President George Manneh Weah last Thursday ordered the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to conduct an investigative audit into how US$25 Million earmarked by the government to mop-up excess Liberian dollars in the economy was expended.
The money was withdrawn in 2018 from the country’s reserve with the United States Fed for this particular purpose. But the procedure employed by a Technical Economic Management Team or TEMT, chaired by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel Tweah and co-chaired by Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Nathanie R. Patray, has received public criticism and mounting suspicions whether the pronounced objective was achieved.
Last week four collaborating opposition political parties here called for the arrest of the two TEMT leaders to account for the money similarly as several officials of the Central Bank of Liberia, including former Executive Governor Milton Weeks and Acting Governor Charles Sirleaf, son of ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and others are in court to account for printing excess Liberian banknotes, totaling over LRD2 million.
But both Minister Tweah and Executive Governor Patray argue that they did not wrong, detailing in a press statement last week that US$17.0 million used in the exercise is fully accounted for, while the remaining US$8.0 million is with the CBL.
Amid the public suspicion, President Weah believes the right thing to do is to conduct an investigative audit to establish the veracity of the transaction involving the US$25 million.
We believe the President took a wise decision in this matter, aimed at establishing the truth. In the coming two weeks, the General Auditing Commission will go through the files to authenticate whether the US$17.0 million was actually used to mop-up excess banknotes in the economy and the balance US$8.0 is with the CBL as claimed.
It is therefore important that both Minister Tweah and Executive Governor Patray avail themselves and cooperate with auditors from the GAC in a spirit of transparency and accountability.
If both officials would put away pride and demonstrate a cooperative poster in getting to the bottom of this matter, they will not only redeem their own integrity, but the entire government, particularly the President, who reposed the confidence in them to serve the Liberian people.
A mark of a good leadership is willingness to listen to the people. President Weah has demonstrated that he listens to the concerns of Liberians by this singular act of calling the two officials to transparency and accountability.
The CDC-led government, including the country generally is facing an integrity test. How we proceed in these challenging times will go a long way in building a positive image not only for this current generation, but generations to come.