CBL Finally Declares: “No Billions Missing, Money Is Currently Safe In Bank’s Vault”
Following weeks of speculations on the alleged missing of Sixteen Billion Liberian Dollars which drew local and international outcry that led to a protest for the Government to bring back the alleged missing money, authority of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has confirmed and declared that Fifteen billion Liberian dollars brought in the country between 2016 and 2018 is currently in the bank’s vault.
Addressing a major news conference a today, October 2, CBL Governor Nathaniel Patray said: “There is no such record shown that such money has not yet been delivered to the CBL. All the money is in the vault, noting, “The CBL wants to clarify to the general public and partner in progress that there is no L$16 billion missing, as has been erroneously reported in the media. The CBL has no records showing that the monies printed under its authority have not yet been delivered into its reserve vaults. Record from the Crane Currency of Sweden, which was contracted to print the money, shows that the Crane delivered 15.5 billion through the Freeport and RIA between 2016 and 2018 and that all these monies were logged by the CBL and delivered into the reserves vaults of the CBL.”
Flanked by Deputy Governor Charles Sirleaf and Dr. Mounir Siaplay, Deputy Governor for Economic Policy, the CBL Governor also revealed efforts to vacate the writ issued against some 30 members of the CBL.
Today local dailies today, Tuesday reportedthat the US Federal Reserve in New York responsible for the Central Bank of Liberia’s foreign transfers and payments had temporarily put a hold on all transactions with the CBL until the it can clarify the instruction from the Monrovia City Court about the bank officials linked to the L$16 billion scandal.
CBL sources confirmed to FPA Sunday that the Feds have expressed concerns about multiple reports in the local and international press regarding the alleged disappearance of millions of dollars in local currency. The Feds are said to be particularly concerned about the mention of Mr. Charles Sirleaf, who along with some 29 bank officials including the former Governor Milton Weeks have been barred from traveling by the Monrovia City Court.
Mr. Sirleaf, the bank’s Deputy Governor is responsible for Finance, Banking and General Services Departments. His signature is said to be key to all major foreign transfer payments out of Liberia. Thus, the Feds are said to be uncomfortable dealing with Liberia without a legitimate signatory.
Also barred from traveling and under investigation is Mr. Milton A. Weeks, the former Executive Governor Office of the Executive Governor, who previously oversaw the overall Management of the Bank.
Multiple sources confirmed to a local daily, FrontPageAfrica Monday that several of Liberia’s stakeholders including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been raising red flags and concerns that those under investigation should not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the CBL, particularly regarding the US Federal Reserve.
President George Manneh Weah recently established a Special Presidential Committee to probe the mysterious alleged disappearance of L$16 billion from the vault of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Monrovia City Court last week restricted the movement of 35 employees of the bank pending the outcome of the investigation.
The involvement of the court was triggered by a Writ of Ne-Exeat Republica prayed for by authorities at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to restrain persons of interest from leaving the jurisdiction of the court pending an action.
It is unclear what Governor Patray’s revelation would do to preempt the ongoing investigation into the scandal. The Governor’s statement follows a similar tone ranted by President Weah Sunday upon his return from the United Nations General Assembly that he did not believe any money was missing.
Governor Patray’s revelation Tuesday contradicts an earlier statement from the government’s chief spokesman Lenn Eugene Nagbe who revealed in an interview with the VOA Daybreak Africa that the current President was kept in the dark by the former administration of President Sirleaf. Minister Nagbe told the VOA that President George Weah was never kept appraised about the new banknotes during the transitional period. “…One would have thought that this new President would have been informed about all of these transactions during the transition notes that were presented to him during the transition meeting but he was not aware,” Nagbe said.
Minister Nagbe went on to confirm the printing of money in several countries. “We can confirm that the money was brought through the Freeport of Liberia and the Roberts International Airport and for now it is US$16 billion Liberian dollars that we have confirmed. An estimated of a little over 15 billion Liberian dollars as far as we have concerned from the ongoing investigation as of today and it came in the two ports of entry.”
The Minister said in November of 2017, the investigation had determined and confirmed that a batch of banknotes came in the country – just before the President assumed office. “Now, when the President received information about these newly-minted banknotes, he sanctioned an investigation which is being chaired by the Ministry of Justice and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and other security apparatus. The idea is to understand how much money came into the country, how much was ordered, how much was printed, which country it was printed in and how did it affect the foreign exchange situation in the country.”