14 February 2014

Liberia: Senate Amends CBL Act

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has unanimously amended several provisions of the 1999 Act that created the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

Plenary is the highest decision making body of the Senate.

The decision to amend Part IV Section 13, Sub Section 3 (a-e), Part II Sub Section 1, Section 17 and Part V, amongst others was taken on Thursday, February 13, 2014 during a regular session at the Chamber of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.

According to the new amendment, the Executive Governor of the CBL and members of the Board of Governors "shall be prohibited to contest political offices, while serving in their respective offices."

The amendment also seeks not to qualify the Executive and Board of Governors of the CBL to contest any electable office within three (3) years "consecutively after the expiration of their tenure" or his/her resignation from the CBL.

The amendment further calls for the Legislature to determine whether or not an "impeachment offense has been committed by the Executive Governor or a member of the Board of Governors of the CBL."

When such a determination is made, the amendment pointed out, the Legislature shall take the necessary action of "impeachment in keeping with the relevant provisions of the Liberian Constitution."

The amendment calls for a member of the Board of Governors to be removed from office based upon a bill of impeachment by the House of Representatives for gross breach of duty, misconduct in office, conviction of a felony, and being bankrupt.

The amendment also seeks to make the CBL to "supply legal tender and banknotes, and coins."

The bill, which calls for the amendment of the CBL Act, was sponsored by Senators Armah Z. Jallah of Gbarpolu County, Sumo Kupee of Lofa County and Peter Coleman of Grand Kru County.

Speaking to a team of legislative reporters yesterday, Sen. Jallah pointed out that the amendment made by the Senate is not intended to get at "a particular person or group of people" currently at the CBL.

According to him, the Senate intent is to help "depoliticize" the CBL adding that, "this exercise is a milestone and the bank will also be depoliticized from the inside."

He stressed that the Executive Governor and Board of Governors must not be engaged into politics, while serving at the entity.

Sen. Jallah said individuals serving at what he called "professional capacity work" should be void of any "political interest."

He stated that individuals that have interest in political offices can leave the bank before the election to pursue their ambition.

He maintained that the move made by the Senate is also aimed at ensuring that Liberia's financial system is "void of politics."

Meanwhile, the amendment is expected to be sent to the House of Representatives for occurrence.

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