Senators Warn Public: Beware of Fraudsters Using Lawmakers’ Names in Confirmation Money Extortion Schemes

Sen. Prince Moye, Sen. Zoe Pennue & Sen. Thomas Yaya Nimely

MONROVIA – Several members of the Liberian Senate have expressed concerned over the alleged extorting of monies from business tycoons and other by some nominees under the pretense of paving their way during confirmation hearings before the respective committees of that August Body.

By Obediah Johnson

The Senators also observed that their names are being allegedly used by fraudsters to lure nominees of believing that they are requesting monies before confirming them to the various positions they have been nominated by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to serve in government.

Speaking during regular session in the Chambers of the Senate on Thursday, February 29, Bong County Senator Prince Moye pointed out that reports from confirmation hearings are normally finalized by the various committees and communicated to the Secretary of the Senate for onward discussion and vote on the floor of the Senate.

He said it is alarming for Senators to be linked to requesting individuals to sponsor the confirmation hearings of a Minister or other designated to serve various positions in government.

“On one occasion I Senator Moye in particular will take money from somebody in Voinjama to make them Assistant Superintendent or District Commissioner. It’s alarming and I think we have to bring this to the full glare of the plenary so that it can be made public.”

Senator Moye said though Senators do not have the power to stop fraudsters and nominees from using their names or requesting monies from their friends and others in the business or private sectors, the alarm is intended to help address the situation.

He noted that the Senate is not in the business of soliciting monies from nominees to execute their constitutional tasks and responsibilities.

 “Nobody should call you and said hold the phone Senator Moye or Brown want to talk to you. That’s how they are doing it. They will not allow you to see the number. Go to the Senators number and find out through text message.”

Also speaking, Grand Gedeh County Senator Zoe Emmanuel Pennue called on his colleagues to also sound a caveat to nominees to discourage them from “calling their business partners” by using the Liberian Senate as a pawn to generate funds from them.

“Nobody has asked anybody for a dime for confirmation. And so, those nominees that are coming-the business community should be careful that nobody should ask you because he or she is your friend and has been nominated to a position that is in your favor asking you for financial assistance to come and see the Senators. That is not true.”

He said though the caveat being sounded to fraudsters is welcoming, those coming for confirmation should also be warned against extorting or offering monies to Senators.

He stated that presidential nominees who are qualified and competent to serve in government should only avail themselves to the relevant committees of the Senate as scheduled for confirmation instead of soliciting monies from their “business partners” under false pretense.

“Those that are qualified should come here with their documents; those that are already confirmed are not more Liberian that you. But please, don’t use our names out there.”

Senator Thomas Yaya Nimely of Grand Gedeh County also alarmed that his name was used by a fraudster who attempted extorting money from the nominee for the position of the Minister of Internal Affairs and three others.

He blamed the situation on the influx of those he called “419ers” in the Liberian society, noting that, “I think we need to find a solution.”

He said GSM companies should get involved to establish the rightful ownerships of those phone numbers that are being used.

“The public must be made aware that anybody using the name of any Senator, they should not do it. If you have the name or contact number of the Senator, contact them quietly,” Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County stated.

He stressed the need for the Liberian Senate to issue a statement against the situation.

Senator Dillon emphasized that nominees should also be cautioned against holding discussions with Senators surrounding the offering of money to pave the way for the confirmation.

He said nominees should not also negotiate with any member of the Senate Secretariat for the consideration of their confirmations.

The Senators, however, failed to state the name of a particular nominee or fraudster extorting monies from their “business partners” for confirmation or using their names to solicit funds from nominees

Despite their failure, the Plenary of the Senate has mandated its Secretariat and the Department of Press and Public Affairs to issue a public service notice on the matter.

Plenary is the highest decision making body of the Senate.

The mandate comes at a time the names of barrage of nominees are being forwarded to the Liberian Senate for confirmation by President Boakai in keeping with Article 54 of the 1986 Constitution.

Amongst other things, Article 54 states that: the president shall nominate and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission cabinet ministers, ambassadors, ministers, consuls, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of subordinate courts,” amongst others.

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