CENTAL Demands Robust, Independent Investigation into ‘Missing’ L$16 Billion

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CENTAL program manager, Gerald D. Yeakula.

The leadership of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has demanded that President George Weah launch an independent, robust and timely investigation into the “missing” L$16 billion.

In a statement issued yesterday, September 23, CENTAL said the situation is troubling and has serious economic, security and reputational implications for Liberia, especially in the wake of the recent suspension of the country’s membership from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

CENTAL said it welcomes the ongoing investigation into the matter, but has cautioned that such investigation be impartial and robust, drawing on the expertise of relevant independent, professional and watchdog institutions.

CENTAL notes, with dismay, the exclusion of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission from the said investigation, and has called on the Weah Administration to rely on the professional competence of specialized integrity, anti-corruption, and justice institutions rather than those with no background in such a delicate field.

“We demand a scrupulous review of all processes and circumstances surrounding printing, importation, clearing and transportation of the money under question, and urge that findings of the investigation are timely published and fully implemented, including impartial and timely prosecution of all involved with alleged disappearance of the container of Liberian dollar banknotes and illegal printing of excess banknotes,” the statement said.

CENTAL urges President Weah to take actions against any persons reasonably connected to the matter, and not allow impunity to reign once more in the land.

The statement expresses extreme concern over news of alleged illegal printing of Liberian dollar banknotes as well as the unprecedented disappearance of over L$15 billion.

“With the President’s plea for ordinary citizens to be patient-minded in the wake of harsh economic conditions and realities, government officials, past and present, cannot continue to defraud the state and enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. This is totally unacceptable and detestable,” the statement said.

In a country of under five million people, of which over half live below the poverty line, it is sickening that citizens will repeatedly hear about scandals, high-level corruption and bad governance, while public officials make merry at the expense of their taxes and support from development partners.

CENTAL calls on President Weah and the CDC-led Government to be more pragmatic in their professed commitment to the fight against corruption and bad governance.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is all politics. It seems that some people want to be heard.

    This is how things ought to be looked at:
    The FBI is involved in locating the missing money. The “I” in FBI stands for investigation. If the FBI is truly involved, there’s no need for another investigation. The FBI’s findings will be made public.

    The issue that Liberians should be concerned about is this:
    Will the thieves be severely punished to the fullest extent and will games be played so as to let the thieves disappear in thin air?

    The reason I came to this conclusion is that some dimwitted politicians, hardcore criminals or murderers, thieves and others are usually let off the hook without being punished. There’s got to be a consequence for wrongdoing! Always! When a dirty politician or a murderer is severely punished, it sends shock waves to others who have a penchant for wrongdoing. In other words, it warns potential criminals to stop their foolishness or it slows them down. We all know that “some” Liberian politicians were embroiled in bribery issues and financial double-dealing. We all know that a Liberian judge used his influence to fight off impeachment. (No names) What happened? Zilch! But if a poor country boy steals a candy, he will be taken to prison. No questions asked.

    On a positive note, Weah is a different man. Weah has promised the Liberian people that the thieves will not be spared once the investigation concludes. It’s hoped that Weah will keep his word. I am sure he will.

    Sixteen billion Liberian dollars is a real mind-boggling issue. I get it. I understand why Liberians want to protest. But I also believe that the issue of youth unemployment, shortage of textbooks and lab equipment for students in Liberia are issues that carry the same weight or are equally important. Yet, protests are not contemplated by protest leaders. Why? Good education is in our country’s best interest.

    Finally, I am not against protesters! But it seems to me that “some Liberians” believe that the best way to solve a problem is by way of protesting. No, that’s not true. Let’s take a pause. Let’s hope that the right thing will be done.

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