The Liberia Council of Churches or LCC says it welcomes findings into investigations of the alleged missing 16 billion Liberian banknotes released by both the Government of Liberia and the United States Embassy here through USAID.
In a press release signed its President Dr. Kortu Brown Monday March 4, the LCC notes that the reports have been something the nation has anxiously anticipated to know the truth concerning the explosive media report of the alleged missing money and conduct of the US$ 25 million mop-up exercise carried out by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Central Bank to buy excess legacy banknotes from the market.
“We commend the Presidential Investigative Team or PIT that was setup by President Weah, and the USAID sponsored Kroll international financial firm for their tireless efforts in compiling and releasing these investigative reports simultaneously on Thursday February 28, 2019 in Monrovia”, the LCC release reads.
The LCC says it acknowledges several outstanding issues presented by the investigative reports, including whereabouts of the reported LD$ 2.6 billion excess printed material, reflecting a strong difference between new banknotes reportedly received at the Central Bank to the tune of L$15.506 billion and documented printed volumes of L$ 18.1 billion.
The Council describes as extremely troubling, the US$25 million mop-up transactions, poor documentation of financial transaction at the CBL, including difference in three CBL operational vaults balances, amid lack of full legislative approval for printing the approximately LD18. 1 billion banknotes to replace the legacy banknotes from the market, among others.
Meanwhile, the LCC calls on the government to ensure the fight against impunity and sleaze is profound and comprehensive by ensuring that everything is done to bring to justice all those implicated in the two investigation reports.
It also calls on Liberians to remain calm and behave in an orderly manner as the financial drama of enormous consequences unfolds before their eyes.
The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Charles E. Sirleaf, former CBL Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks, and CBL Director of Banking Dorbor Hagba were charged and put behind bars late Monday evening. The trio has been locked up at the Monrovia Central Prison after they failed to file criminal appearance bonds.
The trio appeared in Court Monday March 4, following their arrests Thursday February 28 through Friday March 1, for their roles in the “missing 16 billion” Liberian banknotes which both local and international investigators now put at over LRD18 billion.
By Lewis S. Teh –Editing by Jonathan Browne