House Speaker Snowe Returns US$2,000
You'll recall that the president made history a short while back by returning to government coffers many thousands of dollars that she hadn't spent from her travel allowance. No Liberian president had ever done such a thing before. Well now, House Speaker Edwin Snowe, ex-son-in-law of Charles Taylor, a man with a reputation as a kleptocrat and gangster (who's also a popular figure in Liberian public life, go figure) has returned some travel money of his own.
This guy has been under a UN travel ban for a few years, which was only relaxed for the trip in question, to a conference in Qatar. He was being watched like a hawk, I'm sure. At one point the papers carried a story that he may have been arrested in Ghana, but it seems Snowe was able to explain that allegation away.
Incidentally, the New Democrat newspaper reported yesterday that Snowe's entourage included a couple of extra people (one Lebanese and one ex-minister from the days of the Transitional Government) who were listed as "Parliamentarians". The Lebanese guy was also identified as a translator by the Snowe camp, but the New Democrat claims to have confirmed that no such a job description exists in congress. The article intimates that the Lebanese guy may have something to do with Snowe's alleged bank accounts in Lebanon.
In a taxi the other day, our car was caught in a jam caused by the passing of Snowe's convoy. He drives a gold Mercedes SUV. My taxi driver was beaming, telling me, "Oh, that's Edwin Snowe! He's a politician, but he's just a regular guy, like you and me."