The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has rejected a request for an engagement meeting with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), arguing that the CBL is exempted from audit as Liberia’s monetary authority – with functional independence, power and right to carry out said mandate.
CBL’s Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles E. Sirleaf, in his letter to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PPCC, James Dorbor Jallah, said the CBL is excluded from entities that are made subject to the requirement of Public Finance Management Act of 2009 and even the PPCC Act Part I Section 2 (49) recognizes the CBL as the monetary authority responsible to formulate and implement monetary policy.
“In view of the aforementioned, we regret to inform you that the CBL cannot honor your request for an audit engagement meeting with the Senior Management of the Bank on Thursday, July 30, 2015,” Deputy Governor Sirleaf wrote.
The CBL’s letter was contained in a ‘dossier’ attached to a written communication to the House of Representatives by the PPCC over the alleged non-compliance posture of the CBL to be audited – but which said it cannot be audited unless by itself.
On May 4, 2015, the House of Representatives wrote the PPCC to conduct a comprehensive audit on compliance and performance of the CBL covering fiscal years 2010/2011 to 2013/2014.
“The CBL informed the Commission that it could not honor our request for an audit engagement meeting with the senior management team,” Jallah’s letter to the House read.
“The Commission wants to inform the body that it has been engaged with the Central Bank [of Liberia] since 2010 regarding its non-compliance with the provisions of the PPCC Act of 2010, but the CBL persistently failed to subject itself to the applicability of the PPCA,” the letter further explained.
The PPCC’s law recognizes the CBL as the monetary authority responsible to formulate and implement monetary policy, but allows for the auditing of the Bank.
The PPCA of 2010 however states that the Act shall not apply to ‘agreements executed’ by the Central Bank of Liberia relating to the implementation of monetary policy or procurement related to the production of coins or currency.
The law states that agreements relating to the general administration of the CBL will not be excluded from the application of the Act, including but without limitation to procurement of general stores, stationery, office equipment or vehicles.
The PPCC boss in his letter said that the Ministry of Justice was in support of the CBL being audited in acquiescence with the PPCC Act.
Meanwhile, CBL Governor Dr. J. Mill Jones maintains that the CBL was established by rules and procedures in consultation with internationally reputable auditors, which are strictly adhered to by the management of the Bank.
He said the Board of Governors has an Audit Committee which has direct oversight responsibility, concerning expenses and procurement and reports to the full Board. The audit of the financial statements of the CBL is enshrined in the CBL Act of 1999 and is conducted every year.
But the opinion of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General is that, “while the CBL’s claims of functional independence and unique circumstances are relevant vis-à-vis its functions of monetary policy and currency production, they are simply unavailing when used as a shield against a law which expressly considered same, and applies to a number of other functional independent and autonomous entities.”
Hence he (Minister of Justice) advised that the CBL bring itself into compliance with the PPCA and PPCC.