‘Missing’ L$16 billion: Who is Telling the Truth?

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Missing money or not? (From left) Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah and Justice Minister F. Musa Dean have opposing views, with other senior government officials on either side.

Conflicting accounts by Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Justice Minister Musa Dean and Information Minister Eugene Nagbe over the reported disappearance of 16 billion Liberian dollar banknotes have left the public wondering just who is telling the truth in this matter.

In a Wednesday, September 20 story by Daily Observer reporter Cewhy Kwanue, Nagbe is reported to have told the VOA Daybreak Africa Program that in November 2017, a batch of banknotes was brought into the country shortly before President Weah assumed office, claiming that President Weah had no prior knowledge of the money or container.

“Now, when the president received information about these newly-printed banknotes, he sanctioned an investigation, which is being chaired by the Ministry of Justice, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and other security apparatus. The idea is to understand 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,” Minister Nagbe said.

Continuing, he declared, “We can confirm that the money was brought through the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport and for now we can confirm that the amount was L$16 billion. An estimate of a little over US$60 million as far as we are concerned from ongoing investigation as of today, and it came in the two ports of entry,” Minister Nagbe confirmed.

Earlier, on Monday, September 17, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean had declared that the previous administration of President Sirleaf was responsible for the missing containers.  He said “initial findings indicate that the container and bags of money allegedly arrived between November 2017, prior to the inauguration of the current government, and August 2018. 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”, Minister Dean stressed.

But former President Sirleaf, commenting on the matter in an interview with FrontPageAfrica publisher, Rodney Sieh, indicated her displeasure over what she described as a wicked ploy to impugn her character and that of past officials adding, “I have been reliably informed that the Central Bank of Liberia has undertaken an internal investigation, and by a directive from the Minister of Justice provided a full report to the police”.

Continuing she said, “the CBL has prepared a release that gives full evidence and clarification that refutes the statement of Minister of Information Eugene Nagbe. This had been held for two days, because the CBL Governor and the Minister of Justice have refused to approve the release. It is most unfortunate that the government would give false information that wickedly impugns the reputation of past officials and, by extension, the country itself.”

The former President declared, not revealing her source, that she was reliably informed that the Central Bank of Liberia had undertaken an internal investigation, and provided a full report to the Police based on a directive from Justice Minister Dean. She said, once the evidence is made clear that the previous government has maintained its integrity on this matter, I request Deputy Governor Sirleaf to resign immediately,”.

However, according to Justice Minister Dean, “initial findings indicate that the container and bags of money arrived between November 2017, prior to the inauguration of the current government. He emphasized that  “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 Minister said.

Meanwhile Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, dismissing Information Minister Nagbe’s  claims, told the public, on a local radio Thursday, September 20, to pay no heed to the Information Minister’s account on the missing billions, adding that the money had since been infused into the economy. His view was shared by former Republic of Liberia Comptroller-General Hassan Kiazolu now elected to the House of Representatives who also maintained that the money had been infused into the economy.

Former Controller General, Rep. Hanson Kiazolu

But in an unusual twist, current Republic of Liberia Comptroller-General Janga Kowo, reacting to  Kiazolu’s claims dismissed it out rightly, charging that Kiazolu did not know what he was talking about. He said money coming into the country does not go the Finance Ministry but rather to the Central Bank which is by law, the custodian of all funds coming into the country.

He added that any further movement of such money has to be documented which ostensibly creates a paper trail which can easily be followed and so, according to him, if the money was gradually infused into the economy as claimed by Finance Minister Tweah there should be evidence of that transaction, suggesting in effect that there was or is no paper trail to substantiate such claims.

Meanwhile, investigation continues.

Authors

34 COMMENTS

  1. Why would an employee be told or suggest to resign from Government when, if on contractual foot setting not be suspicious not part of an act, incapable for health or internal or external reasons? What is the reason to resign?
    Answer the Liberian people. No chatting in this box.

  2. We already know that Lenn Eugene Nagbe is a black liar! He will say or do anything to keep his paycheck coming!
    He LIED that Weah was “nowhere near Mr. Bestman’s home” when, in fact, the FBI had questioned Weah at James Bestman’s home?? Bestman was a known kingpin in the Maryland-DC area. (Re “Weah Admits Being at Scene of Bestman’s Arrest; Contradicts Eugene Nagbe”)

    He said that “CDC experiment has failed”? After that, he became the Minister of Information in the UP led government. (Re “CDC Experiment Has Failed’: Eugene Nagbe Replies Weah’s White Rants”)

    So I don’t believe a damn thing he says!

    • Martin – These guys are just a bunch of liars. The “country giant” is MIA with all this scandal swirling around his government. When it gets too hot in the kitchen he’s nowhere to be seen. Who will give these morons billions of dollars to build their mansions?

    • To add to this, if the money you said came in November 2017, and it got missing, even if you took over in January, why nothing was said; nothing was investigated until a newspaper wrote a story about it? Now committees are being formed and people are just now being questioned when you knew this money was purportedly missing almost 6 months ago. Why try to keep it quiet and do nothing until a newspaper brought it to light? Yes, maybe Ellen government is involved with this disappearance. But Weah government is also involved. I believed and I may be wrong, Ellen had some surreptitious motive bringing in that money, but it came in late and she had left government. And Weah and his group decided to just eat all the funds. Ellen or Weah, someone has to pay and pay dearly for this. This is outright thievery and the Liberians should not rest until ALL and I mean ALL the perpetrators are exposed brought to justice. Ellen has spoken ( and I do not believe her). She knows more than she is saying. Why has Weah not spoken?

      • Since the money missing case was exposed, Mr. Weah developed a severe case of laryngitis and have completely lost his ability to speak!!

  3. There has been absolutely no contradictions here. The three ministers and the former governor have all told the truth based on the intentionally cynical and false alarm By Rodney Sieh´s and his FPA.

    That is, all this boils down to an UNPRINCIPLED, INCOMPETENT, AND PHONY CYNIC Rodney Sieh/FPA (who initially published the fake alarm) “SHOUTING FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER”!! SIMPLY DRIVEN BY PARTISAN AGENDA, PERSONAL VENDETTA, AND HIS GREED TO INCREAE HIS SALES OF PAPERS!

    That made clear: Current Republic of Liberia Comptroller-General Janga Kowo, IS ACTUALLY THE ONE WHO “DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT”.

    For certainly, as he says “money coming into the country does not go the Finance Ministry but rather to the Central Bank which is by law, the custodian of all funds coming into the country” is true.

    And this is why J. Milton Weeks, who was the governor of the bank when the money arrived, and even after it was wrongly misunderstood to be missing (as a result of Rodney Sieh´s criminal cynicism), was astonished that such could be the case.

    And hence his Milton Weeks´ natural and very truthful response was or is “WE WOULD LIKE TO UNDERSTAND WHERE THIS ALLEGATION” (Rodney Sieh´s/FPA´S FAKE NEWS ALARM) “IS COMING FROM.”

    And as hinted supra, this all boils down to this cynic Rodney Sieh and his FPA who initially disseminated such a false alarm based on:

    (1) little or no legitimate well-research, news but instead,

    (2) using eye-catching headlines for,

    (3) increased sales via such techniques as spreading of lies, rumors, exaggerations of fake and manufactured news driven By partisan agenda, and perdonal vendetta for rumor – scandal-mongering, intentional misrepresentations, fraud, in order to:

    (4) facilatate his Rodney Sieh´s PR ASSIGNMENT FOR THE LIAR AND POLITICAL GREENHORN ALEX CUMMINGS WHO HAD TO BE FORCED BY A COURT TO PAY PEOPLE HE CUMMINGS HIRED AS POLLWATCHERS. This is why:

    (5) cummings was displayed on FPA´S HEADLINES “SHOUTING FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER” WHEN THE TRUTH IS THERE WAS OR THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO FIRE BUT CALM AND SERINITY.

    • Stop this Dortu!! Money is missing. How can all the ministers be telling the truth when they contradict each other and the Minister of Finance says that the Minister of Information should not be listened to? If money is not missing, why was there a list barring people from traveling and telling them to come to the Police for questioning?
      If money is not missing, why is there a committee being set up just now if the money has been missing months ago?
      If money is not missing, why was this not brought to light months ago and the government kept quiet about it and is just now investigating?
      We are not fools. If you say Rodney Sieh is the mouthpiece of someone, who are you the mouthpiece of?

  4. Greetings,
    I would like to recommend or employ the Minister of Justice to investigate the missing container and bags of money. Because the past government officials including the former president Sirleaf had been considered as notorious when it comes to embezzlement of the country funds. Please , I want to you former president aware the missing money. Please the present government should not compromise and call FBI and other international investigators for the matter.
    Please , I have no website . I am a student of Crop protection ( Entomology) at Masters degree level in Njala University in republic of Sierra Leone and Liberian by nationality.

  5. In light of the many public statements attributed to various officials and the lack of clarity in the public square, the actual truth will be known when the investigation, comprising the FBI’s findings, the CBL internal audit result and independent investigation are completed. One just needs to read the contrasting statements by the former and current Comptrollers to conclude that neither the Legislature or the current administration has credibility on the issue without authentication by an independent investigation or Agency’s attestation of the facts.

    Public statements by officials that lack clarity can not be the basis of the truth. These are not statements under oath. The FBI takes statements from witnesses under oath, and as such are subject to perjury charges, as would be recommended by the FBI, if a witness lies.

    If the President has not yet arrived in New York, he needs to make a public statement on the matter before he comes. Because he will be overwhelmed with questions by all the major papers on this missing fund and the War Crimes Court issue. That could overshadow everything else he does. And there’s the potential embarrassment notwithstanding.

  6. I am recommending to the president George Weah that he should take this matter very seriously. This is the president first challenges want it come’s to combating Corruption in this country. If this matter is not taking very seriously the Liberian people will not believed him and he will be very unpopular with his citizen. secondly the international community will not take him as a serious person. The Liberian people are washing this president the role he is going to play in this matter. MY dear President please brink those criminals to public ready cue. MR. President if only you do this, I can promise you that your people will be very happy but if not I don’t need to explain the other side of your people you know and I know.
    Mr. President let me tell you what you are refusing to understand you are friendly with Ellen Johnson Feasible

  7. Although I understand the frustrations from all sides, let’s not get into hyperventilation. There should be no arrests, the use of polemics and other mad forms of expression. The US government has expressed its willingness to help trace the missing money. That’s good enough news to give all of us a pause.

    One of the problems we have in Liberia is that guilty wrongdoers do not get punished to the fullest extent. In most cases, the well-connected wrongdoers get of the hook easily. That’s not good for the country.
    Let us take a pause. As long as the US is involved, the stolen or missing money will be retrieved.

  8. By Law, the Minister of Justice & Attorney General, is the only Minister with the power and legal authority to fully and exclusively speak on all legal matters that affect Liberia and the people of Liberia. Our learned Colleague, Counsellor-At-Law, Frank Musa Dean, Minister of Justice & Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia, has spoken and informed Liberia and the world that in Liberia, containiers carrying LD$16B, went missing and remain accounted for. According to Liberia’s Minister of Justice, the President of Liberia, has nominated and named him to head an investigative committee to investigate and establish the whereabout the LD16B. Liberians and our partners, by law should have no external reason to believe any other Minister in the Weah-led Government. By Liberia’s Ministers of Justice and Information, have done their jobs.
    Liberia’s Minster of Financial and Development, lacks the legal authority to speak about and authoritatively the missing LD$16 matter currently pending before the Minister of Justice of Justice & Attorney General of Liberia. By law, only the Minister of Justice & Attorney General of Liberia, can say what the law is.

    To have LD$16B missing and uncounted for, in and of itself, constitutes a breach of Liberia’s security!

    Cllr. Frederick A.B. Jayweh, Esq.
    Counsellor-At-Law
    Ph: 720-278-8735

    • While the Attorney General is the government’s chief Attorney on matters dealing with legal affairs, there’s no legal requirements for citizens to determine which one of the President’s direct reports is speaking for the government on a matter that overlaps with both financial and legal implications such as this. Only the President can clarify that, either through a press release from his office or his public statement. The Attorney General certainly handles the prosecution of the matter, but nowhere in the Constitution does it states that he’s the exclusive spoke person.

      So it’s reasonable to expect a reasonable person to be confused when several direct reports of the President, all cabinet secretaries are conflicting one another. It would be encumbent on the Attorney General to collaborate with the other Heads of cabinets that will play a role in the investigation to determine who answer all public inquiries and the others can the direct all inquiries to such.

      I am glad though, the President has finally addressed the nation on the matter. This is something I had suggested in prior comments in related stories, one of which is posted below:

      “I do believe though, that President Weah should address the nation to, firstly abreast the nation to set the tone of what the factual investigation is about, whether there is currently an unaccounted for amount as reported, and that He has instructed the MOJ, FIU and NSA to investigate, and the nation has asked the U,S. FBI and Treasury Department to independently investigate or assist with the investigation. Secondly, he can then further assure the nation that there will be an account given of the amount in question based on conclusive evidence from the investigation. He should then leave it there and allow the appropriate Ministries and Agencies responsible for the investigation to provide daily or regular update through a centralized process to avoid the discrepancies in public pronouncements and embarrassing display of naivety by some who have chosen to speak in the absence of any verified evidence in their possession.”

    • Jay we h lacks the knowledge of the theories and practice of governance within the machinery of government. Hence, he knows nothing about such legal concepts as province – a duty, function, OR AREA OF RESPONSIBLE, AUTHORITY, AND POWERS! Nor is he knowledgeable of such modern tray law and practice, or governance concept as full powers – THE PRESIDENTIAL POWERS DELEGATED TO THE MINISTER OF FINANCE WITHIN HIS PORTFOLIO AS THE MOST SENIOR EXPERT ON THE FINANCE AND ECONOMY OF THE COUNTRY.

      This is why Minister Tweah, in whose province this matter resides in terms of government’s position proper, was able to set the record straight, debunk, expose, and dispell FPA’S RUMOUR on the matter while educating the public that it is laughable that some will believe that the very amount of billions in Liberia dollars upon which the country’s economy is based would be the very amount FPA would via its tabloid and yellow journalism misinform the public about been in containers and missing, amid the fact that without the very amount, Liberia would have no money or economy. So Jay we h is spewing his rubbish out of ignorance.

  9. My God! My heart bleeds for the poor people of Liberia. It seems like the Devil is on the loose in Liberia!

    There are so many conflicting reports by different government officials about the purported missing LD $15B or LD $16B. The lack of transparency and coddled secrecy of this government and previous government on how they run the affairs of government are subsequently leaving our poor nation into irreparable damages. This missing money saga would have been a secret if not for the investigative reporting of the newspapers.

    It seems that there is an air of invincibility coupled with an attitude of the untouchables when Liberian government officials are openly caught practicing corruption. Impunity has become the norm or status quo in Liberia. Some of these government officials in the past who have been accused of corruption have been exempt from punishment. This practice of not punishing corrupt government officials will continue unabated if nothing is done to put an end to this restless behavior by President Weah’s administration.

    My heart bleeds for the poor people of Liberia when the Legislative Branch of government acts restlessly in passing “fly-by-night” undercover loan agreement with little known companies and they (Legislators) are not held accountable for their actions. Members of Executive Branch of government unilaterally go around the world with a huge contingent of “want-to-be-seen” with the president using up the Liberia people meager revenue without any accountability to solicit undisclosed foreign loans; by living in luxurious hotels, and visiting friends and relative abroad that will leave the Liberian people with a huge debt burden that they are unable to pay back for ages.

    The Judicial Branch of government is now in turmoil with the Legislative Branch over the constitutionality of who has the power to remove a sitting Associate Justice who is accused of not being fit to exercise his duties as an Associate Justice and should therefore be removed from the Supreme Court Bench. The saga of tearing the country apart continues unabated.

    My heart bleeds for the poor people of Liberia as these non-ending corruption saga and economic disruption continue unabated while according to data compiled by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development, from the 2015-2016 national budget of Liberia, each Senator’s salary and other emoluments (travel, vehicle, housing allowances, “other specialized materials”, etc.) amounted to US $193,416 per year, or US$16,118 per month.

    No wonder, with such high salaries coupled with corruption, these government officials are able to build fancy mansions, drive expensive cars, dine in fancy restaurants, own large properties and large farms over-night; have so many mistresses, and fly around the world to receive the best medical treatment without being accountable to the Liberian people who elected them into office.

    My heart bleeds for the poor people of Liberia. While Liberian politicians are receiving astronomical salaries from a country with only a fiscal budget about US$526.6 million, and noted as the 4th poorest country in Africa, ordinary Liberians are left to survive on less than a dollar a day while our government officials cannot trace or tell the truth about LD $16 billions of missing Money.

    When one travels to other African countries South of the Sahara and see other African countries progress and GDP (Gross Domestic Product): Kenya GDP US $73B; Ethiopia GDP US $75B; Tanzania GDP US $50B; Angola GDP US $93B;, Nigeria GDP US $411B, etc., you wonder what happened to Liberia, a country that was once highly respected for its rapid economic growth in the 60s and 70s, and once a beacon of hope for peace and tranquility in Africa?

    Liberia’s backwardness reminds me of the story of “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving. In Washington Irving’s story, Rip Van Winkle fell asleep and woke up twenty years later, having missed the American Revolution, the death of his wife, the marriage of his daughter and the birth of his grandson.

    In comparison to Rip Van Winkle, Liberia fell asleep and woke up twenty years later, and found that its country is left in shambles, gross mismanagement, rampant corruption, and totally undeveloped while its African brothers and sisters are reaping the economic benefits of rapid development.

    My heart bleeds for Liberia when our leaders take the poor Liberian people for granted. Leadership in Liberia has become a free-for-all buffet luncheon. Take as much money as you can take! Squander the natural resources; government officials giving conflicting stories about purportedly missing LD $15B or LD $16B .….without any accountability to the Liberian people. This missing money only came to light due to it being reported 6 months later in the newspaper.

    This restless form of leadership and the notion that high government officials are untouchable, are above the law, and are unanswerable to the people of Liberia have to stop. Remember, Liberia is still a fragile state.

    The buck stops with the president to unequivocally let the Liberian people know how he is running the country, and what he knows or don’t know about the alleged missing money.

    My God! My heart bleeds for the poor people of Liberia.

  10. Why do we involve the United States Treasury, IMF, and FBI, when it is Liberian Dollars we are seeking to find? Unless we are purchasing treasury notes, bonds, and security instruments from the U.S. Government to find the stealing, Liberia does not need their expert help to find rogues trying to clip from themselves, the worst way to steal. Liberian money is not only exchanged with the United States of America. There are many countries we should be exchanging rates with even around Africa. Where are these Liberian currencies deposited? Where should we spend Liberian dollars most? Where are mostly domestic products and services produced? In Liberia. Every Liberian currency matter should be interacted foremost by Liberian people. Where is the Container money? We are finding out. This is my last on this matter until we see Justice. Do not answer me or chat in my space. If you do, you will pay brand new Liberian bank notes bag money. Answer the Liberian people. Gone to Silent majority. Tomorrow is Sunday. I am not sure whether I can pray for you.

  11. This is a national disgrace. Why should anyone be proud to call themselves a Liberian when there are corrupt folks running the government of practically the poorest country in the world. WHY CONTINUE TO PAY ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL when your country begs for everything and produces NOTHING.

  12. JTDiggs, we need their help because there is absolutely no trust in the government of Liberia to conduct an objective and fair investigation. The government lacks the expertise and the impartiality to conduct such a critical investigation. By the way, how can the government investigates itself when some of these people may be involved in trying to cover up for the culprits, or some of them may be the culprits themselves. It always help to have outsider to investigate cases like these and Liberia will not be the first country to bring in the FBI to assist with an investigation as critical as this one.

  13. Mr. Dortu-Siboe Doe, how much is your salary from president Weah since in your eyes and thought process, he is never wrong? Are you just as blind as you can be? Or, you just do not understand what it means to be a responsible leader with a sound public policy? In fact, does your president has any policy as far as the governing of Liberia is concerned? How can you justify such a statement that utterances from the Justice, Information and Finance ministers are all truthful when all of their utterances are very contradictory to each other. Let’s wait and see what the outcome of the investigation is going to be with the help from the FBI.

  14. Do not answer my box. If you are a Liberian, you might not even have respect for yourself if you say you are professional and can not understand the meaning of do not enter my space. Did you come in Liberia to teach experts how to steal? Liberia already has professional securities. We only need professional instruments and/or equipment. When we get our money from the containers, we will be ready to buy some from foreign sources. Do you have some now to sell? During the war, many Africans from other nations may have come in to get piece of the pie and said they came for peace. Are you one of those? If you are an expert foreign security, why should I trust you and not trust the Liberian security? Why should I trust you and not myself? Let us find out who stole the money and turn them over to our own court. The Chief Justice is a country expert in law. He interprets during elections, why can not he judge the stealing? Again, I say tell the Liberian people, and not me. Did you steal the container money? Don’t care to know you. Gone to silent majority.

  15. Not every expert in Liberia is implicated in this case. There are neutrals working towards finding the truth especially where it concerns the life of every Liberian. Liberian agents are secret pads towards the truth and confidentially may not be revealed. When this heritage of Liberians has been secured, as regards, the finding of the bags of money from the container, the public will be told the truth. Best of Luck.
    In the Lord.

  16. Dortu-Siboe Doe or whomsoever you claimed to be, if it were left with you and Mr. Sylvester Moses, every thing in Liberia and I mean everything in Liberia, will be sold cheap. In accordance with you and Mr. Moses’ thinking and reading of things, Liberia and its people will be sold and designated as mere subjects to China.

    Visibly and from top to bottom, your and Sylvester Moses are largely corrupt!

    Cllr. Frederick A.B. Jayweh

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