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53rd Legislators mute on 10bn

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Members of the 53rd Legislature are said to be mute over claims that they surreptitiously authorized the printing of the additional 10 billion Liberian bank notes in 2017, months after they publicly approved the printing of an initial 5 billion in 2016.

Former Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks said Thursday in what he said was a clarification that the bank did obtained authorization for the printing of the additional 10 billion Liberian Dollar bank notes in 2017.“I wish to state emphatically clear that we did obtained authorization for the printing of the currency. The first authorization was for the 5 billion and the second authorization was in 2017 for the 10 billion we printed; that authorization came from the legislature,” the former CBL governor told journalists.

Many members of the 53rd Legislature contacted by this paper Monday September 24, 2018 to comment on claims by former Governor Weeks, an assertion echoed by former President |Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf proved futile as many of the lawmakers contacted deferred their comments to today (Tuesday September 25).

This development comes as the government continues its probe into the allegation of missing containers with cash worth 16 billion Liberian bank notes, an equivalent of about US104 million. The Financial Times put the amount as 5 percent of Liberia’s GDP.

However, ex-Governor Weeks says as far as he is concern there is no missing container of currency.“There is no missing container of currency and I want that to be cleared,” said Weeks. Weeks said the first 5 billion printed came in 2016 and that in 2017, agreement was signed to print the 10 billion following an approval from the Legislature.

“In 2017, we signed an agreement for the printing of 10 billion that is all the money I am aware of that was printed. The 10 billion some came in October 2017 and the other came in early 2018, Weeks continued.Mr. Weeks said some of the 10 billion came by air, while others were imported by sea. He also stated that the entire amount the first 5 billion and the second 10 billion were printed in Sweden.

Mr. Weeks comments leave more rooms for answers as members of the 53rd Legislature mainly Senators are still mute over the issue of authorization. House Speaker Chambers, a member of the 53rd Legislature has been vocal insisting that he was only aware of the 5 billion that was printed.

But like Weeks, former President Sirleaf also insists that as an autonomous agency the CBL obtained its authorization from the Legislature to print the now missing currencies.

As the debate for who the missing container continues, it is becoming clear by the day that there are more questions than answers. It remains to be seen who is actually telling the truth and hence the need for reputable external investigators like the FBI to come in.

By Othello B. Garblah

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