Hooray! The Americans are coming and if the driver knows what’s good for himself he should beat it, meaning run for his life. Yes, the Americans are coming, according to media reports, to investigate the case of the missing billions. The Tuesday, October 16, 2018 edition of the Hot Pepper newspaper carried a front-page story claiming that the Americans have already concluded their work and departed the country.
In other accounts, the FrontPage Africa newspaper in its October 15, 2018 edition reports that investigators have found only small amounts of local currency in the CBL’s vault instead of the 15.5 billion Liberian dollars which the CBL maintained was in its vault. Whatever the case may be, the public desires and deserves to know the truth. In the interest of fairness and transparency, it is only proper that the Americans release preliminary findings on what has been unearthed so far.
But it should not be surprising if the Americans do not make public their findings. There are speculations from some diplomatic sources that Liberians may be in for a rude awakening when findings are disclosed to the public absolving the government of blame. Further, according to diplomatic sources, fears are that revelations of the true findings linking past and current government officials to the disappearance of the money may serve to incite and provoke mass public protest with unforeseen consequences for a government said to be strongly within the orbit of US policy influence. In effect, according to diplomatic sources, it means or suggests that the Americans will act, if needs be, to save the hide of a government which they believe would lend itself to easy manipulation.
But such premonitions, as farfetched as they may seem, cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. The Americans came not once but several times before. In 1990, they raised the hope of starving, desperate and besieged Liberians when the US Government dispatched a flotilla of ships, planes and troops to the shores of Liberia, raising the hopes of Liberians that their ordeal at the hands of bloodthirsty warlords was over as the Americans had now arrived to intervene. But to their greatest dismay, this was never to be.
The Americans instead idled and fiddled while the country went up in flames. But it took the courage and bold ingenuity of West African leaders to intervene and put an end to the madness which had engulfed the country. Again, the nation bore witness to similar circumstances in 2003 when the nation found itself torn apart once again by bloody fratricidal conflict. At the height of the fighting in the besieged city of Monrovia, thousands took to the streets to celebrate what had then been announced as a cease-fire and the arrival of American troops.
Again, the joy of the people was short-lived, for within a matter of minutes, euphoria had instantly turned into apprehension, fear and grief as mortar rounds fired by LURD forces began falling on hapless, unarmed civilians. Once more, the West African Community was called into action after the US government had insisted on the presence of “African Boots” on the ground as a precursor to their intervention.
Further, in 2016, the nation was shocked by news of the brutal killing of Harry Greaves, a former confidant of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Greaves had allegedly fallen out with the former President and was said to have become a virtual mockingbird singing tales of sleaze allegedly involving former President Sirleaf. Harry, according to accounts, went to the RLJ Kendeja Hotel and was never seen again until his dead body was washed ashore a local beach in Monrovia near the Executive Mansion.
With a cloud of suspicion hanging over the Government of Liberia, and in response to public pressure, President Sirleaf invited a team of US forensic experts to Liberia to investigate. The team released its final report, concurring that Harry had indeed drowned. But the key question which remained unanswered to date was, if Harry had indeed drowned, how come his arms were contracted but not instead flexed as would normally be the case when a drowning person lapses into a state of unconsciousness? Further, had rigor mortis set in before he drowned or after? What accounted therefore for the presence of a stick in his anus can still not be reasonably explained?
But the Americans had said it — Harry died by drowning and that was it, although strong suspicions about complicity were never quite laid to rest. In the case of the missing money, this newspaper wonders why ECOWAS was not invited into the fray. The regional body has already established an institution to handle such matters involving money laundering and the like.
This institution is styled the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA). It is a specialized institution of ECOWAS and a FATF Style Regional Body that promotes policies to protect the financial systems of member States against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations are recognized as the global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) standard.
In the face of this, there are questions whether the outcomes of this investigation will be akin to that of the Harry Greaves investigation. There is, however, another twist to this with suggestions from certain diplomatic quarters that the Americans are alarmed by inroads the Chinese are making in Liberia with the construction or planned construction of large infrastructural projects which are without doubt leaving visible imprints that the Americans have been unable to match.
They, according to sources, strongly desire to see a “Maada Bio” in George Weah who will cancel at a stroke of a pen, planned Chinese infrastructural projects such as the proposed flyover at the Boulevard junction and the ministerial complex overpass. President Weah needs to awaken to these challenges no matter how outlandish they may appear.
For now let us all shout: Hooray, the Americans are coming; so Driver, beat it! Throw your anti-corruption “axe” Mr. President, and let it fall where it may. Who die, da their worry!