LRA Brands FPA Of ‘Yellow Journalism’, Refutes Reports Of Money Missing at CBL

Following series of reports by the Front Page Africa (FPA) of a reported missing money at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) which the paper claimed as ‘Taxpayers’ money, the  Commissioner-General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Thomas Doe Nah, has publicly rubbished the report.

Addressing a well-attended news conference on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, Commissioner General Doe Nah in a rather disappointing mood, lashed out at the management of Front Page Africa for not exhibiting the level of good journalism, but rather to engage in tarnishing the good reputation of people who he noted had made significance contributions in the growth and development of the Liberia.

Making specific reference of FPA the LRA’s Transitory Accounts Review, Commissioner-General Nah indicated that the memo on which the publication was based was ‘doctored’ and did not emanate from the LRA, stressing, “It hurts me when the media, for reasons best known to themselves, try to insinuate or try to twist activities of the LRA to focus on the death of our two falling colleagues. But what is even more serious is for a media entity like Front Page Africa who is expected to value integrity and report truthfulness to get involved in falsification of documents to meet their own selfish aim.”

Commissioner-General Nah in his live press conference, said the recent story published by a local media outlet was also intended to tarnish the reputation of the CBL because they insinuated that the bank was stealing tax money.

It can be recalled that in the Monday, November 16, 2020 edition of the Frontpage Africa newspaper, the story captioned, “Liberia: Millions Of Taxpayers’ Money Missing at Central Bank of Liberia Auditors Discovered” was published. The story said that an audit discovered over the three-year period US$17,580,280.37 and L$2,346,657,844 of taxes paid into transitory accounts at various commercial banks were not remitted to the consolidated general account at the Central Bank of Liberia.

The publication indicates that for the year 2017, revenue transactions amounting to US$2,043,813.75 and LD$327,130,712.16 on commercial banks’ statements were not captured in the 2017 CBL swift confirmation reports and therefore not reflected in the government’s Consolidated General Revenue Account.

According to LRA Commissioner-General Thomas Doe Nah, the memo published by Frontpage Africa (below) is a doctored version of the original LRA version:

In 2018 also, revenue transactions amounting to US$8,357,651.67 and LD$1,131,749,625.77 on commercial banks’ statements were not captured in the 2018 CBL swift confirmation reports and therefore not reflected in the government’s CGRA.

It further noted that in 2019, revenue transactions amounting to US$14,700,701.70 and LD$887,777,506.07 on commercial banks’ statements were not captured in the 2019 CBL swift confirmation reports and therefore not reflected in GOL’s CGRA.

Swift confirmation report is a confirmation report prepared by the beneficiary bank (CBL in this case) that funds have reached the beneficiary account.

In derogatory comments to media practitioners, Commissioner Nah stressed: “We are disappointed and feel injured by the report which has the tendency to mislead the public and undermine our role as the principal collector of taxes and administrator of the Revenue Code. We encourage media outlets to verify or authenticate sources of information or documents purporting to be products of the LRA.”

However, the LRA boss, who did not admit whether or not money was missing, stressed that the story was actually meant to tarnish his reputation and hard-earned character built over the years during his role as a civil society actor in Liberia.

Commissioner-General Nah disclosed that Liberia as a country can no longer survive on a US$500 million budget, stressing, “We need to move to a billion, but let’s say to you that, despite all our desire to transform our country leaving civil society and the private sector to contribute, there are people bent on tarnishing our reputation and undermining the efforts of the government. However, Commissioner Nah added that despite the smear campaign to discredit the government they are still optimistic about collecting revenues to ensure that civil servants and other workers are paid.

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About Cholo Brooks 13495 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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