In ‘Missing L$16 Billion Banknotes Saga’ Ex-President Sirleaf Exonerates Son, Says He Was Unjustifiably, Illegally Charged

Ex-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has lamented that her son, Charles Sirleaf was unjustifiably and illegally charged in the alleged missing L$16 billion banknotes saga in Liberia.

Mr. Sirleaf, a former Deputy Governor of Liberia’s Central Bank, and the bank’s Governor, Milton Weeks, together with other officials of the Central Bank were arrested in April 2019 for allegedly seeking to conceal the true nature of the total and actual amount of Liberian dollar banknotes printed and received by the Bank.

Investigations conducted into the missing money scandal uncovered that CRANE AB, the company contracted by the Central Bank of Liberia in two separate contracts to print banknotes totaling L$15 billion at the cost of  S$15,331,689.20 connived with officials of the CBL to defraud the Liberian Government by ignoring the terms and conditions of the contract, going ahead to print $18,151,000,000 in breach of the contract.

That made Liberia incurred an extra printing cost of US$835,367.78.

But in an interview with AlJazeera’s Upfront program with Mehdi Raza Hasan, madam Sirleaf who has been defensive of her children over the years even in the face of gross misconduct, said “He (Charles Sirleaf) was unjustifiably and illegally charged.”

Hasan: You appointed your son Charles Sirleaf as Deputy Governor there, you suspended him for his failure to declare his assets and two months ago he was ordered to be held in jail while awaiting trial for unlawfully printed local currency worth tens of millions of U.S. dollars. Did you know he was doing that?

Sirleaf: Well, I didn’t know you wanted to have an interview just to come out with outrageous statements… That is not true. That is not true. That is not true. He was unjustifiably, illegally charged.”

The interview which ended in ‘confusion’ focused on Madam Sirleaf’s appointment of her sons, Robert Sirleaf and Charles Sirleaf to key government positions during her 12-year rule.

She claimed their appointments were based on their skills sets.

But Hasan sought to find out why despite her justification, the National Oil Company of Liberia ran into bankruptcy and massive corruption with the disappearance of $30 to US$40 million under the watch of her son, Mr. Robert Sirleaf as Chairman of the Board, questioning “What special skill set did he bring to the company?”

Agitated Sirleaf could not wait for the question to end, “No, no, no,” she interrupted. “First of all, let me just say that is a blatant lie, L-I-E, lie. You go look at the records, there is nothing about that company going bankrupt. The National Oil Company ran into… because the two companies that were trying to explore for oil, Exxon Mobil and Chevron could not find oil. They pull out and that meant that this company could not continue. It’s as simple as that and the records are there.

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About Cholo Brooks 14438 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.