Multiple U.S. sources closed to yours GNN-Liberia or www.gnnliberia.com have disclosed that the U.S. Secret Service, and investigators from European Union countries are said to be seriously concerned about the continuous influx of millions of United States dollars counterfeits banknotes in Africa, especially, Liberia, a situation our sources said is worrisome to the United States and the European Union countries’ financial security experts vowing to reportedly launch a robust investigation as to the source of such happenings.
The U.S. Secret Service has a long and storied history of safeguarding America’s financial and payment systems from criminal exploitation. The agency was created in 1865 to combat the rise of counterfeit currency following that country’s Civil War.
Prior to the seizure of Two Hundred and Forty-Seven Thousand United States Dollars counterfeits banknotes in 2014 by the National Security Agency (NSA) from Korean and Sierra Leonean businessmen, the Ministry of Justice at the time said it ordered that the ‘confiscated’ money had been deposited into an escrow account at a local bank until the legality of the issue was determined. While at the same time the NSA at that time disclosed that the counterfeit banknote in question were all in US$100 denomination.
As such criminal activities continues here in Liberia, recently another culprit was arrested in possession of One million Liberian Dollars of counterfeit banknotes, in the denomination of L$500 notes.
The money in question was allegedly confiscated from one Samuel Carlos upon arrival at the Airport via an Asky Airlines flight. The seized currency, according to the Liberia Revenue Authority was in the amount of L$1.3 million — and in two denominations — L$100 and L$500.
At the exchange rate of 150, the money would have fetched Carlos nearly US$9,000 — signaling that counterfeiting Liberia currency in higher denomination is a lucrative business.
This latest arrest comes ten months after the Central Bank of Liberia seized L$1 million worth of counterfeit banknotes, in the denomination of L$500 notes. Also, in 2021, a 33-year-old Nigerian man, Ementuche Benjamin, was arrested in Lofa County with L$1 million in L$500 denominations.
“On Oct 12, (night hours) the Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) seized L$1.3 million banknotes at the Roberts International Airport (RIA),” D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh, LRA spokesman speaking to a local said. “The currency was purportedly transported by an arriving passenger on ASKY flight. An investigation by multiple agencies is currently ongoing to establish the authenticity of the banknotes and surrounding circumstances.”
Carlos’ arrest comes as the Central Bank of Liberia rolls out across the country a new family of Liberian currency, with new security features, that strengthen it. The CBL printed L$100 and the existing L$500 banknotes, when held up and flipped, the seal on the banknotes becomes visible inside the left white field and the stars in the threads across the notes do move.
But counterfeit banknotes in such a high denomination do not have such features. Moreover, the paper used for the counterfeit banknotes can be easily detected from their feel and look as well. Meanwhile, the CBL’s Communication Director, Cyrus W. Badio, has disclosed that the state is investigating the latest seizure, after which the Bank “will be informed officially for technical evaluation to ascertain whether the said money is counterfeit banknotes.”
With all of these criminal activities, the United States financial security experts are said to be concerned about these unwanted incidents, and are reportedly willing to assist their Liberian counterparts in tracking down those who are involved in such ugly act.