The Government of Liberia finally breaks silence here on the reported disappearance of a 40-foot container stacked with newly printed Liberian Banknotes, totaling 9 Billion LRD or over US$50 Million from the Freeport of Monrovia.
The money reportedly printed in Lebanon in the denominations of 100 and 500 LRDs respectively, disappeared in thin air from the Freeport on March 31, 2018.
A local daily reported recently that request to take delivery of the money from the port was allegedly written by the Director of General Services, Mrs. Mariea E. Grisby-Toe, Musulyn R.B. Jackson, Oldada Deshield and five others of the Central Bank of Liberia, but it was never taken to the Central Bank, according to reports.
A Government of Liberia official press release issued here Monday, 17 September by the Ministry of Justice under the signature of Minister and Attorney General, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean, Jr., for the very first time confirms that on August 8, 2018 a Special Presidential Investigative Team, comprising the Liberia National Police, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), was constituted and mandated to investigate information surrounding the arrival of containers and bags of moneys into the country, by and thru the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport, respectively.
“Initial findings indicate the containers and bags of moneys allegedly arrived between November 2017, prior to the inauguration of the current Government, and August 2018. Evidence available to the Investigative Team has established that the current administration was not informed about the arrival of the containers and bags of money into the country”, the release reads.
The government says investigation is actively ongoing, and release of information to the public will be measured against the need to preserve the sanctity of the investigation and ensure that professional standards are not compromised.
The government’s release, posted on the social media by the Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Lenn Eugene Nagbe did not say why it took five long months (March 31, 2018 to August 2018) after the incident to publicly comment about the alleged missing containers and bags of moneys in situation clearly seen here as having no choice, amid mounting concerns among Liberians after the media broke the news.
Recently plain clothe detectives backed by armed officers of the Liberia National Police condoned the 5th Floor of the Central Bank of Liberia on Ashmun Street in Monrovia, detaining staff of the Auditing Department, searching records and demanding access to computers within the department.
-Story by Jonathan Browne