L$15.5B Saga Lingers

-House Invites Key Stakeholders

By Reuben Sei Waylaun

The saga surrounding the missing L$15.5 billion still lingers as members of the House of Representatives unanimously endorsed a communication from Montserrado County electoral district eight Representative, Acarous Moses Gray to invite key stakeholders.

In his communication to the plenary of the House of Representatives Tuesday November 6, 2018, Representative Gray reminded his colleagues that all revenue bills originate from the House of Representatives and as such, the missing L$15.5 billion is a serious concern.

The Montserrado County lawmaker also wants the plenary to investigate the Central Bank of Liberia to explain how it came up with the decision to print extra L$10.5 billion after members of that august body instructed the bank to print only L$5billion.

Gray said “those of us who served in the 53rd Legislature in 2016 agreed to print L$5billion and we affixed our signatures, but when the request was made for additional ten billion? we requested the central bank to give a detail explanation to state why the additional ten billion was printed. The central bank ignored our request and printed the additional banknotes without our consent.”

Although the Liberian Government has since invited international investigators to investigate the missing money, but Representative Gray said he sees nothing unconstitutional, illegal to invite the former and current officials of government from the CBL, MFDP and others, saying “it doesn’t mean we are against the Liberian people or the current investigation.”

“That’s mandate can only come from the House of Representatives and this money is important domestically and internationally. It’s not to satisfy the International community, but the Constitution of Liberia. The hearing will be public,” he argued.

Following the defense of his argument, the communication was opened for deliberations as Representative Clarence Massaquoi of Lofa County electoral district three differed with Gray saying “we need to ask ourselves whether the letter in the possession of the CBL is real to involve our decision. The executive branch in her mind invited the International partner and the investigation is ongoing and we know they are credible and we trusted them to come to us. Our action has even become an object of the investigation. The international community is investigating the matter and it wouldn’t hurt us and let allow them to continue and the report will be given to us to act on it.”

Representative Massaquoi was joined by Lofa County electoral district four Representative Mariamu Fofana who said “this is very important issue that has damaged the image of the country nationally and internationally. Every town hall meeting the people are asking for their missing money. We are part of the investigation; individual members are part of the investigation and how can we ourselves convene investigation. We should give the international community the chance to investigate and if there are issues coming from the findings, we can hold a public forum regarding this. This matter is very sensitive.”

Besides the two lawmakers, all the lawmakers in session agreed to hold a public hearing investigating those involved with the printing of the additional banknotes and whereabouts of the missing banknotes.

At the end of an hour deliberation, a motion was filed by Montserrado County electoral district five Representative Thomas Fallah that the current and past heads of the MFDP, CBL, LRA MOJ, Deputy Bank Governor, former House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay be made to appear before that august body on Thursday November 8, 2018 at 10am to explain what they know of the missing billions.

It was also agreed that current Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah appear before that body on next Tuesday to explain in detail how the US$25million was infused into the economy and how much was infused. Minister Tweah will appear along with the president of the Bankers Association to explain whether commercial banks received the US$25million. They will appear before the committee on Banking and Currency at 10am.

The motion was endorsed with 25 lawmakers for, one against and none abstention.

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