Teahjay Vindicates Legislature
-Clarifies Controversial $10 Billion Issue
-Says CBL Was Not Authorized
Amid heightening tensions over the controversial printing of 10 billion Liberian dollar banknotes by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the alleged missing of 15-16 billion Liberian dollars, a senior member of the Banking and Currency Committee of the Liberian Senate has provided initial information on the matter.
Addressing a news conference Wednesday in Monrovia at the Capitol Building, Sinoe County’s tough-talking Senator, J. Milton Teahjay, sharply deflated reports that CBL was authorized by the Legislature to print extra Liberian dollar banknotes in the tone of 10 billion apart from the authorized L$5 billion in 2016.Recently, the man who is at the center of the hullabaloo that surrounds the alleged missing of 15-16 billion Liberian dollars and as well as the printing of extra 10 billion Liberian dollars, former CBL Governor, Milton Weeks indicted the Legislature, claiming that he got his authority from the Lawmakers through a “resolution” to print the extra 10 billion beside the initial amount of $5 billion.
But in his reaction, Teahjay in addition to what other lawmakers have already said declared that there’s no document to prove that the Legislature authorized the Central Bank to print extra banknotes besides the L$5 million.
“As a member of the Banking and Currency Committee of the Liberian Senate, I am only aware of authorization for the Bank to print only five billion dollars, the second approval was never granted,” Teahjay added.
According to the Sinoe County Lawmaker, the CBL was only instructed to meet specific benchmarks and report to the Legislature before the printing of additional money, adding that the Legislature requested the CBL to furnish the dignified body with the appropriate details of the volume and denominations of the banknotes to be replaced; Sen. Teahjay noted that the request was made prior to the printing and minting of coins.
It is still unclear whether the CBL was able to retrieve the mutilated banknotes from the market which necessitated the printing of new banknotes; what it is clear for now is, the bank is yet to reintroduce the usage of coins on the Liberian market, something which many Liberians look up to in an effort to ease the burn of harsh economic challenges.
Former Governor Weeks’ predecessor, J. Mills Jones once reported that prior to his departure from the Bank to contest in the 2017 presidential and legislative elections; he left coins at the bank with plan to be put on the Liberian market to ease the burden Liberians endure on a daily basis.
“Who may have authorized the printing of the excess amount? Have we to find out?” Teahjay asked in a rather rhetorical fashion.
Addressing the Liberian media, Sen. Teahjay who was very clear with a strong caveat declared that if it is true that excess money was printed by the CBL without the consent of the Legislature, former Governor Weeks must be brought to book.“This current administration has no record of printing money,” he said while making direct reference to the regime of incumbent Liberian President, George Manneh Weah.
However, commenting on Monday’s protest in Monrovia, Sen. Teahjay who has also been in the struggle for social justice, political pluralism and multi-party democracy in Liberia said, “I am asking myself a question as to whether or not the demonstration on Monday, September 24, 2018 was based on facts or speculations”.
According to him, while it is true that it was the right protestors to demonstrate, in Sen. Teahjay’s view, such action should be guarded by facts, instead of speculations, adding that he and other Liberians who organized and led demonstrations in the past did so on the basis of facts and not speculations.
He openly announced his disagreement with those Liberians who went in the streets calling on the international partners, including donor countries to impose economic sanction on the Liberia.
“Why should the organizers of the demonstrations call for economic sanction when this government is just eight months in power, this is totally unfair and premature,” the Senator who does not hide his feelings on national issues said.
He promised to meet with ambassadors of diplomatic missions near Monrovia, including that of the United States and other envoys to neutralize the petition made on Monday and warned against ill responsible collaborations, stating that “UP should not be used to take hot palm-nuts from the fire”.