The long-awaited findings from investigations into the alleged ‘missing 16 billion’ newly printed Liberian bank notes have been released to the public with no clear clue whether money did go missing. But one thing that seems clear from the investigators is that Liberia’s fiscal and monetary management processes are beset by systemic long-standing vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.
In fact, the USAID’s report released by the United States Embassy near Monrovia draws the Government of Liberia’s attention to the importance of drawing on international best practices in the conduct of economic affairs, including thoroughly documenting transactions to ensure credibility and transparency.
In the entire U.S. Embassy-sponsored investigation conducted by Kroll Associates Inc., findings point to systemic and procedural weaknesses at the Central Bank of Liberia that leaves room for compromise at nearly all levels.
Now that the findings are public, we believe while it is important to go after individuals who supervised and handled transactions concerning the printing of new banknotes that has plunged the economy into serious inflation and rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar, the real challenge now is correcting the system.
The lack of credibility and transparency in our governing system is systemic and should be addressed as a fundamental problem. Officials take pleasure in conducting the public business in secrecy, and they care less about being accountable.
We applaud Kroll Associates Inc. for doing an excellently independent job under the circumstances, where officials did everything in erasing trails of their corrupt deals, including withholding communications with external partners that could have help with the investigation in many ways.
Surely, the reported request or order from the CBL to Crane AB to print excess LRD2 billion plus which was infused in this little economy was not only devilish, but unpatriotic.
Something is fundamentally wrong with us Liberians; the greed for personal wealth and power at the expense of the majority is killing this nation. Those involved should beware that stolen wealth is a curse that affects even a third generation.
We call on the current administration to work with international partners in putting in place best practices that would protect our finances and natural resources. However, we know that partners can do only their best and nothing else.
It is left with Liberians themselves, to demonstrate love for country and fellow compatriots, by serving with transparency and accountability in whatever public offices or positions they occupy in order to leave behind high standards for those who would come after in order to preserve the Motherland.