Investigation into the US$25 million, which the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, said was used to mop-up excess liquidity from the Liberian market will be complete by May 20, 2019, the Minister of Information, Eugene Lenn Nagbe has assured the public.
The General Auditing Commission (GAC), which is the body conducting the “forensic audit” as mandated by President George Weah, was initially given a two-week mandate to submit its report. However, at the commission’s request, that time frame was extended by an additional six weeks.
In keeping with the engagement procedure agreed upon for the conduct of the audit, the GAC is now holding “exit meetings” following the submission of its draft report on May 2, 2019. Hence, authorities at the Ministry of Justice have granted the Commission additional ten days to allow for the full completion of the audit.
According to the statement, in early March, the President mandated the GAC to carry out an investigation into how the mop-up of excess Liberian dollars from the market was carried out by the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT).
By that, the government assures the public of its determination to get to the bottom of the matter, and make the findings public.
It can be recalled that both the US-funded report by Kroll Associates and, the Presidential Investigating Team (PIT) report both independently concluded that the US$25 million mop-up exercise created the platform for illegal business dealers to clean their illegal money.
Minister Tweah told the PIT that “the TEMT, chaired by him, did not use the conventional auction method through the commercial banks. According to him, the aim of the exercise was to target monies in the hands of business people and not monies already in the banking system. He said this was the reason his team targeted business people and major forex bureaus, and not to go through the commercial banks,” the PIT report said.
The PIT found in its investigations that reports from the six teams responsible to carry out the mop-up exercise revealed that some foreign exchange bureaus and businesses were not duly registered, while other businesses received cash without proper identification. In some cases, business entities the teams transacted with did not have addresses.
“Some businesses received lesser amounts than what was reported by CBL,” the PIT report continued. “For example, the Union Local Forex Bureau located on Carey Street received a total of US$5,500 on two separate occasions (US$3,000 on July 17, 2017 and US$2,500 on August 16, 2017) than what was reported by CBL on its report as the total amount received, which was US$161,900.