-Vows To Thoroughly Investigate Missing ‘LRD16 Billion’
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The government of Liberia has vowed to thoroughly investigate ‘LRD16billion’ from the Freeport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport (RIA).
Containers full of money believed to be LRD16billion and reportedly signed for by some staffs of the Central Bank of Liberia and taken out of the port is said to have gone missing.
However, after public outcry over the well-about of the money, the Ministry of Justice in a press statement Monday, September 17 confirmed reports that the Liberia National Police (LNP), the National Security Agency (NSA) in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) have been mandated to investigate the matter.
According to the Justice Ministry, “Initial findings indicate that the containers and bags of moneys arrived between November 2017 and August 2018.
“Evidence available to the investigative team has established that the current administration was not informed about the bags and containers of money in the country.”
Appearing on state radio, the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) on Tuesday September 18, 2018, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe confirmed initial investigation has established that the banknotes in question were reportedly printed in three countries, China, Lebanon and Sweden respectively, something he said is ‘unusual’.
He revealed that President George Weah was not informed by anyone associated with financial issues in the country regarding the missing billion Liberian dollars despite attending over 50 meetings attended by some of those officials, something he said raises concern.
“It’s very unusual for the banknotes to be printed in different countries at the same time. It’s a concern which prompted the investigation and we will make comprehensive report to the Liberian people,” he said.
Minister Nagbe further informed the Liberian people that the Ministry of Justice decided to inform the public that investigations were ongoing to trace the links to the missing money.
He revealed that the missing banknotes are said to be in different categories, saying “the amount is believed to be LRD16billion and we have not announced LRD9billion, but we are still investigating and once we have all the facts, we will inform the public comprehensively.”
He also revealed that the total of LRD15billion is the recognized banknotes currently on the liberian market.
He revealed that they have invited past and present officials of the Central Bank of Liberia, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, foreign officials among others to aid the investigation.
However, Minister Nagbe said despite the situation and public criticisms, President George Weah wouldn’t allow himself to be distracted.
“Some of those criticisms are not positive at all. It is not possible that President Weah will allow LRD9billion or LRD16billion of the Liberian people’s money to just go like that. We will investigate comprehensively,” he added.