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"Prince Johnson Is A Pathological Liar"...Dr. Sawyer Testifies At TRC...Says Change of JJ Put Looters Out of Business

The Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) changed Liberian banknotes because banks were looted during the civil conflict, former Interim President Amos Sawyer said.

Dr. Sawyer said banks around the country had been looted and looters were holding containers of money which precipitated the change of the JJ Roberts Banknotes in circulation before the incumbency of Sawyer's transitional government.

Sawyer said he treated the currency issue as a national security matter and had consulted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) before the decision.

"We treated the issue of our currency as a national security matter. We did it in consultation with ECOWAS and we put a lot of looters out of business by the change of banknotes," Dr. Sawyer said.

Sawyer, now Chair of the Governance Commission was testifying before commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Thursday, at the historic Centennial Memorial Pavilion in the capitol, Monrovia.

Prince Johnson, leader of the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) told commissioners of the TRC Tuesday that during the reigns of the interim government he gave Dr. Sawyer US$8.1 million, an amount he the government used to print new banknotes. He alleged the printing of the new banknotes was fraught with corruption.

Apparently responding to Johnson's allegation, Sawyer said: "If I have to do it again, I will do it again. So all those who get hysterical and if they are hysterical because of pathology, then I am sorry for them. We were proud of that decision."

But pressed by a question from commissioner Pearl Brown-Bull, Dr. Sawyer referred to Johnson as "a pathological liar" and said that at no time did he have such transaction with the then rebel leader. He however clarified that the only transaction with Johnson was the change of the banknotes that rendered what "they (looters) had useless."

"This was when we engendered rage and insults from Mr. Johnson and others," the former interim president said. Dr. Sawyer said he did not want to dignify "the rants and raves" of Mr. Johnson.

Under the theme: "Understanding the Conflict Through its Principal Events and Actors," the ongoing hearings will address the root causes of the conflict, including its military and political dimensions.

The hearings are focused on events between 1979 and 2003 and the national and external actors that helped to shape those events.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 peace agreement and created by the TRC Act of 2005.

The TRC was established to "promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation," and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

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This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
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