Liberia: Lawmaker Explains Why He Voted For Printing New L$4 Billion Banknotes

According to Rep. Morris, anything deviation from the conditionalities set for the printing of a new family of currency would wrong on the part of the Government and the Central Bank of Liberia

Monrovia – Rep. Lawrence Morris (Independent, District No.1, Montserrado County) has defended his decision to vote in favor of printing new L$ 4 billion.

The defense of his decision comes in the wake of allegations of a US$5,000 signature fee given to each lawmaker that signed the resolution.

Speaking to FrontPageAfrica on Thursday, Representative Morris, however, denied knowledge of any such amount being given to lawmakers. He said, his decision to sign was based on the conditionalities for the printing of the new family of banknotes which is supposed to be different from the current ones in circulation. 

The conditions that led to his conviction to sign the resolution include bringing those involved in act of corruption during the US$25 million mop-up exercise to justice; addressing concerns and recommendations in the Kroll report and that the system under which the new banknotes would be printed is monitored by the International Monetary Fund to ensure accountability and know and control the amount in circulation. 

“I voted ‘for’ based on these conditions. Anything short of these will be done wrongly. These must be met before the printing can be fine,” he said.

How the Executive Interferes 

Members of the 54th Legislature, particularly the House of Representatives are being mummed on whether or not US$5,000 was offered to each lawmaker to sign the resolution for the printing of L$4 billion.

However, some lawmakers who preferred not be mentioned, though could not confirm the amount being given out explained to FrontPageAfrica how the executive branch of government obtains votes for matters of its keen interest.

The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has 22 members in the House of Representatives. They are often the first lobbying targets of the Executive. Their votes, according to inside sources, are often not for free in critical matters like this. 

Members of the former ruling Unity Party that have fallen prey to the ruling establishment become the next target. There are about 18 of them in the House. “Some of these lawmakers have gone in bed with the CDC and have no intention of contesting again so they support any wrong doing for the money. The bring the number of votes up to 40. 

According to the rules, it takes 49 members constituting two-thirds of the total membership of the House to pass a bill or a resolution. Therefore, having had a grip on 40 members, the Executive preys on any nine weaklings to get hold of its two-thirds needed votes.

However, in the case of the printing of the controversial L$4 billion, FrontPageAfrica was reliably informed that only a handful of lawmakers stood with their conscience not to sign the resolution, despite the alleged inducement.

Adhering to Conscience 

Rep. Nagbe Sloh who chose to speak on the record said his refusal to sign was because “my conscience has not led me to printing additional banknotes in the absence of full accountability for the missing LD16 billion and the US$25 million mop-up money; the Liberian people are smart; they are watching the things we do with their money.”

Besides Rep. Sloh, Crayton Duncan (Unity Party, Sinoe District 1), Vicent Willie (Independent, Grand Bassa, District No. 4), Thomas Goshua (Unity Party, District No. Grand Bassa County), Yekeh Koluba (Independent, District No. 10, Montserrado) Rastolyn Suacoco Dennis (Liberia Transformation Party, District No. 4, Montserrado County), Larry Yanquoi (ANC, District No. 8, Nimba County), Richard Nagbe Koon(Unity Party, Montserrado County, District No. 11)Alex Poure (National Union for Democratic Progress, District No. 1, River Gee County), Richard Koon(Unity Party, Montserrado County, District No. 11) and Dr. George B. Samba(Independent, District No, 12, Montserrado County).