(Reuters) – The U.S. government is considering helping Liberia track down more than $100 million in missing cash, an embassy spokesman said, in a case that has triggered a political crisis in the impoverished country.
Several shipments of freshly printed Liberian dollars ordered from abroad by the central bank have been unaccounted for since they passed through the country’s main ports in November 2017 and August this year, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe said on Tuesday.
Minister of Justice Frank Musa Dean said the government had sought U.S. help in investigating the whereabouts of the cash, equivalent to nearly five percent of Liberia’s GDP.
Washington has worked with the Liberian government on fiscal transparency and governance issues in the past.
“(We) are reviewing the request for assistance,” the U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters via email late on Thursday.
News of the money’s disappearance – with cabinet members giving differing versions of events – sparked outrage in the West African country, with politicians and pressure groups calling for more transparency.
While the investigation is ongoing, 15 people have been barred from leaving the country, including ex-central bank governor Milton Weeks and Charles Sirleaf, son of former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.