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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Liberia: Who Hiding $20 Million From President Joseph Boakai?

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By Festus Poquie and  Zac T. Sherman

Central Bank Governor Aloysius Tarlue told House members Thursday that former President George Weah’s turnover notes regarding government financial position is accurate.

Controversy erupted when President Joseph Boakai disputed the amount of monies former President George Weah reported as his end of term balance.

Boakai told Lawmakers Monday he inherited $20. 5 million United States in government’s consolidated accounts at the Central Bank of Liberia. This pronouncement contrasts those of his predecessor who told the nation in his farewell speech on Jan 21 that he left $40 million United States dollars in government’s accounts at the Bank.

“The net international reserves position reported at the end of December 2023 was US$220 million. The report of US $40 million as the GoL’s consolidated account balance as at January 19, 2024 is not supported by the fact,” Boakai said.

“The balance reported by the CBL as of the same date was US$20.5 million, highly encumbered, not US$40 million.”

According to Central Bank officials as at January 19, 2024 the government had $2.4 billion Liberian dollars and $27.5 million United States dollars in its consolidated account at the exchange rate of Ls188.3620/$1.

The sum of the US dollars component and that of the Liberian Dollars component of the government’s bank account is above $40 million United States dollars when computed in accordance with the Public Finance Management law, the Bank said.

“The same document and figure we gave you Honorable members of the House of Representatives is the same we gave to the transitional team” Governor Tarlue told lawmakers at the Capitol when asked to testify.

“Our duty was to give the numbers and documents to the requisite team, and not to tell how these figures were communicated to the leaders.”

Judging from the Central Bank’s clarification, it appears President Boakai’s team may have under reported the numbers.

Transitional team members have been cited to appear before the House’s Banking and Finance Committee to explain the source of the information presented to the two leaders and what the CBL presented to them.

Current Finace and Development Planning Minister Boima Kamara led the Boakai’s transitional team cluster on the economy and finance.

President Boakai appointed the following persons to his transitional team: Lusinee Kamara, Louise Kpoto, Cllr. Cooper Kruah, MacDella Cooper, Dr. Urey Yarkpawolo, Samuel Kofi Woods II, Dr. Augustine Konneh, Boima Kamara, Rev. Luther Tarpeh, Darbah Vapilah, Edward Appleton, John Morlu Jr., Sam Gaye, Mr. Sahr Johnny, Noah Zawu Gibson, Sara Beyslow Nyanti, Amara Konneh, Gemie Horace-Kollie, Wilmot Paye, and Jacob Smith.

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