Liberia: “House Did Not Sign Resolution to Print L$10 Billion” – Former Speaker Nuquay
Monrovia – Former House Speaker, Emmanuel J. Nuquay, has testified in open court that the House of Representatives did not sign a joint resolution for the printing of the L$10 billion banknotes.
Nuquay testified on Thursday, July 16, when he took the stand as a rebuttal witness for the State.
“No! The House of Representatives did not sign any joint resolution to print L$10 billion dollars and there is no such resolution,” the former Margibi County lawmaker was responding to a question by the State: Whether the House of Representatives ever passed a joint resolution regarding the printing of the L$10 Billion dollars?
“I have no information absolutely on the printing of L$10 billion by the CBL. What I know is that, members of the House of Representatives had raised issues about mutilated money on the market after the CBL, with full authorization through a joint resolution, had printed and brought in the country L$5 billion dollars to be infused in the market to replace mutilated banknotes.”
Witness Nuquay added that the only issue raised at the time by the House after the printing of L$5 Billion was the continuous circulation of mutilated banknotes contrary to the expectation that the money printed could be used to get out mutilated money from the market.
“The banks were still giving customers mutilated notes, contrary to the expectation that money had been printed and needed to be infused into the economy and they did not expect to receive mutilated notes from the banks,” he said.
He continued: “That matter was brought before the plenary of the House of Representatives – [we] initiated the process of engagement through plenary to ascertain from the CBL as to the real issues for which mutilated notes were still been given to the Liberian people by different banks.”
“I have no information absolutely on the printing of L$10 billion by the CBL. What I know is that members of the House of Representatives had raised issues about mutilated money on the market after the CBL, with full authorization through a joint resolution, had printed and brought in the country L$5 billion dollars to be infused in the market to replace mutilated banknotes.”Emmanuel J. Nuquay, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives
The former speaker further testified that at the end of the engagement processes, the Legislature, through the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of Senate, wrote a communication to the CBL requesting the CBL to do three key things.
He added that the communication requested the CBL to continue the use of Liberian and United States dollars until the country export increased, replace the legacy banknotes completely with the newly printed Liberian dollars and that the CBL introduces coins of lower denominations on the Liberian market.
Nuquay further testified that the request to the CBL was also predicated upon the information provided by the CBL that the former Governor of CBL, Dr. Mills Jones, who replaced Defendant Milton Weeks, had minted coins that were in the vault of the CBL.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no paragraph in that communication that authorized the CBL to print L$10 billion dollars,” he said, adding that the Bank never acted in accordance with the content of the letter sent by the House.
But the former speaker was stuttering on the witness stand when lawyers of Defendant Weeks introduced a communication dated May 29, 2017 addressed to him (Nuquay) by the CBL, providing clarification and outlining the cost of replacing all legacy banknotes.
Excerpt of the communication reads: “In order to replace the said legacy notes (about L$10Billion), the CBL estimate a cost of US$10.4 million to cover the printing and shipping cost.
“Honorable Speaker, it is important to note that the CBL is operating under a three-year budget (2016-2018) which was prepared in the last quarter of 2015 and did not factor the cost of printing. Further, the three-year budget was only capable of financing the initial L$5 Billion dollars that was printed last year.”
Responding to the communication, he said: “By refreshing my memory, I cannot immediately recall receiving such communication. But that does not mean the communication mentioned was not submitted to the Legislature.”