The drama surrounding the missing billions never seems to end with new twists and turns unfolding by the day. Just a few days ago Presidential Press secretary Solo Kelgbeh had announced to the Liberian public that the Legislature had given its approval to the printing of new Liberian dollar banknotes.
Prior to the announcement, the nation was informed that the Legislature was being recalled from break to discuss a singular agenda item, which was the proposed printing of new Liberian dollar banknotes to, as was said, to ease the liquidity situation facing the country. This was very puzzling because 16 billion in Liberian dollar banknotes had been printed and brought into the country.
When alarm was raised that some of the money had gone missing, the government went at lengths to prove that no money had gone missing although, the ruling party chairman, Mulbah Morlu had publicly disclosed that he personally saw pick-up truck loads of money being carted away from the CBL’s Waterside vaults.
Official probes were commissioned by President Weah in order to get to the bottom of the matter including that of the scandal surrounding the US$ 25 million infusion. At the end of the day, it came down to doing an actual physical count money held in the CBL’s vaults. To the shocking surprise of the public, officials of the CBL denied fraud investigators access to its vaults.
President Weah failed to order then CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray to comply with the KROLL and PIT requests for access to the CBL’s vaults. Resultantly, the total amount of money held by the CBL remained unaccounted for. Over the last few months the public has experienced an acute shortage of Liberian dollars, leaving many to question just where did the 16 billion worth of Liberian dollar banknotes go?
According to a financial analyst (name withheld), Finance Minister Samuel Tweah’s apparent takeover of Government’s Monetary and Fiscal policies has proved disastrous to the health of the nation’s economy. The introduction of newly printed banknotes is raising much public ire given that the money being paid out are all in the LD500 denomination. And it is being paid out mainly to members of the Legislature.
This situation has not gone down well with the public and now Representatives Larry Younquoi and Thomas Goshua calling on their colleagues to have authorities of the CBL appear before them to provide information on the source of the US and Liberian dollars it recently infused into the market. At bar also is the issue of propriety or the lack of it which needs to be addressed.
Two members of the Independent Legislative Caucus, Representatives Larry Younquoi and Thomas Goshua, are asking the plenary of the House of Representatives to invite authorities of the Central Bank of Liberia to explain the source of US and Liberian currencies it infused in the market recently.
Meanwhile, the civil servants association has announced that as of Monday, December 16, they will begin a go-slow protest action in demand of their wages now having gone unpaid for months. And there is rising public concern that ordinary people are unable to withdraw Liberian dollars from their accounts and may have a very bleak Christmas.
Local SuSu and other savings and loans associations usually make annual payouts to their members in December of each year. With December already gone beyond the half-way mark, there is considerable public unease about prospects of being let down.
In view of these developments, it would not be surprising to see an even greater number of people showing up on the streets on December 30 as compared to the mass protest of last June 7.
Realizing that such a mass protest could severely expose the weakness of this government, its officials are going all out, leaving no stones unturned to either dissuade protest organizers or to threaten the use of violence.
Over the weekend a group of individuals, led by a former representative and deputy minister, staged a march thru the streets calling on people not to listen to people who want to bring war to the country referring to the organizers of the planned December 30 protest.
As things appear, the public does not know what to believe with so many self-contradictory statements coming from various government officials. And in situations where the people lose faith in their government, not even armed or military might can prove enough to stop them from taking destiny in their own hands.
At least this was or should be the lesson learned from Burkina Faso where a bloody dictator held sway over his people for decades decreeing who lived or who died. The hawkish but cowardly Bagdad Bobs will of course as expected to come out charging, accusing this newspaper of partisan bias.
But the Daily Observer remains unmoved by such and shall not fail to keep ringing the bells and, let not the Baghdad Bobs of this world ask for whom the bells toll.