Home Politics Drama At Senate …As US$83.3M Saga Triggers Uproar

Drama At Senate …As US$83.3M Saga Triggers Uproar

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MONROVIA: There is apparent tension between Grand Kru County Senator, Albert Tugbe Chie, who is also former Pro-Tempore of the Senate, and Gbarpolu County Senator, Amara Mohammed Konneh, who is also former Minister of Finance and Development Planning as regards the whopping US$83.3M borrowed from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), by the immediate past Government.

Senator Konneh’s concern about the huge amount borrowed from the CBL by the immediate past Government, then, headed by former President George Manneh Weah and the glaring lack of clarity on its usage appears to have struck a nerve with Senator Chie, who seems inclined to dismiss the matter at the Senate Session.

Heated exchanges ensued on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, when the Senate deliberated on the findings of the State-owned General Auditing Commission (GAC), with respect to the two statements made by former President George Manneh Weah; and current President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, concerning the bank balances at the CBL in December, 2023; and the early part of January, 2024.

Senator Konneh was very much concerned about the previous government’s decision when it borrowed US$83.3 million from the CBL, when it needed only US$32 million to pay civil servants at the time.

According to the former Finance and Development Planning Minister, the amount borrowed was very huge.

Senator Konneh also asked as to what the previous government did with the remaining funds of the US$83.3 million it borrowed from the CBL.

In reaction to Konneh’s concern, Senator Albert Tugbe Chie replied: “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

Chie, a former Pro-Tempore of the Senate stated that all governments have borrowed funds from the CBL, and as such, funds borrowed from the CBL by the immediate past regime shouldn’t be an issue. He added that borrowing has been an old-age problem.

This assertion by Senator Chie generated anger from Senator Konneh, something that led to heated exchanges.

However, the CBL has been summoned to state issues concerning the borrowing of the US$83.3 million plus from the CBL by the erstwhile regime.

Senator Konneh, as Head of the Senate’s Public Account Committee, is said to have unearthed brazen violations and/ or desecrations of provisions of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, Liberia’s Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, among others.

“We will get to the bottom of this matter, you and myself for it in the Senate,” Senator Amara Konneh told Senator Albert Tugbe Chie in the Senate’s Plenary session Wednesday.

In response to Senator Konneh’s assertions, Senator Albert Chie said: “You can’t do anything to me. Besides, all the bragging you can be doing, it was Dr. James Kollie, who did all your work at the Ministry of Finance, when you were Minister.”

Senator Edwin Snowe of Bomi County (Ind) also commented on the matter in session, stressing that such continuous violations by the Executive shouldn’t be happening.

Senator Snowe, therefore, called for accountability for the excess amount borrowed by the previous government from the CBL in 2023.

“The question here is: What happened to the remaining US$51 million when the previous government just used US$32 million to pay civil servants from the US$83 million borrowed?”

Source: Hope TV-Liberia

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