“Premature and Disastrous” Sen. Milton Teahjay Terms Protesters Call For Economic Sanctions From International Community On Liberia

“Why call for an economic sanction from the International Community on a very young government of 8months when there are no facts surrounding this entire money saga?”

Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay has totally disagreed with calls from Monday, September 24, 2018, protesters to place economic sanctions on the present government until the reported missing 16billion investigation is conducted and concluded.

Protesters of Monday’s march presented petition statements to three of Liberia’s main international partners in the growth and development of the country urging them to withhold all financial and technical support to the Weah-led administration pending reports from the missing 16billion is concluded.

The protesters, a conglomeration of 26 civil society organizations, youth and student groups, under the banner ‘Concern Citizens United to Bring our Money Back’ further urged in their petition to the EU, UN and the US Embassy that a forensic investigation be launched into the missing billions; moreover calling for further investigation into president Weah’s pronouncement of 25million infusion into the Liberian economy during its inflation period recently.

According to Sen. Teahjay, the protesters’ call undermines the livelihood of the Liberian people in whose interest the protest was held recently. “If the international community listens to the protester’s petition on economic sanctions it will be disastrous in this country because our people will suffer it and our children will not be able to go to school”.

Sen. Teahjay said though he welcomed the peaceful conduct of the march but underscored the need for Liberians to transform the society from acting on rumors to inquiring factual information which is verified for action.

He further considered himself as one of the fighters for civil rights, especially during former Pres. Tolbert and Tubman eras within the country, noting that the strive for peace and national development cannot be overemphasized.

“ We acknowledge the right of citizens to seek redress on issues in the country for which some of us stood up as progressives during the 1979 rice riots and other protests in the country to seek further answers to issues arising”.

Questions have been raised in several quarters over the missing money and Liberians are yet to understand information surrounding the entire saga.

Sen. Teahjay, a Senate Committee member on Banking and Currency stated that at no time did the Legislature approved the printing of additional money (10Billion) through the Central Bank of Liberia as it is being stated.

He explained that the Legislature ordered the CBL through a communication to state the denominations and amount of mutilated notes that needed to be changed on the Liberian market before it can approve further printings, “ CBL’s communication over the replacement of mutilated notes was reviewed, debated but never approved over the fact that we needed to know some important information like the denominations and amount of mutilated notes before we can authorize the printing of more with attached figure and that was never done so who approved this additional money is the question that needs answer”, he noted.

According to the July 17, 2017 communication which is in the possession of this paper, former CBL governor Milton Weeks, the CBL by the Legislature, ordered the replacement of mutilated notes with new currency to the CBL but with a request of appropriate details on the volume and denominations.

“That the CBL is hereby requested to replace the legacy noted (Liberty) completely with newly printed banknotes so that there will be a single type of Liberian currency thus facilitating proper control of the money supply”.
“Meanwhile, the legislature would request that you furnish that body with the appropriate details of the volume and denomination of the replacing banknotes prior to the printing”, the Letter indicated.

The Legislature communication was in its assigned power as contained in Article 35 (d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.
Sen. Teahjay argued that the present government of Pres. George Weah cannot be held liable for said missing billion as it was done by the past government and its leadership.

“The former governor must be made to answer questions on the additional printing of the money and this government is not responsible for this money because it was never in office when this process occurred so the protesters must come to the realization that a call for an investigation is the way”.

“I will formally write the three international organizations that the protesters call for economic sanctions be ignored as a means to further strengthen international relationship for developmental purposes”, Sen. Teahjay noted.

He further called on Unity Partisans to avoid being manipulated by other opposition to thwart the peace of Liberia and focus on rebuilding the country,

“I support collaboration within the opposition that will reflect a positive image of the country other than getting involved in the contrary with this, Our partisans need to be very careful with opposition partnership which will not bring chaos”, Sen. Teahjay, a UP Stewart stated.

Fingers have been pointed to the past administration over the missing money but former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has debunked some government officials’ claim that the past administration is responsible.

Madam Sirleaf in an interview with the BBC recently stated that the printing of currency doesn’t in anyway link the past administration to any fraud of such but the authorization is made from the National Legislature.

President Weah recently constituted a team of investigators from the National Security Service, Forensic Investigation Unit, Liberia National Police, and Ministry of Justice among others to aid the investigation of the reported missing money. Recently, other civil society, religions and student institutions were named to form part of the investigation, the Council of Churches, Federation of Liberia Youth, and Civil Society Council of Liberia among others.

Recently, former CBL governor in a press conference said that the authorization of the printing of additional notes rested with the Board of Governors in which he said 10Billion was authorized for printing.

“I cannot take decisions without the board’s permission so everything was done in consultation with the board and the executive branch”, governor Weeks said.

According to the Central Bank of Liberia Act of 1999 section, 32 (2) and the financial institutions acts also of 1999, grant the CBL the authority to print and issue Liberian Dollar (LD) Bank Notes but with the consent of the Legislature.

It all seemed that the CBL board of governors acted on the legislative approval to replace the mutilated notes but ignored the last portion of the legislature’s letter to furnish that body with appropriate details on the volume and denomination of the replaced banknotes.

According to the Board’s Resolution No. BR-06-/2017, which is in our possession, stated that “Whereas the Legislature has expressed to the CBL, through its letter dated July 19, 2017, its full consent for the printing and subsequent issuance of new LD banknotes; the simultaneous replacement of all legacy LD notes and the introduction of LD coins in lower denominations.

The resolution furthered that “Now, therefore, it is hereby resolved by the Board of Governors of the CBL that the Executive Governor of the CBL is hereby authorized to replace the legacy LD notes completely with newly print banknotes so that there will be a single type of LD currency thus facilitating proper control of the money supply”.

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