-Former CBL Boss Says He Acted On How He Understood House’s Communication
Former Central Bank Governor, Milton Weeks says he understood the communication from the House of Representatives to mean that he should go ahead to print additional money and infuse it into the Liberian economy.
Former CBL Governor Weeks, with glasses as he takes oath ahead of his testimony before the plenary of the House of Representatives
Appearing before the plenary of the House of Representatives, the former CBL Governor said they (Lawmakers and the CBL) well communicated and based on the communication, he went ahead to print the additional Liberian dollar banknotes.
He informed that body that all of the documents and transactions that led to the money were all legal and that the money is not missing as claimed.
He said all of the documents relating to delivery of the printed money are with the CBL, adding that he could not take them with him while leaving office.
“Ask the current governor to help with the documents,” he said.
He was asked to interpret the lawmakers’ communication written him which led to the printing of the additional money.
The former CBL boss said they were told to replace all of the legal banknotes(Liberty) with the newly printed notes and by that, he said the money that was in the vaults was insufficient to replace all of the banknotes.
According to him, the printing of any money should be what he called confidential because of it security nature.
“It was because of that I concluded that the House of Representatives has given their approval to print the additional banknotes,” Weeks added.
The communication from the Liberian legislature reads as saying “We present our compliments and by directive of the Plenary of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively apprise you that in separate discussions on the declining state of the Liberian economy, the Legislature has made the following decision to wit: That the Government of Liberia should continue to use the United States dollars and Liberian dollars until at such time when the country’s export base has increased significantly.”
It went on to say “That the Central Bank of Liberia is hereby requested to replace the legacy notes Liberty completely with the newly printed banknotes so that there will be a single type of Liberian currency, thus facilitating proper control of money supply, and that the Central Bank of Liberia is authorized to introduce coins in lower denomination into the economy, to allow fractional transaction which would help to minimize inflation.”The legislature went on to say in their letter that: “Meanwhile, the Legislature would request that you furnish this body with the appropriate details of the volume and denomination of the new banknotes prior to the printing and the minting of coins.”
Also appearing for interrogation for the missing money was deputy Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Decontee King Sackie who informed the House of Representatives that to her knowledge, the LRA between 2016 to 2018 processed 25 40 footed containers for the CBL.
She did not say if those 25 40 footed containers were money or not, but said eight of those vessels were cleared in 2016 while the remaining were cleared between 2017 and 2018.
Also appearing for the hearing was former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Cllr. Frederick Doe Cherue who said he only got to know about the missing billions through the help of the Liberian media publications and radio talk shows.
He said during the time he was Attorney General for Liberia, he did not see any contract that spoke of printing of any money.
For his part, former House Speaker, James Emmanuel Nuquay told the plenary that the former CBL boss acted his own way to have gone ahead and print the controversial additional 10.5 billion Liberian Dollars.
Interpreting the House’s decision which was communicated to the than CBL governor, Nuquay said “the letter is very clear, there is nothing in there that say the CBL should print new banknotes”.
Former Speaker went on to say “what plenary told him was that he should infuse the already printed banknotes into the market and if there is a need to print additional, he should have us inform, he did not”.
It was against that backdrop that some members of the House of Representatives angrily said the former CBL boss has lied under oath and that he should be reprimanded at the Central Parson until investigation into the matter is concluded.
Representatives Edwin Snowe said “this hearing should be changed to a criminal investigation you have brought this body to public disrepute. For too long we have been insulted by Liberians and this issue has scared potential investors”.
For his part, CDC district #8 lawmaker, Acarous Moses Gray said the action of the former CBL governor usurped the authority of the House of Representatives and that due process should be served him so that he faces law.
According to Gray, the action of the former CBL boss is a clear deception to them.
The hearing was suspended to provide time for former deputy governors of the CBL also appear before the House of Representatives before any action or decision can be reached.
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