Liberia News: Boakai, Weah On “Ice”

: Members of the House of Representatives have voted and deferred the Transitional Team and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to be subjected to an investigation of the Banking and Currency Committee.

The decision is to settle a misunderstanding regarding information around the country’s balance at the CBL. The Committee is mandated to inform that body after its investigation about the US$20.5 million which President Joseph N. Boakai announced during the January 29′ State of the Nation Address (SONA).

According to a motion by Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon  Seboe, the House’s Banking and Currency Committee should probe the Central Bank of Liberia, including the  Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, J. Aloysius Tarlue and his deputies,  Dr. Musa Dukuly, Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, and Madam Nyemadi D. Pearson, Deputy Governor for Operations as well as the Transition Team to ascertain which “data” were submitted to the President to have said that the report of US$40 million as the Government’s consolidated account balance as of January 19, 2024, is not supported by the fact.

In a motion, Seboe said, that from the testimonies of the Central Bank of Liberia, it was indicated that as of January 19, there were over L$2.4 billion in the Consolidated Account as well as more than US$27 million; and as per the approved prevailing rate of US$1 to L$188.36; that means the total amount in the Consolidated Account on January 19 was about US$40.4m.

The motion said the Banking and Currency Committee will report to that august body on Tuesday, February 6. Plenary’s decision on Thursday was triggered by testimonies from CBL Governor Tarlue and Deputy CBL Governor Pearson on the clarity of bank balances on December 31, 2023, and January 19, 2024, respectively.

Yesterday, this paper reported that the CBL boss was caught in a ‘cross-fire’ over the controversial US$40 million left by the Weah administration in the country’s Consolidated Account something the President in his State of the Nation Address said was untrue. This meant that the governor was in the limelight to explain if the former president, George Weah reported facts as against the current president, Joseph N. Boakai who reported a lower figure.

Since President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s revelation of US$20.5 million in the government’s Consolidated Account instead of the US$40 million as reported by former President George M. Weah, there has been public debate as to who misapplied the money at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

There has been mounting concern over the balance of US$20 million in the government’s consolidated account with the report that the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) reported US$20.5 million to the Boakai’s administration thus, contradicting President Weah’s final report of US$40 million in the consolidated account of the Liberian Government.

Other information from the Capitol yesterday confirmed that the Weah administration left the US$40 million in the consolidated account, but that US$40.4 million was in Liberian Dollars, something that probably brought the misunderstanding between the old and new administration.

Weah told the Liberian people that, “There is a bigger net international reserve position than was handed him in 2018. I inherited about US$94.99 in net international reserves, and I am handing over to the next administration a net international reserve position of US$222.700.”

The former Liberian leader added, “This is a 136 percent increase in net international reserve position.”

On the controversial US$40 million in the government’s consolidated account, former President Weah disclosed that the total cash balance in the Government’s Consolidated Accounts is US$40.44, 365.90. He said in 2018, his government inherited a consolidated cash position of about US$7 million.

But in his State of the Nation Address Monday, January 29, 2024, President Boakai disclosed that the balance reported by the CBL as of the same date of former President Weah’s report was US$20.5 million, a report by the CBL which grossly contradicts the former President’s report on the consolidated account.

President Boakai added that the net international reserves position reported at the end of December 2023 was US$220 million adding that the report of US $40 million as the government’s consolidated account balance as at January 19, 2024, is not supported by the fact.

But CBL documents confirmed that some of the money was in Liberian Dollars, while the other US$40 million was in United States Dollars.

As the House’s Committee on Banking and Currency investigates circumstances surrounding the US$40 million, Liberians are eagerly watching to see the actual truth of the matter.

“For now,  we can not accuse any of the leaders. We will say that they are on ice until the CBL boss can explain the status of the amount,” Anthony R. Nyafor, a student at the University of Liberia said.

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