Senate to Cite Economic Management Team Over L$16B, US$25M Sagas

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Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown: "The decision was communicated to the President, when the senate met with him and ... after having a sensitive discussion with him..., we advised the President to withdraw this bill without the least delay." 

The Senate, at its first day extraordinary sitting on Tuesday, October 30, unanimously voted to cite the Economic Management Team (EMT) to appear before plenary on Tuesday, November 6, to explain the state of the economy, especially the alleged printing and disappearance of LS$16 billion as well as the impact of the US$25 million stimulus package.

In a communication dated October 29, 2018 and addressed to the Senate plenary, Maryland County Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown recalled that prior to the closure of the Legislature for its annual break, “the Economic Management Team, at the request of plenary which was prompted by the fast and growing depreciation of the Liberian dollar against foreign currencies, appeared before and informed plenary that a number of economic measures were being introduced to curb the decline of the Liberian dollar and stabilize the economy.”

According to the communication, the EMT told the Senate that some of the economic measures included the infusion of US$25 million so as to mop up some of the excess Liberian dollars from the market.

“My distinguished colleagues, now that the Legislature has been recalled to an extraordinary session, let us use this occasion as representatives of the people to demand explanations from the Executive Branch of Government, particularly, the EMT,” Senator Brown said.

Sen. Brown (Maryland County), requested plenary to invite the EMT to explain to Senate plenary the current state of the economy, the rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollars and the alleged printing and disappearance of L$16 billion.

“I would also request that plenary order the EMT to submit, prior to their appearance, a written report on the utilization and impact of the US$25 million mentioned above. The report should include a matrix showing how and to whom the funds were disbursed,” he said.

Earlier, following the reading of the proclamation from President George Weah, the President of the Senate, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, informed the 20 Senators in attendance that the President’s decision to declare proclamation was a result of a certificate received from the Legislators on a need for their return.

Vice President Howard-Taylor, who presented a list of activities the Legislature will handle during its month-long extraordinary session, named the current economic situation; depreciation of the local currency and the missing Liberian dollar banknotes; roads financing agreements — Fishtown, River Gee and Grand Gedeh roads, Sanniquellie to Loguatuo; Roberts International Airport Expansion, and the Waterside to St. Paul Bridge road.

Meanwhile, there was an uproar in the Senate Chambers on Tuesday when some Senators accused the chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Senator H. Varney Sherman, of placing a report on the floor, which they suspect is intended for the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.

“This is seriously not one of the most pressing and national issues for which we must be recalled. What is so urgent about the trial of a sitting Justice when we are facing serious economic challenges,” Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn wondered.

The Senate meanwhile voted for debate on the amendment to Senate Rule #63 and others to take place on today, November 2.

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