–to assist in the most ’embarrassment’ episode of the century
The serious nature of the alleged missing containers containing billions of Liberian dollars (L$16 billion and not US$16 billion), has become a severe embarrassment, with the Liberian government seeking help from the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The government has sent a request to the United States for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which functions as a domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency that operates under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice.
The Liberian government also seeks the support of the United States Treasury Department that manages Federal finances by collecting taxes and paying bills and by managing currency, government accounts, and public debt. The Department of the Treasury also enforces finance and tax laws.
And the last request went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is based in Washington, D.C., and currently consists of 189 member countries, each of whom has representation on the IMF’s executive board in proportion to its financial importance so that the most powerful countries in the global economy can have the most voting power.
The IMF’s website describes its mission as “to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”
The IMF’s primary methods for achieving these goals are monitoring capacity building and lending.
The requests to the three international bodies come in the wake of the Liberian security sector or joint security’s inability to completely get the job done since the crime took place under their very noses, and they could do nothing about it.
A press release from the government said that the investigation, which is currently ongoing, is to ensure adequate accountability for all flow of monies printed and brought into the country between 2016 and 2018.
It said the funding of the investigation will be critical to the formulation and implementation of a credible and robust monetary and macroeconomic policy for the future.
According to the press release, issued on September 19, the Liberian government announced the addition of the following institutions to the investigation team.
They are the National Bar Association (NBA), the National Civil Society Organization, (NCSO) the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), the Association of Liberia Certified Public Accountants, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL).
However, while the government’s current effort to uncover those responsible for one of the most serious and embarrassing situations this country has experienced in a long time, many Liberians have expressed shock as to how such an ugly situation could happen and without any of the security sectors being aware of it.
“It shows an overwhelming incompetence of our country’s security forces,” said a distraught young woman, interviewed for this story. “Since we are calling on the United States and the IMF to come to help us, it means there are many things that we need them to do for us. This is a shame.”
A student from the United Methodist University (UMU), who asked not to be identified, said: “From my studies of governments, I know whenever a large amount of money is brought into the country, there are several actors in involved. This would include the Liberia National Police (LNP); the National Port Authority (NPA) that secured the money on its premises; the Central Bank of Liberia that is the owner of the money; the Liberia Revenue Authority which, for tax purposes, will send men to monitor what is ongoing, among others.
The question is: where were agents of these actors and why are they not talking? Don’t they have records of their own daily activities in their offices? How can we run a country with such lack of interest?”
Another student said she was aware that President George Weah’s transition team held a series of meeting with outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s team when it became clear early 2017 that Mr. Weah had won the presidency hands down.
“Is anybody saying Madam Sirleaf’s team did not share the information of the container’s presence at the Freeport of Monrovia? Are you kidding me?” the student wondered.
Some Liberians see the government’s desperate attempt to get help from outside the country as an evidence of lack of political commitment to a country that has been pummeled to the ground, her citizens having paid lip-service to 171 years of the country’s survival and existence. It is, therefore, not strange that many Liberians believe that God in his infinite wisdom created three types of human beings in the world: the white man, the black man, and the Liberian man.
“This is true,” said a taxi driver yesterday afternoon in Monrovia, “the things that happen here in Liberia don’t happen anywhere else.”