Corruption at the Central Bank of Liberia

(Open Letter to Jacques Klein)


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 28, 2003

Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein
United Nations Secretary-General’s
Special Representative for Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia

October 21, 2003

Dear Ambassador Klein:

Accept our sincerest congratulations on your assumption of this challenging assignment. Every Liberian should be aware of what this task requires. We have observed your assertiveness and thought to bring to your attention issues relative to the nation’s governing financial institution (Central Bank of Liberia).

As Liberians, it is incumbent on all of us to assist you in achieving the goals associated with your job responsibilities. In this light, we solicit your attention to a few problems that need immediate consideration. The resolution of these issues will ensure that such practices are abolished immediately, never repeated, and yield good governance.

These heinous practices are unacceptable because they are the very essence of our present demise. The matter as to how the supporting information was obtained should be of little relevance. Rather, the resolution should be focused on the veracity of the information, and its benefit to the Liberian populace.

This matter involves disbursement practices at the Central Bank of Liberia. The issues are hereby presented in five (V) categories:

I. Government Influenced Loan
II. Compensation
III. Severance Pay
IV. Vague Board Expenses, and
V. Unfair Contracting Policy.

I. Government Influenced Loan
On or about June 27, 2003, during the height of the civil conflict, the Central Bank of Liberia entered into a dim and brainless loan agreement with the out-going administration on behalf of the Republic Of Liberia. The alleged purpose of the loan was “.. for Civil Servants Salaries, .. the Ministry of Defense and the Special Security Service (SSS) as subsistence for the Military, Militia and salaries for Security Personnel.”

Given the prevailing circumstances, the intent of the loan was a deception. Both the nearly defunct government, and the Central Bank of Liberia were aware of on-going meetings in Ghana, for a replacement government. Yet, the loan agreement was fraudulently executed in the unbelievable amount of Forty-Nine Million Liberian Dollars (L$49,000,000.00).

(See Exhibit 1 – LOAN AGREEMENT).

II. Compensation
Rational circumstances dictate that the compensation to the Executive Governor, Deputy Governor, Members of the Board, and other bank officials is careless and irresponsible considering the Liberian situation. In reference to RESOLUTION NO. BR/R-06/2003, the Executive and Deputy Governors each receives approximately US$20,000.00 for transportation, gasoline, and generator maintenance. Also, RESOLUTION NO. BG/R-01/1999, unfairly authorizes an unreasonable amount to Board Members quarterly, including the Executive Governor. Even worse, RESOLUTION NO. BG/R-02/1999, addresses the Executive and Deputy Governors monthly salaries and additional benefits.

While the Central Bank of Liberia is charged with the responsibility to promote the Liberian currency, it seems contradictory that upper management personnel are exclusively compensated in United States currency. Such dreadful act demonstrates vanity and hypocrisy by these executives.

(See Exhibit 2 – COMPENSATION).

III. Severance Pay
RESOLUTION NO. BR/R-04/2002, and RESOLUTION NO. BR/R-03/2002 address Severance Pay deceptively crafted by the Executive Governor and Members of the Board. An exceptional example involves departing Board Member, Hillary A. Dennis, whose tenure and severance pay package, dated March 11, 2003, totaled US$45,000.00. See memorandum ‘Re: Severance Package: Hilary A. Dennis’.

Upon information and belief, two (2) present Board Members, Mr. Willie Belleh and Dr. Charles A. Clarke, are expected to depart the board shortly. We beseech your office to immediately effect a change for the reversal of this decadent precedent of governmental pilfering, by disallowing the continuation of the swindling of the bank’s coffer.

(See Exhibit 3 – SEVERANCE PAY)

IV. Vague Board Expenses
As the Central Bank of Liberia, accurate accounting must be of paramount importance. Find within, evidence of Payment Requisitions void of justifiable attachments. On or about March 19, 2003 and April 14, 2003, US$13,500.00 and US$15,000.00 respectively were senselessly withdrawn, simply as “Payment Represents Board Related Expenses”.


V. Unfair Contracting Policy
Reasonable contracting practices require open and fair bidding procedures. However, the Central Bank of Liberia documentation demonstrates otherwise. The issue involving contracting at the CBL needs to be investigated. As per documentation, contracts are awarded to individuals based on unfair business practices. Said contracts arbitrarily ostracize too many other parties.


All the aforementioned malpractices, mismanagement, unprofessional conduct, and blatant treachery; if remained unresolved will render all efforts thus far useless. Given the present financial status coupled with the deplorable living condition, in Liberia, these terrible practices cannot be allowed to continue under our search for good governance.

We suggest that:

· the present policies and guidelines be revised to reflect a systematic functional financial institution;

· those involved in these and similar allegations do respectfully desist;

· the two (2) departing Board Members forfeit their Severance Package or return same to government revenue;

· in view of the facts presented, the entire Central Bank compensatory structure be reorganized.

It is without doubt that your actions will effect the necessary changes required to lead the Republic of Liberia into a new era.

Respectfully yours,

LiberiaFirst Committee

Chairman C. Gyude Bryant
General Assembly
National Transitional Government of Liberia
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission
Heritage Newspaper, Liberia
Inquirer Newspaper, Liberia
News Newspaper, Liberia