-Speedily Clarified Controversial Statements
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
House Speaker Bhofal Chambers is said to have succumbed to public condemnations for his controversial statements that agents of the United States contacted by the Liberian Government to probe the alleged missing LRD16billlion won’t succeed if they want members of that august body to appear before them.
Speaking during a press conference in Monrovia, Speaker Chambers maintained that the House of Representatives wouldn’t accept invitation from investigators, arguing that they are exempted from investigation as the first branch of government, evoking the law of the land, but couldn’t quote such law.
The governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) staunch partisan said “the people from the FBI know contemporary democracy; they know contemporary constitution. They will never think of inviting the House of Representative for an investigation doing so will be a failure on their part.”
But following his press conference, the House Speaker received serious public condemnations as Liberians who called on various night time programs on the radio stations across the country condemned him.
Some even alleged that his comments show that he is undermining the government in which he is a speaker. Most of the talkshows on radio stations on Friday analyzed and discussed his statements, with Liberians phoning to condemn his statements.
Based on such condemnations, House Speaker Chambers himself called on Truth FM morning show dangling to clarify the context in which he spoke.
According to Speaker Chambers on the radio station, the National Legislature will fully cooperate with the investigators in providing all necessary documents requested, but they wouldn’t appear before them.
The mysterious disappearance of the LRD16 billion remains one of the contentious issues in the country as Liberians at home and abroad continue to demand the status of their money.
On Monday September 24, 2018, Liberians took to the streets of Monrovia demanding the whereabout of their money, but addressing the media, Speaker Chambers described those Liberians as ‘noisemakers.’
“Basically, when people say bring back our money, it’s noise because to say bring our money means you know where the containers are,” he said.
Press Release From His Office:
A statement issued by his office on Friday said the speaker was misquoted and is far-fetched and disingenuous to the actual intent and statement of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Speaker Chambers’ political Officer, George Watkins intoned that Speaker Chambers’ assertion to news men in Monrovia has been taken out of context and hasten to say that the House of Representatives, as asserted by Speaker Chambers will cooperate with the independent investigators if any interest shall arise, but such will be done on the path of collaboration and not subordinating the House as a body through summon or any other means of submission on doctrine of compel compliance.
Watkins further said “until present, he has no official acknowledgement from the government of Liberia about the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents (FBI) been in country to handle the “LRD$16-Billion” issue, but an independent firm hired by USAID to work with the government of Liberia Investigation panel to look in to the printing and melting of Liberian currency since 2016.”
Watkins quotes Speaker Chambers as saying, “the House of Representatives has been speaking to several persons of interest about the debacle of billions of Liberian Dollars reportedly missing to including the former CBL Boss Milton Weeks, former Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, and several others. He says that the Honorable House of Representatives will be willing to brief the investigators on account of what’s they’ve gathered so far on the controversial Liberian Dollars debacle.”
Representative Larry Younquoi of Nimba electoral district eight, Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County electoral district ten and other lawmakers said it was good that Speaker Chambers clarified or else they would have rejected his statements as honorable members of the House of Representatives.
Prior to his press conference last Thursday, there was some murmuring across the city that the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, Madam Mildred Sayon was allegedly invited by the investigators for some clarity.
Speaker Chambers comments comes in the wake of claims and counter claims between the Central Bank of Liberia and the Legislature over who gave authorization for the printing of excess LRD10 billion banknotes.
He added “the House of Representatives is the fulcrum of democracy. Any other institution cannot invite this legislature; this legislature is under constitutional obligation to call anybody for questioning. The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) told us there is no missing money so how the transaction and authorization was done in my view will be the point of investigation,” he maintained his argument.