Amid ongoing investigation by the Government of Liberia about mission billions of Liberian banknotes, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) says there is no 16 billion Liberian Dollars missing, as has been reported in the media here, calling on the Government to vacate its writ and remove the travel restriction placed on CBL staff “so as not to interrupt the smooth operations of the CBL.”
The current probe have seen several employees of the CBL called in for questioning, including former executive governor J. Milton Weeks and incumbent deputy governor Charles Sirleaf.“The Central Bank of Liberia wants to clarify to the general public and our partners in progress that there is no 16 billion Liberian Dollars missing as has been erroneously reported in the media,” the CBL says in a press statement Tuesday, 2 October.
The CBL’s statement comes just after President George Manneh Weah on Monday, 1 October ruled out any possibility of money being missing under his regime, ahead of findings from an independent investigation for which the government says it was inviting international reputable institutions to help with investigation.
Instead, President Weah says if any money went missing as reported, it may be during the regime of his predecessor, former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.According to the CBL, its records show that the total money that was printed and placed in its reserve vaults was L$15.5 billion for the period of 2016 to 2018.
The Bank says this amount was verified from its internal documents and documents received from the Crane Currency of Sweden, the contracted printer of the money in question.It continues that it has concluded its internal assessment on monies printed and brought in Liberia between 2016 and 2018.
The Bank says it has no records showing that monies printed under its authority have not yet been delivered into its reserve vaults.The Bank furthers that records from Crane Currency of Sweden which was contracted to print the money show that Crane delivered L$15.5 billion through the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport between 2016 and 2018.
According to the CBL, it logged all these monies and delivered them into the reserve vaults.The CBL statement raises eye brows here, coming over three weeks after news of missing “containers and bags of moneys” broke, and subsequently confirmed by the Minister of Information Lenn Eugene Nagbe, putting the figure at 16 billion Liberian Dollars.
However, the Bank says it welcomes the expansion of the investigative team by including local institutions and international institutions including the US Government, the African Union, EU, ECOWAS, UN and the IMF.
CBL says it is its latest information that based on engagement, the Liberian Government and partners are in the process of securing the services of a reputable international forensic audit firm to conduct a forensic audit of all flows of printed money between 2016 and 2018.
The Central Bank promises to cooperate with this investigation and avail all records in its possession to such probe.The Bank further confirms that all employees of CBL are committed to cooperating fully with the investigation and will continue to make themselves to the Special Investigative Team whenever they are called upon.
By Winston W. Parley