Monrovia – The Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Alloycious Tarlue, has acknowledged the cash balance announced by former President George Weah during his final address to the nation.
By Selma Lomax [email protected]
Before his departure, former President Weah disclosed to the nation that he left a total cash balance of US$40,375.90 million in the Government’s Consolidated Accounts.
President Weah recounted that back in 2018, he and his government inherited a consolidated cash balance of over US$7 million from former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The former Liberian leader also told the nation that his government inherited over US$94.9 million in net international reserves, and handed over to the new administration US$222.7 million, which amounts to 136% increase.
Contrary to his disclosure, current Joseph Boakai informed the nation in his first state of the nation address on January 22, that the balance was US$20.5 million, not US$40 million, as stated by former President George Weah.
President Boakai said the net international reserves position reported at the end of December 2023 was US$220 million.
“The report of US$40 million as the GoL’s consolidated account balance as of January 19, 2024, is not supported by the fact. The balance reported by the CBL as of the same date was US$20.5 million, highly encumbered, NOT US$40 million. To this end, we re-emphasize our earlier commitment to audit and ensure that regular audits will be a culture across all branches of government, not only the Executive”, but he also said.
The contradicting statements from the former and current presidents sparked public debate in the country, something that prompted the House of Representatives to summon CBL Governor, Alloysius Tarlue, to appear before that august body to clarify exactly how much was in the account.
During his appearance on Thursday, February 1, 2024, Governor Tarlue’s testimony before members of the House seem to have validated former President Weah’s claim of leaving US$40M in the account.
Following the CBL governor’s presentation, members of the House voted to subject the Transitional Team and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to an investigation by the Banking and Currency Committee to address information regarding the two datas provided by the former and current presidents.
The motion was proffered by Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon Seboe, who chairs the House’s Banking and Currency Committee.
Rep. Seboe stressed the need for the committee to probe the Central Bank of Liberia, including Governor, J. Aloysius Tarlue, and his deputies in order to ascertain which “datas” were submitted to the President to have said that the report of US $40 million as the GoL’s consolidated account balance as of January 19, 2024, was not supported by the fact.
In his motion, the opposition CDC Lawmaker said the testimonies of the Central Bank of Liberia indicates that as of January 19, there was over L$2.4b in the consolidated account as well as more than US$27m.
He argued that considering the approved prevailing exchange rate of US$1 to L$188.36; a total amount in the Consolidated Account on January 19 was about US$40.4m, validating what was said by the former president.
The Banking and Currency Committee will report to the August Body on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
CDC Demands Apology from Pres. Boakai
Meanwhile, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Thursday called on President Joseph Nyumah Boakai to apologize to its Political Leader, former President George Manneh Weah, the Liberian people for “deliberately providing misleading accounts” about the financial situation of the country, especially with regards figures of the consolidated account balance at the Central Bank of Liberia.
The party said the CBL Governor’s appearance Thursday at the Legislature, which witnessed his documentary testimony of the consolidated account balance as of January 19, 2024 to exactly the same as President Weah reported in his farewell address about the figure being a little over 40 Million USD, as opposed to what President Boakai reported to be 20.5 Million USD, coincides with the party’s 48 hours ultimatum to President Boakai as was provided during its recent Press Conference.
With this vindication from the Central Bank of Liberia’s Governor, the Coalition for Democratic Change says it sees President Boakai’s action as not only a deliberate intent aimed at misleading and deceiving the very people, he claimed during his campaigns to govern with honesty from the get-go of his administration, but a mudslinging attempt to impugn the accountability and transparency credentials of the CDC-led government under the stewardship of former President George Manneh Weah.
While the CDC demands an apology from President Boakai, the party in a release added, it is also taken aback by the growing incompetence associated with the Boakai Presidency in the formative days of his administration.
“The failure of the President to have completed his constitutional duty of delivering an inaugural address which was disgracefully aborted, coupled with his inability to fact-check rudimentary financial issues such as the bank balance of the country’s consolidated account is flabbergasting, worrisome and concerning as to whether President Boakai has the capacity to do the heavy liftings associated with the Liberian presidency,” the party said.