PIT Report: L$2.645B Still Unaccounted For

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While the Presidential Investigation Team Technical Committee says the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) reported L$15,506,000 in banknotes as the total amount printed and shipped by CRANE Currency and received by the CBL between July 2016 and April 2018, the packing lists submitted by the CBL revealed that L$2,645,000,000 (Two billion, six hundred forty-five million) banknotes is yet to be fully accounted for by the Central Bank of Liberia.

Speaking at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s (MICAT) special press briefing, he said there are over 1,500 Exhibits that have been presented to the Ministry of Justice and their perusal.

He added that he did not want to reveal names because he did not want to prejudice the case. So, what happened to the money that was not accounted for? The report, delivered by a member of the investigative team, Alex Cuffy, spoke about the circumstances surrounding the printing and importation of the legacy banknotes from January 2016 to August 2018, recommending the demonetization of the current banknotes printed in 2017, “because the additional L$10 billion the CBL printed was without the authorization of the Legislature.

He said in 2016, the CBL was authorized by both Houses of the Legislature to print L$5 billion, but the contract between CBL and Crane Currency AB — an American printing company with offices in Sweden — was initially consummated prior to the Legislature’s decision.

Cuffy said CBL did not abide by international best practice for selecting Crane Currency to print both the authorized and unauthorized new Liberian banknotes.

“The July 19, 2017 letter from the Legislature did not constitute an authorization, and the Board of Governors does not have the mandate to approve the printing and importation of currency banknotes,” he said.

Mr. Cuffy said CBL did not inform former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the final decision to print the additional L$10 billion that was not requested.

Financial Intelligence Unit Chief, Alex Cuffy

He said there were ten shipments of printed materials (new Liberian banknotes) in twenty-four twenty feet containers between September 7, 2016, and March 25, 2018, containing the new money shipped by Crane Currency and received by CBL.

“In 2016, the total amount of L$5,146,250 new banknotes printed by Crane Currency was received by the CBL. The amount of L$146,250,000 Liberian dollar banknotes were printed in excess of the L$5,000,000,000 authorized by the Legislature and contracted by CBL,” Mr. Cuffy said.

Mr. Cuffy said “In 2016, the contract between the CBL and Crane Currency to print the L$5,000,000,000 banknotes was valued at US$2, 210,000. However, CBL paid Crane Currency US$5,611,469.58 instead of the contracted amount of US$5, 210,000 resulting in the overpayment of US$401,469.58.”

He said the overpayment was not authorized by the Legislature and was paid outside the terms and conditions of the contract, and the CBL did not provide an amendment to the contract or any document to justify the overpayment.

“In 2017 and 2018, L$10,359, 750, 000 Liberian dollar banknotes were printed and shipped by the Crane Currency and was received by CBL. The amount of L$359,750,000 Liberian dollar banknotes was printed in excess of the L$10,000,000,000 Liberian dollar banknotes contracted for by the CBL,” Cuffy said.

He said CBL did not provide evidence of performing a competitive bidding process for the selection of a company to print the new banknotes contracted for.

According to Cuffy, former and current senior management executives of the CBL were found in violation of various laws of Liberia in the discharge of their duties by endorsing the printing of L$146,250,000 above the approved amount of L$5,000,000,000 and thereby incurring an extra cost of US$401,469.58 without being authorized by the Legislature.

Mr. Cuffy said Crane Currency AB of Sweden also violated the laws of Liberia by willfully conspiring with officials of CBL to defraud the Government of Liberia (GoL), ignored the terms and conditions of the contract by printing L$18,151,000,000 in complete breached of the contract, and caused the GoL to incur the extra cost of US$835,367.72.

Mr. Cuffy said as of October 16, 2018, CBL sold US$14 million in exchange for L$2,151,363,898 between the periods of July 17, 2018, to September 18, 2018. He said the technical team did not have a clear strategy, and the CBL deviated from conventional best practice, which calls for the use of legitimate banking institutions (commercial banks) and licensed Foreign Exchange Bureaus or SALE AUCTION.

“Instead, the CBL and the team carried out the sale of US dollars directly to foreign exchange bureaus and businesses in marketplaces,” Cuffy said.

“There were no standard criteria for the participation of foreign exchange bureaus and businesses in terms of their legitimacy, for example, duly registered and/or tax compliance, etc., nor due diligence associated with the direct sale in the marketplace. The principle of Know Your Customer was not observed throughout the mopped-up exercise.

“Given the many discrepancies as to the total and actual amount of new Liberian dollar banknotes printed, shipped and received by the Central Bank of Liberia, thereby creating doubts as to the total amount of Liberian dollar banknotes in circulation; as well as the negative impact said discrepancies are having on the economy, the investigation recommends the demonetization of the current Liberian dollar banknotes,” he said.

CBL executives Charles Sirleaf and Dorbor Hagba are the first two individuals to be arrested following the PIT report on the alleged missing billions.

Meanwhile, reports reaching the Daily Observer yesterday indicated that shortly after Mr. Cuffy released in Monrovia yesterday, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) arrested two CBL executives, namely: Mr. Charles Sirleaf, deputy governor for operations and the son of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; and Dorbor Hagba, director of banking.

Though the two men, who were arrested yesterday, are yet to be charged, sources say they are being held because of their roles at the CBL. While the report did not indicate that L$16 billion was missing, the investigative team revealed serious financial crimes committed against Liberia for which many Liberians have called for the prosecution of any former and current government officials who are involved in the misusing of funds belonging to the people.

When the arrest of Mr. Sirleaf, in particular, was announced, radio air-waves were filled with callers and there was apparent jubilation among the callers who supported the prosecution of anyone found wanting in the case.

24 COMMENTS

  1. We as Liberian should give all thanks to the Almighty God for this report and appreciate the united States government and all other parties that where part of this investigation for a good job.we as Liberian now should read this report with clear understanding, but I know reading is our taboo, but I beg you to overcome this nightmares read this for your own understanding.

  2. We look forward to “an even hand of the law”. Namely senator Varney Sherman, the former house speaker, Senator Prince Johnson for his murderous atrocities. Senator Oscar Cooper & his death squads during the war, other former rebels who are elected senators or legislators. Now, we ho to the executive branch with former rebel “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf”. We must include our bi-sexual, dope addict pastor, dr. George Weah who recently jointec the “rouge club”. Why is he hiding his asset declarations??
    Respectfully
    Counselor says kollie Boayue cell #886257214 & counselor James Boayue cell #0888305743

    • ;you are not being fair here by disclosing these telephone numbers. Please be civil before liberian observer takes away the privilege of having a comments sites for liberians . let us be fair here please my friend.

      • So John, what exactly could be wrong with these “Lawyers” posting their own phone numbers here? To me that is further attestation to the authenticity of who these people say they are. You might have thought the authors posted other people numbers? Quite the contrary.

  3. With regard to the missing money deal, Weah deserves to be credited so far. Initially, Weah promised that he would do something about the billions of missing Liberian dollars. So far, he’s doing that. The information is trickling in. Two corrupt individuals have been nabbed. That’s progress!

    Net worth
    Another important thing that Weah’s critics ought to know about him is his net worth. My suggestion to people, (especially Weah’s critics) is this……” before you get into accusing him, allow your fingers to do the walking. Google this important information……Weah’s net worth! That’s it.

    I am not hateful of Weah’s critics. I know that it’s a fact of life that all leaders have their share of critics. All I ask people to do is to be fair. In other words, avoid the use of invectives. And desist from airing fake news. It may be difficult for some people to handle, but it’s worth trying.

    I have seen what’s been reported as his net worth. I would like Weah’s critics to see that for themselves. Of course, it will not hurt if Weah’s supporters become aware of that vital information.

    • The information you will get if you goggle Weah’s net worth is not accurate. Weah needs to make his assets declaration public and stop pretending that he was this “RICH GUY” before becoming president.

    • F.S. Hney – It sound ridiculous suggesting that people should use Google to find Weah’s net worth. When he was Senator, he declared his assets and it was made public. People are suspicious because his net worth seem to have ballooned overnight since he became President. Don’t you see a problem with that?

  4. I appreciate this unregulated open forum. If lawyers want to advertise their phone numbers, that shouldn’t bother anyone as long as their content is relevant to the discussion. If RULES are set against that, we’ll follow those written RULES and appropriately attempt to indirectly enforce them (if we feel it is our business to do so)

    We’re growing democratically as Liberians. These freedom NEVER existed under President Tubman..NEVER!!

    Here is the information on the web about President George Weah!

    Our President is very wealthy and should be proud to having the asset disclosures public as it is done in most “open societies” around the world. That’s really the purpose…”,transparency”!!

    http://www.businessdayliberia.com/2018/06/09/george-weah-net-worth-is-87-million-dollars-and-earns-an-annual-income-of-2-million-dollars/

    George Weah Net Worth is $87 Million dollars and earns an annual income of $2 million dollars.
    George Weah is the President of Liberia, and a retired professional footballer who played as a striker. George Weah recently bought a brand new Aston martin luxury car for $351,000 USD. The Net Worth of George Weah has seen a hike of 22% over the past few years. While calculating George Weah Net Worth we have included the data updated as of this Quarter. Check out the Exclusive information on George Weah Net Worth details such as Yearly Income, House, Car Collection, Investments etc. Also read Net Worth details of Al Franken and Robert Mugabe.
    George Weah Net Worth and Income DetailsGeorge Weah Net Worth is $87 Million dollars and earns an annual Salary of $101,000 dollars
    George Weah Net Worth $87 Million USD
    Annual Income $2 Million USD
    Luxury Cars – 11 $3 Million USD
    Houses – 2 $19 Million USD
    George Weah Cars
    The Car collection of George Weah is Huge. George Weah owns few of the best luxury cars in the world. The Car brands owned by George Weah include Range Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz and Aston Martin.
    George Weah Biography
    Disclaimer
    The George Weah Net Worth details are being posted/updated after conducting reasonable research. It is being reiterated that the George Weah Net Worth details mentioned here are only ‘estimates’ which may or may not be the reality. While utmost care is taken by FinApp during the compilation of George Weah Net Worth information to ensure that the estimated net worth is closer to the reality, FinApp shall not assume any liability or responsibility for the outcome of decision(s) taken as a result of any reliance placed in this post.
    Further, if any of the readers have a credible information about any inaccuracy in the data posted here on George Weah Net Worth, they may kindly let Finapp know about the same through an email to [email protected]. Changes shall made based on such information after reasonable due diligence from FinApp’s side.
    George Weah Net Worth Growth Estimate
    The Net Worth and Income of George Weah is expected to continue to grow at a Strong pace. Over the next few years, George Weah’s Net worth is likely to grow by around 26%.

  5. Mr. John Weah is probably part of the “privilege class”. Mr. Hilary Snyder is a progressive and forward thinker. If the Daily Observer sets rules like “Do Not post your Phone Number”, “Do not criticize the President”, “Do not say anything Bad about the Liberian Government” then we will follow them. We stand by what we say, fearlessly. As a matter of history, Liberians under the last few presidents were afraid to criticize, now we can, that’s progress

  6. Come on Bernard,
    A person’s net worth that’s disclosed on the internet is 99% accurate. The Forbes corporation and other foundations that disclose the net worth of people do a good reliable job.

    Would you say that Bill Gates is not worth over 70 billion dollars? Would you disagree with the fact that Oprah Winfrey is not a billionaire? Why would you be skeptical of Weah’s net worth and not Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey?

    The state of California has an estimated 124 billionaires! The state of New York follows with 84 billionaires. The figures I have supplied date back to 2018. There could be a slight change! But my point is that Weah’s disclosure of his assets will show that he is wealthy. With 87 million dollars in assets, it is very highly unlikely that Weah will steal money in order to build mansions. Come on.

    Now Bernard, no one can predict what anyone will do. You can’t trust your teeth. Sometimes your teeth will bite your tongue without knowing what got your teeth mad. Right? Bernard, I know that there’s hardship in Liberia. Like you, I would like to see progress in Liberia. However, I have to let you know that a nation’s economy is like a grain of rice. You will plant the rice. You will build a fence around your farm. You will watchout for guine pigs and birds. And much more. Your rice will be harvested in 4-5 months. The economy of Liberia will grow. I hate to be pessimistic.

    I will be hooeful. And you?

    • When Weah first ran in 2005 and 2011, his declared assets were about $1.5 Million with houses in Liberia and US included and the information was made public. How come now out of a sudden Google is now saying he’s worth over $87 Million. He may have made over $87 Million in his football career, but the dude is a high spender. If he’s worth this amount, how come it was never declared in 2014 when he ran for the Senate position.

      Oprah and Bill Gates are on Forbes because their money can be confirmed. Can Weah declare his assets public. If he was, or is worth over $87 million , how come he lied in a Georgia court that he was only being paid $1,000 a month as a Senator when he was sued for child support by one of his his baby mommas. This dude is a fraud and yet Liberians were so stupid to vote for him.

  7. F. S. Hney, are you for real? Did you read about George Weah assets on Forbes? You definitely need reading glasses or you are just as illusional as your JorWeah. George Weah is not and has never been mentioned in Forbes. Understand that this brainless idiot was broke.

  8. Hello Ralph,
    Where’s the evidence? The internet also mentions Urey as one of Liberia’s wealthiest. Is that wrong? Also, if Weah is not worth 87 million dollars, why hasn’t that information been challenged? Let’s not forget that the former Ivorian soccer player is mentioned on the internet as a multimillionaire. Ralph, I agree that not all information that’s internet-related is accurate. But, in order to dispute any information, one must have evidence. It has nothing to do with illusions!

    Hypothetically, if Weah were financially broke, is there any evidence that validates the fact that the country’s meager resources are being used by Weah to erect mansions?

    I am not a blind apologist for Weah. Weah is human and so are we. If he’s wrong, he’s wrong! For instance, if Weah drove his car in the opposite direction of a motor road, that would be unacceptable. But, accusations of all kinds are flying. Yet there’s no evidence to prove that “some” of the things he’s accused of are correct.

  9. I do not know about the qualifications of the people who work at the Central Bank of Liberia. But what I now know is that most of the people who work at the CBL are either not accountants or financial experts or perhaps they are simply sloppy accountants and financial experts.

    Accountants do not manufacture banknotes; accountants are not procurement officials and they certainly are not legislators or lawyers. They are simply bureaucrats who produce and keep accurate records of financial transactions. They keep records and know how the records are organized. Financial records need to be well organized so that information can be retrieved when needed. This will have policymakers are informed on how to craft those policies that will ultimately affect a corporation or the general public, in our particular case.

    The Kroll Report just released to the public for the consumption of Liberians all around the world has exposed the sloppiness of record-keeping at the CBL and it is simply humiliating. This deficiency at the Central Bank of Liberia could be the Achilles’ heel that has the potential to bring the Liberian economy to its knees if care is not taken.

    In reality, it is not a bad or corrupt idea to print money. Countries like ours print money for various reasons, chief among them: to replace mutilated banknotes and/or to grow the economy. Money creates wealth, and without it wealth cannot be measured. But the printing of money must be orderly, precise and economically prudent. The report suggests that authorities at the CBL were approving contracts for money printing without knowing the consequences of their actions.

    The record keeping process must be orderly. First, the legislature in Liberia must authorize the printing of the money

    And they have done that! It’s only because the CBL has gone a step head to print even more money that authorized.

    Since the CBL controls the supply of money, it must have good records of how much money is in the economy and how much money is still in its vaults. The Kroll report suggests that the central bank does not even know how much money it had pumped into the economy and how much is still waiting to be doled out. This is a direct result of poor record keeping, a responsibility and duty all financial experts like accountants subscribe to.

    I heard Mr. Cuffey yesterday recommending the demonetization of the extra money in the economy. I disagree with him. What I suggest as a person who knows a little about money supply and management is that the government of Liberia should begin to sell a national bond that will siphon the extra money in the economy and keep it on the shelves at the CBL as reserve.

    (I will write about the details of this kind of bond later).

    Paye J. Shar

  10. Phil,
    The internet is truly a medium for too many unknowns. So I don’t think it’s all that comical to suggest that readers and commenters should check something out on the internet. I will be the first to admit that every information that’s stipulated on the internet is not 100% accurate. But despite its inaccuracy, the internet is very informative.

    Weah was a Senator approximately 13 years ago. It is not impossible for his stock portfolio to have jumped up a few notches. Secondly, it’s been said that Weah had a child support issue in the states. He probably downgraded his net worth in order to avoid paying exorbitant fees in child support. I am not suggesting here that he as well as all the Liberian lawmakers should not disclose their net worth.
    I understand why his political enemies are dubious of his wealth. However, if his critics/political enemies have any overwhelming evidence to prove that his net worth is embellished, they need to show the proof. Former President Obama, was not wealthy when he became president. Today, Obama’s net worth is in the millions. If the information on Obama, Urey of Liberia, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, etc., is 90% accurate, why is there so much skepticism about Weah’s net worth?

    • So George Weah lowered his net worth to avoid paying child support, which means he lied. Yet Liberians still voted for him and sing praises to him everyday. Liberians are really a different kind of human breed. So if he lied in the past, isn’t he lying now. And do you know that you can write anything online these days and Google would validate it for you. If Weah wants to come clean, why not make his assets public so the Press can verify it.

  11. You got to hand it to these professional rogues ( George Weah and company)…total misdirection from the real culprits…let all top government officials make their asset declaration public and we will know who stole the money.

  12. Flomo,
    I thank you for the correction. I am not proud to the point where I will become belligerent and .not submit myself to a correction. If you correct me like that in the future, I will buy some whoppers for you at a Burger King! Assuming that you eat burgers.

    Let’s get to the original point. But first, let me do the most honorable. Yes, all lawmakers must disclose their net worth. I am not in opposition to that. Never have I been. So, you see I am down to earth as it relates to reality.

    General Flomo Smith, do you know for sure if Weah has stolen money from the Liberian Treasury in order to build mansions for his family while Liberians are catching hard time?

    I am on record for saying that the lawmakers in Liberia earn exorbitant salaries. At a time when our schools do not have good teachers, or enough textbooks for the future leaders of Liberia, money ought to be saved. Savings should come from the moneymakers, the lawmakers. I have evidence that each lawmaker earns $120,000 per year and a long list of perks. My question is this…does any critic of Weah have the proof to show that he’s arrogantly stealing the Repubilc of Liberia’s money?

  13. If County government were audited, Nimba County Superintendent will be jailed for massive abuse & misuse of government funds. Lavished on his two mistresses and their children as well as his beautiful wife.
    He also friends to take over other properties especially absent land owners. He makes it legal by decree. I am over the Joseph Boayue property with no legal court papers but only with the superintendent blessings that I am paying dearly for. We are financially independent now & got adjacent property.
    Corrupt NIMBA superintendent!!! Our gay senator Prince Johnson gets “kick backs” (that’s hard to prove. That murderous killer is smart)

  14. LIBERIA HAS A LOT OF CASE TO MAKE WITH THE RELEASE OF THIS REPORT. FIRST, IT HAS TO ALLOW THE LAW TO TAKE ITS COURSE LOCALLY AND, FILE AN INTERNATIONAL LAW SUIT AGAINST THE CRANE COMPANY FOR CONSPIRACY, DEFRAUDING THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA AND IMMENSELY CONTRIBUTING TO THE DECLINE OF LIBERIAN DOLLARS AND INFLATION IN THE ECONOMY.

    THIS CAN BE A MULTIBILLION DOLLARS CASE. THE BEHAVIOR OF CRANE PUTS OTHER COUNTRIES THAT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM AT RISK OF INFLATION. THEY COULD TAKE MONEY FROM OTHE GOVT OFFICIALS TO CARRYOUT FUNNY DEALS THAT COULD DAMAGR ECONOMMIES.

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