The CBL Act Amendment: The First Major Anti-Political Corruption Act in Liberia


By John S. Morlu, II

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 24, 2014



In May 2011, the Germany Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel, on a visit to Liberia, cried out loud about the high level of “political corruption” in Liberia, mainly the abuse of public office to advance personal political and financial agendas, against the interest of the state. The amendment of the CBL Act of 1999, regardless of what motives we attach to it, is the first attempt to rein political corruption in Liberia. All those who claimed to be anti-corruption and anti-abuse of public office should support the Legislature on this issue.

In 2014, I decided that enough of the writings on Liberian affairs, as so many good ideas just fall on deaf ears. It seems rather obvious that the desire to maintain a corrupt system far outweighs the pronounced commitments to ensure that laws and regulations are enforced and better systems and controls are put into place to control corruption, the “number one public enemy”  In America, where many of us boast of being educated we say “politics stops at the water’s edge.” In contrast, in Liberia, politics is an all-day affair. In the infamous RIA recordings, we hear a Liberian Senator say “everything in Liberia that politics.”

Former NOCAL boss Chris Neyor said it best: “Today, on the airwaves and in the print media, around the beer bars and in intellectual clubs, the stories or the underlying story is 2017. There are even some who have not yet made it through the 2014 midterm Senatorial elections and are already counting their lot for the 2017 Presidential election. Sadly for Liberia,…some of those elected and appointed in government starting to maneuver for the 2017 presidential election to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. As a result, the President’s development agenda to move the country forward including the Vision 2030 national transformation plan is being hijacked by officials both legislative and executives who are putting their selfish desire for a political office years away instead of working for the common good of all.” All of these have affected ordinary Liberians with skyrocketing inflation and a backbreaking unemployment rate, especially amongst youth population.

I am not a lawyer. I am just a commoner with solid education and above average understanding and experience with the American System of Governments, including Federal, State and Local Government. But I studied American Government from the University of Virginia, receiving Bachelors from its Woodrow Wilson School of Government. I have also had the opportunity to live and work in various democracy systems in transitional economies of the foreign Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. Currently spending considerable time navigating my way in the Caribbean and Latin America. All of these countries borrowing various versions of the American system, which they have not taken the time studied and understanding.  

I was invited for dinner last year at the home of the prominent U.S. Embassy official in Haiti. In our discussion, I asked him whether Haitians and their leadership know anything about Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. Hamilton, Jay and Madison borrowed largely from Britain, France, Rome and Greek to present a comprehensive argument (in 85 Federalist Papers) for the Constitutional Republican form of Government to be adopted in America. These people studied other people system to build the American system we have today. But the developing countries including Liberia are carbon copying America but without the contextual understanding of the very complex system that Hamilton, Jay and Madison advanced in the Federalist Papers. 

How many Liberians have read Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty, Give Me Death” Speech, the American  Declaration of Independence, the Article of Confederation, the 85 Federalist Papers and American Constitution and the Bills of Rights. Or the history behind each of the Constitutional Amendments to the United States Constitution. Anyway, my American host in Haiti reminded me that “an American Ambassador does not go into a country to change it but to tell the people in that country what America is all about…American principles of Government.” So those who are waiting for the U.S. Ambassador to change the corrupt practices in Liberia will surely wait for a long time.

I say all of this to indicate that my position on the debate on the various amendment of the  CBL Act 199 will be broader in perspective than the narrow Constitutional cherry picking that is being used to castigate the Legislature.  I know some will say Liberia is not America but the same people boast of US education to get jobs in Liberia. I make no apologies for always talking about America!
Interestingly the argument against the amendments have been less coordinated and scattered, as though these defenders of the status quo are in a desperate mood to grab onto anything to convince the President not to take the final step by signing the Amendments into law. It would be a big surprise if the President does not sign it, because I know that she and I had numerous discussions on how to end political corruption by changing the Condition of Service of some of the key institutions in Liberia, just as it is done in America, Zambia etc.  But again, whether she signs it or not is not my issue. At least, we are having a debate on “political corruption” because of the amendments of the CBL Act.
 In Search of a Motive
The opponents of the amendment have attempted to undermine the amendments by attaching motive to it, arguing that this is all done to promote the “presidential ambition” of Speaker Alex J. Tyler. These people have failed to acknowledge that the very AMENDEMENTS in question did not originate from the House of Representatives. Instead, it stands from a long feud between the Governor of the CBL and the Liberian Senate, where 2013 we witnessed at some point a bitter exchange between the Senate Pro-Tempore and the Governor of the CBL. 

Unless so many have forgotten, the argument between the CBL and the Senate backdated Senator Findley, as Pro-Tempore. It started when Senator Isaac Nyenabo was Pro-Temore. It all began in 2006/2007 when the CBL Governor minted coins without first seeking approval from the Legislature. The Legislature argued that it is only them that could mint coins and the CBL insisted that it was the Legislature that granted it such powers, a classic debate that existed between the U.S. Congress and National Bank of America (now Federal Reserve Bank).  Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, Article 34 ( ii)” reads, “no monies shall be drawn from the treasure except in consequence of appropriations made by legislative enactment and upon warrant of the President; and no coin shall be minted or national currency issued except by the expressed authority of the Legislature.”

Further, those who are defending the CBL have argued that the CBL Governor has not announced that he is a candidate for the 2017 Presidential Elections. In the vain, some of these same people are also accusing Speaker Tyler who has made no such pronouncement that he is a Candidate for 2017. Let us focus on the substantive issues and forgot about the motives, which were cannot prove at this point. The substantive issue is whether the amendments of the CBL Act will advance our collective effort to fight political corruption in Liberia.

Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe agrees that the CBL amendment will help in the fight to end political corruption, except he wants such laws to apply to all “public institutions.” If that is the argument, then he should support the Level Playing Bill modeled after the US. Hatch Act, 1939.  I also reminded a journalist yesterday that he should read the Code of Conduct prepared by Dr. Amos Sawyer and submitted to the Legislature by the President of Liberia and he will be surprised that the President and Dr. Sawyer want to end political corruption, people abusing public office to advance their political agendas.

The 1986 Constitutional Defenses
Opponents of the Amendments have relied on various constitutional issues to make their argument. It seems they are all fishing for a Constitutional provision that they can hang on to make their argument. Here are a few examples:
Liberian National Student Union (LINSU) and Its Article 18 Argument
In its Press Release, LINSU  says  the Senate’s action is a clear violation of the Article 18 of the Liberian Constitution: “In view of Article 18, we maintain that Dr. Jones and other Duty Governors and Board members of the CBL are entitled to the right to a job, irrespective of what a senator or group of senators may perceive as 'future political treat' from Gov. Jones…(the Amendments) will meet a very stiff résistance, as it is now, where our lawmakers themselves will choose to be the very lawbreakers.”  An unknown group called the “Coalition to Combat Impunity and Protect Natural Resources (COCPNAR)” followed LINSU on the Article 18 argument.

Article 18 of the Liberian Constitutions reads: “All Liberian citizens shall have equal opportunity for work and employment regardless of sex, creed, religion, ethnic background, place of origin or political affiliation, and all shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work.”

I do not see anywhere in the amendments where any Liberia was denied equal opportunity to work because of the religion, sex, creed, religion, ethnic background, place of origin and political affiliation. In fact, the CBL Governor and Board of Directors are gainfully employed and there is no complaint that they have not been paid for equal work.  All the amendment  says is that a sitting Governor and Board of Directors cannot run for elected office while serving and three years after they resigned or the leave the employ of the Central Bank.

Some have a problem with the three year after they leave office clause. But they forgot that the amendment will be meaningless if the Governor or a Board member resigns in August of 2017 to run for President.  In such a case, the Governor would have already leveraged the use of his office to position himself, and worst, the Governor will concentrate his efforts on positioning himself rather than focusing on the job for which he is being paid. How these opponents would respond to Mr. Chris Neyor, who like many of us believes, that the quest to replace the President is undermining government functions,  Mr. Rodney Sieh of FrontpageAfrica has written more than 11 articles on this very issue from 2012 to date.

Another Unknown Group, “Nimba Youth Network, (NYN”) and its Article 8 Argument
In “Citizens Reject New CBL Bill - Say “It is a Town Trap,” 14 February 2014, the Independent Newspaper reported that ‘NYN’ said “the unconstitutionality stands from the fact that the Liberian Constitution forbids the Republic from directing its policies against such legislation as mentioned in Article 8.”

Article 18 of the Liberian Constitutions reads, “The Republic shall direct its policy towards ensuring for all citizens, without discrimination, opportunities for employment and livelihood under just and humane conditions, and towards promoting safety, health and welfare facilities in employment.”

Where in the amendments was anyone denied “opportunities for employment and livelihood under just and humane conditions, and towards promoting safety, health and welfare facilities in employment?”  It seems that this group is arguing against Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) type regulation than an amendment to the CBL Act. I believe this group should target its efforts at natural resources companies to ensure we have health and wellness in the workplace.  Some Liberians, huh?

Liberty Party’s Senior Advisor and his Article 21 (a) Argument
In “Ball in Ellen’s Court: After 4G Passage, Prez Decides Jones Fate,” 20 February 2014, FrontpageAfrica reported, “Dillon said the lawmakers’ action contravenes the spirit and intent of several provisions of the Constitution of Liberia, and leaves him, wondering what was the rationale behind thrash and embarrassing act in which the lawmakers neglected to consider Article 20a) of the Constitution.”

Article 20 (a) states, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law. Justice shall be done without sale, denial or delay; and in all cases not arising in courts not of record, under courts-martial and upon impeachment, the parties shall have the right to trial by jury.”
FrontpageAfrica further reports, “Dillon reminded the legislature that a person’s desire to contest for any political office is a ‘right’ guaranteed under our Constitution; and any action to deny a person or group of persons from exercising this ‘right’ MUST be the result of a ‘hearing’, judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law. The Legislature cannot pass a law that automatically denies any person or group of persons from the exercise or enjoyment of their constitutionally guaranteed rights without the benefit of a ‘hearing judgment’.”
First, there is nowhere in the amendments where the Legislature deprive anyone from running for public office. All the amendments have done is to alter the CONDITION OF SERVICE for the position of Central Bank Governor and the Board of Directors. I do not see anywhere in Article 20 (a) where it says the Legislature who created the Central Bank and defined the Condition of Service cannot at a later time change the condition of service going forward without a hearing before a judge. No one has denied that it was the Legislature that created the Central Bank in 1999.  

The Legislature could have decided to dissolve the Central Bank and turn all the money over to EcoBank and empowered Ecobank to serve as the defacto Central Bank of Liberia, as Citibank did for Liberia for years until 1974 when the first National Bank of Liberia was created. America has dissolved its National Bank in past and turned the funds over to private banks to manage for the Federal Government, because the head of the Bank was engaged in political activities.

Essentially, it was the Legislature that gave CBL Governor five year tenure and all the powers the CBL has today. It is only proper for the same Liberia to come back and review the Condition of Service and change the criteria prospectively, if they deemed it necessary.

When I was Auditor General and being attacked daily as being “political” and having a “political ambition,” in 2009, I met with the President of Liberia. I suggested that she amended the GAC Act so that the Auditor General of Liberia was forever banned from running elected position as it is the case in several countries. I invited the Auditor General of Zambia and we met with the President of Liberia and discussed this very issue of amending the law so that the Auditor General could never run for elected office in Liberia, as it is the case in Zambia. In USA, a lead auditor who audits a company is prevented from working for that company within a year.  All of these things do not require hearing before a judge. It is a mere change in the CONDITION OF SERVICE of a position.

Liberty Party’s Senior Advisor and his Article 21 (a) Argument
FronpageAfrica reported that the Liberty’s Senior Advisor argued that, “to do so is a gross violation of Article 21 (a) as quoted above. Also, to demand that Governors of the CBL who may wish to aspire to political office/s will be required to “resign” three years prior to any election in which they seek to participate, or be denied participation three years after they retired. As grossly wrong as this provision is, it cannot be applied to this current Board of Governors because it is ‘expo facto.’”

Article 21 (a) reads, “no person shall be made subject to any law or punishment which was not in effect at the time of commission of an offense, nor shall the Legislature enact any bill of attainder or ex post facto law.”

Article 21 (a) is similar to U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3.  Both are more a guide against retroactive criminal punishment. I have not read anywhere in the amendments where the Legislature are punishing anyone or enacting any bill of attainment or an ex post facto law. It would be hard to make an argument that changing Condition of Service of a government agency is a violation of an expo facto law. Quite recently, we saw this President and the Legislature create the Liberia Maritime Authority, giving more powers to the Commissioner and no one complain.

The Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Public Works merged. The Bureau of the Budget and the Ministry of Finance merged. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning have merged. All of these amendments and merging of ministries and agencies have affected the Condition of Service of other Liberians. The Central Bank Governor and Board of Governors have positions in the Government, created by the Legislature.

 It is likely the Liberty Party’s Political Advisor will argue that it is a Bill of Attainment or Ex Post Facto when the Code of Conduct is passed and it says no more nepotism in Government. All those who have hired their wives and relatives in Government will cry and say it is ex post facto. The Code of Conduct, when it is passed, will change the Condition of Service for a lot of institutions and people in Government. Besides the President, Vice President and Legislature, it will force the resignation of people trying to run for elected office in Liberia, as well. The Code of Conduct is President Sirleaf and Dr. Sawyer’s proposed law. It is not Speaker Tyler or Pro Tempore Findley that proposed the Code of Conduct.

The Learned Lawyer and his Article 11 Argument
I have the highest regard for this learned lawyer. I have been with him up close and personal and he is, a “Man of Honor and Integrity.”  We have  agreed on a lot of  issues, although we might have different strategies. But on this CBL amendment, we are on a different pathway.  

FrontpageAfrica reported that the learned lawyer “stated that while it was true that Governor Jones has politicized the micro-loan scheme, the action taken against him by the Lawmakers was discriminatory and breached Article 11 section (C) of the Constitution.”
Article 11 (c) read, “All persons are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to the equal protection of the law.”

Instead of defending on Article 11 (c) the learned lawyer suggests what the lawmakers should have done: He said:  (1) “Lawmakers should have done was to remove that portion of the Act that allows the Central Bank to provide loans from the country’s reserve since indeed the issue of loan given out by the Central Bank is causing uneasiness.”  And (2) “Let us revamp the Agricultural Bank and mandate it to provide loans.” I still do not know how all of this has to do with Article 11 (c). He is admitting that the lawmakers have the power to change the Act, except  he does not like the part they have changed.  

And then he goes rhetorically: “What will happen when the Maritime Commissioner announces that he will provide fishing boats to all fishermen in the country from Cape Mount to Maryland Counties? Will the Lawmakers say the Commissioner is politicking and amend an act creating the Maritime Authority?” The simple answer is yes. If the Legislature felt that the Commissioner actions were because of a loophole in the law, they could choose to amend it to prevent the Commissioner from providing fishing boats. Is it even a better use of public funds for the Maritime Commissioner to provide fishing boats?

In Liberia, LPRC donates free gas coupons. LTA built latrine in Representative Acarus Gray District. NOCAL sponsors football clubs. Even the Ministry of Finance has combined with GSA and Water and Sewer to rehabilitee 22 battered public latrines and 112 water kiosks in Monrovia .

FrontpageAfrica reported that the learned lawyer “wonders whether the Lawmakers would take the same decision against the LPRC if the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) announced to give each petty trader selling gasoline 50 gallons each, and directly quoted the learned lawyer saying, “Will the lawmakers claim that the LPRC Managing Director is politicking and amend the act creating the LPRC?” Again, if the Legislature believes such action is only possible because there is a loophole in the LPRC Act, then yes.  LPRC already doled donations in gas coupons. Read GAC Audit reports. But again, how do all these rhetorical questions have to do the Article 11 argument that was raised. Absolutely nothing! 

Interestingly, the learned lawyer admits that “Governor Jones has politicized the micro-loan scheme,” which is clearly against the spirit of the act creating the CBL. The whole purpose of former President Charles Taylor, with pressure from World Bank and IMF, for creating the Central Bank of Liberia was to depoliticize the CBL, not for the Governor to make it political as the learned lawyer has admitted. In such an instance, should the Legislature not intervene to remedy the problem going forward once and for all?  Wouldn’t they be blamed for not performing their duties?

If the Legislature amended only one aspect of the CBL Act, the Governor and Board of Directors could circumvent a new scheme within the law to still carry out political activities. In such a case, there will be constant amendments of the Act. Legislatures all around the world have dealt with “Rogue” Central Bankers in various factions, including USA when the lawmakers shutdown the First Bank of the United States in 1811 under President James Madison and 1836, President Andrew Jackson shutdown the Second Bank of the United States, accusing the head of the bank for engaging in political activity, by financing legislative and presidential campaigns.  See the time line of central banking in the United States:
1791–1811: First Bank of the United States:  
1811–1816: No central bank.
1816–1836: Second Bank of the United States.  
1837–1862: Free Bank Era.
1846–1921: Independent Treasury System.
1863–1913: National Banks.
1913 – Present: Federal Reserve System.

The Liberian Legislature could have taken a more drastic step to dissolve the Central Bank of Liberia or like Andrew Jackson did instructs the Minister of Finance to take all Government funds away from the control of the CBL and put it in the hands of Ecobank or multiple banks. Better still, the Legislature could have stripped the CBL of all the privileges such as tenureship so that the Governor can be fired “at the will and pleasure” of the President. 

Further still, the Liberian Legislature could have also done like Germany, removing Discretionary monetary making powers from the Governor and making monetary decision making completely Rule Base, wherein they could set an inflation target at say 5% and then the CBL Governor loses his job automatically if inflation ever went above the 5% threshold.  Or they could maintain the Discretionary powers of the Governor but empowered an oversight body such as the GAC to audit not only the financial accounts of the CBL but its ‘Monetary Decision Making’ of the CBL. This was done in USA when the Congress realized the increasing powers of the Chairman of Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. I remembered the  bitter fight between Alan Greespan and the Congress, with the Comptroller General David Walker and later Gene Dorado were caught in the middle of the fight. I know both Comptroller Generals and the people who were involved in the Congressional battle with the Federal Reserve. In Ghana, the Legislature passed a law that requires the Auditor General to conduct quarterly audits of the foreign exchange payments and receipts of the Central Bank.

In Liberia, the current CBL will not even allow GAC to audit the coins that it minted to determine how much actually minted and put in circulation and how much was taken out of circulation.  Mr. George Nubo, who was COO at GAC at the time, repeatedly reminded me about that audit but giving the resistance by the CBL and my own concentration with completing HIPC requirements it was never done. As you can see, there are a lot a legislature can do to rein the excesses of the Central Bank. The Liberian Legislature has taken a less drastic, benign approach by just changing the CONDITION OF SERVICE.

That said, the learned counselor came close to articulate his Article 11 (c) when FrontpageAfrica reported that, “he said that the action taken by the Lawmakers should have been extended to all public institutions and not only the CBL.” He, yet again, concedes that the amendment is good for Liberia.

From the read of history, Article 11 (c)’s equal protection clause is similar to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 14th Amendment, together with the 13th and 15th Amendments, are collectively called the RECONSTRUCTION AMENDMENTS. They were created after the civil war. The central principle in the 14th Amendment, which has been borrowed by nearly all constitutionally created democracies in developing world, was meant to ensure that “black people” or “former slaves” were treated equally before the law. It is now use  as a standard application for all human beings.

But in 1886, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations are "persons" having the same rights as human beings based on the 14th Amendment. Corporations completely hijacked the 14th amendment. Up until the New Deal in the 1930s, the 14th amendment was  invoked far more often on behalf of corporations than former slaves. Government agencies or officials of Government have never tried to hide behind the 14th amendment, especially in regard to the Legislature amending an act to change the Condition of Service for a particular position in Government. I stand corrected.

But even if Article 11 (c)  or a body of case law for the 14th amendment say it applies to Government agencies, how will it be applied since each agency of Government is created by the Legislature and giving different powers.  The government agencies are not created equally. Some are given tenure special powers,  and privileges like the Central Bank. Others like the Ministry of Labor are given  different powers. All Cabinet Ministers work” at the will and pleasure” of the President. They can be fired any day and at any time. The CBL Governor does not work “at the will and pleasure” in the same way as the Ministers. Also, the Governor has  five year tenure and the Auditor General has  a 4 year tenure. The Executive Director of the PPC has no tenure.  Since they are not all created equal by the Legislature, how can one make a legal or corporate governance argument that all public institutions must be treated equally.  In America,  all public institutions are not treated equally, either.  

The U.S. Hatch Act, 1939
There was high political corruption in 1938. The Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee instituted an investigation on political corruption. Although the findings were inconclusive, Democratic  and Republican parties were fed up with people using public offices to advance their political agenda. The Democrats were the main culprit.  Although his political party was the biggest beneficiary of the political corruption, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to purge  Democratic Party of its more conservative members who were increasingly aligned with his Republican opponents and he saw the Hatch Act as the vehicle to do it.  First, Roosevelt wanted to veto the Act or allow it to become law without his signature, fearing a backlash from his corrupt democratic political machinery. But he later signed it on the last day before it could expire. The Act was sponsored by Senator Carl Hatch, a Democrat from New Mexico.

The Hatch Act of 1939 became the federal law that prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president, vice-president, and certain designated high-level officials of that branch, from engaging in partisan political activity. It was later amended to apply  to executive branch state and local employees who are principally employed in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency.  The U.S. Supreme Court has twice upheld its constitutionality. In a 1947 case brought by the CIO, a divided court found that Congress had properly exercised its authority as long as it had not affected voting rights.  

In Liberia, the CBL amendment does not affect the voting rights of the Governor. The Governor can still vote for anyone in 2014 or 2017. Legislature limited it only to running for elected office. Our right to vote cannot be curtailed, except in some instances when we have committed such things as felony. But our right to running for elected office can be conditioned on the public office we hold. The current Governor is not required to be Governor. Being Governor is a choice.

Hilary Clinton and the Hatch Act of 1939
In an article, Hillary's Job Forced Her to Miss Bill's Speech, US Foreign Policy , Author Steve Jones quotes Secretary Hilary Clinton: “This is the first convention that I have missed in many, many years. For decades, secretaries of state have not attended political conventions because of the non-partisan nature of our foreign policy. "I think it's a good rule. It's one that I certainly accepted." Can our Liberian Minister of Foreign Affairs ever agreed not to be political while serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs?

Anyway, Steve Jones disagreed with Secretary Clinton by it being a rule. He wrote, “But it's not just a rule or tradition. It's a law. “ According to Jones, “in its essence, the Hatch Act prevents high-level federal employees, like the Secretary of State, from lending their influence to elections,” adding that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel says, "All civilian employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President and the Vice President, are covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act."

Does the learned lawyer realized that Hilary Clinton like many Americans have a lot of integrity and respect for the law and good governance practices that she resigned her post nearly four years out to 2016 Presidential elections.  OK, some would say Liberia is not America. I get it!

Who is covered by the HATCH ACT?
THE U.S. Office of Special Counsel enforces the Hatch Act and provides this information on its website:All civilian employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President and the Vice President, are covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act. Employees of the U. S. Postal Service, are also covered by the Act. Part-time employees are covered by the Act. Federal and District of Columbia employees subject to the Hatch Act continue to be covered while on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, or furlough. However, employees who work on an occasional or irregular basis, or who are special government employees, as defined in title 18 U. S.C. § 202(a), are subject to the restrictions only when they are engaged in government business. Federal employees fall within two categories under the Hatch Act, Further Restricted and Less Restricted.”
The learned lawyer should know this: Although the Hatch Act applies to all, some agencies are singled out and further restricted, a situation that some Liberians will call “discrimination” but which is accepted under the best Constitutional Republican form government we have on planet earth and from which Liberia borrows its systems of central banking and government.
Further Restricted Employees
U.S. Office of Special Counsel states, “ certain federal executive branch employees are prohibited from engaging in partisan political management or partisan political campaigns; hence, these employees are Further Restricted under the Hatch Act…more specifically, Further Restricted employees include employees from the following agencies (or components) or in the following positions:

“Federal Election Commission; Election Assistance Commission; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Secret Service; Central Intelligence Agency; National Security Council; National Security Agency; Defense Intelligence Agency; Office of Criminal Investigation of the Internal Revenue Service;  and Persons employed in positions described under Sections 3132(a)(4), 5372, 5372 (a), or 5372(b) of Title 5, United States Code, including: Senior Executive Service [career positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 3132 (a)(4)]; Administrative Law Judges [positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372]; Contract Appeals Board Members [positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372 (a)];  and Administrative Appeals Judges [positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372(b)].” A visit to  will give you the entire list of further restricted institutions.


Further Restricted Employees—Political Restrictions and Prohibited Activities
Employees of these Further Restricted agencies are not allow to even run for public office, although they can vote in all and any elections. But they cannot run for elected office, period.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel says, “Further restricted federal employees are prohibited from taking an active part in partisan political management or partisan political campaigns. Specifically, these employees may not campaign for or against candidates or otherwise engage in political activity in concert with a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group. Such employees: May not be a candidate for nomination or election to public office in a partisan election.
May not take an active part in partisan political campaigns. For example: May not campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates. May not make campaign speeches or engage in other campaign activities to elect partisan candidates. May not distribute campaign material in partisan elections. May not circulate nominating petitions. May not take an active part in partisan political management. For example: May not hold office in political clubs or parties. May not organize or manage political rallies or meetings. May not assist in partisan voter registration drives. May not use their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election. For example: May not use their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity. May not invite subordinate employees to political events or otherwise suggest to subordinates that they attend political events or undertake any partisan political activity.”
Any reader can find  more of the prohibition on the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s website at and click on the Hatch Act.

Federal Reserve and CBL—CBL Getting a Free Ride in Liberia
As showing in preceding paragraphs, The Federal Reserve Act was enacted by the 63rd United States on December 23, 1913Congress and it is Pub.L. 63–43. The Board of Governors (Federal Reserve Board) prepares a budget report once per year for Congress. There are two reports with budget information:  (1) Annual Report and  (2) Annual Report: Budget Review. Annual Report shows income and expenses, including profit and loss. An important part of the report is that Annual Report shows total number of employees at the Federal Reserve. The Budget Review is more detailed, providing detailed explanation for each expense line at the Federal Reserve. These two reports can be found on the Board of Governors’ website under the section "Reports to Congress.

Federal Reserve balance sheet (or balance statement) is one of the keys to understanding the Federal Reserve is the. In accordance with Section 11 of the Federal Reserve Act, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System publishes once each week the "Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks" showing the condition of each Federal Reserve Bank and a consolidated statement for all Federal Reserve banks. The federal government sets the salaries of the Board's seven governors. The U.S. Government receives all of the Federal Reserve’s annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on member banks' capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained.

The New York Times reported , “The Fed is required by law to turn over its profits to the Treasury each year, a highly lucrative byproduct of the central bank’s continuing campaign to stimulate economic growth. The Fed made an average annual contribution to the Treasury Department of $23 billion during the five years preceding the crisis. In the years since 2007, the Fed’s average contribution has more than doubled to $54 billion.”  In 2010, the Federal Reserve made a profit of $82 billion and transferred $79.3 billion to the U.S. Treasury. In 2011 the Federal Reserve transferred  $77 billion in profits to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Who is setting the salaries of the Executive Governor and the Board of Governors of the Central Bank? They set their own salaries without much input from the President or Legislature. And the Central Bank has not returned a single dime in profits to the Ministry of Finance, as it is the case in the USA, a system we borrowed from to use in Liberia.

I remembered when me as Auditor General and Madam Alfreda Tamba, a hardworking woman who was then serving at the Deputy Minister of Finance for Revenue, tried to have the CBL Governor account for the cents it is making on each dollar of checks it encashed for the Government. There are currently no coins in Liberia but checks are written in dollars of cents, such as LS$55.98. We also could not get any accounting from the CBL as to who is the owner of the foreign exchange gains and losses from the Liberian dollar transactions.

Liberian Legislature did not go far enough in amending the CBL Act of 199. I can some say America is not Liberia but why borrow from America if you are going to implement it.

© 2014 by The Perspective
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