Contrary to what been referred to in many circles in Liberia that the former governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Dr. Mills Jones that his then financial policies which includes the given of loans to rural and urban corporatives in assisting the fight against poverty and financially empowering them has come under serious questioning!
Speaking in an exclusive interview recently at his office on Randell Street central Monrovia with a team of local journalists Professor Wilson Tarpeh said stated, among other things, that poor policy coordination and disjointed fiscal operations, weak monetary management and poor policy coordination have combined to worsen an economy faltering under pressure from dropping commodity prices. He also stated that the loan scheme in which the CBL bypassed bank financial institutions, and lent to certain groups and institutions in violation of the Section 5 © and Section 41 (1) (e) respectively of the 1999 Central Bank of Liberia Act.
The University of Liberia, Professor indicated that the scheme put the CBL in competition with the local bank financial institutions, and created a conflict of interest. And also said by saying that the potentially poor quality of these loans posed possible problems to timely recovery.
“This is not my first time articulating this matter as In July 2012, I told a Senate hearing on the CBL loan scheme that the Central Bank did not have the technical infrastructure of a commercial lending bank to properly examine such loans”. He told the team of journalists that “I stated that because of the bad qualities of these loans, it would be difficult for the borrowers to repay the bank, a concern that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf highlighted during her annual message to the legislature on January 26, 2016. In essence, I did not say anything new here”.
Narrating further, Professor Tarpeh said that President Sirleaf is not the first to raise concerns about the CBL loan scheme (L$640 Million). In September 2015, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, during a visit to Liberia said the loan scheme and foreign exchange operations of the Central Bank will have negative consequences.
The IMF reiterated these concerns in subsequent visits. Also in 2015, the African Development Bank (ADB) also raised the issue in its Africa Economic Outlook. The ADB said the loan scheme and foreign operations were inappropriate and bore adverse consequences for the economy in general and the banking system in particular.
The IMF reiterated these concerns in subsequent visits. Also in 2015, the African Development Bank (ADB) also raised the issue in its Africa Economic Outlook. The ADB said the loan scheme and foreign operations were inappropriate and bore adverse consequences for the economy in general and the banking system in particular. The ADB report then classified Central Bank a “reputational risk’’ because the loans which were given under the guise poverty alleviation and the foreign exchange operations that were done under the guise of stabilizing the exchange rate.
The one time Liberia’s finance Minister said that he was taken a backed when On Monday, August 15, 2016, the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) responded to his comments in a 13-page statement that was published in several newspapers and radio stations.
“Instead of sticking to the issues, MOVEE tried to discredit my professional expertise and integrity. The personal attacks against me are baseless, irresponsible, childish and grossly unprofessional”. Why would Dr. Mills Jones and his MOVEE stoop so low as to attack me personally instead of addressing the issues? I simply provided my expert knowledge of the economy as I saw it. I made no personal attack on Dr. Jones.
Though the statement was signed and read by MOVEE’s chairman, but as a lawyer, I hold Dr. Jones responsible under the doctrine of respondent superior for the careless and unfounded attack on my professional integrity. But I won’t stoop to that level. “My grandmother taught me to be humble and courteous to people, even if I disagree with them or they insult me”.
The MOVEE statement questioned my credibility in society, my academic rank at the University of Liberia and essentially called me a liar. Dr. Jones and his surrogates failed to provide any evidence to support their claims. I therefore refuse to give credence to such baseless claims because they have no bearing on the issues that I discussed on the state of the Liberian economy.
I do not need to defend my service to this country both at home and abroad because my accomplishments are well-documented.
I find it hypocritical that Dr. Jones would now criticize the government that gave him the opportunity to serve as governor of the Central Bank, a position he would not have held if it wasn’t for the president.
MOVEE also claimed that I tried to ‘defame’ their political leader because of politics, envy and hatred. That is so far from the truth. As far as I am concerned, MOVEE is a kitchen filled with a lot of food in the midst of abject poverty. People will therefore go there to eat whether or not they know or like the cook/provider. The late Guinea President, Ahmed Sekou Toure once said “a hungry child does not care to know where his bread comes from.’’
At an appropriate time, the voters will make it plain to MOVEE.
I do not harbor hatred or grudge against anyone. Only an insecure, ignorant, and small and intolerant person will interpret my statements on the state of the nation’s economy to be hatred and jealousy.
MOVEE in its statement also suggested that I was envious of the former CBL Governor because ‘I’ve always seen myself as the “honorable governor’’ of the Central Bank, a position that continues to slip from my reach’. I’m not one to brag about my credentials, but let me set the record straight.
Several years ago, the government of Liberia advertised the position for Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia. , I applied and I believe Dr. Jones also did. A five-member panel headed by former planning and economic affairs minister Amelia Ward, representatives of the IMF, the World Bank, United States Treasury and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), was constituted to vet the applicants.
Following rounds of intense interviews, the panel submitted a list of four names ranked in order of priority based on overall performance. I came first place and Dr. Jones and others were below me.
The president decided to appoint Dr. Jones. Before he was appointed to the post, President Sirleaf called me for a meeting. She thanked me for my performance, but told me that she preferred Dr. Jones even though he inferior to me.
I thanked the President for her courtesy, and promised my availability whenever my services were needed. As far as I was concerned, I had been validated by the world’s leading authorities that carry the global seal of approval on these matters. How can I be envious of Dr. Jones when I know his preference was purely political and not based on competence?
Finally, I encourage Dr. Jones to address himself to the issues raised, rather than attacking me personally. I do not deal with pettiness. I’m prepared to debate Dr. Jones anytime and place on the state of the Liberian economy especially in the general framework of the issues I raised Professor Tarpeh concluded.