By Our Staff Writer
MONROVIA: President-elect, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, (JNB) has been accused of involvement in ‘political corruption,’ styled: “Pay-to-Play.’
International investigators previously considered ‘Pay-to-Play’ as ‘political corruption’ through which powerful individuals manipulate processes in state governance.
Latest reports from the corridors of the incoming administration suggest that the President-elect, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, has promised to provide a mouthwatering US$5,000 to each Representative-elect, to support the Speakership bid of Montserrado County District#11 Representative, Richard Nagbe Koon, who is also the candidate of the Unity Party (UP) for the influential House speaker post.
According to some of the attendees, President-elect Boakai told them that he will give US$5,000 to each district of the 73 electoral districts of the country for celebration of his pending inauguration as President of Liberia.
But, Grand Kru County Representative-elect, Nathaniel Bahway, who also attended the meeting in a video that is currently in circulation via social media, said he and other Representatives-elect were promised US$25,000 each for their respective districts, although US$5,000 first payment of the promised money was given to each Representative-elect at the meeting.
Some of the Representatives-elect hinted that it is based on the respect they had for President-elect Boakai, that made them to stay in the meeting up to its conclusion.
According to some of the meeting attendees, the expressed intent for which the Representatives-elect were invited was for him (President-elect Joseph Nyuma Boakai), to get ‘acquainted’ with the incoming lawmakers as it relates to legislative agenda before his inauguration which is scheduled for 22, January, this year.
Conversely, the attendees claimed that the meeting was later converted into a campaign forum for Representative Koon’s Speakership bid.
At the January 9 meeting, other attendees disclosed that the President-elect opted for a ‘friendly National Legislature.’
They quoted the President-elect as saying he does not want the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) to control both Houses (Upper and Lower) of the Legislature, because he wants to be ‘successful’ concerning implementation of his presidential ‘mission.’
So far, Montserrado County re-elected Representative Richard Nagbe Koon and Grand Kru County reelected Representative, Jonathan Fonati Koffa, are the two Representatives who are seeking the House Speaker post.
Rep. Koffa is a United States trained Lawyer with wealth of professional experience while Rep. Koon is a financial expert who has been teaching for nearly 35 years at the University of Liberia.
Members of the incoming 55th Legislature are expected to elect the leadership of the august body including Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other officials today, January 15, 2024, at the Capitol Building, the seat of the Legislature in Monrovia.
The out-going Government, led by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), selected the re-elected Representative of Grand Kru County, Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, to represent the CDC, while the incoming regime, being led by Unity Party (UP), is galvanizing all the necessary support for the Montserrado County re-elected Representative and financial expert, Richard Nagbe Koon, to become the House Speaker.
However, on Tuesday, January 9, 2023, President-elect, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, formally invited members of the incoming House of Representatives to his Rehab residence in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, “to acquaint himself with the Reps-elect.”
The outcomes of meeting, according to some elected Lawmakers, point to what seems to be financial inducement allegedly by President-elect Boakai to bring to submission the “pro-Koffa Bloc.”
Boakai reportedly pleaded with Cllr. Koffa to renounce his ambition for Representative Koon to emerge as Speaker, but said request felt on deaf ears, as Koffa reportedly rejected the proposal.
Ambassador Boakai: “Representative Koon is best suited to become Speaker of the House of Representatives and I am calling on the incoming Representatives to vote for him in the ensuing Speakership election on Monday, January 15, 2024.”
President-elect Boakai’s has been under public criticism following his meeting with the Lawmakers at his residence but his supporters including some lawmakers have refuted the claims, saying the meeting was meant for just ‘acquaintance’ purpose.
Bong County Senator, Prince Moye, described the meeting with President-elect Boakai as a “traditional acquaintance to allow the new leaders discuss issues of national importance.”
Senator Moye re-echoed the determination of the UP and its alliances to ensure that they win the House Speakership position.
He said: “Consultations have intensified to ensure that the Speakership bid of Representative Koon becomes a reality.”
According to Senator Moye, President-elect Boakai and the Legislators have shared vision for the nation and its people.
The Bong County Lawmaker boasted of an overwhelming victory for the Unity Party concerning Speakership election.
But, nearly thirty-one (31) Representatives-elect who attended the Boakai-Representatives-elect meeting reportedly rejected plea by the incoming President to support Unity Party (UP’s) candidate, Richard Nagbe Koon, fort the House Speaker post.
According to other insiders of the meeting which was held behind closed-door, the President-elect further told the incoming Representatives to elect UP candidate for the House Speaker post, a comment that reportedly sparked intense debates among the newly elected Representatives.
This paper has also gathered that most of the participating lawmakers expressed displeasure in voting for the UP candidate today, January 15, 2024, during the House leadership elections.
It is further gathered that many of the meeting attendees expressed explicit confidence and trust in the leadership of Representative Jonathan Fonati Koffa based on his demonstrated foresight, reservoir of professional and hands-on experience, leadership acumen, sociability, people-centered administration, and as an astute lawyer.
The President-elect’s alleged early interference into activities of the Legislature was questioned by some members of the “pro-Koffa Bloc”, including Representatives Frank Saah Foko, and Dixon W. Seeboe of Montserrado Districts#9 and 16 respectively .
Both Lawmakers raised serious concerns about the source of Boakai’s initiate US$5,000 dished out to incoming Lawmakers at the January 9 meeting.
Foko “If this is not meant to bring Team Fonati into submission, I don’t know what it is. But, for me, it is highly regrettable for a professed statesman like Ambassador Boakai to already start showing semblance of meddling into the Legislature’s activities.
“It was this same meddling into the Legislature that the Unity Party used against the CDC for sanctioning many of its hard-ranking officials, Boakai must take note as our partners are watching his early interference.
“A 5K inducement to vote your choice at the Legislature in such an early tampering style is an impeachable offense,” Foko asserted.
Representative Dixon Seeboe, on the other hand, told the public that the “Majority Bloc” of Rep. Koffa has resolved to make the Grand Kru County Lawmaker Speaker of the 55th Legislature.
He said the era of tempering or inducing Lawmakers financially against their will is over as the functions and decisions of the Legislature will squarely and independently be taken by its members void of external influence or interference.
The both CDC lawmakers spoke over the weekend in a local radio interview in Monrovia.