‘Missing L$2Bn Was Discovered from the Shipment’s Documents’

16
2840
Baba M. Borkai, program manager of the Enforcement and Investigation Division at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), and one of prosecution's witnesses

— Prosecution’s first witness

Prosecution’s first witness in the ongoing trial that involves five current and former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), accused of their respective involvements in the ‘missing’ L$16 billion, told Criminal Court ‘C’ on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 that the government charged the defendants because of information collected from documents that accompanied shipping containers full of the printed Liberian banknotes.

Baba M. Borkai, the program manager of the Enforcement and Investigation Division at the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), said that the actual newly printed Liberian banknotes shipped from January 2016 up to, and including August 2018 by Crane Currency to the country was L$18,151,000,000, contrary to the defendants claim that they printed and shipped L$15,870,000,000.

However, the  defendants, including former CBL Executive Governor Milton Weeks, his deputy for Operations Charles Sirleaf, Director for Finance Dorbor Hagba, Director for Operations Richard Walker, and Deputy Director for Internal Audit Joseph Dennis, denied earlier when they were arraigned before the Court to answer to the indictment.

They are charged with Money Laundering, Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, Facilitation and Solicitation.

Borkai, who is also one of the investigators of the CBL missing money, put the difference, which he alleged the defendants pocketed amounted to L$2,645,000,000, claiming “in excess to what the defendants printed and shipped to the country.”

The prosecution witness also claimed that the discovery was made when the accused officials presented to the investigators packing lists of the then newly printed Liberian banknotes that included L$5, L$10, L$20, L$50, L$100 and L$500, which marketers have often refused to accept owing to it feature as that the L$10.

The packing list is intended to let transport agencies, government authorities, and customers know the contents of the package.

“It was during our analysis of the documents that we discovered from packing lists attached to the containers of the printing banknotes that Crane Currency shipped to the country,” Borkai said in his testimony.

“This is how we found out that the printed and shipped money was L$18,151,000,000, instead of L$15,870,000,000.”

The much-anticipated report was carried out by investigative auditing firm Kroll Associates, an American Firm, which the US Embassy near Monrovia subsequently released to relevant authorities, including the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

According to Kroll, the House of Representatives passed a resolution for the order of L$5 billion to remove and replace old banknotes on the market.

The Central Bank requested additional L$10 billion, but the request was denied by the Senate. The Bank went ahead anyway and engaged a company to print the additional banknotes.

“CBL management subsequently explained to Kroll that due to the urgency for new banknotes, the CBL did not follow its own internal tendering policies for the procurement of Crane AB,” the report says.

Kroll explains in the 67-page report that despite repeated requests, the Bank did not provide any explanation as to who had approved the injection of new banknotes into the Liberian economy without first removing the equivalent quantity from circulation.

The case continues on Thursday, September 18, 2019 at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

16 COMMENTS

  1. The first paragraph is incorrect. That’s where the confusion begins about this missing money. How is it possible for 2 billion LD to be found with or in the shipment’s documents? Why was the 2 billion LD not placed with the rest of the 14 b LD? The reporter is not being blamed for the discovery of the money in or with the ship’s documents. The prosecution witness seems a little hostile. So instead of laying out the bits and pieces in order for the puzzle to be put together neatly, we only see cans of worms.

    To cut this silliness out, new money ought to be printed with coins. That’s not to suggest that the alleged culprits should not be punished if they are found guilty. Also, I am being hypothetical not because of choice, but rather because of experience. In cases like above where high class individuals are involved, the government usually loses the case. That’s what I refer to as a double whammy!

    The missing money “may never” be found.
    The alleged culprits will most likely walk away without being punished.

    • Hney
      Let’s be reasonable here. Do you really believe Weeks and Sirleaf could take away billions of Liberian Dollars from the NPA or the Central Bank unnoticed? Weeks is being accused only because his name is Weeks, and Sirleaf because he is the son of the former president. The rest of the accused are only victims of a conspiracy.

  2. It appears, Liberia’s Central Bank got a “BONUS” of an extra (L$ two billions) from the “MONEY PRINTERS”. Quite interesting. LOL. OK, let’s get it right. Liberia’s Central Bank “ILLEGALLY” ordered the printing of L$ ten billions; in addition to L$ five billions “AUTHORIZED” by Liberia’s Law Makers. The MONEY PRINTERS kicked in another L$ two billions; as their bonus. Quite interesting. LOL!

  3. me, I still say to exercise caution with the printing of the money business. if or I should say when this money is printed, it will again go in few persons pocket. so why the rush in printing?

  4. Mr. Joe Moses,
    I understand why you want a temporary delay in printing new money. Your explanation for being cautious is justifiable. However, it is very important to note that the business of the country must go on irrespective of the political bickering that’s going on.

    Mo, let’s look at the issue of printing new money in a new prism. I am well too familiar with your prism. In your prism, a word in dark print is written: “maximum caution…no more printing of new money until the deck of the old money which may have been pocketed by former employees is clear”. Got it, Mo!

    The new prism which I point to on the diagram has its own message. The message goes like this:

    “Your concerns and suspicions have been taken into consideration ladies and gentlemen. The new money must be printed alone with coins we’ve not had or used for well over 15 years. By printing the new money, the old money will be totally useless. Furthermore more, ladies and gentlemen of Liberia, those unpatriotic citizens who may have pocketed the stolen money will be severely punished to the fullest extent when the investigation concludes”.

    Mo, I do not support everything that goes on in Liberia. You see, some commenters do not see it like that. The truth is that I am unhappy with some things that are being done. The issue of new money is of paramount concern, no doubt. I want new money printed alone with coins. It’s odd as a poor country for us to exist as it is without coins.

    • Bernard,
      I am not perfect by any stretch. However, on the line of being reasonable, I stick my neck out. There are a lot of people who will vouch for me.

      In the past you’ve accused me of being supportive of granting Liberian citizenship to non-blacks. I have never advocated for something like that. Also, you seemed infuriated when I committed a lapsus calami with your last name, “Bernard”, instead of ” Barnard”. Of course, no disrespect was intended! I sincerely apologized.

      Weah is not as astute as his predecessor, you and so many Liberian intellectuals. His predecessor was Harvard-educated. Because of her education, it was believed that she’d do a phenomenal job. Frankly, it didn’t turn out like that. On the other hand and despite his educational background, Weah was elected by the Liberian people. To others, it seems that he is not the president. Weah is not perfect. He is constantly pillaged by his critics sometimes unfairly. I give him the benefit of the doubt. Also because of what I do for him, “I have been put on notice by some commenters”, whatever that means.

      So, my fellow countryman, let me tell you the truth. I agree with you that all us should be reasonable across the board. With regard to Weeks, Sirleaf and other CBL folks, I am not one of those who will condemn them to hell. It is unlikely, but not impossible for two billions dollars to have been deposited in a Swiss bank or stuffed under the bed by the alleged individuals. In order for us to move on, I insist that a set of new currency and coins be printed. Once the new money enters the market, the old ” missing or stolen” money will be unused.

      I was wrong before.

  5. Printing extra money, andputting it into circulation causes inflation. Harold Wilson did it back in the 60s in England, the papers called it “magic money”. The countiesvalue has a value, adding more notes to it doesn’t add more value, each note is now worth a % less than before. This causes the price of things to go up. Inflation!

  6. Doug001,
    Maybe hyperinflation. There’s inflation in Liberia already. Prices are not governmentally regulated or imposed. Most people set prices. Some taxi drivers charge different amounts. The issue of law and order is not as good as in Britain, the US or any of the developed nations of the world.

    But your concern is understandable. If new money is printed, the old money will not be in circulation, at least that’s what I am hearing. More importantly is the introduction of coins.

    Are you in opposition to the use of coins too? During the past 14 years, coins were unused in Liberia. What did the Liberian people gain during that time span?

    Yeah. Money got missing mysteriously. I don’t know why we as a people cannot do things right. Do we have self pride? Okay so an investigation is ongoing. What happens if the stolen loot is found? Or what happens if the stolen loot is not found? Will we be unable to print new money some day if the stolen money is found? Or, will we not be able to print new money if the money is not found?

    Whether found or not, new money ought to be printed. We need coins in the country. If the new money is printed, the stolen money will be unable to be used. Personally,I believe that an investigation into the missing money deal will not cure Liberia’s economic woes.

    Whee on earth do we go from here Doug001? In space?

  7. I have a genuine concern. It is one that almost everyone here has overlooked. It has to do with the discrepancies and unsophisticated or should I say outdated system of operations at the central bank which Kroll pointed out; have they been corrected or updated?

    If not, we’re set to have worst problems then before! Central Bank officials under Ellen’s leadership complain about the same thing: they could not account for the total amount of liberian dollars in circulation, hence, they needed to print new money to regulate it properly. Today, almost the same officials are saying the same thing; if they can’t account for LD$16 billions and US$25 millions, how will they account for LD$35 billions in circulation?

    A central bank that uses flying sheets to disburse US$25 million dollars is not to be trusted!

    Let the system be updated or automated firstly, then the monies accounted for properly, before we move forward.

  8. And so Mr. Borkai as one of the investigators claimed on the witness stand accused the defendants of pocketing the alleged two billion dollars in local currency from the Central Bank of Liberia. Wow ! How was that done to reach such conclusion, Mr. Borkai did not say how the pocketing of the two billion dollars in local currency was pocketed through his investigations . But he is well sure that the amount was pocketed by the five defendants . Can’t stop laughing at Liberians style of political investigations, never meant to on cover the truth. Wow !!! What a country ?

Leave a Reply