Liberia’s Police Inspector General Col. Patrick Sudue says it will take half of the officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) to be deployed to adequately man the porous borders here to stop suspects from entering the country with counterfeit banknotes.
“To get men to adequately man … that border, you will be talking about probably half of the LNP because the border is porous,” Col. Sudue said Tuesday, 10 July.
Speaking hours before the LNP charged and sent Nigerian suspect Ogochukwu P. Odom to Court for multiple charges including economic sabotage, the police chief told journalists that the guys that are entering Liberia with these monies are not passing through the original border points, but rather using any means like canoes to enter the country.
Suspect Odom allegedly told police that he came from Nigeria, travelling through Benin and Cote d’Ivoire and managed to enter Liberia with the counterfeit banknotes unnoted.
Col. Sudue says Odom was arrested on 5 July based upon intelligence received by LNP officers and picked up from his hotel with LRD$2m counterfeit banknotes.
A police charge sheet accompanying suspect Odom to the Monrovia City Court on Wednesday, 11 July indicates that the Nigerian suspect photocopied into several pieces one hundred Liberian Dollars banknote, producing LRD$1,373,400.00 in 100 bills denomination.
Police say the suspect narrated that the illegal printing of the money was done with the consent of defendants Ayo, Amandu and others to be identified who are believed to be residing in Nigeria.
When the suspect entered Liberia, he allegedly booked a hotel room in Ganta, Nimba County and then met money exchanger John K. Smith near a gas station and contacted him to convert LRD$10,000 counterfeits for LRD$5,000 legitimate banknotes.
The Nigerian man was said to be in negotiation with Smith when patrolman Kardaka received intelligence concerning the matter and arrested the suspect.
Printing of counterfeits Liberian Dollars and dumping them on the market to extract the US Dollars through high exchange rates against the Liberian Dollars appear to be enriching some Nigerians and Fulanis here overnight while damaging the economy.The exchange rate is now at US$1.00 to LRD$160.00, which impacts prices of goods and increases the economic hardship here mainly against the poor.
By Winston W. Parley--Editing by Jonathan Browne