Senate Debates 15% National Budget Bill Soon

first_imgAccording to an impeachable source, an intense debate looms in the Senate Chamber when a Bill proposed during the 2nd Session of the 53rd Senate calling for the allotment of 15% of the National Budget as County Development Fund (CDF) re-appears this week.The Bill was sponsored by River Cess Senator Jay Jonathan Banney, and signed by 15 Senators of the joint committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget in a prepared report.The report recommended that 15% of the fiscal national budget be appropriated annually for the development of the 15 political subdivisions of the country, and that such be passed into law.Counties are currently receiving an amount of US$200,000 annually as CDF, which all the Senators agreed was inadequate to address their  (the counties’) many development needs.Although every Senator present at last year’s debate agreed to the need for an increment in the CDF, some argued the recommendation for a 15% allotment was too much.Senators Frederick Cherue and Abel Massalley welcomed the recommended increment, but suggested an annual allocation of US$1 million and US$2 million rather than 15 percent; which they argued was too much and called for an amendment. Senator Dallas Gueh contested that anything below 15% of the national budget would be far too small.The return of the 15% National Budget Bill comes in the wake of recent proposal by House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and subsequent approval by the House of Representatives that an amount of 73 million United States Dollars be placed in the 2014/2015 National budget for direct district impact projects.Speaker Tyler, who was making remarks at the joint program held in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building during a joint session for the opening of the 3rd Session of the Legislature on January 13, 2014, did not say who would manage the funds (Legislature or Executive). However, some lawmakers have been saying that the money is going to be managed by district residents by expended by the Executive. He explained that the appropriation for infrastructural development should be in what he referred to as a “ballpark figure” and that implementation of each project identified would be clearly and specifically vetted on a project-by-project basis and approved by the Legislature before final appropriation and implementation is made.Speaker Tyler said the allotment would be distinct from the County Development Fund, saying; “this is one of the ways we believe that much needed development can reach and impact our people in rural Liberia.”Speaking on a radio talk show Monday, January 20, Senator Dallas Gueh said he would rather discuss the 15% Bill proposed in the Senate because according to him, it is more feasible.Meanwhile, there are indications that that first piece of legislation passed by the Lower House will soon be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.However, with a more controversial Bill before that august body for action, many legislative commentators foresee the constitution of a conference committee to help reconcile the two Bills drafted “in the best interest of our citizens.”In  related development, the  Senate committee authorized to handle financial and currency matters is expected to make a written report to the Senate plenary on its findings responsible for the continuous rise in the exchange rate between the Liberian Dollar and the United States Dollar, when that body convenes in Chamber for its third day sitting.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Indian-origin Man Sentenced to 27 Years In Prison For Funding Al-Qaeda

first_imgA 39-year-old man of Indian origin was on Nov. 6 sentenced to 27 years in prison for funding Al-Qaeda and plotting to kill the federal judge hearing his case in the United States. Yahya Farooq Mohammad and his brother Ibrahim Mohammad were among the four men indicted for sending $22,000 to slain America-born cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, the leader of Yemen-based Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in September 2015.Yahya Farooq Mohammad had come to the United States to study engineering at Ohio State University in 2002. He married a U.S. citizen in 2008. Along with two others, he traveled to Yemen on July 22, 2009 and had the money delivered to Awlaki, an influential recruiter among the al-Qaeda’s ranks, via a third party.The U.S. Department of justice said in a statement that Mohammad “admitted to conspiring with his co-defendants to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars, equipment, and other assistance to Anwar Al-Awlaki, in an effort to support violent jihad against US military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.”Anwar Al-Awlaki, marked as a global terrorist in 2010, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September 2011.According to the Justice Department, in April 2016 when their cases were pending before the court, Mohammad tried to get the judge for their trial — District Judge Jack Zouhary — killed. He offered an inmate in the Lucas County, Ohio jail, where he was housed about $15,000 to abduct and kill the judge. The inmate put Mohammad in touch with an assassin and Mohammad had his wife — a U.S. citizen living in Illionois — pay $1,000 as down payment to the assassin, who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.The justice department statement quoted Mohammad as saying, “The sooner would be good, you know” when asked when he wanted the murder committed. His wife met the FBI operative on May 5, 2016 and handed him the money.“He threatened the safety of our citizens, a judge and the independent judiciary. Now he is being held accountable,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said.“I never anticipated I would face the ordeal of a defendant putting a price on my head and taking concrete steps to hire for murder — my murder — where the FBI would ask me to help fake my own death in a case where I had yet to make any decisions that might impact the defendant’s guilt or innocence, and where getting rid of me could only achieve the appointment of a new judge on the case,” Judge Zouhary ‘s statement was read in court by Matthew Shepherd, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, the Toledo Blade newspaper reported.A few weeks after the judge’s death was faked, the FBI agent met Mohammad’s wife and showed her a picture of “dead” Judge Zouhary and asked for the rest of the money.Mohammad pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support or resources to terrorists and one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence in U.S. federal court in Toledo, Ohio. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he will be deported after serving his sentence of 27.5 years in federal prison. The other three — Ibrahim Mohammad, Asif Ahmed Salim and Sultane Room Salim — pleaded not guilty to charges. Related Itemsal-QaedaAnwar Al-AwlakiGlobal terroristLittle IndiaNRIOhioTerroristYahya Farooq Mohammadyemenlast_img read more