KAKATA, Margibi – On Monday, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development released its 2015 legislative performance report grading lawmakers of the 53rd National Legislature. The report ranked specific lawmakers on various aspects of their performances and highlighteds overall concerns with the institution.
According to the report, Senator Jim Tornonlah of Margibi and four other senators performed very poorly in plenary participation.
“There were five Senators who got the lowest in plenary Participation; those Senators include: Sen. George M. Weah of Montserrado County, Jim Tornonlah of Margibi County, Prince Johnson of Nimba County, Henry W. Yallah of Bong County and Sando Johnson of Bomi County,” the report said.
In regards to plenary attendance, Ben Fofana of Margibi District four, Mary Karwor of Grand Bassa County, Garrison Yealue of Nimba County, Robertson Siaway of Grand Bassa County, and Alfred Jaweh of Rivercess County reported the highest performance during the period.
At the same time, the five members who ranked the lowest in plenary attendance are Tokpah Mulbah of Bong County, Emmanuel Nuquay of Margibi County, Saah Joseph of Montserrado County, Eugene F. Kparkar of Lofa County and Isaac Roland of Maryland County.
The IREDD survey also revealed that the legislature has been weak in compelling government agencies and ministries to submit quarterly and annual budgetary performance reports on a regular basis.
Additionally, the report accused legislators of misusing public funds. “In FY 2012/13, an allocation approved from $20.5 to $34 million in the name of reform was rather converted for legislators’ personal wealth, leaving out purported reform to support Legislative Budget Office and Legislative Information System,” the report revealed.
The IREDD report also accused the Senate of failing miserably in assessing the competence and integrity of executive nominees during confirmation hearings.
“The persistent confirmation of nominees with proven lack of competence after even been rejected by a specialized committee has often beclouded the image of the Senate,” the report noted. “For example, the former Auditor General Robert Kirby scenario and many others, who also did not pass public and Senate scrutiny but were later awarded confirmation.”
The report also claimed that the composition of committees is driven by either partisanship or political interest and not by competence and knowledge. According to IREDD, this has undermined the functionality and productivity of not just committees but the legislature as an institution.
“The weakness in the manner and form committees function is amplified by the lack of experienced and qualified staffs to support the work of specialized committees. The legislature successive appropriations in the last two years lack budget line to support the strengthening of committees and the development of staffers.”
Featured photo by David Stanley