CBL Officials Summoned in House Executive Session


… Over recent appearance of ‘new’ Liberian banknotes 

Members of the House of Representatives have summoned officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to appear before that body’s Executive Session on Monday, December 16, 2019, to provide clarity on the recent appearance of ‘new’ Liberian banknotes in the public after the Government through the CBL had claimed earlier that there was shortage of the Liberian currency in the country.

The lawmakers reached the decision on Tuesday, December 13 following discussions that were stimulated by a letter written the plenary of the House by Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry Younquoi and Grand Bassa County District #5 Representative Thomas Goshua.

The lawmakers in plenary on Thursday argued that they signed a resolution to change the whole family of money on the market, but not to print new money to be added to the existing money.

They said the CBL officials need to explain the scarcity of the Liberian dollar and whether or not money is in the bank.

Moima Briggs-Mensah of Bong County District#6, Larry P. Younquoi, Nimba County District# 8 and many other lawmakers questioned the scarcity of the Liberian banknotes and argued whether this was an attempt “to put the Legislature under pressure to sign the resolution to change the family of money.”

After a heated debate on the floor for over 30 minutes, a motion was raised by Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Moses Gray that due to the security issue attached to money matter, the CBL officials should appear before the august body in an executive session for questioning.

On December 12 two members of the Independent Legislative Caucus, Representatives Larry Younquoi, and Thomas Goshua wrote the plenary of the House of Representatives to invite authorities of the Central Bank to explain the source of US and Liberian currencies that surfaced on the Liberian market in recent days.

In their communication to the plenary, the lawmakers said contrary to government’s pronouncement that the Liberian dollar was scarce on the market; they have observed over the last two days that commercial banks have given new banknotes to depositors.

Their communication was later deferred to Friday, December 13, 2019 session due to the arrival of the remains of former Senator and political leader of the Liberty Party, Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine, on the grounds of the Capitol.

With the absence of the two lawmakers who championed the summon, Rep. Briggs-Mensah whose communication in coherence with the two men, was given the floor.

Rep. Briggs-Mensah in her communication said,  “My attention is drawn to two issues of recent; the shortage of the Liberian Banknotes on the market which has been confirmed by denial of customers by commercial banks, business personnel, and foreign investors who have been seeking withdrawal of their saved Liberian currency, and the recent arrival into the country an unknown amount of currency into the country.”

Rep. Briggs-Mensah recalled that the Central Bank was created statutorily on October 18, 1999, with the authority to ensure a sound banking and financial system, thereby contributing to a sustainable economic development.

“Now, therefore, her communication said, ”I write craving the indulgence of this honorable House to invite before its plenary the Acting Governor of the Central bank and other top officials to explain reasons for the shortages of the Liberian Banknotes and to provide details regarding the amount and the kind of currency brought in the country in this December.”

Rep. Briggs-Mensah continued, “I strongly recommend that there should be a regulation or restriction placed on individuals and institutions keeping huge sum of money in homes and offices as such an act presents a huge security risk to the lives and property of such people, which could also be a major factor to reduction of the Liberian dollars on the market since the Liberian dollar is used in only in Liberia. I am also hopeful that information from the Central Bank officials will  help eradicate speculation and provide the necessary answers to questions regarding the Liberian currency.”

Prior to the summon of the CBL officials, Montserrado County District #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah recently displayed some pieces of the $500 banknote after withdrawing his salary from the Guaranty Trust Bank.  Representative Kolubah in his public display accused the George Weah Administration of lying to the Liberian people that “There was no money in the country,” thereby causing the citizens to suffer for an unjustifiable cause.

Commercial banks have been short of the Liberian dollar over the past months with customers finding it difficult to withdraw from their accounts.  Even Mobile money transfer that eased the tension of withdrawing money from the bank has become inactive with agents only able to receive deposits without giving out money.