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Charles Sirleaf, others dropped from travel ban

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Information reaching this paper says Deputy Central Bank Governor Charles Sirleaf, the son of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf and several others including Bank spokesman Cyrus Badio have been removed from travel ban.

News of their removal from the list of travel ban on Tuesday, 9 October comes exactly a week after the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) requested a special investigative team set up by President Weah to probe an alleged missing L$16 billion to remove its staff from travel ban.

They were placed on travel ban amid ongoing investigation surrounding alleged missing L$16 billion that was printed, brought into the Country but allegedly vanished just in the time it was allegedly being escorted by armed national securities to the CBL from the Freeport of Monrovia.

But in the Bank’s request made on 2 October, CBL Executive Governor Nathaniel Patray urged government to vacate its writ and remove the travel restriction placed on CBL staff “so as not to interrupt the smooth operations of the CBL.”The Bank claimed that there is no L$16 billion Liberian Dollars missing, ahead of findings from the investigative team.

“The Central Bank of Liberia wants to clarify to the general public and our partners in progress that there is no 16 billion Liberian Dollars missing as has been erroneously reported in the media,” the CBL said Tuesday, 2 October.In spite of the Bank’s statement denying reports of missing money, the investigative team says it needs not less than six weeks to conduct the investigation.

According to the CBL, its records show that the total money that was printed and placed in its reserve vaults was L$15.5 billion for the period 2016 to 2018.The Bank says this amount was verified from the CBL own internal documents and documents received from the Crane Currency of Sweden, the contracted printer of the money in question.

It continues that it has concluded its internal assessment on monies printed and brought in Liberia between 2016 and 2018.The Bank says it has no records showing that monies printed under its authority have not yet been delivered into its reserve vaults.

But others have questioned the credibility and timing of the Bank’s statement, especially when it sat there for roughly a month when current and past officials trade blames over who is responsible for the alleged missing money and allowing President Weah to set up an investigative team.

By Winston W. Parley

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