Senate Committee Chair on Banking and Finance Marshall Dennis says whatever amount was printed by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in addition to the five billions approved by lawmakers to replace mutilated banknotes was a constitutional breach.
Sen. Dennis told local broadcaster OK Fm Thursday evening, 27 September that there is no communication so far to prove that Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks returned to the Legislature to get lawmakers’ approval for additional printing of ten billion Liberian Dollars.
“The communication between we and the Central Bank is just to the point of go and get back to us for the details. The details [have] not gotten to us,” Sen. Dennis says.
He suggests that as Chairman on Banking and Finance, he would not know how much was printed in total “if it has sinister motive.”
Following lawmakers’ approval for the printing of the five billion that came in the economy in 2016, Sen. Dennis says the CBL had gone back to lawmakers informing them that it could source funding to print the remaining banknotes that could remove all of the Legacy notes from the market.
Part of the details that lawmakers required from the CBL, according to Sen. Dennis was what was the remaining banknotes and how much did the bank require to print and remove the entire Legacy note from the market.
According to him, it is lawmakers’ resolution to print five billions that former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf must have agreed to because there was nothing else they approved.
Given the way things went in printing the money, Sen. Dennis believes that those who came up to alarm that “money is missing; container [is] missing; 16 billion dollars is missing and all like that,” cannot out rightly be condemned in the absence of findings from an investigation.
“Because the noise they started is the one that told us now. Even while we were sitting, waiting for the results from the Central Bank to come and give us the details, they had gone ahead to print money without the acquiescence of the National Legislature,” he adds.
He believes that the bank could print even more than L$30 billion given the fact that it printed money without the authorization of the lawmakers.
During their inquiry with the CBL over how much was printed in total, Sen. Dennis says the bank admitted that it printed a total of L$15.5 billion.
In response to concerns over the printing of L$500.00 bills, Sen. Dennis argues that the printing of L$500.00 banknote cannot encourage counterfeiting, but he sees it as easy to carry.
He given that the printing of the five billion to replace mutilated banknotes was done in six months, he believes that there must have been additional mutilated banknotes in excess to the five billion.
By Winton W. Parley