4 CBL Ex-Board Members Indicted

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Former CBL board members on trial (from left): Melisa Emeh, Kollie Tamba, Elsie Dossen Badio, David M. Farhat and former Executive Governor, Milton A. Weeks

— Massive arrest pending for Monday; re-indictment of former defendants Walker, Hagba and Dennis  

Amid allegations that the authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia (CB) between 2016 and 2017 without the approval of the legislature printed excess Liberian dollar banknotes amounting to L$2.645 billion and also paid US$835,367.72 to their former co-defendant, Crane Currency, the Government of Liberia, in addition to having dismissed criminal charges against suspended deputy executive governor for operations, Charles Sirleaf, has proceeded to indict the CBL’s four former members of the Board of Governors.

Those indicted were former chairman of the board of governors, David M. Farhat, Melisa Emeh, Kollie Tamba and Elsie Dossen Badio, all of whom were members.

Others include former executive governor and secretary of the board of governors Milton A. Weeks; Director for Operations, Richard Walker; Director for Finance Department, Dorbor Hagba; and Deputy Director for Internal Audit, Mr. Joseph Dennis.

An arrest of the defendants is expected o begin on Monday, June 8, a court officer confided with the Daily Observer.

The indictment was on Friday, June 5, turned over to the Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Tempe of Justice that is clothed with the legal authority to hear and determine theft related cases.

The charges of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and criminal solicitation were drawn against the defendants by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County, stationed, at Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice.

Surprisingly, the government had dropped those criminal charges against Sirleaf and Crane Currency, a Swedish currency printing company said to have facilitated the printing of the excess money.

Initially, the government dropped similar charges against Hagba, Dennis and Walker, but the government somersaulted on that decision to include the trio (Hagba, Dennis and Walker) bringing the defendants now to eight (8) in number.

Involvement of  Board of Governors

Apparently, the inclusion of the board of governors may have been necessitated by an early testimony of Weeks, when Weeks, on November 8, 2018 appeared before the plenary of the House of Representatives admitted that the printing of the additional L$10.5 billion new banknotes were not authorized by the Legislature.

Weeks told the House of Representatives that the board of governors decided on the printing of the additional banknotes based on past discussions with the Legislature.

“The Board of Governors also understood that the communication, signed by the Clerk of the House granting authorization to completely replace the remaining mutilated banknotes on the market, was an authority to go ahead and print the additional L$10.5 billion,” Weeks then told the extraordinary session on the matter.

The former CBL Executive Governor by then said, the printing of the additional banknotes was approved by the national Legislature. But members of the 53rd legislature, during whose tenure the printing of the additional banknotes was reportedly authorized, have continuously denied giving the bank a go-ahead for additional printing of money after earlier authorizing L$5 billion to be printed in April 2016 to replace mutilated banknotes on the market.

It can be recalled that in her testimony before the plenary on Monday, November 12, 2018, Madam Meliseh Emeh, a former member of the CBL Board, by then informed the lawmakers that in order to get more clarity on the alleged missing billions in banknotes, they should ask Mr. Sirleaf because, according to her, as Deputy Executive Governor of the CBL at the time of the printing of the new currency, he was mostly at the center of the operations of the bank.

Another member of the CBL Board of Governors, Madam Elsie Dossen Badio, during her appearance, informed the House of Representatives that the money was printed, brought into the country and infused into the economy; adding: “It was done in the best interest of the country’s economy.”

“To the best of my knowledge, we did the resolution based on a request made by the Governor to the Legislature to print additional notes to put into the economy. The 15 billion came into the country and was infused into the economy. We acted in the interest of the country in replacing mutilated notes,” she stated.

Like other witnesses, Mr. Kollie Tamba, another board member, insisted that the Bank got its authority to print additional money from the Legislature.

“Our resolution addressed the mandate from the Legislature. We were specific about the amount,” he added.

By then, the lawmakers said, the action of the bank and its Board of Governors brought past and current lawmakers to disrepute, and caused unwanted protests that impeded legislative functions, especially on September 24, when group of angry Liberians under the banner of Concerned Citizens United to Bring Back our Money, took to the streets to demand an independent investigation.

The CBL under Weeks’ predecessor, Dr. J. Mills Jones, advanced similar request to the House of Representatives. The communications from the CBL and the President were transferred to relevant committees with a mandate to analyze the request and guide plenary in making informed decisions.

Controversy surrounding dismissal of charges against Sirleaf 

Dismissing Sirleaf’s charges, Solicitor General Cllr. Seymah Cyrennius Cephus said they filed a request  for Nolle Prosequi with prejudice to the state in favor of Sirleaf because, according to Cephus, “This means that the state is no longer going to go after Mr. Sirleaf as it relates to this case, if there was any; meaning we are not indicting him. We have removed all the charges on him.”

Defending his action, the solicitor general said, they found out that Sirleaf’s only mistake in the process was that he (Sirleaf) made an “egregious abuse of administrative discretion” when he didn’t follow through with the instructions he had received earlier as it relates to the printing of the first L$5 billion.

Cephus added that initially the government had early recommended Thomas De La Rue to print the banknotes, unfortunately, Sirleaf and the other defendants, singlehanded chose Crane Currency to print the new money.

According to him, Sirleaf printed an entirely “new money”, containing the L$500 denomination, which he said wasn’t the original objective and it was infused into the economy. “Instead or withdrawing or replacing the legacy banknotes, they added the new money into the economy, so there was the concomitant or parallel usage of both the mutilated banknotes, which is the legacy banknotes.”

 

According to Cllr. Cephus, this is where the problem had come from. He added: “The problem was if you went to Thomas De La Rue, the line, the texture, the design, physical appearance and every other thing will look different, it will carry different stamp. If you went to Crane Currency, it will look different.”

Cephus’s utterances came shortly after former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, while being interviewed by foreign journalists on the Aljazeera program, Upfront, claimed that her son, Charles’s trial was being conducted “unjustifiably and  illegally.” Madam Sirleaf did not further elaborate on the matter; according to her, it is against the practice of the Liberian law.

Shortly after the resignation of Executive Governor J. Mills Jones, who had completed his term as Governor and needed to do so to enable him to contest for the presidency in the upcoming elections, Madam Sirleaf, in 2016, the year the missing money is said to have been printed, appointed her son, Charles as Interim Governor of the CBL.

Charles Sirleaf, when he also appeared before the Plenary of the House of Representatives, said that there is no money missing, as was being reported and the 53rd Legislature, and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf authorized the printing of additional L$10 billion.

He also maintained that no money printed was missing as being reported, noting all of the money was delivered in the vaults of the CBL.

“The Legislature and the President (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf) acknowledged receipt of the Ex-Governor’s letter and gave approval pending pre-condition, stating, before you can print money, provide us the detail of the denominations prior to printing of currency. That was very clear… There is no missing money. The process of moving money by the Central Bank is security oriented and the process was very clear and transparent,” Mr. Sirleaf clarified.

Contrary to Charles Sirleaf’s denial, the former Speaker of the 53rd National Legislature, Emmanuel Nuquay, who was also invited to testify before the House’s plenary, by then, categorically denied that the legislature gave any authorization to the CBL to print an additional L$10.5 billion new banknotes after authorizing the printing of the initial L$5 billion new banknotes.

Although he admitted to the communication sent to the bank, Nuquay said the communication simply requested the CBL to conduct an analysis and return for further advice.

The CBL under Dr. J. Mills Jones advanced similar request to the Honorable House of Representatives. The communications from the CBL and the President were transferred to relevant committees with a mandate to analyze the request and guide plenary in making informed decisions.

President Sirleaf, in a communication dated Thursday March 3, 2016, informed the Lawmakers that she received two letters from the Central Bank of Liberia advising that the economy may be seriously affected due to the lack of local currency to meet National needs.

According to President Sirleaf’s communication, the first letter dated December 23, 2015 was sent by the then Executive Governor and the second of such letter, dated February 19, 2016, sent by the Acting Executive Governor Mr. Charles Sirleaf.

The President’s Communication stated: “While the decision needs to be made now to address this issue that impacts the economy, it is important to note that the printing of notes will require a period of some five months. The underlying reason for the delay that has led to the crisis has to do with the interpretation of Article 34 (d) of the constitution and the Act to Authorize the Establishment of Central Bank of Liberia as amended.”

The President also stated: “as conveyed by the letters from the CBL referred to above, the Central Bank of Liberia is of the opinion that by the article referred to above, the legislature has granted implicit approval to the CBL to issue local currency and believe that the legislature has registered a contrary view.

“These issues of interpretation should be resolved at an appropriate time, preferably sooner than later. Mr. President Pro-Tempore, I have advised the acting executive Governor to seek the opportunity to discuss this matter with you and with your committees as you will dictate. I hope that you can agree on the way forward to enable the CBL to move forward in a timely manner to conclude arrangements for printing of currency,” the President’s communication added.

At the time of the President’s letter she received criticisms from the public for seeking the consent of the National Legislature for the printing of more money in the wake of the limited time she now has in power, expressing fear that this move may cripple the already crisis-prone economy.

The Liberian economy has been experiencing crisis since the country experienced the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus during the entire 2014. After Ebola, the country has not been able to overcome the shock from the consequences of the health crisis and further compounded by decline in the prices of commodities in the extractive industries — mainly rubber and iron ore — Liberia’s predominant sources of revenue.

The President’s request was in keeping with article 34 (b) of the Liberian constitution.

“While the decision needs to be made now to address this issue that impacts the economy, it is important to note that the printing of notes will require a period of some five months. The underlying reason for the delay that has led to the crisis has to do with the interpretation of Article 34 (d) of the constitution and the Act to Authorize the Establishment of Central Bank of Liberia as amended,” President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said at the time.

“Article 34 (b) of the Constitution gives the legislature the power to levy taxes, duties, imports, exercise and other revenues, to borrow money, issue currency, mint coins, and to make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic, subject to the following qualifications: which includes; all revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or taxes, and other financial bills, shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.”

“No other financial charge shall be established, fixed, laid or levied on any individual, community or locality under any pretext whatsoever except by the expressed consent of the individual, community or locality. In all such cases, a true and correct account of funds collected shall be made to the community or locality.

The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) was established on October 18, 1999 by an Act of the National Legislature of the Republic of Liberia. It became functional in 2000 and succeeded the National Bank of Liberia (NBL). The principal objective of the CBL is to achieve and maintain price stability in the Liberian economy.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Wow! This is insanity at the highest level and why is the Weah led administration embarrassing and making mockery of Liberia justice system as well as the judicial branch? Are they for real or just bunch of syndicate doing anything to represent something to be term as “work”? This drama is far from over and we will wait to see more embarrassement from the government for shooting herself in the leg.

  2. HEY SO FAR NO PROBLEM, THE ONLY VERY GOOD NEWS IS CORRUPTION IS NOT A CRIME AT ALL IN LIBERIA. READ YOUR HISTORY ABOUT CORRUPTION IN LIBERIA PLEASE AND LET ME KNOW WHETHER CORRUPTION IS A CRIME IN LIBERIA AT ALL. THE VERY SAD FACT IS THE MOST CORRUPT OFFICIALS IN LIBERIA ARE THE WELL RESPECTED AND ADMIRED HUMAN BEINGS IN THE LIBERIAN SOCIETY, CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT, YES THAT IS THE REALITY, UNBELIEVABLE. SO MANY MANY FOOLS ARE LIVING IN PARADISE IN LIBERIA ON THE DAILY BASIS MY PEOPLE. (WATCH)

  3. Criminals accusing their fellow criminals—this is pure madness looming in the land. The level of corruption in the government gives justification for another coup de tat reminiscent of the 1980 coup. The reasons the PRC gangsters gave for killing President Tolbert were for corruption and abuse of office. Well, we are seeing the worse forms of those crimes in this government than in the government the military overthrew.

    The army needs to step in now and stage a bloodless coup de tat to redeem the country.

    This time, they don’t have to kill the president. They should put him on trial for violating the constitution and for institutionalizing corruption at every strata of society. Forget about what ECOWAS will say—restore sanity in the country and call for fresh elections like Jammeh did in The Gambia. Go after these rouges and take all the country roots from them.

    • Jackson Neal, AGAIN, THAT YOU WISH IS A MIRAGE!

      You are really still living in antiquity. Gone are the days of that 16th century mentality when a group of soldiers would just pick up their guns and reverse the democratic choice of the people.

      The political, economic, or military respective continental, global, or subregional international mechanisms and supranational instruments of power (eg. ECOMOG, etc) long erected shall never allow such means of change of leadership you are suggesting.

      But let me ask you: Why you did not make such proposal when corruption, the killing of whistle blowers, killing pregnant woment andtheir unborn children in prison, Ellen Johnson Sireafś stooges of the Supreme Court, and at the NEC rigging elections, police brutality, etc were at its apex during the Unity Party regime of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Joseph Boakai?

      Or is it because of UNIMILŚ PRESENCE at the time? Well, at least, you got the signal from the diplomatic community recently when Joseph Boakai, Benoni Urey, and Alex Cummings foolishly thought they could use their so called CoP silly protests as a ploy to reverse the democratic choice of the people. Look, if you have nothing meaningful to comment, simply read.

  4. Does Liberia need to print its currency far away from home? Buy the machine print your own currency at home..

    This is not anything that requires so much extra skills…

    But the people wanted to use currency from their masters
    So, buying their own printing currency machine was not their priority..

    Liberia used currency and those that made the currency hate black people..

    They consider black people especially those of slave descent as 3/5 of a person..
    Just imagine the European Americans consider black people as 60% human beings..

    That is the most interesting issue in the American Constitution..

    That Black people are 60% human beings

  5. The AFL should defend the constitution as a good army should. Take over, clean the mess, and immediately withdraw to the barracks. Do not delay, the time is now.

    • Is that how you solve a problem ??? No one will take power in Liberia through the barrel of a gun anymore.
      Anyone want power will get it through the ballot box.

    • Mohammed Khadafi, you are really still living in antiquity. Gone are the days of that 16th century mentality when a group of soldiers would just pick up their guns and reverse the democratic choice of the people.

      The political, economic, or military respective continental, global, or subregional international mechanisms and supranational instruments of power (eg. ECOMOG, etc) long erected shall never allow such means of change of leadership you are suggesting.

      But let me ask you: Why you did not make such proposal when corruption, the killing of whistle blowers, killing pregnant woment andtheir unborn children in prison, Ellen Johnson Sireafś stooges of the Supreme Court, and at the NEC rigging elections, police brutality, etc were at its apex during the Unity Party regime of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Joseph Boakai?

      Or is it because of UNIMILŚ PRESENCE at the time? Well, at least, you got the signal from the diplomatic community recently when Joseph Boakai, Benoni Urey, and Alex Cummings foolishly thought they could use their so called CoP silly protests as a ploy to reverse the democratic choice of the people. Look, if you have nothing meaningful to comment, simply read.

  6. I think the suggestion for a military takeover is very dangerous! We have been down that road before and history should instruct us things went downhill precipitously thereafter for us. The military is woefully unqualified for running a successful government. Period!

    As bad as things are going for Liberia, a more prudent way forward is for voters to change their perception on what kind candidates to vote for. So long as we continue to pick our leaders for very shallow reasons, naturally, we will end up deeply disappointed with dismal performance. Unless voters line up behind men and women who have demonstrated a willingness to go up against the status quo, we will continue be duped and have our trust violated. We need to, quite frankly, be very suspicious, especially, of that candidate who promises to grant everthing on our wishlist, however unrealistic.There’s your red flag; that is the crooked individual whose only intention is to use your vote to get on the gravy train. The few cups rice and cash he hands is not a sign of endearment or what to expect after the election. It is the just a bait to get your precious vote and then drop you like your hot after he gets on the gravy train. But, sadly, these are the same snake oil salesmen the Liberian electorate has traditionally gravitated toward over and over and we wonder why we get let down again and again. Go figure!

  7. The president will manipulate the elections results in 2023 to get himself re-elected for the second term. So, we are going back to the same movies that was played when Samuel Doe decided to award himself the people’s votes by rigging the 1985 elections.

    So, the premise of my argument is based on best antidote to get a dictator out of power. One best approach is to lean on the current military which is best positioned to rescue the dying nation from the hands of those hooligans. If we

    Once they are successful in overthrowing this government, they can then lockup the president and his ministers, and put them on trials for violating the Liberian constitution. They will have the opportunity to clean up the mess, establish the war crime court, clean up all of the mess created by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who made government jobs most lucrative, slice the budget, and clean it from waste and abuse, conduct elections and land over power to civilians.

    In essence, we need a military take over to curb the activities crimes and restore the nation hopes. Remember, Ghana would have not had the level of development if they have avoided military coups. Coup can heal or destroy depending on who leads it.

    Today, we have a better educated military than previous times when the coup was staged back in 1980.

    Don’t kill the president and his men but put them on trial and then restore the fabrics of the country by calling for fresh elections.

  8. Jackson Neal, you are really still living in antiquity. Gone are the days of that 16th century mentality when a group of soldiers would just pick up their guns and reverse the democratic choice of the people.

    The political, economic, or military respective continental, global, or subregional international mechanisms and supranational instruments of power (eg. ECOMOG, etc) long erected shall never allow such means of change of leadership you are suggesting.

    But let me ask you: Why you did not make such proposal when corruption, the killing of whistle blowers, killing pregnant woment andtheir unborn children in prison, Ellen Johnson Sireafś stooges of the Supreme Court, and at the NEC rigging elections, police brutality, etc were at its apex during the Unity Party regime of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Joseph Boakai?

    Or is it because of UNIMILŚ PRESENCE at the time? Well, at least, you got the signal from the diplomatic community recently when Joseph Boakai, Benoni Urey, and Alex Cummings foolishly thought they could use their so called CoP silly protests as a ploy to reverse the democratic choice of the people. Look, if you have nothing meaningful to comment, simply read.

  9. Watch out people… Are you an informer? The reason being for this question is that no one, yes no one is asking suck question on this thread, but you..

    I have always said planting is
    special, but investing is more special..

    Passed govts. have not invested in Anything in the interest of this Small but Powefulr nation… Liberia

    No systems
    No Universities
    No schools
    No Roads
    No housing
    No county structure
    No hospitals

    So, these are the backbones of a balance society..

    Now, a poor kru boy because of frustrations looking at how wealthy his country is. After living in some of the beautiful countries and cities well developed got into the fray of politics..

    And Politics has no sympathy for anyone no matter who you are..

    The lay woman or man wants quick results which is not feasible in a shorter period of time.. Economically, financially, and developmently…

    Especially when there are no systems in place to lead from..

    The above mentioned social economic activities are just some of the pars..

    How structured are our counties? .
    Can anyone help me get a administrative structure of a Liberian county or counties .

    Nimba county
    Bong county
    Montserrado

    L
    To lead is not free butter bread Librarians… Patience is required..

  10. For a sick country like Liberia, a 16th century solution, as True Nationalist calls it, is the only best solution I see that is valuable in salvaging the country from the hands of those hooligans. We want a war crime court; we also want rouges held accountable for their stealing, and unfortunately we don’t have the kind of law makers that will hold the executive accountable. The system is rotting and sickening than ever before. Elections will not solve it. To redeem the country, we need the military to step forward and stage a bloodless coup.

    To crown all of these, you have a docile citizenry marred by illiteracy and poverty. Their conscious are broken in all measures; what is the best way out—? Overthrow the government and install civility. Forget about what happened before. I hope well-meaning patriots in the army are reading or listening to these whispers. Stage a coup and lockdown the country.

    ECOWAS is war-fatigued; they will not get involve; further, Weah is very unpopular in the international circle. Everyone knows he is a rouge; no one will dare to restore his government. Trust me! All the military needs to do is to stage a coup. You will be surprise to see how many countries are sympathizing with our country’s plight.

    If only the military can step in and overthrow Weah’s government, the next thing you will hear will be a quick elections and the army returning to the barrack. We need patriots to do this. It happened in Egypt recently and in Sudan. Only the army can save Liberia now. The longer they delay, the likely Liberia is spinning in the abyss. I will repeat: Elections will not solve our problem! This a nightmare we are facing; the president thinks the country money is his personal money and he can use it at will.

  11. Mr. Neal, if according to you, “Weah is very unpopular in the international circle”, then why did the very “international circle” come in his defense with valor and with vigor when Jospeh Boakai, Alex Cummings, Benoni Urey, and their rag tag CoP bandit disguised as protest what you are suggesting?

    Jackson, the truth been told, besides Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, no Liberian President had been able to be very popular within the powerful capitals (Washington, New York, Brussels, London, Addis Ababa, and Abuja,) as Dr. George Manneh Weah.

    Lewis Brown, when at the UN, realizing that political clout of President Weah, diabolically chose to undermine and destroy that political clout with Washington, when he Lewis Brown criminally voted against Americaś decision sanctioning Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    Look, Jackson, make no mistake about that. Such you are suggesting only materializes when such is in the interest of say, Washington or some other major power. Regime change were made possible in Egypt, Lybia, Sudan, and Ivory Coast, because the USA, France, Britan, and New York were not happy with Morsi of Egypt, Bashir of Sudan, Qadaffi of Lybia, and Gbagbo of Ivory Coast.

    You saw what happened in Gabon recently, when a few soldiers carried out what you are suggesting. But in hours they were thrown out and punished. Weah is too well connected within the comity and community of nations to be taken for granted. That man is in power for twelve years.

  12. And Mr. Neal, let me not forget to add that even at times, these powerful countries in their “spheres of influence” geopolitical weapon, find it extremely difficult or impossible to carry out their regime change after their sanctions have failed.

    Just the other day, the most powerful country in the world- the USA decided to overthrow Nicolas Maduro the Venezuelan President and bundle him off to the USA.

    But what happened? Jordan Goudreau, the man hired by Washington and the opposition leader Guaido, was picked up together with his accomplices. Hence, the failed plot of America to carry out their regime change.

  13. True Nationalist, ours is starkly an anomaly! If our military steps in now and cites several violations of the constitution which the international community is very well aware, the rest will be history.

    The international community will only be negotiating with military to step down and allow civilians rule, but that rule will not be George Weah. The regime of Weah will be over.

    Now, on the question of Venezuela, one can not make any comparison as the two are like apples and oranges. Venezuela is an oil rich producing country with much sterner to wall itself against foreign influence. Unlike Venezuela, Liberia is a weakling nation that kowtow the whims of foreign power.

    Suffice to say: Our solution now lies in the hands of the military; trust me on this one. It not a popular idea given our odious past, but if we have an intelligent person in the military to lead this effort, the world will acquiesce. Otherwise, these hooligans are defacing Liberia.

    You made me laugh by joining the chorus to call Weah, Dr. Weah. You guys are debasing the doctorate degree to be calling an illiterate DR. I am so sorry to see you get swamped by such a myrmidon instinct.

  14. Let us set a premise. If a dictator came to power two years prior to the establishment of CBL, obviously article 34 (d) of the 1986 constitution was dictated by tyranny. Even there are still amendments during the PRC military levels in the form of decrees still standing in constitutional enactments. All of such laws are fiasco to a democracy and should not be accepted any longer in legislation by this Republic by present and future lawmaking generations. Currency issue was is a function stolen from the Executive branch during war time because tyranny seeks strength and destruction rather than law and order. There is no institution during war. Since we say there is no more war in Liberia, why do we not sifter the legislature and restore laws and responsibilities intermingled and preset by our founders to keep a healthy nation again?

    I am gone and not to return again. Answer the Liberian people as a people. Not me.

  15. Can EBOLA, MALARIA, or CORONA, these diseases, wait for the lawmakers to past laws before finding the medicines? The Liberian 1848 constitution provided 2 days to sign the currency. The 1986 said 21 days. PRC gave no time. Piece and peace are still coming. Today the whole world is looking for the treatment
    Gone to silence with God. Do not disturb. Praying.

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