Controversy over the purported US citizenship of a son of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and his contested appointment as head of the national oil company (NOCAL) has continued to dog the Liberian leader.
The country’s legislators are not buying the president’s explanation that Robert Sirleaf has been working pro bono for NOCAL and suspect a dubious scheme to avoid paying taxes to the US where they claim he is a citizen.
Now the legislators are demanding that President Sirleaf designate a salary for her son so that he can be “more accountable” to the Liberian people.
“We have heard the President talk about Mr Robert Sirleaf working pro bono because of his love for his country and we do not challenge that,” said House of Representatives member James Biney at a press conference.
“That statement, which the President made, was not intended for Liberians. It was intended for the Americans so that they know he is not working for money so that he doesn’t pay taxes there,” the member alleged.
Questions over Robert Sirleaf`s appointment to the lucrative NOCAL position have refused to go away, with critics of his mother calling for his replacement.
The President has defended herself by saying he was a Liberian and very qualified for the position.
The critics now want Mrs Sirleaf to promise that Robert will not be paying taxes to the US once he gets a Liberian salary.
They insist that working for pay rather than pro bono will guarantee he is accountable to Liberians.