…But Senators receive summons return from Justice Ja’neh
The Senate through its President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Albert Tugbe Chie, yesterday announced an abrupt postponement of a scheduled public hearing involving Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Nathaniel Patray, his Deputy Charles Sirleaf, and co-chair of the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT), Charles Bright.
The trio’s presence in the Senate Chamber lasted about five minutes.
Protemp Chie informed the Central Bank team of the Senate’s decision that there should be no hearing for now, but rather, questions written by the senators should be presented to the governor and his team.
“We expect that you will give written answers to whatever the senators present to you, plus a written presentation that we expect you will also give in return. Because of that, we will not entertain a discussion with you today, but we will postpone this hearing to a later date to be decided by plenary, during which you will come up with a written report on the questions we give you.
“This will include issues that may be on your mind, and in addressing the state of the economy; the alleged missing Liberian dollars and the infusion of approximately US$25 million in the economy. So that is the decision of plenary, and you are hereby discharged, but we will call upon you another day,” Pro Tempore Chie told the CBL Executives.
The TEMT, headed by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) Samuel Tweah, appeared before the Senate Tuesday, November 13, to brief that body on the state of the economy, but the absence of Governor Patray and his deputy governors prompted the need to reschedule the entire team.
During the opening marathon hearing that included the Minister of Commerce Wilson Tarpeh, Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner General, Thomas Doe Nah and Economic Advisor Charles Bright, the Senators’ emphasis was more on the monetary aspect of the economy, especially the missing billion Liberian dollars, authorization for its printing, and the government’s infusion of US$25 million stimulus package intended to “mop-up excess local currency already in circulation”, as a way of stabilizing the depreciation of the local currency.
Minister Tweah, during last week’s hearing, maintained his earlier statement that L$16 billion did not go missing, but clarified that investigation is likely to prove that indeed money was missing but significantly lower than what is currently debated.
At the height of the missing billions saga, Governor Patray called a press briefing that was void of questions and answers, but stated that the bank had received from its printing agency all monetary transactions negotiated, and that the so-called missing money was in the vault of the CBL.
The pressing questions remain about the state of the economy, accountability for the alleged missing billions of Liberian dollars and how the US$25 million stimulus package was administered.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Senate yesterday presented to the Senate plenary the Return (acknowledgment of receipt of a legal document) from Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, after he was officially issued the writ of summons served on him by the Senate’s Sergeant-at-Arms. The document reportedly contained issues raised by the House of Representatives that prompted the impeachment.