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Liberia news

Weeks faces Senate’s blockage?

It appears that the confirmation proceedings of the Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor-designate, Mr. Milton Weeks are encountering serious storming blocks from the Liberian Senate in the wake of a motion for reconsideration before that body.

During his appearance before the Senate’s Committee on Currency and Banking recently for confirming hearings, Mr. Weeks told the senators that he is a 1982 graduate of the Syracuse University based in the United States of America, majoring Finance.

But latest information obtained by The NewDawn from executive session has disclosed that Margibi County Senator, Dr. Jim Tornolah, has filed a motion for reconsideration on the confirmation proceedings, putting hold on everything surrounding the confirmation of the Executive Governor-designate of the Central Bank.
The academic credential of Mr. Weeks relating to the position of the Central Bank of Liberia is generating huge sentiments in certain quarters of the Liberian society.

Sources within the executive session confided in this paper that the Margibi County lawmaker argued that the academic credential of Mr. Weeks is weak.  Senator Tornolah is said to have argued that the educational credentials of Mr. Weeks do not match or meet contemporary banking standings and his confirmation may put the Central Bank in a serious crisis, but did not say how.

Though the revised Act of the Central Bank of Liberia does not say anything about the education qualifications of an Executive Governor, it states that the management of the CBL shall be conducted by the Executive Governor, who shall be Chairman of the Board of Governors.

According to the Act, the Governor shall also serve as Chief Executive of the bank, to be responsible to the Board of Governors for the implementation of its policies, and be in charge of the day-to-day management of the bank. The governor may, pursuant to resolution of the Board of Governors, delegate such powers to other officers. The CBL regulates all banks operating in the country – private and commercial.

But the argument of Sen. Tornolah has since been rejected by Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, who counters that the level of professional experience Mr. Weeks has should clear the doubt of anyone who thinks he may not properly manage the Central Bank.

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Senator Johnson further argues that degree is a conduit to obtaining a post but performance and experience can help anyone to perform accurately as compared to anyone with all the degrees. According to the rules of the senate, any senator that filed a motion of reconsideration should give reason why that instrument, bill, and decision of the plenary should be revised; failure to provide tangible reason, the decision of plenary stands.

Mr. Weeks’ confirmation process may linger in the senate corridors for some time, pending outcome of Senator Tornolah’s motion for reconsideration. His last two predecessors Dr. J. Mills Jones and Elia Saleeby hold academic credentials far above him, though he may have vast experiences, having worked in the banking sector both at home and abroad for a number of years.

But the Ministry of Information has sharply reacted to critics and the general public about the credentials of the new Executive Governor-designate, saying degree is just an ordinary paper that one can boast of achieving, but it is experience that qualifies an individual for any tough governmental or public job.

Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs Isaac W. Jackson argues that while Liberians are looking at the House of elders [senate] to scrutinize this young man, there were others in the public domain saying all kinds of negative things about the CBL governor-designate.

“I can say this to anyone intelligently that you can have more degrees than a thermometer, if you do not compliment those degrees with experience you are likely to walk into error, so it matters little how many degrees you got; I think the CBL Governor-designate brings a wealth of experience to this job,30 years working as a distinguish banker, coupled with a solid Bachelor Degree qualifies him for this job, nobody can beat this”, Minister Jackson defended Thursday, 12 May in a press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf nominated Mr. Milton A. Weeks recently to the Central Bank after Dr. Joseph Mills Jones tenure of service expired early this year. He appeared before the Liberian Senate recently for confirmation hearing and told members of that august body that with his vast professional experience, he can effectively run the Central bank where he had also worked as a consultant.

However, his academic credential for the top post has generated huge sentiments in the public. Responding to the critics, Minister Jackson says there is no way Weeks will come in a terrain that he is not familiar with so Liberians should put the degrees business aside and think about bringing competent people who will contribute to the growth and development of the country, saying “No one can beat this man’s wealth of experience that he brings to this job. This is not an argument that can sell; we’re talking about credibility – does he have a credibility challenge, nobody can come to say that Mr. Milton A. Weeks has integrity program and this where the government is focus on.”

The deputy MICAT boss narrated that the CBL Governor-designate has served in many capacities, and in many countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, occupying post such as Chief Executive Officer for a Nigerian Bank. 

“For a Liberia man to serve at that level in a foreign country I think he is well- qualified for this position.” 

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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