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Who spent the missing billions?

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Ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and opposition Liberty Party (LP) appear to see each other as suspects in Liberia’s biggest financial scandal, citing 2017 campaign – time fleet of vehicles acquired by both parties as clues for investigators to find who allegedly spent Liberia’s missing billions.

Appearing on a live talk show (OK Fm) Wednesday, 17 October Dillon says CDC Chair Mulbah Morlu had suggested that the LP should be a subject of investigation because the opposition party brought in pickups last year during campaign.

“These guys can just get up and lie. Liberty Party is prepared to face any investigation. We bought those pickups, we passed them through Freeport, we paid our duties through LRA, everything, the processes are in place,” Dillon argues.

Liberia’s key historical ally the United States of America says it will help to conduct investigation using international forensic experts, exclusive of a special presidential investigative team set up by President George Manneh Weah over the alleged $15.5 missing billion Liberian Dollars.

“Now, but let’s use the childish … reasoning by Mulbah Morlu. When we brought in pickups for the campaign, CDC was bringing helicopters and new buses and new pickups and new motorbikes. Should they be subject for investigation too?” Dillon counters.

He claims there is no $16 billion in fact, and rather challenges government to account for alleged 9 billion Liberian banknotes loaded in a container that was allegedly cleared from the Freeport of Monrovia on 31 March this year.

He continues the government is using the figure 16 billion to confuse Liberians, stressing the need for accountability for 9 billion that was allegedly cleared in March.Dillon insists that if government could tell Liberians about the money that came through the Freeport and was allegedly cleared on 31 March, and how the US$25m announced by President George Manneh Weah was used to mop up excess liquidity in the economy, then the investigation would be heading somewhere.

But in a swift reaction on the live talk show, Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon expresses hope that Mr. Dillon will come forward with the information he has “concerning the so – called 9 billion LRD that he talked about.”

Dillon discloses he heard CDC’s Morlu saying that he was told that plenty people carried pickups to Central Bank vault and took Liberians’ money to private homes.“You want Liberty Party to appear before an investigation when you already have somebody who got credible information where our money was,” Dillon adds.

In an audio said to be of Mr. Morlu played by host station OK FM, the ruling CDC chair could be heard blasting that former Central Bank governor Milton Weeks “is the individual that gave the authorization for the printing of additional ten billion dollars that did not go to the Legislature.”
Mr. Morlu says if he were to testify about the missing money, he would ask Milton Weeks how did the money leave the Freeport of Monrovia?

The ruling party chair says he would have also asked the Central Bank governor how the whole container loaded with Liberian Dollars “is said to have ended up at the vault of National Housing and Savings Bank?”

“If I were asked to testify in this saga, I would have asked the Central Bank governor how come the whole container loaded of Liberian Dollars is said to have ended up at the vault of National Housing and Savings Bank … where it is alleged that pickups were driven there under the cover of darkness during the campaign and were there uploaded and taken to personal homes when George Weah was not yet president?” says Morlu.

But Dillon maintains the CDC has been panicking since this alleged missing billions issue came to light.He claims that the ruling party and government have held more than hundred press conferences since the money issue broke here, four of which he says were allegedly held by CDC Chair Mulbah Morlu alone in three days before the “Bring Back Our Money” protest.

He indicates that the LP has just made its financial report with the National Elections Commission (NEC) in keeping with the Constitution.According to him, government is not serious about the ongoing investigation on grounds that it was aware of the money since April this year, but didn’t announce investigation until the media broke the story.

He additionally observes the Liberia Anti – Corruption Commission (LACC) was added to the team of investigators after the Commission expressed disappointment on not being included.In reaction to these claims, Deputy Minister Fahngon thinks that Mr. Dillon is confused when he says government is not serious because it lacks credibility, and yet goes on to accept the fact that government invited foreign investigators for the matter.

By Winston W. Parley–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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