Where are the containers filled with L$9 billion (equivalent to US$60 million) that entered the country through the Freeport of Monrovia between November 2017 and August 2018?
That is the question that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and other related security agencies are grappling with as the MoJ has confirmed that on August 8, 2018, a Special Presidential Investigation Team comprising investigators from the Liberia National Police (LNP), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), was constituted and mandated to investigate information surrounding the alleged arrival of containers consisting of bags of money into the country through the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
In a release yesterday the MoJ said: “Evidence available to the Investigative Team has established that the current administration was not informed about the arrival of the containers and bags of money into the country.”
The release, issued under the signature of Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, Jr., said: “As this is an ongoing and active investigation, the release of information to the public will be measured against the need to preserve the sanctity of the investigation and ensure that professional standards are not compromised.”
The above statement did not, however, help confirm the validity of the allegation, and the question now resonating among the public is, who could possibly be involved into the deal, and does the allegation confirm any procedure that may have been used by the Liberian government, through the Central Bank of Liberia, to bring money into the country?
The Central Bank of Liberia, in a telephone conversation yesterday, flatly denied that containers consisting of bags of money had allegedly disappeared from the Freeport of Monrovia. “The CBL will issue an official statement on the situation today,” CBL’s Communication Director Cyrus Badio said.
Against that background, a highly placed security source informed the Daily Observer that prior to the leak of the information, there were intelligence that a huge consignment of money, via the various ports of entry, had entered the country. But there has been no evidence as to whether the government was aware or not.
“We are doing our analysis of reports of illegal money printing and entry into the country,” the source said.
It may be recalled that a local daily reported last week that agents of the NSA as well as the LNP on September 13, 2018, raided the offices of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) which, it has been claimed, signed off for the container before it left the port.
The report has generated a lot of interest in social media. But the truth of the matter will be revealed as CBL provides its side of the story and as government security agencies work to reveal what might have happened as well as who might have been behind the mystery ship that reportedly brought such a huge consignment of money into the country only for it to allegedly disappear, like night at the break of day, while millions of Liberians, desperately in need of hard cash for economic and infrastructural development, wallow in base poverty.