‘No Need for FBI, IMF, Others’, Says Presidential Investigative Team

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Mr. Gibson, commissioner for the investigation, addresses the press.

The Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) set up by President George Weah says it has the capacity to adequately conduct the investigation, although international partners like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) International Monitory Fund (IMF), and others that were previously invited to participate in  the investigation are welcomed.

According to Alex Cuffy, Coordinator of the team which comprises the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), National Security Agency (NSA), Liberia National Police (LNP), and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the team has the capacity, integrity, and tenacity to conduct and conclude the investigation.

“We consider this as a patriotic call to duty and we will deliver on our mandate provided we receive maximum cooperation from the government, the public as well as the needed funds to support the process,” Mr. Cuffy said.

He made these comments at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s (MICAT) press briefing which takes place every Thursday and was presided over by Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs, Eugene Fahngon.

With no sign of international invitees on the team, many Liberians are questioning the credibility and findings of the government’s investigative team.

“This clearly indicates that uncertainties over the alleged missing container of new Liberian banknotes in the billions continue to loom as the government, who is clothed with the authority to unravel the truth, is behind the scandal,” Cuffy said.

Since the “missing” billions saga was unearthed by the media, Liberians have persistently maintained that they do not trust the government to conduct the investigation. There has been a barrage of calls for external support to lend credibility to the process.

On that account, Cuffy said on Thursday that the team will come up with its findings within the course of six weeks, even though he said that it might take a year for the team to properly complete its investigation.

Though Cuffy did not mention the names of those being questioned by the investigative team, he said that from Monday, October 8, the team will send a list bearing the names of people, who are not essential to the investigation, to be removed from the traveling ban, and will also send names of people who should be added to the ban.

CBL’s Statement

In the wake of a recent statement by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) that there was no money missing and that records at the CBL can confirm that the L$15 billion is in its vault, the PIT said that the latest position of the CBL does not in any way undermine the ongoing investigation.

Mr. Cuffy described CBL Executive Governor’s pronouncement that “no money is missing” as a good statement, though many believe that with such a position coming from an entity that stands as the prime suspect in the scandal has prejudiced the case.

“We interpose no objection to the CBL’s statement. It was a good statement. As a matter of fact, if I gave you something to keep and I said the thing you gave me got missing or some of it is missing it is fair for you to come and say something about it and that’s what the CBL has done.

“And they promised to cooperate with this investigation and have been doing it regularly. But the documents are coming in slowly,” the PIT coordinator said.

Cuffy, however, expressed disappointment, saying, “If the CBL was going to come out with this report two weeks ago, we could not have been where we are today with the investigation.”

Accordingly, he warned officials of government and line ministries and agencies to desist from issuing press statements, releases or appearing on talk shows.

Nelson Jallah, a member of the team, said: “Liberia has competent investigators to handle the issue and while it is true that we want our international partners to join us, we are saying that this body is capable of handling the issue.”

Charles L. J. Gibson, Commissioner of the investigative team, noted that the investigation is a financial crime investigation that includes money laundering, which is also not an ordinary criminal investigation.

Gibson said, “We have the expertise and capacity, but we want the public to have patience, trust and wait for the report from the investigation. We are asking the public to work with us, including the media, to give us any information that could help us get to the bottom of this investigation.”

Author

  • Hannah N. Geterminah is a 2016 graduate of the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism with diploma and series of certificates in journalism from other institutions. She has lots of knowledge/ experience in human interest, political, Health, women and children stories. Hannah has worked with the Daily Observers Newspaper and the Liberian media for the past years and has broken many stories. Contact reporter; [email protected] WhatsApp;0770214920

13 COMMENTS

  1. To put the nation at ease, it would be and look better to have the FBI, IMF & Federal Reserve Investagators, work along side you our local investigators.

    Lets just put it to rest once and for all, as quickly as possible.

  2. One Liberian cent will not be provided for this issue again. FBI, IMF, or which foreign such organizations get out of this container matter. Liberian securities, find something to do to protect the Liberian nation, Religious people go pray to God and tell the message. The Central Vault is closed. Lawmakers make laws; they do not see in coffers. The Liberian people monies will be spent when it is time to buy and sell to the people.
    Do not answer me. Thinking on my cassava and crab fish stew. No one is invited.

  3. The Weah-led pro-poor government looks and smells pretty bad right now. So the worst thing they could do now is have the prime suspects investigate themselves, while serving as Judge and Jury. Instead why not just bring in the FBI, IMF, and US Federal Reserve experts now to conduct a thorough and transparent forensic audit of the Central Bank without further delay?

  4. No buy 2 and get one free here when you can’t even afford the first one. No more crediting Liberian money or Liberian resources. We will close our nation’s bank on time and spend on our own Liberian time. If the Liberian people bank says it got the cash. Where else you want the money to go without profit? Who will go in? No more killing, no more stealing. Go find something to do and pay for your needs in this country to have the essentials of life. Do not enter my box.

  5. President Edward Jenkins Roye of Liberia sailed to England in 1871.while there,he
    Started negociating with banks to secure loan to impliment his roads development
    Project.he aquired a $5000 000 deal with very severe terms.Without the consultation of the legislature, he signed the deal.this did not go down well with the masses.so when E J Roye returned home his trouble began. When he could not take the heat anymore, he decided to packed a canoe with the $5000 000 that he got from England and tried to escape.well, the canoe capsize E J Roye was
    Rescue from high sea, then giving a good Liberian criminal beating.he was later dragged up and down Arshmont street before he died. Your bring our money back!

  6. I don’t understand why Liberians will be calling for foreign investigators when the people pay securities for such thing..

    Who came to our rescue during the war?
    Did you see any foreigners beside our west African brother and Sisters that were in Liberia….

    How many calls that were made n no one came to help us but Africans…

    I wonder Liberians have forgotten.. Trust your securities Liberians..

    No one likes you as black until you travel before one realize these things…

    Trust and have conference in your securities…

  7. I can safely assume that PIT does not understand the word “help.” Accepting help does not undermine one’s capability, rather it enhances or add to the existing capability. Capable people always need help! That is what is wrong with Liberia and Liberians. They think they know it all, but at the end of 171 years, Liberia still looks like a village with no roads, public parks, Libraries, museums, electricity, functioning healthcare delivery systems and much more. Now you know!

  8. I don’t get it. It seems that a wave of anti-American sentiments are being expressed. It could be personal, but still, there is no logical reason for that.

    The lawmakers of Liberia, meaning the members of the Legislature, receive a whopping $10,000 check every month. When the perks are counted in, the legislators’ monthly income rivals the incomes of some developed countries. But yet at the same time, there are shortage of textbooks and equipment at our public schools. Let’s not also forget that some teachers aren’t being paid properly. It is logical to complain the high monetary incomes of our legislators than to complain about why the FBI was invited by the Weah government to do a thorough investigation.

    The main reason for which the FBI was invited by the Weah government was to seek and punish the culprits who may have been involved in theft. The FBI did not spring into action all by itself to conduct an investigation. Let’s not blame the FBI. Let’s not blame Weah either. Weah did the right thing by inviting the experts, meaning the FBI. Finally by inviting the FBI, Weah showed that he was not in any way or form involved in the mess.

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