-Recommends arrest of those named in the report
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has called on the government to ensure that the investigative report released on Thursday, February 28, 2019, be treated with immediacy, consistency and impartiality in the implementation of its findings in dealing with all public officials, including former and present, who are associated with the abuse of public trust and resources.
At a news conference in Monrovia on Friday, March 1, 2019, CENTAL executive director, Anderson Miamen, reminded the government as well as past and present officials that the country is for all Liberians and equitable distribution of resources must be actualized for the benefit of all.
Miamen said CENTAL is deeply concerned about the release of the investigative report concerning the L$16 billion saga as well as the US$25 million intended to mop-up excess of Liberian dollar banknotes.
He stressed “that recommendations of the investigative bodies be timely, fully and impartially implemented, including detailed investigation into how the US$25 million meant to mop-up excess Liberian dollars banknotes with United States banknotes was utilized,” Mr. Miamen said.
He continued: “That all those who allegedly abused entrusted power, authority and public resources, including unauthorized printing of excess banknotes and non-transparent recruitment of the banknotes manufacturing firm, be investigated and prosecuted in keeping with relevant Liberian laws.”
Mr. Miamen said officials involved with or at the center of the US$25 million “mop-up” exercise, reportedly marked by gross discrepancies, be suspended pending outcomes of the investigation recommended by the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) and independent investigator Kroll and Associates, and that such suspension must be effectuated, irrespective of one’s position and connection to higher-ups in government or society.
“CENTAL welcomes both reports undertaken by the government with assistance from the United States government. We are profoundly concerned about news of discrepancies and the misdealing circumstances leading to printing, importing/shipping, receipt and infusion of new Liberian dollar banknotes into the economy between 2016 and 2018,” Miamen said.
According to him, CENTAL was deeply troubled by news of irregularities and discrepancies in handling the US$25 million “mop-up” exercise implemented by the Economic Management Team, including the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
“Amid exceeding harsh economic realities and glaring poverty-stricken conditions of ordinary Liberians, continuous abrogation of relevant laws and regulations by highly-placed public officials in dealing with and managing public assets and resources is frustrating and must stop. Appropriate administrative and legal actions must be instituted to investigate and prosecute those involved, where necessary,” Mr. Miamen said.
Mr. Miamen said reports of unauthorized printing of excess Liberian dollar banknotes by the CBL in violation of established laws and regulations; non-transparent and accountable processes in recruitment of Crane AB, the Swedish banknote manufacturer that printed the L$15.506 billion; marked irregularities around printing, shipping, receipt, delivery, and circulation of the printed money into the Liberian Economy; and gross discrepancies in implementation of US$25 million “mop-up” exercise are occurrences that must be seriously dealt with in keeping with pertinent Liberian laws and international best practices.
Miamen has meanwhile said CENTAL welcomes the initial arrests of people in connection to the unaccounted surplus of money printed without any legal authorization. He spoke of the need to investigate and prosecute those allegedly connected to the use of the US$25 million contained in the report.
According to Mr. Miamen, the continuous maltreatment of ordinary Liberians and enrichment of a selected few in government who are abusing the country’s resources was annoying, “because it contradicts professed commitment to work in the best interest of the people and country.”