In the past two weeks the airwaves and newspapers’ headlines, including social media and public fora here, particularly in Monrovia have been saturated with news about the alleged disappearance of two 20-foot containers and bags of moneys from the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport. Official accounts put the total amount of moneys in question as between 15 and 16 Billion Liberian Dollars that was printed abroad and brought in the country thru the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport.
The Government of Liberia thru the Ministry of Justice last week announced an ongoing investigation by a Special Presidential Investigative Team comprised of investigators from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Liberia National Police to investigate information surrounding the arrival of containers and bags of moneys into the country.
A government circular subsequently issued last Tuesday asked for the continued cooperation of several individuals, including ex-governor 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, amongst others.
Since the news broke, Liberians have been restless and upset, demanding the whereabouts of the country’s moneys, and threatening to stage street protest. Already, some overzealous and misguided citizens are beginning to intrude into private premises with the aim of vandalizing those places and disrupting public peace.
But prior to departing the country last week for the United Nations, President George Manneh Weah called on Liberians to exercise patience as the investigation continues, assuring that everything is being done to unearth the facts and that anyone found culpritable would face the law.
We join President Weah in reechoing the call for restraint as investigation into the matter proceeds. Although it is the right of Liberians to protest whenever their peace and happiness are threatened, as the current situation indicates, but we emphasize the need for caution in exercising such right to avoid the matter degenerating into chaos.
It is important that we allow the government to probe the issue and come up with the facts so that the law would take its course, and the chips would fall wherever they may, rather than behave in ways that could become counterproductive to our desire to know the truth.
It is disheartening that a government less than a year in power with expressed desire to deliver development and economic prosperity would face such embarrassment. Those responsible for bringing such disgrace to our nation in the quest to satisfying their selfish desires, should not be allowed to go with impunity.
They should be made to face the law and account for this broad daylight white collar crime that has the potential to rob this country of development and deny its citizens opportunity to better school and health facilities, paved roads and other social services.
We as Liberians, have a lot to gain by exercising patience to allow the investigation reach a conclusive end, so the culprits can be identified and brought to justice rather than acting in ways that could derail our fragile peace undermine the government.