Amid claims and counter-claims surrounding the alleged missing billions, Deputy Central Bank of Liberia Charles Sirleaf has emphatically said that no money is missing as it is being stated in several quarters of the country.
Among pertinent issues of national concerns raising eyebrows in the country has been the missing money; Pres. George Weah in keeping with the constitution of Liberia called the Legislature to a one-month special sitting to decide on national issues since both Houses were on constitutional recess.
Recently, the former governor of the CBL Milton Weeks along with the former board of governors appeared before the House plenary and stated that there were no missing money and they acted on the communications emanating from the legislature which in their mind served the purpose of authorization for the printing of 10.5 billion. A member of the Board of Governors Madam Emmet indicated that the board part was strictly on the resolution but the CBL’s Operation had total control for the money coming in the country.
House Plenary invited CBL deputy Governor Charles Sirleaf, Mr. Joseph Dennis and Forkpa, Head and Deputy of Internal Audit Department to give clarity on the printing and other issues surrounding the missing billions.
During the hearing at the House plenary in chambers, blame shifting became the order of the day when Governor Charles stated both communications and resolution from the Legislature and Board of Governors suggested the monies printing.
Additionally, both Mr. Dennis and Forkpa told plenary that they cannot remember the number of containers that arrived in the country over the period relating to the printing of new money. The internal audit section of the CBL provides checks and balances to transactions, printings and also verifies shipping orders relating to the Bank’s money.
“I didn’t see the Legislature Resolution, I only saw the CBL board of Governors Resolution and letters from the Legislature and the former president”, Forkpa indicated.
The CBL had prior enter into a contract with a printing firm for the printing of the 10.5 billion on June 12, 2017 before a formal request was made to the Legislature in July 2017.
With the printing of the 10.5 billion couple with the previous 5billion, the Liberian economy continues to suffer major constraints with huge exchange rates and old legacy tender notes flooding the market.
According to Governor Sirleaf, the process of moving money from one location to another is a security issue which he stated has been disclosed to the public through the investigation team, doubting the possibility of money being missing.
“When the money arrived in the country it was escorted by heavily armed security personnel and take to the two volts one at waterside and the CBL itself, so no money is missing”.
Governor Sirleaf fumbled today before plenary to answer as to who authorized the printing of the 10.5 billion as he referenced a May 24, 2017 communication to the former Senate Protemp Armah Jallah by the CBL to acknowledge the printing on the Bank’s mandate through its actions to print money.
In a July 17, 2017 letter to the CBL, 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.
Additionally, the deputy governor Sirleaf pointed out that additional money printed was intended to mop up excess old banknotes and also stabilize the money flow in the country. “Only 10% of the Money stays in the CBL while 90% is out there in places that the CBL is not aware of due to the transactions being carried out”.
That the CBL proceeded with the printing of the money in the absence of a resolution from the Legislature, analysts say the CBL acted on his own which amounts to usurpation of Legislative function and it amounts to contempt charges under the House’s rule 4.1 which is not appealable.
Speaker Bhofal Chambers indicated in session that the witnesses’ testimonies are informing the House of Representative’s decision on the matter. The Speaker added that the witnesses will appear on Thursday to give further clarity on the matter.