.
TGI is an association made of Liberians both at home and abroad who are driving the presidential ambition of Counselor Tiawan Saye Gongloe of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) during next year’s elections which seems to be crucial and it is duly registered under the laws of the Republic.
It said that its call is in consonance with article 43 of the country’s constitution which states: “The power to prepare a bill of impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives, and the power to try all impeachments is vested solely in the Senate. When the President, Vice President or an Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; when the Chief Justice or a judge of a subordinate court of record is to be impeached, but by the concurrence of two-thirds of the total membership of the senate. Judgments in such cases shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold public office in the Republic; but the party may be tried at law for the same offense. The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure for impeachment proceedings which shall be in conformity with the requirements of due process.”
According to Team Gongloe’s Vice Chairman for Operations, Major Tamba Samukai, the President should have sought the approval of the National Legislature before the usage of the money but that was not the case therefore he needed to be impeached.
Referencing the budget laws, he believes the Minister of Finance and Development Planning shall develop and recommend to the President for approval regulations, where required in the Act, for the implementation of the provisions of the Act.
Samukai said the Minister may issue regulations, instructions and guidelines, as the need arises, to further clarify specific responsibilities and tasks related to the implementation of regulations consistent with the administrative procedure act and the executive law.
He pointed out that regulations issued by the Minister pursuant to this act, shall be subject to endorsement of the President. Copies of all such regulations shall be sent to the Legislature for coordination purposes.
Contingency appropriation, in the national budget, the Legislature shall approve an amount of public funds not exceeding 5 percent of total annual domestic revenues, as estimated in the proposed budget to be used as contingency fund.
“The contingency fund may cover urgent and unforeseen expenditures arising from emergency situations for which payments cannot be postponed until the passage of a supplementary budget or the next annual National Budget without seriously affecting the public interest,” Samukai noted.
Samukai stated among other things that the use of funds out of the contingency fund shall be reported by the Minister in the next quarterly outturn covering the month (s) in which the expenditure occurred.
He is of the conviction that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) findings on the national road fund for two fiscal years July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020, has observed that millions of dollars of fuel levies paid by motorists for the maintenance and rehabilitation of roads in Liberia are either not being remitted to the road fund account as required by the act creating the National Road Fund or expended for the intended purpose.
Samukai said GAC told the National Legislature that recently the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) collected US$53,018,871.54 and deposited the money in the Consolidated Fund Account instead of the National Road Fund Account as required by the Road Fund Act.
The consolidated fund account is the government’s general revenue account that is controlled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
Of this amount, according to the report, the MFDP remitted US$28,152,231 to the National Road Fund thereby leaving a difference of US$24,866,637.54 which was not remitted.
About public access to the budget, Team Gongloe added that the proposed budget will be made available to the public immediately following its submission to the Legislature.
The approved budget will also be available to the public immediately following its publication into handbill with the Legislature’s authority and responsibility to approve the budget.
The Legislature’s review and approval of the proposed budget shall be conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth in the Constitution.
The annual appropriations act shall be adopted for one fiscal year and shall lapse at the end of the fiscal year for which it is approved by the Legislature.
Recently, the GAC’s findings of the misapplication of $25 million dollars to mop up excess Liberian dollars on the market, was made public and “indicted” the public officials who managed the exercise.
The Commission’s findings state among many things how field visits were conducted to ascertain entities which participated in the mop up exercise as listed by the Central Bank of Liberia in its report.
Fifteen (15) entities received US$491, 697 but denied that they participated in the exercise. Another 27 entities received nearly US$703,000 but are not registered with Liberia’s Business Registry.
Fifty-two (52) entities received nearly $1.1 million dollars but refused to respond to calls and text messages from auditors to confirm receipt of the money.
Eighty (8) entities recorded in the CBL records as receiving over $163,000 were not in operation when the auditors visited them.
Another finding said, “The money issued from the vault daily and disbursed to beneficiaries from the bank’s United States Dollars operational vault was not posted to the bank’s accounting system in real time.”
For example, money taken from the vault between the periods July 17 – 31, 2018 was not posted to the vault until August 1, 2018 in lump sum. The lump sum amounts posted were without supporting schedules.
The General Auditing Commission (GAC) in its findings further said it was informed by the CBL that there is no amount classified as mopped up cash currently sitting in separate vault as was the case during the period of the mop-up Exercise.
Quoting the Assistant Director for Banking Operations confirmed on April 24, 2019 that the total amount mopped up was subsequently re-infused into the economy to service CBL customers’ demands during and after the Christmas Season.

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