Former Pres. Sirleaf Speaks on L$10 Billion Printing

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“I was one who believed in the autonomy of the Central Bank," Madam Sirleaf said

Says 53rd Legislature dealt directly with CBL

For the past two years—since the issues of the alleged missing L$16 billion came to public knowledge, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has not been able to escape public criticism for the role play in printing the money.

Some of this criticism, which has been harsh at times, include allegations of criminally authorizing the Central Bank of Liberia under the leadership of then Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks to print L$10 billion and have it shipped under the cover of darkness in the midst of Liberia’s 2017 elections year.

But in reaction to this criticism, former President Sirleaf said her hands are clean in relation to the printing of the L$10 billion and did nothing criminally has been speculated by the public.

“I did not get from the Legislature resolutions…”

According to former President Sirleaf, when she was approached by the then CBL Executive Governor Weeks about the need to print an additional L$10 billion, since the previous L$5 billion imported was not enough to meet the market requirement, she forwarded the issue to members of the 53rd legislature, who did not get back to her.

“I do know 2017, being a political and toxic environment, that there were a lot of maneuvers going on. Executive Governor Weeks then required that what they had imported was not enough to meet the requirement. Therefore, he needed to print an additional L$10 billion notes. Again, we passed it to the Legislature.

“I did not get from the Legislature resolutions as was the previous case,” Sirleaf said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer newspaper. “Maybe, at that time, Legislators were very adamant about their role in the printing of currency and they were very difficult – meeting directly, calling people from the Central Bank for meetings before their committee to exert their right.”

Defending her innocence, former President Sirleaf said the Legislature then left her in the dark about the resolution, authorizing the CBL to print the money; therefore, she has no proof of the L$10 billion and the entire processes that got it imported and printed.

“I’m told that finally, they did approve it through a letter. That letter was not sent to me. So I have no proof of the L$10 billion and the processes that it went through for it to be able to be imported and printed and all of that,” she said.

Adding, she explained that due to the 2017 elections and all the things that were happening, she was unable to check on the legislature and on the CBL about the issues.

“They wanted to deal directly with the Central Bank”

Former President Sirleaf also accused the members of the 53rd Legislature of disregarding her office by having direct negotiations with the Central Bank on their own, “on the basis of the exercise of their right – what I perceive to be because of their interpretation of the law – that they did not want any executive action in the approval.”

She continued: “As I said, in 2017, in all the things that we all were going through, I frankly did not go back and check them, because we do have a board of governors in the bank. And they’re quite able, experienced men and women who also have certain say over the bank. We also have a lawyer who sits in the Central Bank as the lawyer for the Central Bank, so that if any procedure or law had not been totally complied with, somebody should have raised an issue about it. But I do know that the Legislature was very, very difficult and adamant about their role. They wanted to deal directly with the Central Bank,” she said.

Former Speaker Nuquay Denies House Issues resolution

The accusation by former President Sirleaf appears to go contrary to the testimony of the then Speaker of the 53th legislature, Emmanuel J. Nuquay, in an open court that they never issued a joint resolution for the printing of the L$10 billion banknotes.

Nuquay in testimony at Criminal Court C on, July 16, when he took the stand as a rebuttal witness for the State, said that the only issue raised at the time by the House after the printing of first L$5 billion was the continuous circulation of mutilated banknotes, contrary to the expectation that the printed money could be used to remove mutilated money from the market.

“No! The House of Representatives did not sign any joint resolution to print L$10 billion dollars and there is no such resolution,” Nuquay said. “I have no information absolutely on the printing of L$10 billion by the CBL. What I know is that members of the House of Representatives had raised issues about mutilated money on the market after the CBL, with full authorization through a joint resolution, had printed and brought in the country L$5 billion dollars to be infused in the market to replace mutilated banknotes.”

‘Still, Maintain Innocence’

Despite Nuquay’s statement, former President Sirleaf denied ever having hands in the printing of the L$10 billion — maintaining that she has no role to play in the cash importation, authorization, or printing process.

“The L$10 billion, as you know, finally came in, I moved out of government. The money finally was brought in 2018; I have no part to play with all of that part,” Sirleaf said. “There are people who are in the bank who should really speak to the process. They should produce evidence.

“What kind of authority did they get in the case of the L$10 billion? Where is it? Who signed it? Who received it? What did they do about it? Who approved it? I don’t know. I can say that when it comes to the L$5 billion that I know came through me, we have the documentary evidence that the process was complied with,” she explained.

“Respected CBL autonomy”

Meanwhile, former President Sirleaf said during her tenure as president, she respected the CBL autonomy and did not interfere in their work unless there was something in keeping with the law where she had a role that was in the interest of the state.

“So an article that suggests that I should be on trial because I knew; I demanded it; because I knew who approved it for nefarious reasons – because the election was coming – I was not going to elections. I was not. I was barely trying to keep a government, to land it safely, and turn it over.

Here, the former President was referring to a Daily Observer editorial titled, “A Virtual Sword of Damocles Hovering Above the Nation’s Judiciary“, published on August 13, 2020. In that editorial, the newspaper highlighted that “…charges against the son of the President were dropped with prejudice to the Government of Liberia, meaning in legal terms that going forward no criminal charges can ever be brought again against her son, Charles Sirleaf.”

“I was one who believed in the autonomy of the Central Bank,” Madam Sirleaf responded. “I respected their autonomy, I did not interfere in their work, unless there was something in keeping with the law where I had a role and I played that role in the interest of the state. That’s all I did. If there were any issues they raised with me or I need to call an issue to their attention because an issue raised by somebody in the country, some officer, some minister (Ministry of Finance, for example, with issues with them all the time), we would send for them, send for the committee we have and we would sit down and try to figure it out. That was how I respected the work of the Central Bank.”

“So I do believe the way this is put here is frankly… malicious, if I may use that word,” she said, referring to the Observer editorial. “Because anyone – Counselor Jallah, the lawyer of the Bank is still there. Today I hear that they say that the procedure was not met because there is no date on the approval of the bank; there was no proper signature. Where was Cllr. Jallah? He’s not before the court, answering. He should be. Where was he? The Board of Governors – I heard none of them raise any issue to say there’s a problem here… None of them raised any issue.”

Read the full text of former President Sirleaf’s statement.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Daily Observer STOP THE DISTORTION, THE INACCURACY, AND THE FALSEHOOD! According to the former President and former Speaker, They “know or knew nothing about the printing of an additional 10 billion.”

    So, there is nothing contrary here regarding the testimonies on the criminal and non-authorization of the 10 billion by the FIVE THIEVES of the Board of Governors of the CBL which was made possible via THE FAKE RESOLUTION made by the FIVE THIEVES who were the executives of the board of governors of the CBL.

    The speaker did not know about the printing of the additional 10 billion. The former President did not know about the additional 10 billion printing. Only these FIVE THIEVES who are principals in the first and second degrees and their accessories before and after the fact and fellow second principals (the so called Secretary of the Senate) in the second degrees.

    IF THE NET BENEFITS OF NONCRIMINAL CONTROL OF CONDUCT ARE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN THOSE OF CRIMINAL CONTROL, THEN THE NONCRIMINAL METHOD SHOULD BE USED. THESE FIVE THIEVES CHOSE THEIR CRIMINAL METHOD AND CONDUCT! THEY ARE GUILTY!

    That you Daily Observer will foolishly want to tie the case and your report to the silly and foolish argument of Gloria Scott who has no argument to make in defense of her client, but some laughable red herring is RIDICULOUS! THOSE FIVE THIEVES ARE GUILTY!

    • No one is interested about who authorized the printing, Mr. True or False Nationalist. But who stole the money that the printing company said arrived in the country and proved proof that the present regime of George received the people’s money . It is about where’s the money used to purchase jet plane ? And George lied about it saying it is a borrowed jet plane. But all these years, he George has not returned the plane. The stolen money worth in US dollars one hundred and five million . Enough to purchase the jet plane and to build his multimillion dollar complexes. It is about the stolen money.

      • James Davis, without THE ISSUE OF “WHO AUTHORIZED THE PRINTING OF THE L$ 10 Billion”, there would actually be no case!!!

        Your suggestion IS SIMPLY SILLY that with all the constitutional and statutory independence and autonomy of the CBL and its Board of Governors, they officials of the CBL gave the President the L$10 Billion to buy jet plane for himself; only to have him the very President prosecute, disgrace, and jail, them for the same and very L$ 10 Billion.

        And this absurdity on your part is the obvious display of one who lacks social intelligence, and academic and intellectual equilibrium.

        • Mr. True or False Nationalist, the company that printed the currency said it was delivered to the present regime. No amount of cover-up about there is a need to find out who authorized the printing. The company said the damned money was received by the present regime. And proved proof that the money arrived in corrupt Liberia of the regime of George. Where’s the beef or money ? The citizens are eating cassava and roasted coconut on July 26, and August 24, flag day. Where’s the money ? This is not war days for citizens to be eating raw cassava and roasted coconut. Where’s the money ? Who authorized the printing can come later. With your propaganda talks about intelligence or whatever, the people not eating book oooooo. They eating cassava and roasted coconut and whatever they can find. Get get that Kru George to bring the people’s money. This thing not finished yet, before we start the book business.

          • James Davis, on this topic, only your kind, breed, or type, – the mentally illiterate you are qualified to chat with; or at least, with some drop-outs around the “beer bottle.”

  2. Madam Sirleaf can say whatever she wants to say at this moment because, the Weah led administration has absolutely refused to put her on trial, rather going after the wrong individuals. If she was call to testified under the law, those excuses could have been better inserted than what being said via press interview.

    • To put madam Sirleaf on trial for what? Can you bring your charges against her so that we can dissect them? What you writer failed to know is that George Weah was senior senator for the densely populated County in Liberia with more power, what did he do then. Firstly, he should put himself on trial before madam Sirleaf because he was part of the past government with majority lawmakers in both houses.

  3. Hi Daily Observer news technician/specialist,

    THANKS FOR THE EFFORTS ON YOUR PART TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC.

    THE MILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION IS WHEN DID THE GOVERNMENT BRING THE MONEY.

    WAS IT IN ONE YEAR OR IN TWO YEARS THE LIBERIAN GOVERNMENT BROUGHT THE MONEY?

    FORMER PRESIDENT ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF STATED THAT IT WAS IN 2018, BUT THE TWO INVESTIGATING TEAMS STATED THAT IT WAS IN 2017 AND 2018.

    • J. Yanqui Zaza, at this juncture of the case, SETTINGS ARE IRRELEVANT. When “who stole the cookies from the cookies jar” has been established with certainty (as is the case now), settings or “when or why and where” are mere red herrings as those red herrings spewed out by Gloria Musu Scott who has found it impossible to save the neck of those five thieves. They may end up taking an appeal. But as far as justice is concerned, they are in a “QUICK-SAND”!

      • Mr. True or false nationalist! What went wrong for the judge to free your alleged criminals that Gloria Musa Scott was despritely trying to set free? The reality is, she actually did set them free and your focus of thieves were actually innocent because your blind loyalty to the administration narrow minded your scope of thinking beyond the bigger box. I hope this time around, this judge will not be accused for abusing his power because, he corrected your wrong judgement to right judgement, meaning, the real thieves are still out there walking the street somewhere in Liberia as free individuals. By the way my dear, your attack on James Davis was very insulting and demeaning to our discussion. Let’s have a honest conversation about Liberia rather than insults and negatives vocabularies to someone opinion. Respect another man views even if you disagree with them.

  4. “I respected their autonomy, I did not interfere in their work.” Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

    And it is that CBL´S AUTONOMY, and NON-INTERFERENCE in the work of the CBL Board which the very Board members ABUSED by making their FAKE RESOLUTION to inflate their bank accounts with the 2.6 billion A very easy case as compared to a hard case!

    This is a very great opportunity to deter public officials from abusing their powers. Kabineh Janeh abused his powers of discretion, he was shown the door!

    So, too, these FIVE THIEVES – Kollie Tamba, David Farhat, and the rest of their accomplices of the former CBL Board must make restitution of the 2.6 Billion or their properties must be confiscated and auctioned to have the 2.6 Billion recovered. And of course following that, they must serve their TIME IN PRISON.

  5. Mr. True nationalist, if you really think or believed that, Mr. Kabineh Janeh abused his power and that’s why he was removed, then you are not a true nationalist. I supposed Judge Enest Bannh also abused his power when he rendered decision in favoured of Roots FM against this administration? Tell me more who is abusing their power here when our president is dismissing sitting judges for rendering decision, instead of our Chief Justice? A true nationalist shouldn’t be in support about the manner in which Hon. Janeh was removed or impeached.

    • Mr. Joseph M. Akoi, I am NOT ONLY a true nationalist; I am a jurist with specialization in Interpreting Statutes!

      This is why it was easy for me to discern that Kabineh Mohamed Janeh abused his powers of discretion as an Associate Justice sitting in Chambers!

      And, this is principally, fundamentally, and absolutely why I Mr. True Nationalist was (and still) in full and cheerful support about the manner in which very corrupt and heartless Janeh was removed or impeached.

      Accordingly, this is also why even Senators, other Justices, and Representatives of The House were in “support about the manner in which corrupt and heartless Janeh was removed or impeached.”

  6. Thanks for the story. If you could also dig out legislation on printing of currencies it will help us to believe madam Serlif innocence, Personally I believe that this money would not have been printed without her consent. However, we the Liberian people must push this case to find the truth and bring the perpetrators to book. They printed it for themselves and not for the market.Period!

  7. If I were the presiding judge over this case, many people could have been at Belle Yalla by now for the truth to come out.
    Our past and present rulerships really play on the ignorance of the Liberian people. Why will our intellectuals spew out imbecilities like that before the eyes of the entire world? How do you expect Liberia to be respected?

    Our dear former president Ellen Johnson, a Harvard graduate, is claiming she’s always supported the autonomy of the CBL, and then stating that she forwarded the issue of the printing of additional banknotes to the 53rd Legislature for approval, what an imbroglio!
    How can you support “autonomy” and then forward an internal issue (which should have been independently dealt with by bankers and economists) to the House?

    We are closer to the USA, let’s take it as an example. Have you ever heard Trump was contacted for an issue concerning the printing of dollars and submitted to Capitol Hill for approval?
    The USA has a Federal Reserve System that functions independently from the 3 branches of government. The Federal Reserve employs some of the finest economists and bankers in the USA. We can say here that the Federal Reserve is autonomous, Madam president Ellen.

    Let’s take another example, Ghana, have you ever heard the Central Bank of Ghana has contacted president Nana Akufo-Addo to print money and then the latter forwarded such request to parliament? The Central Bank of Ghana is an independent entity with some of the finest minds in banking and economics in Ghana. We can say the Central Bank of Ghana is autonomous.

    Madam president, we will go to the depth of this issue, but not now as the CDC led government is soaked in it to the throat. The stolen money will be retrieved and we (ANC OR CPP) will truly make the CBL an independent and autonomous institution of pride where our finest brains of bankers and economists will implement their skills and talents.

    You and your megalomaniac CDCians may evade earthly justice, but not divine justice. God is watching over us all; the good, the bad and the ugly.

    May God forgive Liberia for all the sins committed on the land of our forebears!

  8. The searchlight has been on CBL since early 2018, yet unsurprisingly we’re still seeking answers, because the crisis of confidence there is just a tip of the iceberg. Our ship of state happens to be old and defective, and should’ve been on dry dock for repairs. Instead, we continue installing new captains, periodically, and asking God to safely steer her from one busy port to another – delusional, of course.

    For crying out loud, the whole governmental machinery – executive, legislature, judiciary, state corporations, autonomous agencies – ought to be fine tuned. Our bureaucratic machinery has been underperforming while, allegedly, income-generating institutions under-report income for over a century. Unfortunately, we thought a revised 1986 constitution will have morphed into the be all and end all. Now that we have gained gained self-knowledge, pretending otherwise won’t do the country any good.

    If I may, who in our ministries and agencies has independent authority to ensure that each keeps to its mandates, and financial clerks don’t amass unexplained wealth? Or, what‘s happening to wealth from precious minerals such as gold, diamonds, and so on? Dismayingly, we are satisfied with USD 535 million of annual budget, plus budget surplus handouts from abroad, while landlocked Rwanda, with no known natural resources, had an annual budget of USD $ 2.9 billion for 2018/ 2019 budget year.

    Liberia needs a sense of stableness to have a civilized conversation about reviewing every organ of government. The CPP won’t do any better with protests in spite of the bleating of Henry Costa to get his gofundme cash. Young people everywhere are rightfully angry and there is no security in a country undergoing perpetual economic bleeding. This Weah-led government can make it. For the first time in a long long time, let’s act responsibly like Mrs. Ellen Sirleaf did in not running for a third term, and turning the country over to most voters’ choice!

    • Mr. Moses, thanks for publishing the 2018/2019 Annual Budget (2.9 billion) of little Rwanda with no marine resources or facilities.

    • Since the dawn of time, “war and strife between opposites has remained the eternal condition of the universe”: says Heraclitus!

      So, not only “Our ship of state”, but indeed the global ship of state “happens to be old and defective, and should’ve been on dry dock for repairs”, since those who call the shots on the global stage, right after the second world War, imposed on the world the condition of living on credit instead of living on cash! WHY? FOR THE ERECTIONS OF OLIGARCHIES ACROSS THE GLOBE! THUS THE WAR BETWEEN THE MAJORITY AND THE MINORITY GOES ON UNABATED!!!

      And then worst, instead of embracing Dr. Weah´s policy of gradually reducing inequality to the goal of incinerating inequality forever the privileged and powerful sectors of our polity and society are warring against democracy which puts power into the hands of the general population and takes it away from the privileged and powerful as happened in the elections of 2017.

      These privileged and powerful sectors of our polity and society wishing to erect an aristocracy, theocracy, or oligarchy (through stealing state funds as is the case with the CBL) or even through ocholocracy through mob actions as that fugitive Costa and his fellow financiers of bandits including those so called leaders who were rejected by the people and the electorate during the 2017 elections.

      Their theory is that is they cannot destroy popular democracy via mob actions, they may be successful via financial theft so as to buy up the electorates! But that is a delusion doomed to a category of A MIRAGE!

  9. So, the former president is trying to tell the Liberians people that is the legislators or CBL that was entrusted or elected to manage their country? The Liberians people have been keenly awaiting to hear good things from our former president surrounding this sixteen billion saga, to a saddened, we are hearing such rudimentary statements from our former president who is the key player into this case.

    Such vindication is very elementary inasmuch that even a low minded human can’t adhere to it. Trying to scapegoat the 53rd legislature or the CBL of whom you controlled is not enough. The Liberians people has asked a million dollar question on this sixteen billion saga and they need a credible answer from all concerned person into this case.

    From the former president standpoint, how the legislators or ÇBL Will clandestinely run the country without the executive concern? I am not making any judgment into this case, but to further disprove the former president innocency into case, how the president will laid down her responsibilities solely on an agency without checking or balancing their operations but instead respecting their autonomous, but for wure knowable about the clandestine deed that were on going between the legislature and the CBL but waiting for someone within the CBL to raise red flag about the issue. The fact is still in the confined of the former president and she must reveal them to the Liberians people in the fairer and patriotic manner. The former president has succeeded in all her wished in seeing this country lingering in poverty for good, for decades aided by unscrupulous politicians.

    I am not going against gender piracy, but these are some of reasons even the US with all their globalization campaign for gender equity are not yet ready to make female a president, because so many weaknesses are found in female when it come to national leadership typically, the presidency despite higher achievement of education or wealth as our former president displayed here today; instead of clamping down on the CBL in interest of the country, but motherly liaise with the agency giving them sweeping autonomous.

    This sixteen billion case will be fight to the fullest, and all those involved will be prosecuted.

  10. James Davis

    According to you, “This is not war days for citizens to be eating raw cassava and roasted coconut.” Ay bah Jimmy. please don’t kill me with laughter man bah!.

    Now, .let me get to the point:. Apart from the jokes brother, you are gifted for the way you use puns, hilariousness, witty sayings, and short parables to get your messages across. That short line which I quoted from your comments plunged me in deep thoughts for the whole day.

    You caused me to reflect on the life of our people and even deeper.

  11. Come to think about it, Liberians can raise and point an AK-47 directly at Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s heart, she will never and never tell the truth. Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf, will lie and continue to tell lies up to grave.

    Liberia and the people of Liberia, truly have a long way to go!

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