Police Arrest Huge Sum of ‘Counterfeit’ Liberian Dollars in Nimba

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The confiscated counterfeit notes brought in by the Nigerian traveler Ugochukwa Odom

Security apparatus in assigned in Ganta on Wednesday arrested a Guinean woman for reportedly carrying a bag that contained a huge quantity of Liberian banknotes, while on Thursday, another person — a Nigerian man — was held by police for being in possession of unspecified amount of suspected counterfeit Liberian dollars.

According to reports, the Guinean suspect was arrested around the Liberia-Guinea border near Ganta, the county’s commercial hub, by custom authorities, while the Nigerian suspect was arrested in Ganta, after entering the country through the Liberia-Ivory Coast border in Loguatuo, Gbelay-geh District, by officers of Liberia National Police (LNP), while trying to exchange the money.

According to the Customs Collector, Mr. Ephraim Miller, the lady was arrested because the money she was traveling with was too huge and, as a customs officer, they wanted to know whether the money was within the threshold for one to legally travel with.

He said the Customs Bureau is also charged with responsibility to monitor money laundering and determine whether the money in question is a legal tender bank note.

Mr. Miller said the threshold of money to travel with when leaving the country is US$7,000 or the Liberian Dollar (LRD) equivalent and US$10,000 when entering into the country. However, if the money is above the threshold, the government will collect 25% of the amount as fine and the rest will be given to the owner.

He said after checking the money it will be taken to the bank to ascertain whether it is a legal tender and if, through these processes, it is in line with threshold, the money will be returned to the woman.

The seized money is undergoing counter checking at the customs conference room, Ganta Border

The Guinean suspect, Kolomou Kamara, entered the Ganta main border with over L$1,719,000 in two big rice bags.

She told reporters that the money was obtained from selling agriculture products, including pepper, beans, groundnuts, among others, from Guinea to Liberia.

She said the money was taken to Guinea to purchase another goods but, due to the escalating fall of Liberian dollars to both the Guinea franc and the US, she decided to bring the back to exchange them to US$.

“I sell agriculture products, including dried pepper, beans beniseed and groundnuts in Liberia, but most time I take the Liberian dollar to Guinea to exchange it with U.S. dollars, but because of the high inflation rate, I decided to take it back to Liberia so that one of my friends will exchange it at the rate of L$157 for US$1, after keeping it for two months,” she said.

“The denominations were mixed, something they have to put in order before taking them to bank for checking,” the collector has said. “We told the woman to put the money in order, so we can take it to the bank,” he said.

“This is not our first time on this exercise here. It was done with another traveler and, after we found that the money he was traveling with met the threshold, we left him to go,” he added.

Police said suspect Ugochukwa P. Odom, 30, entered Liberia through the Loguatuo border, with about L$1.3 million, before being arrested upon a tipoff in Ganta.

For Odom, he admitted spending 2000 Naira to print the “fake Liberian dollars” in Calabar State.

Shortly after the two suspects were brought at the Ganta Police Detachment, Odom said he traveled from Nigeria with the counterfeit Liberian banknotes through La Côte d’Ivoire, via Loguatuo Border, to infuse them into the Liberian market.

The money, he said, was printed in Nigeria in order to bring it to Liberia for “business purpose.”

Meanwhile Ganta residents, specifically the business community, have expressed concern over news of counterfeits being infused into the economy, thus exacerbating the prevailing economic situation in the country.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The Liberian banknotes no longer have value so, what do you expect… EJS printed money that she know it will damage our country Economic out completely…

    • So because the money “has no value” according to you so people should just go ahead and print more to flood the market? You sound like Donald Trump for blaming everything on Obama, yet will not fix them to his specification.

  2. Mr. Reporter, you have no proof thus far that the lady in question here entered the country with “counterfeits.” The lady was able to explain and irrespective of the harassment from border officers how she got her money and why she had that large sum of money on her. The thing you should be questioning is how did the lady pass through all our check points in the first place, with that amount of money on her way to Guinea. Secondly, we want a follow up report on how this story with the lady’s money ends. Whether after confirming if the money is counterfeit or not, the lady got her money back in full, or just what happened next. Also, if this lady has been going up and down this road as a regular business person between Liberia and Guinea as she claimed, wouldn’t the custom officers know her, and be able to vouch for her or back her alibi for that amount of money? The final or other angle to pursue to this story is whether this is a tip of a huge counterfeit cartel, and how long has it been operating? These 2 people (in case the lady’s money too is a counterfeit) are just foot soldiers. The real “investors” or saboteurs to this operation are obviously some big fishes in Monrovia, using unsuspecting people to bring in or launder their exploits. So this thing goes far above custom officers! to national security level. Just my 2 cents.

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