Liberia: House Votes On Forensic Audit of CBL

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, voted for a forensic audit to be conducted on authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) cover the fiscal periods covering July 1, 2014 thru June 30, 2019. This, according to the lawmakers, will include operational activities, but not limited to the US$25 million mop-up exercise; the alleged missing L$15.5 million bank notes and the micro loan program.

At its 39th day sitting, members of the House of Representatives voted that the forensic audit is in the best interest of the Liberian people to tackle the lapses within the country's national banking system.

The Lower House vote was endorsed following recommendations from the Joint Public Accounts, Expenditure and Audit Committee of the 54th Legislature in relation to the Report of the Auditor General on the US$25 million mop-up exercise implemented by the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) to reduce excess liquidity of Liberian dollars outside the banking sector.

The House of Representatives, through it votes, argued that the Agreed Upon Procedures (AUP) approach utilized by the auditor general in investigating the mop-up exercise was a report of factual findings, which levied the responsibility on the users of the report to take decision based on the facts presented by the auditor general.

The House of Representatives, through the vote, also agreed that due to its limitation and application, the auditor general should conduct a forensic audit and that the comprehensive cost estimate should be funded by authorities at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) through the consolidated fund to enhance the conduct of a forensic audit of the CBL.

The lawmakers also agreed that the MFDP must fully prioritize the proposed forensic audit of the CBL by providing all funding requested by the office of the auditor general.

The motion was proffered by Grand Gedeh Representative Alex Grant and, after it was carried by 'yea' and 'nay' votes, the Chief Clerk was mandated by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers to communicate the House's decision to the Senate for concurrence.

Representatives Robert Womba, Larry Younquoi, Ivar Jones and Beyan Howard disagreed in their arguments that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) report, using the AUP approach, was enough to indict officials of the executive, who are liable.

Shortly after the lawmakers raised the argument, Representatives Edward Karfiah, Clarence Garr, Ben Fofana, George Boley and George Samah insisted that a forensic audit would pin the culprits and can be used in court.

Rep. Garr told journalists after the vote: "Even the international audit report suggested that there should be further merit understanding, and the Presidential Investigative Taskforce called for forensic auditing."

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