The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) announces the secure arrival of additional four billion Liberian dollar banknotes to ease the liquidity pressures that the Liberian economy had been faced with recently.
The additional L$4 billion in banknotes, according CBL press release, were safely secured in the vaults of the CBL Headquarters on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The CBL, in collaboration with Kroll, will work over the coming days to undertake a full technical validation process of the new banknotes, to ensure they comply with the contractual specifications.
Prior to printing the additional Liberian dollar banknotes, the banking system had experienced dire liquidity problems, including mutilated and insufficient banknotes in the banking system to meet depositors’ demand for cash.
Kroll Associates, Inc. (Kroll), a global provider of risk solutions and principally a global investigative firm, was engaged as part of a United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) technical assistance program to the CBL, to ensure that the procurement process surrounding the printing of the additional Liberian dollar banknotes was open and transparent, and that the shipment of the new banknotes from the printer to the CBL’s vaults was secure. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was also consulted prior to printing the banknotes, to ensure compliance with its Liberia program.
CBL Executive Governor J. Aloysius Tarlue, Jr., said “The arrival of the additional Liberian dollar banknotes is good news indeed. It will help ordinary Liberians to pay for school fees, hospital bills and other important bills.”
It can be recalled that Kroll uncovered systemic inadequacies in procurement processes and record keeping at the CBL when investigating concerns surrounding the alleged printing of LD16 billion new banknotes in September 2018. it failed however to identify the culprits and neither was it allowed to access the CBL’s vaults to conduct a physical count of money allegedly held there.
Even the Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), according to financial analysts is said to have performed more creditably. As of yet the issue of the alleged L$16 billion banknotes as virtually everyone of those criminally charged have been let off the hook. And now, according to the CBL, Kroll has been hired, based on their experience with the CB, to address loopholes and prevent the recurrence of such lapses.
As a first step in the printing of the additional Liberian dollar banknotes after obtaining legislative approval, the CBL claims to have used enhanced procedures consistent with international best practice in the procurement process, to secure the most competitive bidder to print the banknotes.
On March 12, 2020, the CBL issued a Request for Proposals, with April 8, 2020, set as a deadline for response to the request. The CBL received proposals from potential suppliers in advance of the deadline. Following a rigorous evaluation process of the proposals against a detailed evaluation criteria, a specially formulated CBL Procurement Committee recommended Crane as the preferred supplier to print the Liberian dollar banknotes.
But to recall it is the very Crane which the GoL had previously criminally indicted for its alleged role in the printing of excess Liberian dollar banknotes but the charges were later dropped and nearly everyone indicted has since been let off the hook including former Deputy Governor, Charles Sirleaf.