Home Economy During His Tenure At MFDP: Amara Konneh Borrowed US$110m …Without Legislative Approval; Dossiers Reveal

During His Tenure At MFDP: Amara Konneh Borrowed US$110m …Without Legislative Approval; Dossiers Reveal

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: Cogent documents relating to several key financial transactions by central government including volumes of Resolutions of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), show that during the tenure of former Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Amara Mohammed Konneh, now Senator of Gbarpolu County, over US$110 million was borrowed from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) by the Executive Branch of Government without any legislative approval.

The borrowed funds, the dossiers indicate, were used to settle salaries of public service employees and address other government obligations, then, during the erstwhile administration of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (EJS).

Amara Mohammed Konneh served as Finance and Development Planning Minister from February 2012 to April 2016.

A number of CBL Board Resolutions viewed by this paper showed that during the Sirleaf era, her former administration borrowed from the CBL, without the Central Bank getting direct ‘Legislative Approval’ for extended borrowing to the Government of Liberia.

Specifically, during the second six-year term of former President Sirleaf when Mr. Konneh served as Finance and Development Planning Minister, the Government of Liberia borrowed US$110,837,196.49 (one hundred ten million, eight hundred thirty-seven thousand, one hundred ninety-six hundred and forty-nine cent) at once from the CBL without getting any greenlight from the Legislature.

The Documents further revealed that all credits done at the time from the CBL by the Executive Branch, then headed by former President Sirleaf were based on approval of its Board of Directors.

Highly placed and unimpeachable sources who are familiar with such high-level government financial transactions, hinted that the Legislature, at the time, was sidelined by the Sirleaf regime as the principle of checks and balances that exists between and among the three branches of government (Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary) was swept under the carpet.

To date, the total loan owed by Central Government to the CBL, including the US$83 million accrued over the years from former President George Weah six-year administration, amounts to a whopping US$570.4 million.

According to the financial dossiers, on December 6, 2019, the CBL, under the current Board of Governors and the Government of Liberia, agreed to restructure the GOL’s debts.

That agreement came into effect on January 1, 2020. This ushered the Bank under the program of the International Monetary Funds (IMF).

Investigation also established that the loan (US32.8M) received from the CBL by the then Weah led administration was secured at the time Liberia was reportedly suspended from the IMF program in December, 2023.

Interestingly, Senator Konneh recently took on the erstwhile Weah Administration that it received US$83 million from the CBL as loan at once, something which the Gbarpolu County tough-talking Senator said, amounts to gross violation of the country’s Financial Management Laws (FML).

But, GAC audit findings of the Government’s Consolidated Accounts, released on February 29, 2024, by the Auditor-General of Liberia, P. Garswa Jackson, stated that the erstwhile Weah led government obtained financing of US$32.85 Million from the CBL in December, 2023.

But, on April 17, 2024, Senator Konneh, via his Social Media post, disclosed that the CBL loaned the erstwhile Weah administration US$83 Million in December 2023 alone, a claim that is yet to be substantiated with irrefutable evidence.

Nevertheless, Senator Konneh displayed a copy of the letter written by former Presidential Affairs Minister, J. Wesseh Blamo, to the CBL.

Although, former Minister Blamo’s letter to the CBL did not mention US$83 million which the past administration is said to have requested, Senator Konneh maintains that such a loan from the CBL was a violation of the Constitution of Liberia; Public Financial Management (PFM) Law of 2009 (as amended); and the CBL Act.

The Senator vowed to follow traces of all checks to the vendors who may be connected to said financial transactions.

Howbeit, this paper gathered that CBL operates in line with its Act and as such, it does not engage vendors directly.

Also, as of November 2023, documents and returned checks and financial records showed that the amount of US$50,200,000 had been drawn out as Civil Servants Salary check, covering the period June 2023 to November 2023.

The document indicates that on November 30, 2023, the CBL wrote to then Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, drawing the former Minister’s attention to the build-up of the Government of Liberia’s obligation to the bank.

Former Minister Tweah, in his response, dated December 5, 2023, just six days before ex-president George Weah’s December 11, 2023 request, which summed the money up to US83m, indicated that the guarantee to pay the Government obligations were solely relying on revenue mobilization.

Tweah, in said communication, explained further that as of November 2023, revenue intake had declined, apparently due to the Presidential Run-Off elections.

Authoritative sources in the corridor of the Finance Ministry said the Bank chose to put the US83m in the loan category to give incumbent President Joseph Nyuma Boakai reasonable a timeframe in addressing this matter.

The source said drawing down the loan, which would have been a little over US$13m per month, would have put a strain on President Boakai’s young administration, that is yet to be fully constituted as it strives to maximize efficiency and productivity.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment