The government through the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) has said it will today release the final report surrounding the controversial ‘missing L$16 billion’ a batch of banknotes that was brought into the country shortly before President George Weah assumed office.
The PIT is headed by Alex Cuffy, a brother to Cecelia Cuffy Brown who is also a party to the case. The PIT comprises of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), National Security Agency (NSA), Liberia National Police (LNP), and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information press statement has said its Thursday February 28, 2019, Special Press conference will be addressed by the PIT to provide an executive summary report on the alleged ‘Missing 16 Billion’.
It can be recalled that in a Wednesday, September 19, 2018 interview with VOA Daybreak Africa program, shortly after the media unearthed the ‘missing L$16 billion’, the Minister of Information Lenn Eugene Nagbe declared that the ‘missing container’ was brought into the country without the knowledge of President Weah.
Minister Nagbe’s account, according to sources, may have prompted the President to launch a speedy investigation into the affair. The investigation team was chaired by the Ministry of Justice and it included the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and members of other security apparatuses. It was also charged to provide a clear understanding on how much money came into the country, how much was ordered, how much was printed, which country printed the money, and how did it affect the country’s foreign exchange situation.
On October 3, 2018, shortly after the president’s decision, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), which is responsible for monetary policy denied that money went missing from the bank’s vaults and that all money printed and brought into the country between 2016 and 2018 could be accounted for.
Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray during a Ministry of Information press conference, held on August 1, 2018 said that the CBL had conducted its internal assessment of monies that were printed and brought into Liberia and none was missing as was being widely speculated.
However, Mr. Cuffy expressed disappointment in the CBL, saying, “If the CBL was going to come out with this report two weeks ago, we would not have been where we are today with the investigation.”
He said the PIT has the capacity to adequately conduct the investigation, although international partners like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) International Monitory Fund (IMF), and others that were previously invited to participate in the investigation were welcomed.
Cuffy said, at the time, “We have the expertise and capacity, but we want the public to have patience, trust and wait for the report from the investigation. We are asking the public to work with us, including the media, to give us any information that could help us get to the bottom of this investigation.”
Those developments, it appeared, moved a local pressure group, the Concerned Citizens United to Bring Our Money Back (COCUBOMB), to stage a peaceful demonstration through the principal streets of Monrovia demanding the government to account for how billions of Liberian dollars were diverted from the Central Bank of Liberia.
The protesters presented a petitions to the United States government through the embassy near Monrovia, the European Union, African Union and the United Nations. The petitioners bade these major foreign partners to exert pressure on the government of President George Weah to give account for the missing billions.