-Speaker Tagged Ex-President Sirleaf as ‘Person of Interest’
Don’t invite, request!
Amid the summon of Chief Clerk Mildred Sayon of the House of Representatives on the ‘Absolute Authority’ allegedly given by the House of Representatives to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to print new bank notes in the amount of the L$16 billion, Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers who is also the ceremonious head of the Legislature, said the House of Representatives will never allow itself to be ‘invited’ to an investigation from any institution, but a ‘request’ may be considered, subject to approval by the body.
Speaker Chambers said the House of Representatives, and to an extent the the Legislature, is the fulcrum of democracy, which has an internal system of check and balances, as well as power to check and balance other branches — a fundamental importance in the tripartite government.
In a considerate tone on Thursday, October 18, 2018 in the new 2nd floor conference room, Speaker Chambers said the supposed invite served on the House’s Chief Clerk was settled with the Special Investigative Committee over the alleged missing L$16 billion, and said it was an ‘oversight’.
The Speaker stressed that an invite of the House of Representatives or the Legislature, is a process of democracy, and an institution can only ‘request’ and not ‘invite’ and, based on the request, the House of Representatives or the Legislature will decide squarely on the merit and demerit of the request.
Relating to a possible invite from the US based forensic investigators who are currently in the country to carry out probe into the alleged disappearance of L$16 billion in newly printed notes, Speaker Chambers said the US forensic investigators know contemporary constitution and democracy and adhere to the process of democracy.
“This body can never be invited by any group or institution. You can come make request and the body will decide as what approach to take,” Speaker Chambers said.
Person of interest
Meanwhile, in the midst of the investigation of the alleged missing billions, Speaker Chambers has named former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a ‘Person of Interest’ because it was during her administration the L$16 billion was printed, which was authorized by the Legislature in April 2016 and unauthorized by the Legislature in July 2017.
The Speaker said the former President’s son, Charles Sirleaf, who acted as Executive Governor during the first authorization of the printing of a new LD$5 billion, was a ‘well-placed’ person of the former President.
He also said the former President should apologize to President Weah and the Liberian people for her outburst, when she suggested in a BBC interview that the government under President Weah’s leadership, might not understand what the country’s GDP is.
Speaker Chambers said the former President’s outburst did not serve the office of a retired President and to redeem her image, she needs to apologize.
Meanwhile, the Speaker maintained the authorization given by the Legislature to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) was only the printing of the L$5 billion and not the additional L$10 billion.
He said all those who were invited by the Legislature to give their account of their alleged involvement of the printing are cooperating, and the investigation is going well.
The Speaker used the occasion to call on Liberians to be peaceful as the government is doing all it can to get into the bottom of the money saga.
The Speaker said the President and CBL did not adhere to the July 19, 2017 communication, which was signed by the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, Mildred Sayon and the Secretary of the Liberian Senate, Nanborlor F. Singbeh. It was not an authorization given to Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to go ahead with the printing of the money, he said, rather it was meant to instruct the CBL to furnish the Legislature with the appropriate detailed information regarding the printing of additional bank notes.