Members of the House of Representatives
have each received brand new digital laptop computers worth a total of US$167,000 meant to “ease their legislative” performance.
But a reliable source told this paper that the equipment were donated to the lawmakers as an inducement to speed up the passage of the 2012/2013 national budget still languishing at the legislature. The IPod computers, which were unveiled by Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Jr, House Chair on Rules, Order and Administration behind closed doors during a two-day retreat on the national budget in Careysburg, include the newly introduced Cellcom 4G SIM Card and soft copies of the US$649.72 million multi-year budget. Jubilation seized several House members who attended the retreat at the Bell Dunbar Farm in Careysburg outside Monrovia, spontaneously chanting “let it snow, let it snow”—a popular campaign slogan for Rep. Snow during the 2011 elections.
“We have brought you ladies and gentlemen of the 53rd legislature brand new IPod computers to ease your legislative work,” Rep. Snowe said while presenting the computers. Authorities at the Ministry of Finance that recently hosted a joint luncheon over the budget, denied knowledge about the issue.
“I don’t know about it,” the director of Press at the Finance Ministry, Mr. Sidiki Twawary told this paper Sunday via mobile phone.
Rep. Edwin M. Snowe also denied the speculation. In an interview with legislative reporters, he said a contract was signed with a local firm to “purchase 75 pieces of IPods, 75 pieces of desktop computers, 75 pieces of wireless printers and the total amount came to US$ 167,000.” “Lawmakers are capable of purchasing their own IPods. [But] thanks to the 53rd legislature, that we still had money left in our project budget and out of that proceeds, we decided that we needed equipment to work. So a decision was reached to purchase these equipment, he said.
“And the reason we decided to have the IPods is to enable legislators move around, take notes and perform other works. We went into a memorandum with Celcom, they provided a 4G SIM Card so we legislators have access to the internet. Celcom has contributed it for the 1st two months,” he explained.