Liberia: Rep. Alexander Poure: “Ex-Governor Weeks Acted Notorious and Clandestine and Should Show Where the Money Is”
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – River Gee County District#1 Representative Alexander Poure said that the former Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Milton Weeks was notorious and clandestine over the printing of additional banknotes and should state where the alleged missing billions of money is.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh 00231880881540 / 00231777769531 [email protected]
During a legislative inquiry on Thursday, November 8, Ex-Governor Weeks stated that the CBL entered into an agreement with Crane Currency in Sweden and printed L$15 billion dollars between 2016 and 2017.
Weeks said the first batch of L$5 billion was printed in 2016 following an authorization from the Legislature to replace mutilated bank notes, and this was followed by an additional L$10 billion in 2017 to replace all of the legacy (Liberty) banknotes printed during the administration of former President Charles Taylor.
He also revealed during the hearing that the money (L$10 billion) was brought into the country, beginning with the first batch (L$5 billion) in 2016, followed by the additional L$10 billion between October 2017 and early 2018.
His assertions were backed by the Deputy Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Decontee King Sackie when she stated that the LRA was aware of 25 20-ft container that arrived into the country between 2016 and 2018.
Documents showed that the 53rd Legislature authorized the printing of L$5 billion in 2016. However, the lawmakers have repeatedly denied sanctioning the printing of additional money to be infused into the economy.
The Ex-CBL Governor in his testimony before the Plenary of the House stated that he and the CBL Board of Governors had thought that a communication from the Legislature authorizing the CBL to completely replace the legacy banknotes with the newly printed ones to be an authorization to print additional banknotes to effectuate the mandate.
Weeks also admitted to signing the printing contract with Crane Currency earlier before the CBL was authorized by the Legislature to replace the legacy banknotes, contending that the decision was a strategy of the CBL to get the money printed and delivered without delay.
Documents also showed that the agreement with Crane was signed on June 12, 2017; while the letter of authorization to replace the banknotes was written on July 19, 2017.
He also admitted to the CBL failure to inform the then President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Legislature prior to printing the money, something that the CBL was instructed to do.
Rep. Poure, speaking to reporters, blasted the Ex- CBL Governor for “his clandestine and notorious acts” and called on him to give accounts of the money.
“Now, that he has admitted to printing additional money, it is time that he tells us where the money is,” Rep. Poure said.
“He signed the contract on the 12th of June (2017) and the Legislature gave him the authorization on July 19, 2017. Why will you sign a contract already before seeking authorization? Even if that letter constituted enough and legal authority (to print money), the fact that he signed a contract before seeking authorization is notorious and clandestine.
Rep. Poure revealed that during a closed-door meeting with the leadership of the House earlier, Ex-Governor Weeks, accompanied by his lawyer, refused to state whether he infused all of the monies printed into the economy before his resignation in July 2018 on grounds that he is entitled to his right to remain silent.
It can be recalled that following Weeks’ resignation, media reports emerged that the Government of Liberia, under the instructions of President George Manneh Weah was investigating an alleged missing L$16 billion.
Since the revelation, there have been claims and counter claims between the Legislature and Ex-Governor Weeks over who authorized the printing of the additional banknotes.
The lawmakers, mostly members of the 53rd Legislature, blamed Weeks for printing the additional banknotes without their concern; while the Ex-Governor maintained that he and the CBL Board of Directors acted within the confines of the law.
This has prompted the House of Representatives to launch an investigation to ascertain the fact.