MOJ Shifts Burden of Proof to CBL for Mop-Up Flaws

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According to Justice Minister F. Musa Dean (pictured), the accountability of the mop up funds is not in question, however, section 2.2.4 of the GAC’s report says that fifteen entities listed by the CBL as having received moneys from the CBL’s staff during the exercise, denied their participation in the exercise.

Liberia’s Justice Minister and  Attorney General Frank Musa Dean has attributed the description of discrepancies, variances and delays in posting financial transactions contained in the General Auditing Commission (GAC)’s report point to systemic weaknesses at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

“As Minister of justice and attorney general, I have the responsibility and obligation to respond to the report on behalf of the government of Liberia. I will, hereafter, summarize the factual findings established by GAC’s report,” Minister Dean said.

He recounted how the US$25 million was authorized to be infused into the economy, to stabilize the exchange rate through monetary interventions by the CBL.

“Out of the US$25 million authorized, only US$17 million was used. Section four, table five of the GAC’s report establishes that out of the US$17 million used, US$10 million was exchanged at the rate of L$155 to US$1; and US$5 million was exchanged at a rate of L$152 to US$1,” Mr. Dean said.

Mr. Dean said the GAC’s report, like the Kroll and Presidential Investigation Team’s (PIT) reports , also revealed entrenched, systemic flaws at the CBL over the years.

According to Mr. Dean, US$15 million applying to rates spelled out above, was exchange for Liberian dollars two billion three hundred two million seven hundred ten thousand nine hundred forty (LRD2,302,710,940), adding that the said amount was deposited with the bank as per the accounting records of the CBL.

Mr. Dean said the ministry received on May 15, 2019 the findings contained in the GAC report on the use of (US$25million), authorized by President George M. Weah in his speech delivered on July 16, 2018.

“Section 2.5.2 of the GAC’s report establishes that the remaining United States dollars two million (US$2), out of the United States dollars seventeen million (US$17M), was sold directly to Total Incorporated at the exchange rate of (LRD156.5709) to (US$1), realizing a value of Liberian dollars (LRD313,141,800),” he said.

Mr. Dean said as Justice Minister and Attorney General, he has made specific recommendations to the President and that President George M. Weah will shortly address the nation.

Mr. Dean said consistent with the above findings, the GAC’s report provides evidence that two point six billion Liberian dollars (LRD2.6), representing the value of United States seventeen million (US$17 m), was actually brought to the CBL, indicating that “it can safely be concluded that no money is missing in the25 million United States mop up exercise.”

“In the process of exchanging the fifteen million used for the direct mop up exercise as detailed above, section 2.2.5 table two of the GAC’s report shows that United States dollars six million seven hundred thousand (US$6.7 m) was taken out of the bank to be exchanged during the exercise, using five different teams; while (US$8.3m) was exchange at the CBL, on the bank’s premises,” Mr. Dean said.

According to Mr. Dean, the accountability of the mop up funds is not in question, however, section 2.2.4 of the GAC’s report says that fifteen entities listed by the CBL as having received moneys from the CBL’s staff during the exercise, denied their participation in the exercise.

“Eight of the entities on the CBLs transaction list were found not to be in existence. The burden of proofs is on the CBL to establish the veracity of the transactions and the existence of the entities. Multiple sections of the report reference discrepancies and variances in the accounting records of the mop up exercise,” Mr. Dean indicated.

He emphasized that these variances and discrepancies places the burden of proof on the CBL to explain or to establish that they are not factual.

But a leading legal practitioner(name withheld) has described the Justice Minister’s position as a charade noting that the Minister served as a member of the Technical Economic Management Team(TEMT) which took the decision to infuse the US$25m into the economy through local money exchangers rather than through the commercial banks as the law dictates.

According to the lawyer, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah had boastfully declared on radio that as head of the TEMT he made the decision to deal with local money exchangers rather than through the commercial banks because according to him doing so through the commercial banks would have not yielded the desired results.

Further, according to the lawyer, former CBL Deputy Governor had told investigators on the record that the CBL had no part to play in the infusion exercise which was solely handled by Finance Minister Tweah who has since distanced himself from the exercise and placed blame squarely on CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray for the fiasco.

Liberia’s Justice Minister and Attorney General Frank Musa Dean has attributed the description of discrepancies, variances and delays in posting financial transactions contained in the General Auditing Commission (GAC)’s report point to systemic weaknesses at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

“As Minister of justice and attorney general, I have the responsibility and obligation to respond to the report on behalf of the government of Liberia. I will, hereafter, summarize the factual findings established by GAC’s report,” Minister Dean said.
He recounted how the US$25 million was authorized to be infused into the economy, to stabilize the exchange rate through monetary interventions by the CBL.

“Out of the US$25 million authorized, only US$17 million was used. Section four, table five of the GAC’s report establishes that out of the US$17 million used, US$10 million was exchanged at the rate of Liberian dollars (LRD155) to (US$1); and US$5 million was exchanged at a rate of Liberian dollars (LRD152 to (US$1),” Mr. Dean said.

Mr. Dean said the GAC’s report, like the Kroll and Presidential Investigation Team’s (PIT) reports , also revealed entrenched, systemic flaws at the CBL over the years.
According to Mr. Dean, US$15 million applying to rates spelled out above, was exchanged for Liberian dollars two billion three hundred two million seven hundred ten thousand nine hundred forty (LRD2,302,710,940), adding that the said amount was deposited with the bank as per the accounting records of the CBL.

Mr. Dean said the ministry received on May 15, 2019 the findings contained in the GAC report on the use of (US$25million), authorized by President George M. Weah in his speech delivered on July 16, 2018.

“Section 2.5.2 of the GAC’s report establishes that the remaining United States dollars two million (US$2), out of the United States dollars seventeen million (US$17M), was sold directly to Total Incorporated at the exchange rate of (LRD156.5709) to (US$1), realizing a value of Liberian dollars (L$313,141,800),” he said.

Mr. Dean said as Justice Minister and Attorney General, he has made specific recommendations to the President and President George M. Weah will shortly address the nation.

Mr. Dean said consistent with the above findings, the GAC’s report provides evidence that two point six billion Liberian dollars (L$2.6), representing the value of United States seventeen million (US$17 m), was actually brought to the CBL, indicating that “it can safely be concluded that no money is missing in the25 million United States mop up exercise.”

“In the process of exchanging the fifteen million used for the direct mop up exercise as detailed above, section 2.2.5 table two of the GAC’s report shows that United States dollars six million seven hundred thousand (US$6.7 m) was taken out of the bank to be exchanged during the exercise, using five different teams; while (US$8.3m) was exchange at the CBL, on the bank’s premises,” Mr. Dean said.

According to Minister Dean, the accountability of the mop up funds is not in question, however, section 2.2.4 of the GAC’s report states that fifteen entities listed by the CBL as having received moneys from the CBL’s staff during the exercise, denied their participation in the exercise.

“Eight of the entities on the CBLs transaction list were found not to be in existence. The burden of proofs is on the CBL to establish the veracity of the transactions and the existence of the entities. Multiple sections of the report reference discrepancies and variances in the accounting records of the mop up exercise,” Minister Dean indicated.

He emphasized that these variances and discrepancies place he burden of proof on the CBL to explain or to establish that they are not factual.

But legal analysts have slammed Justice Dean’s report claiming that the Minister as a member of the TEMT which took charge of and led the mop-up exercise should be held liable because as a lawyer, the Justice Minister should have been aware that Finance Minister Tweah’s decision to use local money exchangers, some of who were not licensed, was explicitly against the Public Finance Management law(PFM).

Additionally, according to the lawyer, the Justice Minister, in trying to cover-up his role and that of the Finance Minister, illegally imposed restrictions on the Auditor-General in the performance of her duties by having her agree to a set of procedures to guide the conduct of what should have been a forensic audit. This, according to the lawyer, was illegal although the Auditor-General faltered by subjecting herself to the authority of the Justice Minister when the law provides that she should be free and independent in the discharge of her duties.

Moreover, according to the lawyer, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah had boastfully declared on radio that as head of the TEMT he made the decision to deal with local money exchangers rather than through the commercial banks because according to him doing so through the commercial banks would have not yielded the desired results.

Further, according to the lawyer, former CBL Deputy Charles Sirleaf had told investigators on the record that the CBL had no part to play in the infusion exercise which was solely handled by Finance Minister Tweah. But Tweah has since distanced himself from the exercise and placed blame squarely on CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray for the fiasco.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “President George M. Weah will shortly address the nation” trumps everything in this report. I’m confident he is going to cut through the chase cognizant that he was elected by 62% of an electorate eagerly expecting him to steer the ship of state out of icebergs and any potential pending storm.

    By now he knows despite relentless brainwashing at the hands of a biased media space, most Liberians believe his government was blameless in the L$ 16 billion vanishing container bombshell. But the US $25 million for stabilizing the exchange rate was played out in full view of the entire nation. In other words, the address must be believable even to his worst detractors.

    More often than not, it is the covering up which vexes than the shenanigan itself. Because those being duped think perpetrators aren’t remorseful by further taking them for fools. Leaders make better decisions when they have better information (unvarnished truth); the President should seek inputs outside his inner circle and let the axe fall wherever it may: the ship of state must move on or sink.

  2. “…the GAC’s report states that fifteen entities listed by the CBL as having received moneys from the CBL’s staff during the exercise, denied their participation in the exercise.” Also “Eight of the entities on the CBLs transaction list were found not to be in existence… ”

    It seems the burden of proof should be on the Chairman and members of the TEMT (including the Justice Minister and not just the CBL) to establish the veracity of the transactions and the existence of the entities. Because they all drew up the list.

  3. Wow, is this the same Musa Dean who was a giant against corruption at the University. he has become a puppy dog, a sniveling coward that jumps when they say jump.

  4. As directed by the Hitman and requested by the CDC gods and the Supreme Chosen Son of the soil, go ahead and take your poison like Socrates and die . Or best fall on the sword as the gods have chosen and passed judgment on you for the protection of Samuel Tweah and McGill. That is your reward for being a good and faithful servant to the organized crime. Take your choice, the poison or the sword, either way you will die in shame. But one thing though , the crime bosses are not pressing charges . No bond posted like the Sirleafs and Weeks. No jail time at all . As a failed Governor of the Bank, you are being treated well and kindly.

  5. “Analysis: Liberia – Presidential Order Mandating Forensic Probe of US$25M Mop-up Shifts…
    Admin Mar 8, 2019”

    The KROLL Report requested the Ministry of Justice of Liberia to further investigate and hold those responsible accountable, because most of those involved refused to provide documents to support their claims. The GA Report was never a forensic audit. Though on My 8th, the President mandated a full forensic of the 25m mop up exercise. To the utmost surprise of Liberians, GAC is now saying that the Government of George Weah authorized a fact finding report which was guided by what is termed as “an agreed upon procedure.” This is a clear deviation from the President’s public pronouncement. This was a deceptive manipulation to play on the intelligence of Liberians. It shows that George Weah did not want an audit because he is either aware or participated in the stealing of the people’s money.

    The GAC reported that it conducted an investigative fact findings based on what is termed as “an agreed procedure” and not a forensic audit as claimed by defenders and supporters of this regime. The critical question is, who authorized the so-called “agreed procedure” as supposed to a forensic audit as requested by KROLL? Furthermore, it must be noted that the Ministry of Justice is not cloth with the authority to conduct financial audit. So, when the likes of Doe and other defenders of this rogue regime mentioned that officials of government were cleared; it raises fundamental problem with the mindsets and understanding of the defenders and supporters of this regime.

    Below in quotation is excerpts from FrontPage Newspaper on the procedure of the so-called audit.
    “The report does raise some eyebrows about the scope of the GAC and the AG’s functions. Most AG’s, forensic experts say, do not do “agreed upon procedures” except when an outsider like USAID pay for them to do a work and both agreed on the procedures to be followed, as was the case of Kroll. In the case of the GAC’s current debacle, it appears the AG is under the direction of the government which is an agreed upon procedure.”

    It’s obvious that the Weah’s Administration is involve in this criminality and has resorted to distorting the facts to confuse the public, using paid surrogates and supporters.

    Tony Leewaye

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