President George Weah in an apparent move to breathe new life into his Government has made several new appointments, with indicted former House Speaker Alex Tyler resurfacing in and landing a top post as one of several (5) representatives to ArcelorMittal Liberia.
Additionally, President Weah has taken steps aimed at resolving the confidence crisis that have engulfed the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in fulfillment of recent promises to instill greater confidence in the Central Bank.
In a move that appears to dictate a new direction for the CBL as promised, the President on Tuesday, June 18,2019, appointed Ms. Nyemadi D. Pearson as Deputy Executive Director for Operations, and Dr. Musa Dukuly, was named Acting Deputy Governor for Economic Affairs. It is anticipated that these two will help lead the technical arms of the bank with the hope of re-branding its image.
Timothy E. Thomas, James B. Dennis and Richard A. Dorley, were all named members of the CBL board. The CBL has been embroiled with financial malfeasance that has rattled its integrity and lowered public confidence in the institution. These were precipitated by the alleged illegal printing of L$16 billion worth of local banknotes.
A USAID-funded investigation conducted by Kroll Associates implicated the CBL, management noting that the bank acted unilaterally and unlawfully by printing and importing into the country three times the amount of banknotes it had been authorized to print. This action of the bank is taking a toll on the economy and the livelihoods of ordinary Liberians as the local currency depreciates and inflation spirals out of control. A mop-up exercise, US$25 million, commissioned by the President, many believed, even exacerbated the country's dire economic situation.
But speaking on the ever declining state of the economy, and the report on the investigation of the US$25 million mop-up excess conducted by the GAC, President Weah, in a nationwide address last month, said the integrity and independence of the CBL will be assured and protected under his administration.
He said the reports and lapses point to a major lack of systems and controls at the CBL--calling into question the ability of its present leadership to effectively revamp its internal mechanisms to provide greater accountability and professionalism, so that confidence and credibility would be restored to the institution.
"To provide the opportunity for the Central Bank to have a new direction, I have accepted the resignation of the Deputy Governor for Economic Policy. The Executive Governor is scheduled for age-related mandatory retirement in the next three months. During that period, we will work to transition the bank to a new management," the president said then.
Yesterday's appointment, it is believed, has certainly commenced this transitional process as the president's latest action sees Charles Sirleaf, son of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who until his recent indictment by the government for questionable financial dealings, served as CBL Deputy Executive Governor Operations, finally relieved of his post.
President Weah also replaced Mournir Siaplay--Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, who also resigned his post recently amid the US$25M mop-up exercise rigmarole.
Though President Weah promised that the new CBL leadership would have been recruited by a vetting committee, there has been no pronouncement of such a group or its composition by his office. He said that it would have been composed of an independent team of professional Liberians.
Prior to this appointment, Ms. Pearson last served as managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company. She comes to the CBL with pretty solid banking experience having worked as banking supervisor for Ecobank-Liberia from 2006 to 2010. She has an MBA certification in management with emphasis in Marketing from Strayer University, USA; a BA in Management, United Methodist University-Liberia.
She previously served as acting chief of office-interim president/CEO National Oil Company of Liberia. She also has a certificate in leadership and decision-making from Harvard University.
'Corruption King-Kong' Resurfaces in Gov't
Among the appointees President Weah named yesterday was former Speaker of the House of Representative, J. Alex Tyler, who is popularly known as "Corruption King-Kong." Mr. Tyler was appointed as one of two Government of Liberia representatives to Arcelor- Mittal Liberia. He is the leader of the Liberia Peoples Democratic Party (LPDP), one of the three political parties that made up the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and he serves as a council member of the ruling party.
The former Speaker is one of several indictees in the Sable Mining bribery brouhaha. He was named along with Reverend Joseph G. Johnson. The Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy were also named statutory members.
Tyler is dubbed as "Corruption King-Kong," because his name surfaced in almost every damning corruption scandal uncovered during his tenure as the third most powerful man in the country during the presidency of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Though his subsequent removal from the speakership position was beclouded with controversy, political pundits say it was perhaps one of the best things that has ever happened to the country.
Many were shocked when Tyler's name surfaced among the latest appointees on Tuesday, and they took to social media to express their disgust and support.
"It is sad to see President Weah appointing an indicted criminal (Alex J. Tyler) to a government position. Did he really mean that? Liberians are indeed in for a long, long way to good governance. What a terrible message to young Liberians, that crime pays. Liberia is a very sick country. There are no morals or values... anything goes," Emmanuel Weah posted on social media.
Wilmot Vah however had some words of support for the former Speaker. "Tyler's appointment is legitimate and legal. The presumption of innocence is the king of our legal system. He was indicted, but is yet to be found guilty... why can't he be appointed? One indicted is not a criminal until adjudged guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction!"
Under the Constitution, the presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, therefore, the indicted Tyler, like any accused Liberian, is presumed innocent in the court of law and is to due process.
For Sarah Williams, the appointment of Tyler is not the kind of precedence that Liberia should be setting. "This is bad for our country and it is no good lesson for our younger generation".
RIA gets new board chair
President Weah is keeping the bond of friendship with his friend and former mate on the Lonestar National Soccer team, Musa Shannon, who he has appointed as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
President Weah has also given Bishop J. Allen Klaylee, who has been acting as managing director at the RIA, a permanent status.
The president appointed Shannon as a board member of the Liberia Airport Authority, (LAA) in October last year. Shannon is a former vice president of the Liberia Football Association.
Though he served for eight years as VPA under Bility, Shannon had his eyes on a higher level- the presidency of the LFA. At the time, three candidates, including Shannon qualified to contest the post--a post that was won by Mustapha Raji, the current LFA president. Shannon is a son of Eugene Shannon, one of the nation's prominent geologists.
Below is the full list of officials, appointed by President Weah, subject to senate's confirmation where applicable.
National Housing Authority
Cecelia Cuffy-Brown, Managing Director
Tonia D. Johnson, Deputy Managing Director/Administration
Liberia Airport Authority
Musa Shannon, Chairman of the Board
Bishop J. Allen Klaylee, Managing Director
National Port Authority
Diana Nebo Deputy Managing Director/Administration
Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency
Lorenzo Pelham, Deputy Director General for Operations
National Commission on Small Arms
Maxwell Grigsby, Chairman
Liberia Telecommunication Corporation
Anderson Slober Chea Deputy Managing Director/Operations
Liberia Petroleum Refining Company
Emmett R. H. Sampson Sr., Member of the Board
Marie Urey Coleman, Managing Director
Mittal Operating Company Government Representative to the Board
Ministry of Justice, Statutory Member
Ministry of Finance, Statutory Member
Ministry of Lands & Mines, Statutory Member
J. Alex Tyler, Member
Rev. Joseph G. Johnson, Member
Central Bank of Liberia
Timothy Thomas, Member, Board of Governors
James B. Dennis, Member, Board of Governors
Richard A. Dolley, Member, Board of Governors
Nyemadi D. Pearson, Acting Deputy Governor for Operations
Dr. Musa Dukuly, Acting Deputy Governor for Economic Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Blamo Nelson, Ambassador to Japan
Henry Fahnbulleh, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mawine Diggs, Deputy Minister for Administration
National Aids Commission
Lewis Wright, Commissioner
The president also appointed Sheikh Y. Jalloh as member of Paynesville City Council with immediate effect.