House probes US$263m 'Unauthorized spending'
The House of Representatives has with immediate effect set up a special investigation committee to probe an alleged spending by the Executive Branch of government in the sum of US$263million.
In a communication sent yesterday to the House’s Plenary, Maryland County District #2 Representative Dr. Bhofal Chambers claimed that his attention was drawn to what he called the “unexplained and unauthorized expenditure” by the Executive Mansion of over US$263 million for public relations services rendered by foreign firms, as stated in the U.S. State Department’s Report.
“According to the report, the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) at the US State Department records show that the Liberian government paid more money for public relations abroad in 2008; that expenditure was captured in 2007,” Chambers said.
He further said that firms where services were periodically solicited or contracted are located in Washington, D.C. and Vienna, Virginia in the USA.
The Maryland County Lawmaker disclosed that the information was gathered by Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker in a research on the expenditure of foreign governments.
Rep. Chamber said that he has seen some information on the amount in question through a Web site: http://www.foreignlobby.ir/, which he said is in line with the United States Foreign Declaration Act, which states that whenever any foreign government is doing business in terms of lobby, it has to be documented and the State Department has got those abided.
“From 2006 to 2009, 102 lobby payments were tracked by those foreign lobby trackers, amounting to US$263million plus as alleged,” he said.
The Legislator, at the same time said it would be unfair to the suffering masses, if it is established that the government of Liberia actually used such huge amount on foreign lobby.
Meanwhile, following deliberation on the matter, Plenary immediately endorsed a motion to set up a special committee to conduct a detailed investigation and report to the House Plenary in two weeks.
The special committee includes Committee on Judiciary as chair, Committee on Ways, Means and Finance as Co-Chair, Committee on Public Accounts and Expenditure, Committee on Good Governance and Government Reform and Committee on Foreign Affairs and National Security, & National Defense as members.
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