The plenary of the House of Representatives has overwhelmingly endorsed request from the Executive for the printing of additional Liberian banknotes, setting the ceiling at L$55 million. In keeping with article 34 (b) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote the Liberian Legislature about a month ago, requesting the lawmakers to approve the printing of more banknotes as part of government’s stabilization strategy for the economy in the wake of global meltdown.
A total of 30 representatives voted for the printing; two against, and two abstained. The instrument is to be forwarded to the Liberian Senate for possible concurrence. However, the chamber of the House of Representatives at the Liberian Legislature was the scene of bitter exchanges that nearly led to fistfight between security officers and Montserrado County Representative, Dr. Edward Forh, who opposed his colleagues’ decision.
It all started when Speaker Alex Tyler, who presided over Thursday’s (April 21, 2016) session at the Capitol Building, grossly refused to recognized Representative Forh to contribute to the debate. Realizing that the Speaker’s posture was deliberate, Forh rose up in angry burst, insisting that he must be recognized, but Speaker Tyler led business as usual, pretending that nothing had gone wrong.
Rep. Forh, who could no longer hold his emotions continued with legislative disorder, something that led the Speaker to request the Sergeant-At-Arm to drag Rep. Forh out of plenary. Forh vehemently protested, which led to bitter exchanges between him and the Presiding Officer Tyler, sending the entire chambers in disarray.
Some lawmakers, including Solomon George and Edwin Snowe of Montserrado County, Eugene FallahKpakar of Lofa County intervened and brought Forh outside. Speaking to the press following the drama, Representative Forh said the endorsement by his colleagues without debating rationalizing the issue, puts the economy into serious financial crisis.
He argued that authorities from the Central Bank of Liberia should have been cited to explain how much of the local banknotes need replacement, how much money left in the reserve, and that the CBL should be audited before the printing of more money.
He alleged that Speaker Tyler quickly endorsed the request because of his political ambition in 2017, adding that the quick printing of banknotes will enable the Speaker, who is seeking the Presidency, to amass stolen wealth at the expense of the Liberian people.
Fore disclosed that Speaker Tyler is seeking the standard bearer post of the Liberian People Democratic Party, while the national chairman of the LPDP is also chairs the Ways, Means and Finance Committee at the House and therefore, recommended for the replacement of the two officials to avoid putting the local currency at a greater risk.
Speaker Tyler declines to comment on the allegations by Rep. Forh.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne