Resignation At Central Bank Of Liberia; Is Governor Patray Next?
Monrovia – Seventy-Two hours before President George Manneh Weah delivers a much-anticipated address to the nation, FrontPageAfrica has reliably learned of a major resignation at the Central Bank of Liberia with the departure of Dr. Mounir Siaplay, Deputy Governor for Economic Policy.
Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
Sources are mum over the reason for the departure and it is not clear whether he was asked to resign or stepped down on his own. But FPA has learned that Dr. Siaplay’s departure could trigger a wave of changes at the CBL, recently hooked by the General Auditing Commission and blamed in an audit commissioned by President Weah for all the variances and unexplained discrepancies during the US$25 million mopping exercise.
Section 2.2.4 of the GAC Report states that 15 entities listed by the Central Bank of Liberia, as having received moneys from the CBL’s staff during the exercise denied their participation in the exercise. Eight of the entities listed on the CBL’s transaction list were found not be in existence. The burden of proof is on the CBL to establish the veracity of the transactions and the existence of the entities.”
Justice Minister Frank Musah Dean told a news conference last week multiple sections of the report referenced discrepancies and variances in the accounting records of the mop up exercise. “These variances and discrepancies place the burden of proof on the CBL to explain these variances and discrepancies or to establish that they are not factual,” the minister explained.
The Auditor General, Yusador Gaye, in her cover letter of the report submitted to Attorney General Frank Musah Dean noted: “The meetings’ minutes of TEMT (The Economic Management Team) showed that TEMT mandated CBL to carry out the mop up exercise and also authorized the CBL to re-infuse the mopped-up funds into the economy. More importantly, Section 1.1.9 Part II, count 4 of the findings cites the CBL Act as requiring that the CBL to have “functional independence, power and authority to conduct foreign exchange operations.”
It can be recalled, that Dr. Siaplay, the third in line of authority at the CBL, was among a number of officials who were briefly placed on travel ban in the midst of an investigation into the mopping exercise.
What remains unclear is the fate of Governor Nathaniel Patray. Multiple reports have suggested that the embattled governor has been asked to tendered in his resignation although FPA has not been able to confirm with sources and hierarchy within the administration remain tight-lipped.
President Weah, who was originally expected to deliver an address to the nation Monday has reportedly put the speech off to Wednesday at 12pm to be delivered on state radio, the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) and relayed to radio stations across the country.
The looming shakeup at the bank comes amid concerns that the US Federal Reserves is currently monitoring the situation in Liberia.
Last October, the decision by the government to halt travel for those named in the LD 16 billion investigation forced the Feds to put a freeze on Liberia, uncomfortable that the country did not have a legitimate signatory to the account with the action which saw Deputy Governor Charles Sirleaf, who has oversight responsibility over Finance, Banking and General Services Departments.
The action was triggered by red flags waved by some international stakeholders, particularly the World Bank that those under investigation should not be involve in the day-to-day operations of the CBL particularly regarding the US Federal Reserve after President Weah established a Special Presidential Committee to probe the mysterious disappearance of L$16 billion from the vault of the CBL, leading to the Monrovia City Court restricting the movement of 35 employees of the bank pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Federal Reserve System was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, after a series of financial panics, particularly the panic of 1907 which led to the desire for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises.
Over the years, events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession during the 2000s have led to the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System.
Part of the CBL’s function is to control the nation’s money supply and the overall availability of credit in the economy. It can increase the supply of money and the availability) of credit by lowering the percentage of deposits that banks must hold as reserves at the Federal Reserve System, by lowering the discount rate or purchasing government bonds through open market operations. The Federal Reserve System can decrease the supply of money and the availability of credit by raising reserves selling government bonds.
The involvement of the court was triggered by a Writ of Ne-Exeat Republica prayed for by authorities at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to restrain persons of interest from leaving the jurisdiction of the court pending an action.
Dr. Siaplay, a former lecturer in the Principles of Microeconomics, Managerial Economics, Money and Banking, and Economics of Sport at Oklahoma State University, previously worked as a research assistant at North Dakota State University and Oklahoma State University, where he worked and published a range of topics from price volatility and hedging strategies in the wheat market, to economics of food safety, and the impact of social cash transfers on youth labor force participation, schooling, and sexual behaviors.
Outside of academia, Dr. Siaplay worked as an insurance risk analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, freight bill analyst for Val Spar Corporation in Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Oklahoma State University, MSc in Agribusiness and Applied Economics from North Dakota State University, and B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Concordia College.