With the ongoing investigation into the missing 16 billion Liberian dollars saga, Margibi County District #4 Representative Ben. A. Fofana has expressed willingness to avail himself to the investigative team to provide information on what he knows about the printing of the new Liberian banknotes if he is called upon or he will voluntarily do so.
Hon. Fofana told newsmen in Kakata on Monday, November 5, 2018, that he played a pivotal role in the printing of the money from the onset when the request was being made.
“You know in the House when issues come on the floor, sometimes because of the nature of the issue the Speaker has the right to set up a specialize committee to look into the issue and come out with a professional recommendation or input and give advice to plenary” he added.
According to him, when the issue of the printing of the money was raised, former Speaker Alex Tyler in his wisdom decided to setup up a specialized committee comprising of professionals and financial experts to view the issue and advice the plenary on the way forward adding that said committee was chaired by him.
The Lawmaker stated that the committee has some idea regarding the printing of the new banknotes, as such; he thinks it will help the investigative committee.
Hon Fofana further revealed that the Central Bank officials wrote the former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requesting for the replacement of mutilated banknotes commonly known as tear-tear and not to print additional money to be in circulation.
The Margibi Caucus Chairman averred that the former President then wrote a cover letter and attached it to the CBL’s communication and sent it to the National Legislature and it was read on the floor and forwarded to the specialized committee that was set up by former Speaker Tyler.
He averred that the letter was again read in their Committee room indicating that the amount that the CBL requested to be printed to replace the mutilated money was spelled out in bold letters in the tone of five billion Liberian dollars.
Hon. Fofana indicated that the Committee under his chairmanship held several meetings with the past leadership of the Central Bank of Liberia and in one of the meetings, the Committee told the CBL officials that since its intention was to get rid of the mutilated bank notes from the market, the Committee wanted to know the denomination of mutilated banknotes ranging from the five dollars bank note to the hundred dollars banknote respectively, and how many of each of the banknotes will be replaced but it was not made known to the Committee.
He explained that the Committee got to know later that the actual intent of the CBL was to print more money something he said the Committee mandated the Bank officials to go and make a comeback later for further discussion.
The Representative added that the Committee also wanted to know from the CBL the amount of Liberian dollars in circulation in the economy since the printing of the 5 billion dollars was meant to replace mutilated money but there was no response regarding that.
He said the CBL officials on their next appearance carried samples of the money they wanted to print among which was the five hundred dollar banknote, stating that the committee had problem with the decision thus refusing to give approbation to CBL to print the money.
“When they left, they went back to their principal; apparently when the Central Bank was sharing this information with us maybe by then they had already sent order in place or was in process, they were printing it and we noticed that and we said, in fact, it looks like these guys sent order already so we even wanted to stall the process to make sure that the right thing is done” he lamented.
He pointed out that when the CBL officials went to their principals, it was then the leadership crisis at the House of Representatives intensified and by then some of his colleagues wanted change of leadership at the House of Representatives supported by their principals at the level of the Executive.
There, Hon. Fofana said his colleagues violated every rule that governs the House of Representatives and the Constitutional provisions to change the leadership by force to do whatever they intended to do including the printing of the money, stating that his leadership did not approve the printing of the five hundred dollar note on grounds that it was a gross misstep and violation of the Law and the check and balance system.
The Lawmaker also said he is hearing that the amount of ten billion dollars was printed in different denominations ranging from five dollars note to the five hundred dollar note and it was printed without the involvement of the plenary.
Hon. Fofana meanwhile said he condemns the alleged missing 16 billion dollars as a leader of District #4.