Opinion

Place a temporary freeze on Central Bank Governor Petray’s retirement benefit!: Press Release

PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MONROVIA, Liberia – In the wake of the announcement date, October 20, 2019, for the retirement of Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor, Hon. Nathaniel Patray, III, the Free Conscious Independent, and Objective Thinkers are calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice to place a hold or temporary freeze on the payment of retirement benefit to Hon. Patray until his role in the US$25M intended to mop up excess liquidity in the Liberian economy is made clear through an ongoing investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) growing out of the GAC Auditor General’s report of factual findings.

On July 16, 2018, the President of the Republic of Liberia, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah addressed the nation on the state of the economy and announced an immediate infusion by the Central Bank of Liberia the amount of US$25M into the economy to mop-up excess liquidity of Liberian dollars. Following the President’s announcement, the Central Bank of Liberia being part of the Technical Economic Management Team and in keeping with its statutory mandate enshrined in sections 4 and 5 carried out the mop-up exercise for the period July 17, 2018, to October 30, 2018.

Petray, III shakes hands with indicted ex-CBL boss Milton Weeks

Due to loud public outburst concerning the unprecedented manner in which the mop-up exercise was conducted coupled with the GAC Auditor General’s report of factual findings of an Agreed-Upon Procedures, President Dr. George Manneh Weah cognizant of the need for greater accountability and transparency in the conduct of the mop-up exercise of excess liquidity of Liberian dollars in the economy subjected the General Auditing Commission (GAC) Report to a more detailed investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption (LACC) with the aim of establishing culpability for the careless and reckless manner in which the mop-up exercise was conducted by the Central Bank of Liberia.

Since the GAC Audit Report was forwarded to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for investigation coupled with the subsequent announcement of the retirement of CBL Executive Governor, Nathaniel Patray, there have been no findings and recommendations to date.

The Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia condemn in the strongest term the retirement of CBL Executive Governor Nathaniel Patray, III, and allegedly paying him a retirement package of US$500,000 amid an inconclusive LACC investigative findings and recommendations. The payment of such a huge amount to Governor Patray runs contrary to any semblance of accountability and transparency in the handling and disbursement of public monies specifically the US$25M mop-up amount.

The Central Bank of Liberia under the administration and management of Executive Governor Mr. Nathaniel Patray, III, according to the GAC Audit findings, made disbursements to fifteen (15) businesses who the audit classified as Non Participants totaling US$491,769.00. The GAC audit report also established that the Central Bank of Liberia made disbursements under the mop-up exercise to twenty-seven (27) unregistered/nontax paying businesses totaling US$702,680.00. Better still, the GAC audit report established that the Central Bank of Liberia made a disbursement to fifty-two (52) Non Responsive Beneficiaries totaling US$1,092,292.00.

Given the reckless and careless handling of the US$25M mop-up exercise outlined above by the Central Bank of Liberia, is it rational for the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia to allegedly authorize and approve the payment of US$500,000 to Governor Patray? We say a resounding NO. We view the Board of Governors’ approval of the payment of retirement cash benefit to Governor Patray amid CBL’s final position on the mop-up exercise as being partial and unfair. The Central Bank of Liberia Board of Governors, without notification to some of its employees who were indicted for printing excess Liberian dollars, placed a hold on the payment of their respective monthly salaries and benefits pending the outcome of an ongoing prosecution at the Criminal “C” Temple of Justice.

The Board of Governors in a similar manner must void and place an immediate hold on the payment of retirement benefit to Executive Governor Nathaniel Patray, III, pending the final conclusion of the Liberia Anti-Corruption’s investigation into circumstances surrounding the US$25M mop-up exercise conducted by the Central Bank of Liberia. Section 10 (sub-section 2a) of the Act that created the Central Bank of Liberia is clear and unambiguous that the Executive Governor shall serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Central Bank, to be responsible to the Board of Governors for the implementation of its policy and to be in charge of the day-to-day management of the Central Bank.

CBL Governor Nat Petray, III

Our country’s image has been blurred and stained within the comity of nations, and in order to rebrand this image, it is important that the two money saga (PRINTING and MOP-UP) that entangles the Central bank of Liberia must be treated with a high degree of impartiality. Prosecuting and placing a hold on the salaries and benefits of employees who were acting in their official capacities when excess Liberian dollars were allegedly printed by the Central Bank of Liberia is in no way different from that of Executive Governor Nathaniel Patray, III who was also acting in his official capacity when US$25M intended to mop-up excess liquidity of Liberian dollars in the economy was allegedly misapplied and/or mismanaged.

The Free Conscious Independent and Objective Thinkers of Liberia will use this medium to sound a word of caution to the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia that they must be guided by the doctrine of equity in making critical decisions. The equity doctrine states that “HE WHO COMES TO EQUITY MUST COME WITH CLEAN HANDS.” The Board of Governors, through a Board Resolution, authorized the printing of L$15b and the same Board of Governors through a Board Resolution authorized the infusion of US$25M to mop-up excess Liberian dollar liquidity in the economy. Given these two scenarios, why is the Board of Governors punishing the management of the CBL that allegedly printed excess Liberian and leaving untouched the management team that conducted the failed US$25M mop-up exercise? This is anybody’s guess.

Signed : Morris A. S. Swen, Sr.

                     CHAIRMAN

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Opinion Section

Public opinion alone can keep society pure and healthy - Mahatma Gandhi. At Globe Afrique, we cherish the opinion and perspectives of all irrespective of race, gender, social status, and religious affiliation. As Gandhi perfectly puts it, we believe through this process, we can help in making societies pure and healthy. Want your opinion to be published, write to globeafriquellc@gmail.com. *************************************************************** Editor’s note: The views expressed herein in no way represent the views of Globe Afrique Media or its editorial board and staff, but that of the author.

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