The Ministry of Justice has said that the recent report from the General Auditing Commission (GAC) on the US$25 million Mop-up exercise has unearthed systemic weaknesses and flaws at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
“The description of discrepancies, variances and delays in posting financial transactions, contained in the GAC’s Report, points to systemic weaknesses at the CBL,” says Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean.
The comments from the Justice Minister were in response to the Auditor General’s Report of Factual Findings on the US$25 million Mop-up exercise conducted by the Central Bank of Liberia.
Dean emphasized that the GAC report, like the Kroll and the Presidential Investigation Team’s (PIT) Reports, reveals entrenched, systemic flaws at the CBL over the years.
On July 16, 2018, the President, Dr. George Manneh Weah addressed the nation on the state of the economy and announced an immediate infusion by the Central Bank of Liberia of the amount of US$25 million into the economy to mop-up excess liquidity of Liberian dollar on the market.
Following the President’s announcement, the CBL under the mandate of the Technical Economic Management Team carried out the mop-up during the period of July 17 to October 30, 2018.
However, a report from the PIT following the mop-up exercise shows that the amount of US$15 million was used for direct mop-up of excess Liberian dollar from large importers, small businesses and foreign exchange bureaus, while the amount of US$2 million was auctioned to TOTAL Liberia Inc.
PIT recommended a further forensic investigation into how the US$25 million was infused into the economy.
As suggested by PIT, President Weah requested the GAC to conduct an investigative audit into the US$25 million earmarked for the mop-up exercise through the Minister of Justice /Attorney General.
In its factual findings released recently, the GAC cited that out of the US$25 million authorized by the president, only US$17 million was used during the mop-up campaign.
Multiple sections of the report subsequently pointed to discrepancies and variances in the accounting records of the mop-up.
But, Justice Minister Dean stated in the MoJ response on the audit that the variances and discrepancies placed the burden of proof on the CBL to explain the inconsistencies or to establish whether or not the charges from the GAC were factual.
He said consistent with the GAC factual finding, L$2.6 billion, which constitutes US$17 million, was actually brought to the vault, something which indicates that “No money is missing in the US$25 million mop-up exercise.
Amidst public outcry and calls for the government to take action based upon findings from the GAC, Dean has, meanwhile, informed the public that the MoJ has made specific recommendations to President Weah as regards the report, citing that the President will shortly address the nation on the matter.