GANTA, Nimba â€“ Rep. Larry P. Younquoi has broken his silence on the case of the alleged missing billions. The lawmaker from of Nimbaâ€™s eighth district is calling for the former Central Bank governor, Milton A. Weeks, to be jailed.
Younquoi said he had deliberately remained silent since the controversy surfaced.
â€œI have decided to deliberately remain silent because people know in the world and in Liberia that I am one of the most vocal lawmakers when it comes to issues,â€ he said, giving his reason for his self-imposed vow of silence. â€œMost of the time, when we speak, [it] tends to negatively or positively affect public opinion. So, when issues like these come [up], where there are so many battlefronts, we do not jump to conclusion.â€
He said it was now time that he gives his take on the topic, especially since the media were pushing him to speak. Younquoi acknowledged that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wrote the legislature in 2016 for approval to print L$5 billion in banknotes to replace mutilated banknotes circulating the market.
â€œWe signed onto that, and that money was printed,â€ he said. â€œWhen it came back, there [were] L$500 notes seen among it and we raised issues.â€
Younquoi said a committee was formed to investigate the reasoning behind the Central Bankâ€™s printing of the L$500 notes. It concluded that lawmakers had authorized the printing of the larger denomination in their resolution. He said the committeeâ€™s inquiry further revealed that the Central Bank wanted to â€œreduce the volume of money that people take around.â€
However, Younquoi said he was not aware of any other amount of money printed by the Central Bank, in line with the statements of many other lawmakers who served at the time, including the former representative George Mulbah.
A document has surfaced that shows that the chief clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate requested in July 2017 that the Central Bank â€œreplace the legacy notes (Liberty) completely with the newly printed banknotes so that there will be a single type of Liberian currency.â€
The letter further requested that the Central Bank provide the legislature with information on the volume and denominations of the replacement banknotes.
Unlike in 2016, no document has surfaced that contains the signatures of lawmakers who approved the July 2017 decision.
Younquoi said he thought there were several individuals in the country who were â€œplayingâ€ with the countryâ€™s economy to the detriment of the ordinary people.
â€œI think that would be my concluding noteâ€”people have been playing with this countryâ€”we have created superhumans in this country,â€ he said. â€œPeople have become so untouchable.â€
Younquoi said the involvement of his former standard bearer, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, cannot be underestimated.
â€œOur former standard bearer and all cannot sit down and wash her hands from this thing,â€ he added.
Beyond the imposition of travel restrictions on persons of interest, Younqoui called for the former Central Bank executive governor, Milton A. Weeks, and his deputy for operations, Charles Sirleaf, to be jailed while investigations are ongoing.
Younquoi was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2011 on the ticket of the Alliance for Peace and Democracy. However, in 2017, he was re-elected to serve another six years on the ticket of the former ruling Unity Party. He is now a senior member of the party.
Featured photo by Arrington Ballah