CONTROVERSIES SURROUND PRINTING OF NEW BANKNOTE… AS SEN. WESSEH STATES THAT CBL GOT NO AUTHORIZATION TO PRINT – By Legislative Correspondent
April 4, 2021, WTVNEWS, LIBERIA: River-Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh has disclosed that the Legislature has not signed any joint resolution authorizing the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to print a New family Banknotes of Liberian Dollars. To give authorization, the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate need a joint resolution signed by both bodies before taking effect, something he said has not been done. He said if CBL does the printing of the 48 billion dollars New family Banknotes without the approval of the legislature through a joint resolution is a violation of the Liberian constitution
According to the River-Gee County Lawmaker, what they have is a separate resolution passed by the House and the Senate which does not constitute a Joint resolution for authorization. Recently it was reported by the Liberian media that the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives to pass a little over 48billion New family Banknotes of Liberian Dollars.
But Speaking to Women’s TV Liberia over the weekend, Sen. Wesseh said if anyone says, the Senate concurred with House to print money it’s a big LIE. When asked when the Joint resolution will be signed, Sen Wesseh said it will be signed after the Easter break, when the House and the Senate shall have set up a conference committee that will see the final passage of a joint resolution authorizing the CBL to print. “If you hear from anybody including the Protem that what we did is concurrence with the House, that is a big lie, we have not concurred with the House.
Sen Wesseh noted that “We do not have a joint resolution, we are not forced to act on what the House acted on, we can decide either to concur with the House or draft our own resolution especially when we have disagreements and different concerns on resolution coming from the House, when we have these issues, we draft our own resolution, state our concerns after which we can form a conference committee which consist of members of the House and Senate to settle down on one resolution which is called the “The Joint Resolution” we can not have two different resolutions and say we have authorized the printing of the new family Liberian Dollars banknotes, that is not true, CBL can not act on two different resolutions”
According to Sen. Wesseh, what they did was a resolution from the Senate and not a concurrence noting that there were lots of changes made to what the House presented for concurrence. “It’s the same case with a Bill when the House passes a bill and send it to the Senate, the Senate concurs if there is no disagreements or addition to be made, but if the Senate has disagreements or concerns they will state the disagreements through a resolution after which the House and the Senate will set up a conference committee to come up with one instrument, it’s the same with this one”
The Southeast lawmaker noted that, In the case of printing a New Family Liberian Dollars Banknotes, there was no conference committee and there was no joint resolution therefore, the Legislature has not given CBL authorization to print. “It’s that Joint Resolution that we will take to CBL authorizing them to print the New Family Liberian Dollars Banknotes, anything outside of this, is something different from the authorization to print”.
Sen. Wesseh said some of the issues that came up in their different hearings were, the required 2/3 majority of the Senate membership to pass the resolution and not a simple majority due to its constitutional nature. He said another issue raised was the policy on internal controls to restore confidence in the banking sector and that money should not be printed in elections year (2023),
Sen Wesseh noted that a system that will replace the money efficiently and effectively in all Counties, the manner in which the legacy banknotes would be destroyed, and the issue of the Central Bank report on the 4billion Liberian dollars that was printed in 2020 and infused in the economy among others, were all concerns members of the senate raised. “And one of the key issues stressed by members of the Collaborating Political Parties was a system and control mechanism that will ensure that we don’t disgrace the country again “Like what Happened sometimes again where people said the money was missing whereby no money was missing”.
Sen Wesseh said when those different issues came up during the Senate debate, the Senate Pro-tempore Albert Chie set up a five-man ad-hoc committee to look at the issues raised by members of the Senate across party lines of which Sen. Wesseh was a part. Sen. Wesseh noted that to the best of his knowledge, the committee set up was able to establish the necessary checkpoints and benchmarks considering all concerns that were raised by senators which he said are universally acceptable.
Sen. Wesseh noted that all of which that were requested, including the report of the 4billon Liberian Dollars was presented by the CBL. He said the role of the senate is to put down roadblock and minimum steps that will safeguard the process at the CBL using their oversight responsibility. He said the decision that was taken to pass the senate resolution recently was not a constitutional matter therefore they needed the numbers and not the two-thirds vote as has been speculated in the public.
“What we should be concerned about is what the constitution says, the constitution says there should be a joint resolution to give authorization for printing and this has not been done, nobody should fool the public, What we did is our own resolution with recommendations saying we agreed to print the money but with conditions and we don’t need two thirds (2/3) to do that, what we needed was simply just the majority”.