-before printing of banknotes
Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah is calling for an audit of the Central Bank of Liberia or CBL before reprinting of more Liberian Banknotes as requested recently by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Pro-Tempore Jallah told a news conference at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia on Tuesday that government should prioritize a thorough audit of the Central Bank to assess its performance over the years before reprinting of banknotes for circulation in the economy.
The Gbarpolu County Senator said a thorough audit ahead of the reprint will bring credibility to the process and explain what has happened to the local currency, which warrants additional prints. Observers say Pro-Tempore Jallah’s call is an attempt to exert the leadership of the Liberian Senate so as not to be seen as rubber stamp body that allows anything to go from the Executive.
Senator Armah Jallah and President Sirleaf bitterly differed recently over the dissolution of the army as part of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) brokered in Accra, Ghana which led to the cessation of hostility and eventually ushered in a democratic process.
He had argued that the disbandment of the entire Armed Forces of Liberia was unconstitutional and contrary to the CPA therefore, calling for reinstatement of former service personnel, but President Sirleaf reacted strongly, saying Pro-Tempore Jallah may had read the peace accord upside-down without clearly understanding its detail.
But Senator Jallah maintains the CBL should look keenly and not consider the call for a thorough audit as an indictment but for sake of best international practice. On March 3, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote the Liberian Senate, requesting for reprint of more Liberian banknotes to augment the current ones in circulation.
The President expressed in her communication addressed to the Senate President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah that she had received two separate communications from the former Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Dr. Mills Jones, and now Acting Executive Governor, Charles Sirleaf, who happens to be her son, stating that the economy may be seriously affected due to lack of local currency to meet national transactional needs.
She indicated the communication read in senate session last Thursday that the underlying reason for the delay that led to this crisis has to do with interpretation of Article 34, (d) (ii) of the Constitution of Liberia, and the Act to Authorize the Establishment of the Central bank of Liberia as amended.
Article 34, (d)(ii) of the Constitution of Liberia: No monies shall be drawn from the treasury except in consequence of appropriations made by legislative enactment and upon warrant of the President; and no coin shall be minted or national currency issued except by the expressed authority of the Legislature. An annual statement and account of the receipt and expenditure of all public monies shall be submitted by the office of the President to the Legislature and published once a year.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Edited by Jonathan Browne