Liberia: Senate Probes U.S.$40 Million Claim

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has ordered the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to clarify contradictions between President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and ex-President George Manneh Weah on the financial balance in the Consolidate Account.

The Senate has mandated its joint committees on Public Accounts and Audit, Banking, and Currency to invite the CBL authorities.

This order is due to ex-President Weah’s claim that his regime left US$40m in the Consolidated Account, while President Weah stated that the facts at the CBL do not agree with this figure.

During the presidential transitional period between Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) regime and Boakai’s Unity Party (UP), then-President Weah disclosed that over US$40 million was left in the country’s operational account at CBL.

But during Boakai’s first State of the Nation Address before the 55th Legislature, he revealed that the Liberian government had in its operational account a total of US$20.5 million.

President Boakai’s report showed a US$19.5 million difference and has sparked a serious public debate.

Members of the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives have also been concerned about these two statements.

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River Gee County Senator Francis Dopoe submitted a written communication to the plenary on Tuesday, 30 January 2024, asking the body to invite and quiz authorities of the CBL to clarify the actual amount in question.

When his communication was placed on the floor for plenary deliberations, Senator Dopoe recounted that similar contradictory statements were made in 2018 during the transitional period, which ushered in the now former ruling CDC.

“In 2018, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf reported leaving about US$150 million with the Liberian people, but when President Weah took over, he indicated that what he was inheriting was empty. These kinds of signals puzzle a lot of Liberians,” he added.

The River Gee County Senator stressed that the statement by President Boakai indirectly suggests that the country is broke.

He noted that the two different claims have the propensity to undermine the security of the state when the health, education, and security sectors are underperforming in the national budget.

“When people believe that the government has a lot of money and they’re out there don’t have medications and on the other hand people are also saying that indeed, there is no money, it calls for concern,” Dopoe said.

“So, I call on this honorable body to allow an investigation into this matter [so] that the public has an immediate clarity,” Senator Dopoe noted.

Also speaking, River Gee County Senator Jonathan Boye-Charles Sogbie backed his colleague and informed the plenary that the investigation through the public hearing will tell between the former and current presidents, who are telling lies to the citizens.

The plenary’s decision was made by a motion from Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon.

He also included in his amended motion that the joint Public Account and Audit and Banking and Currency Committees take siege of the matter with the Public Account Committee (PAC) being the lead committee in charge of the hearing.

The committee is to report to the plenary next Tuesday after which members of the body shall make the appropriate legislative determination to the Liberian people.

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