The United States Embassy near Monrovia has reassured Liberians of providing public information on the forensic investigation which some experts hired by the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) are conducting.
The U.S. Embassy, having been contacted by the Daily Observer to address concerns that trended on social media recently, responded that the experts have begun to gather information and they have plans to meet with relevant persons in Liberia, including Liberians leading the domestic investigation.
The embassy further assured: “In order for the international team to complete their work expeditiously, they will not engage with the media or public groups while conducting their assessment in Liberia,” noting that they will depart Liberia after a period of fact-finding and complete their report from their offices outside after the holidays.
On reflection, the September 24 “Bring Our Money Back” street protests would have easily morphed into a wild free for all melee which would have resulted as a result of confrontation between state security forces and the protesters. Fortunately, the Justice Ministry heeded wise counsel and rather than adopting a confrontational posture, the Police kept a close presence but did not intervene to stop the protests
Although some officials were up in arms against the Police exercise of restraint, it later became clear to all and sundry that public agitation about this missing $16 billion printed banknotes would have exacerbated if the government had maintained its decision to use force to prevent the protesters from exercising their rights to protest peacefully.
Moreover, Liberians having experienced war and its consequences have since developed an acute sense of awareness about the dangers of returning to the past. In fact, it is because of an innate fear of reverting to the past that many people are resolved to use the courts to settle disputes despite the rampant corruption reported in the justice system.
It is even said in some quarters that because Liberians appear tired of violence and instability, they let go everything in the name of God. Furthermore, this apparent resolve to maintain peace has unwittingly created opportunities for war crimes perpetrators to incite public fears about what they claim is the danger of a return to violence, should such a Court be established in Liberia
The election of war and economic criminals to positions of trust can be attributed to such a perception which feeds on a culture of fear and impunity. The Liberian people hold the United States in high esteem and believe that its intervention into this matter could yield real results so that the truth surrounding the missing money can be unveiled.
It was predicated upon this trust and confidence in the U.S. that the Liberian Government itself had to come out with a statement declaring it was hiring experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to probe into the matter.
It therefore sounded quite appealing to the public when the US Embassy, in last October, expressed its interest in helping to investigate issues surrounding the missing money. The aggrieved protesters who turned out before the U.S. Embassy, upon learning of the U.S. declared interest in the matter must have felt a sense of relief from the stress induced by imposed hardships brought on by the economic effects of the missing money.
However the prolonged silence of the Embassy since it first announced the decision taken by USAID to provide experts to assist in the investigation was beginning to once again stir public anger. With the update provided in response to trending speculations, public apprehensions appear to have subsided a little, although strong suspicions abound that the investigation may likely suffer the same fate as that of the investigation into the mysterious death of Harry Greaves.
The Daily Observer nevertheless lauds the US Embassy for the update and entertains strong hopes that the intended disclosure will not mirror that of U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo who, in the face of overwhelming evidence gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, has refused to accept the judgment of its own intelligence agency.
The U. S. cannot and must not shoot itself in the leg on this matter just in case evidence is discovered linking higher-ups to the missing money.