Winning the counterfeit war
The Liberian economy is being attacked from several fronts, including flooding the market here with counterfeit banknotes in exchange for legal currency characterized by unpredictably skyrocketing exchange rates and rapid depreciation of the Liberian dollar with inverse rise in prices.
What has even become more scaring is the wave of pouring in of foreign nationals, particularly Nigerians with millions of fake banknotes ready to be exchanged for real money thus, creating hyperinflation and diminishing purchase power of most ordinary Liberians.
Despite frantic effort by national security apparatus to curb the broad day robbery, those operating the money mills seem very determined in subjecting this economy to mockery, bring it on its knees and eventually cripple the operations of government.
The intensity of the syndicate appears to be overwhelming the capacity of the Liberia National Police, as the Inspector General of Police Col. Patrick Sudue, publicly declared last week that it would take about half of the total strength of his officers to adequately man the porous borders of the country along with personnel of the Liberia Immigration Service in order to stop suspects bringing bags of counterfeit banknotes from entering Liberia.
The Police have made several arrests of suspects in possession of both counterfeit Liberian Dollars and United States Dollars, coming to flood the market. The situation has drawn huge public concern here, and the national government seriously seems incapacitated
From all indications, we suspect that those involved in the fake money cartel are not operating along. There might be accomplices or collaborators in the business community and high profile offices that are making this trade not only attractive, but profitable here.
Therefore, we urge the entire national security force to move one step ahead of the syndicate by keeping close surveillance both within and without as we suspect there might be a network on the ground.
Rather than being pessimistic as the Police IG Sudue sounded the other day, we believe this counterfeit business can be curtailed drastically, if not totally eradicated, to give the economy a breathing space. All that is required is complete vigilance and sincerity on all sides.
We hope a mole is not in the system that could be working with the criminals, miles ahead, while pretending to be fighting crimes, as had been experienced with the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) in going after drug traffickers, which eventually led to the dismissal of its former head.
Yes, the battle against counterfeit is winnable if all hands were on deck. Commercial banks in the country and other financial institutions should equally get involved by thoroughly scrutinizing huge instant deposits to follow the trail along with our national security apparatus, for we refuse to accept that the criminals have overwhelmed us. We shouldn’t make them to feel so, and they shouldn’t be allowed to think so.