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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

TENSIONS RISE IN LIBERIAN SENATE OVER BORROWING FROM CENTRAL BANK

Date:

MONROVIA – The tension between Senator Albert Chie and Senator Amara Konneh has intensified, particularly concerning the borrowing of funds from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) by the previous government. Senator Konneh’s concerns about the substantial borrowing of 83 million USD and the lack of transparency regarding its usage have ignited a heated debate in the Senate.

The contentious exchanges began during the Senate’s deliberations on the findings of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) reports concerning bank balances provided by the former and current Presidents in December and early January.

Senator Konneh expressed alarm over the previous government’s decision to borrow 83 million USD from the CBL, of which only 32 million USD was used to pay civil servants. He questioned the whereabouts of the remaining 51 million USD.

In response, Senator Chie dismissed the concerns, stating, “Let sleeping dogs lie,” and emphasized that borrowing from the CBL has been a longstanding practice across governments. He downplayed the issue by referring to borrowing as an “old-age problem,” which further infuriated Senator Konneh and led to heated exchanges between the two senators.

Senator Konneh, as the head of the Senate Public Account Committee, has unearthed several violations, including constitutional breaches, violations of the Public Financial Management Act, and issues related to stale cheques. He is determined to hold the government accountable for the excess borrowing from the CBL in 2023.

“We will get to the bottom of this,” Senator Konneh asserted. “You and I will answer for it in the Senate.”

In a retort, Senator Chie attempted to undermine Senator Konneh’s efforts by stating, “You can’t do anything to me, and besides all the bragging you can be doing, it was Dr. James Kollie who did all your work at the Ministry of Finance.”

Senator Edwin Snowe also expressed concern during the session, emphasizing that such violations by the executive branch should not be tolerated. He called for accountability regarding the excess 51 million USD borrowed by the previous government from the CBL.

The Senate has summoned the CBL to address the concerns raised by Senator Konneh, who views the borrowing as a violation. As the Senate continues to investigate these issues, it is crucial for transparency and accountability to prevail to ensure the responsible use of public funds and uphold the integrity of Liberia’s financial institutions.

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