Crane Currency, the company accused of conniving with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to print excess Liberian dollar banknotes at the expense of Liberian taxpayers has refuted the allegation, noting that its operations with CBL was in full compliance with the law.
Crane was drawn in the L$16 billion fray when the Presidential Investigation Team (PIT) in their investigative report stated that CRANE which was contracted by the CBL in two separate contracts to print banknotes totaling L$15 billion at the cost of US$15,331,689.20 conspired with officials of the CBL to defraud the Government of Liberia by ignoring the terms and conditions of the contract and went ahead to print L$18,151,000,000 in breach of the contract. The Government of Liberia incurred an extra printing cost of US$835,367.78.
However, CRANE in its first reaction to the allegation, stated in a press release that there have been no charges levelled against them by the Liberian government.
“Crane has not been charged with any crime in Liberia, and at all times Crane has operated in full compliance with the law and rejects completely any allegation of wrongdoing,” Crane noted in the release.
The currency printing firm further denied allegations of receiving kickbacks to violate the contract with the Government of Liberia.
“That allegation is false and without merit. Crane fulfilled its contractual obligations as set out in two delivery contracts and two subsequent documented agreements between the CBL for Crane to deliver the finished banknotes, and every banknote delivered was properly invoiced and accounted for. Crane was paid in full the correct amount (and no more) as had been agreed with our Liberian customer for these contracted deliveries of banknotes, and there were no excess or improper payments made by the CBL or any other party.”
PIT report, Milton Weeks, found former Governor of the Central Bank, Charles Sirleaf, Deputy Governor for Operations, Hagba Dorbor, director of banking, Richard H. Walker and Joseph Dennis liable of conniving to conceal the true nature of the total and actual amount of Liberian dollar banknotes printed and received by the CBL.
They were all arrested upon the release of the report on February 29. Currently, they face charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and Misuse of Public Money, Property or Records and Illegal Disbursement and Expenditure of Public Money.
According to the Kroll report, Crane AB was awarded the second contract in June 2017 by the CBL to print new banknotes totaling L$0.0 billion, four weeks before two officials from the Legislature requested that the CBL replace all legacy banknotes.
The CBL procured the services of Crane AB for both contracts without adhering to its own internal tendering policies for procurement, the report said.