The testimony of government’s second witness in the ongoing missing LD$16 billion banknotes that involved several former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), including former members of the bank’s board of directors, contradicted Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean’s decision to drop the charges against the Crane Currency, the Swedish company that printed the money.
Testifying at Criminal Court ‘C’ at the Temple of Justice on Thursday, July 2, witness Amos T. Goba told the court that he and his team of investigators from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) discovered that Crane Currency printed L$13,004,750,000 Liberian dollar banknotes instead of the approved L$10,359,759,000 that the bank was asked to print, making them to incur a loss of L$2,645,000,000.
“The investigation established from the review of records presented by the bank that LD$ 13,004,750 was printed and shipped to the CBL as opposed to the LD$10,359, 750, 000, the bank printed and shipped given the variance of, and the bank did not account for,” Goba’s testimony claimed. Goba also testified that they discovered the discrepancy from review of the Parking List, the Bill of Lading and the Airway Bill that were used by Crane Currency to ship the money to the country. But when the charges were dropped against Crane Currency, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean said, “The Government of Liberia accepted that Crane Currency acted in good faith throughout the execution of two (2) banknote printing orders of the Central Bank of Liberia in 2016 and 2017.”
Minister Dean by then said details of packing lists, air cargo manifests and airway bills, the government accepted that Crane Currency entered into contracts with the CBL in good faith, in reasonable reliance on the bank’s lawful authority. “Having reviewed information in addition to that contained in the Kroll and Presidential Investigation Team (PIT) reports, including the detail of packing lists, air cargo manifests and airway bills, the Government of Liberia accepts Crane Currency entered into contracts with the Central Bank of Liberia in good faith, in reasonable reliance on the Bank’s lawful authority,” Dean’s justifies the exclusion of Crane Currency from answering to the charges.
It may be recalled that the Presidential Investigation Team (PIT) and the Kroll, a hired US Audit Firm, reported that Crane Currency contracted by the CBL in two separate contracts to print banknotes totaling L$15 billion at the cost of US$15,331,689.20 conspired with officials of the CBL to defraud the Government of Liberia.
The PIT and Kroll then claimed that Crane Currency ignored the terms and conditions of the contract and went ahead to print L$18,151,000,000 in breach of the contract. The Government of Liberia incurred an extra printing cost of US$835,367.78. The Crane Currency was then indicted along with former members of the CBL board of directors that include the bank’s former Executive Governor and secretary of the board, Milton Weeks for committing the crimes of charges of economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy and criminal solicitation.