As government’s investigation into the missing containers stacked with 16 billion Liberian Dollars banknotes, an equivalent of US$104m gains momentum, authorities here are inviting investigators of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other reputable international bodies to assist in its ongoing probe.
An official in the corridors of the Executive Mansion told this paper via mobile phone Wednesday that letters were being sent to the FBI, IMF and other international bodies to assist the young Liberian Government in solving what is fast becoming one of the biggest financial crimes in the nation’s history.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said in an interview that the current government is attempting to smear her administration while insisting that there were handling over notes to show that these containers with monies were available.
But Information Minister Eugene Nagbe told a local radio that news about the missing containers was only brought to the attention of President George Weah in August.
On Tuesday government released the names of several individuals of interest, both past and present government officials to help in the ongoing investigation.
On Wednesday, September 19, former Central Bank Governor, Milton Weeks appeared before investigators at the Liberia National Police headquarters in Monrovia.
Mr. Weeks is among individuals restricted by the State from traveling outside of Liberia while investigators find answers to how containers stacked with 16 billion Liberian Dollars exited the Freeport of Monrovia under national security escort and varnished in thin air.
He served as Central Bank Governor under former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime and held the post up to the first few months of President George Manneh Weah’s administration this year before he resigned.
Journalists had converged at the police headquarters to await Mr. Weeks’ arrival, but they were immediately asked to leave while the ex-Governor appeared Wednesday.
Prior to his arrival, there were some friendly interaction between journalists and police, but it all changed suddenly when Mr. Weeks arrived as journalists were ordered to leave the headquarters.
At least some reporters managed to capture photos of his arrival before they were asked out.“This place is for securities, not for anybody claiming to be journalist or even journalists. Any information we want you to hear, we will get to y’all,” an officer says.
The Government here issued a national security circular Tuesday, advising persons of interest needed to assist with ongoing investigation into circumstance surrounding the importation of Liberian banknotes into Liberia between November 2017 and August 2018, not to leave the country.
The Ministry of Information says the government takes the ongoing investigation seriously because it has national security implications.Minister Eugene Nagbe says authorities at all points of entry or exit including land, border, air and seaports have been directed to take due cognizance of the circular.
The government circular says the investigation team has asked for the continued cooperation of Milton Weeks, George Abi Jaoudi, Charles Sirleaf, Richard Walker, Mariea E. G. Toe, Musulyn R. B. Jackson and Opheila Nyenpan. Others are Oldada Deshield, Prince Bull, J. Barquolleh Gabriel, Theodosia B. Jreh, Zinnah Davison, Solomon Jaykpah, Kollie Ballah, and Andrew Pabai, among others.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley