Barely 24 hours following accepting the resignation of Milton A. Weeks as Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, President George Manneh Weah has appointed Nathaniel R. Patray to the post, pending confirmation by the Senate.
Patray’s appointment was announced today among a list of other appointments designated for the National Security Agency (NSA).
Patray had been a long serving employee of the bank where he is reported to have spent over thirty(30) plus years serving in various capacities including a stint as Deputy Governor. According to sources, during the civil war when most top officials of government had fled he country, Patray opted to remain in Monrovia which was by then controlled by three armed groups, namely the Armed forces of Liberia (AFL), the Charles Taylor led National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and the Prince Johnson led Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia(INPFL).
When the INPFL overran Mamba Point in 1990, a manhunt was launched for all government officials including security officers. Sources say that Patray, who was at the time displaced and seeking refuge at the then Ducor Intercontinental Hotel, was rounded up at gunpoint by INPFL fighters and taken to Prince Johnson at his Caldwell base.
Further, according to sources, Patray was placed at gun point and taken to the bank offices on Broad Street and upon arrival there he was demanded at gun point to reveal the combinations to the bank’s vault from where a huge sum of money including US dollars and JJ Roberts banknotes were seized and taken to the Caldwell base of then rebel leader Prince Johnson.
Sources further say that upon the cessation of hostilities in Monrovia and the installation of the Sawyer led Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU), economic activities resumed in earnest but before long, Sawyer announced the change in currency from the JJ Roberts banknote to the Liberty banknote a development which, according to sources left Prince Johnson stuck with an inordinate amount of JJ Roberts banknotes tradeable at the time only in areas under the control of the NPFL.
The move is said to have infuriated Prince Johnson to the extent where he banned theuse of the Liberity banknote in Caldwell, the site of his base and of which he was firmly in control. It is not known whether the change in banknote was informed by Patray’s possible disclosure to Sawyer of events that transpired as was suspected.
However, sources maintained that such disclosure could have come from many sources including former fighters who had deserted the ranks of Johnson’s fighting forces. In any case, Patray returned to service at the bank and continued to serve until the coming to power of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf following the elections of 2005.
He was separated from the bank and had remained in private life since until his recall to serve as Executive Governor, one step up from the post of Deputy governor in which he once served. Patray is a graduate of the College of West Africa and the University of Liberia where he once taught courses in banking. He is also said to have earned graduate degrees from Universities in the United States of America.
His nomination is currently pending before the Liberian Senate for confirmation. Meanwhile it is being speculated that his nomination may not be supported by Senator Prince Johnson for reasons related to events of the civil war.