“Missing L$16B Report Due in February” -Pres. Weah

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President of Liberia, George Manneh Weah

Amid claims over the government’s delay in releasing the report on the investigation conducted by international experts, including those from the United States, the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President George Weah said in his annual address on Monday, January 28, 2019, that the report will be ready for the public by the end of February.

He said the report will be delivered to the public by a special technical team of investigators from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

While delivering his second state of the nation address before the 54th Legislature on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, Weah said: “…the Liberian news media circulated stories alleging that containers of Liberian dollars imported by the Central Bank were missing.

“Given the gravity of the allegation, our administration took several actions in response, including the setting up of a special presidential technical committee to investigate,” he said.

He continued, “In addition, the government requested the assistance of the EU, AU, ECOWAS and the U.S. government to conduct a separate and standard investigation into the alleged missing money and with the assistance from USAID, an audit team from London was invited to independently investigate and report the findings.”

President Weah meanwhile warned, “If it is established that there has been any willful act of criminality, negligence or maleficence by anyone implicated by the report, the full weight of the law will be brought to bear.”

On Monday, September 17, 2018, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean declared that the previous administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was responsible for the missing containers of money. 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 established that the current administration was not informed about the arrival of the containers and bags of money into the country.”

President Sirleaf told a local media publisher that there was a wicked ploy to impugn her character and that of past officials. “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.”

She added, “The CBL has prepared a release that gives full evidence and clarification that refute 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 said 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.

Information Minister Lenn Eugen Nagbe, who was said to have escalated the matter by raising the initial reported amount of L$9 billion to L$16 billion, said in a Voice of America (VOA) early morning interview that when the President received the information about the newly-printed banknotes, he sanctioned an investigation, which was being chaired by the Ministry of Justice, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and other security apparatuses.

“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.

“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 the ongoing investigation as of today, and it came in two ports of entry,” he confirmed.

Two civil society organizations — Citizens United for the Campaign of Bring Back Our Money (CUCOMB) and the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL) — jointly staged a peaceful demonstration calling on the government to speedily investigate the alleged mysterious disappearance of containers said to have been filled with billions of Liberian dollars.

Following their protests, a series of communications were served the international community through the offices of ECOWAS, EU, the U.S. Embassy, and AU in the country, an act which prompted the Government of Liberia to create investigative teams, including the current international team of investigators, to find out what happened to the money under question.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

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David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

6 COMMENTS

  1. It will be a huge relief to all Liberian’s n others as the findings will be made public.
    This will lay to rest once n for all the rumors mongering, speculations, n finger pointing.
    The issue with the alleged missing 16billion had been an embarrassment to the people of Liberia. Some elements in n out of Liberia had attempted to use the situation to cause chaos , incitement n anarchy throughout the length n breadth of the nation . It was reassuring for the President to have mentioned the status of the investigation.

    • Because they know where the money was spent. The Liberian economy was so vastly depleted by the time that the new administration took over, something needed to be done to infuse it with fast cash in order to avoid a melt down and immediate bankruptcy and an international scandal. Even I know where the money went.

  2. Well, first in, first out. I won’t worry about any amount of money right now. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. I do care. The missing 16 billion LD became a big deal a few months ago. During that time, Weah’s obsessed critics leveled accusations against him without any concrete evidence. Weah promised he’d get to the bottom of the missing billions,. Sadly, his words didn’t add up to a hill of beans.

    It goes without saying that human beings (or some human beings) can never be pleased regardless of how they’re fed with milk and honey.

    Yeah, when the report finally comes out, the fair-minded men and women of Liberia will be relieved. I don’t have illusions about Weah’s critics though. They will be unhappy for five more years. That’s a long time to wait O, my people.

    I ana know. But when I say my thing, some people don won to listen. Ah let me go eat my little fry plantain yah.

  3. The matter has been investigated by the international community including the United States. Let the government release that report instead of coming up with excuse to investigate the investigators or to investigate that which has already been investigated by the international community.

  4. Old Man Momo,
    I think you’re trending off track just a little bit. Here’s why I came to that conclusion. You argue that because the missing money debacle has been investigated, it makes no sense for the thugs who’ve caused so much pain and sorrow to be investigated. What are you chewing in New Kru Town, Old Man Momo?

    Remember this word? Artena….Our time! Or, this is out time!

    There are two types of schools that I have defined.
    1. Business as usual school and

    2. Business as of now school.

    In the first school, the well-established Liberians are the status quo people. They are rooted and very well connected. They strongly support the philosophy that says “let the good times roll”. In brief, they’re not vision-oriented. They’re just egocentric, self-centered and unmotivated. They want Liberia to be as it is.

    In the second school, the believers or supporters are foresighted. They believe in genuine change. They believe that introspection is important. They’re progressives who care less about the past. They’re less mendacious, well-modernized and forward-looking. Of course they’re not perfect!

    I have written about the two schools in detail elsewhere. I will be unable to spell everything out on this blog. However, given the brief scenario described above, it’s vitally important for Weah to investigate those people who may have misused the country’s money. And yes, there’s got to be a consequence. If Weah is an associate of the old school, for sure he wll not bother to investigate or punish anyone. But, I see Weah as a progressive! As a progressive, he is a student of “business as of now”. That’s the school of “artena”, Kru for “this is our time”. The school of business as usual is defunct. The leaders of business as usual did not bother to investigate or punish people who embezzled state money. We know why they didn’t bother. You should know by now.

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