Saturday, December 11, 2010

BANKING UPROAR IN LIBERIA: Did Finance, Central Bank Act Within the Law?

- By David B. Kolleh
Source: Frontpage Africa

Monrovia -

The appearance of the signatures of Finance Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan and Central Bank Governor Dr. Mills Jones have caused national uproar among ordinary citizens and political actors arguing that the two top financial officials of Liberia are acting without any color of respect for the rule of law.

Central Bank Governor Mills Jones

A national argument ensued against the action of the men nearly three weeks ago, when the Central Bank of Liberia started to put on the Liberian Market new Bank notes bearing the signatures of the two men.

Central Bank Governor Mills Jones
 Politicians were wondering why Minister Ngafuan’s signature was appearing on the new Bank Notes when both the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance failed to get authorization from the National Legislature as provided for by the 1986 Liberia Constitution.

Article 34 d2 of the Liberian Constitution provides that “the Legislature shall levy taxes, duties, imports, exercise and other revenues, to borrow money, issue currency, mint coins, and to make appropriations for the fiscal governance of the Republic, subject to the following qualifications.”

It has been heavily argued, whether or not Ngafuan and Jones had taken into account this provision of the Constitution before the coming into play of the new Bank notes that is hugely cherished by the ordinary low income earners though questioned by business people and politicians about its origin.

Isaac Nyenabo, senior Senator Grand Gedeh County, Chair of Senate Standing Committee on Banking and Currency.

saac Nyenabo, senior Senator Grand Gedeh County,
Chair of Senate
Standing Committee on Banking and Currency.
At a news conference on Tuesday with Legislative reporters, Senator Isaac W. Nyenabo, Senior Senator of Grand Gedeh County and Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Banking and Currency put up a strong defense in support of the two top financial actors of the Country, with a call that they have the right to put their signatures on the notes.

Senator Nyenabo in a zestful mood, said what is being circulated on the Liberian market are not new currency that would have required the endorsement or the authorization of the first branch that is responsible to make laws.

“Currency is the composition of Banks notes plus coins, but Bank notes are simply the conglomeration of the five, ten, twenty, fifty and hundred Liberian dollars that are not representing is a new currency, but the continuation of printed Liberian dollars in notes.” He further said.

During the printing of bank notes, Nyenabo maintained mutilated Bank notes that are supposed to be circulating in the Liberian Market are reprinted so that the serial numbers on those notes are not omitted over time.

Announcements are not made according to Nyenabo by the Government through the Central Bank, for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality, combating inflation and the need to have a balance with other foreign currencies.

Senator Nyenabo who is referred to by his colleagues as the constitutional research Lawmaker told newsmen that Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan and Dr. Mills Jones of the Central Bank were not in error to sign the new notes that are circulating on the Liberian market.

Nyenabo speaking in the Presence of the House Chairman on Banking and Currency James Benson of Grand Cape Mount County and Senator Joseph Nagbe of Sinoe County, also a member on the Senate’s Banking and Currency Committee, intimated that the Liberian Legislature had since given the two agencies of Government its blessing to handle Banking and Currency matters through an act that was passed since 1999.

“The issue of Banknotes being on the Liberian market had since been put to rest;” Nyenabo remarked Tuesday in his office at the National Legislature on Capitol Hill during a jammed parked news conference.

Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan
Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan

“The Liberian Legislature 1999 through an act dedicated that responsibility to the Central Bank of Liberia. The crafters of Act at the time had said they wanted international best financial and monetary practices in Liberia, which I believe was best for the sake of having an effective monetary market like other countries in the Sub-region,” Nyenabo further said of the CBL.

Two week ago, just before the Nyenabo’s justification to the public on reasons behind the signatures of the two financial actors, the board of the central Bank had taken a decision to indefinitely suspend the Bank’s Deputy Governor.

Well placed sources at the Central bank told this paper at the weekend that Mr. Samuel Thomson was suspended indefinitely because he had ordered that the new notes be put on the market while his Boss was away in the United States on official visit.

However, our sources said President Sirleaf has ordered that the board immediately reinstate the Deputy Governor, or else her wrath will drastically fall on them (the Bank’s Board Members).

To date there are no reports whether Mr. Thomson has been recalled to his official post or is still undergoing punishment form his bosses.

News Headline

Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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