LIBERIA: Court Grants Nolle Prosequoi To 3 Ex-CBL Officials In L$2.6 Billion Case

(LINA) – The Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia has for the second time granted nolle prosequoi to three former Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) officials linked to the L$2.6 billion dollar money saga.

The request made by the government of Liberia was based upon a motion to nolle prosequoi the defendants to enable them testify on behalf of the State.

This is the second motion filed by government to nolle prosequoi said defendants.

A new indictment was drawn against defendants Milton Weeks, Richard Walker, Joseph Dennis and Dorbor Hagba one month ago with other names added to the indictment.

The case against Charles Sirleaf, ex-deputy Governor of the CBL, was nolle prosequoi with prejudice to the State while the other three co-defendants without prejudice to the State at the time of the first motion to nolle prosequoi.

With the exception of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s son and former CBL Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles E. Sirleaf, the prosecution in the new indictment lists the Bank’s Board of Governors and its officials as indictees, including David M. Farhat, Melissa A. Emeh, Elsie Dossen-Badio and KollieTamba, along with the three others who wERE nolle prosequoi along with Charles Sirleaf.

CBL Governor Milton Weeks, his deputy and son of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Charles Sirleaf; Dobor Hagba, Joseph Dennis and Richard H. Walker were arrested by the Government of Liberia in connection with the L$2.6 billon alleged illegal printing of the amount.

Government’s new indictment contains seven charges which are higher in number compared to the five charges levied against the defendants in the previous indictments, and except for Mr. Sirleaf, all his alleged accomplices are re-indicted.

The defendants were indicted in 2019 for their alleged roles in the misapplication of 16 billion Liberian dollars printed and shipped to Liberia to replace old local currency after a series of mass protests led local and international institutions to investigate a claim that the money had gone missing.

The billions of Liberian dollars scandal emerged at the CBL when Mr. Sirleaf served as CBL’s Deputy Governor for Operations, just as the other defendants did in working in their various positions which they held before their indictment.

Said defendants are accused by prosecution of flagrantly violating Chapter 15, Section 15.51 of the New Penal Law of Liberia.

According to the indictment, the CBL Board of Governors in exercising its corporate power and authority passed a resolution dated 28 April 2016 for the purpose of selecting a firm and subsequently selected Crane Currency as the vendor to print the Liberian banknotes.

Weeks and the Board of Governors, including Farhat, Emeh, Badio and Tamba are accused of deliberately failing to revert to the Legislature in line with a communication that demanded that appropriate details of the amount or quantity and denominations of the replacing banknotes be submitted to the Legislature prior to their printing and minting of coins.

The Board is accused of mandating defendant Weeks to enter into a contract on June 12, 2019 with Crane Currency to print L$10,000,000,000 banknotes at the cost of US$10,121,689.20 before receiving the July 19, 2017 communication from the Legislature.

At the time of selecting Crane Currency to print L$5,000,000,000, the indictment says, the quantity of Liberian banknotes in circulation at the time was L$9.940 billion and that a significant number of the banknotes had worn out and mutilated, prompting the need to replace L$5,000,000,000 approved as the objective of the legislative joint resolution.

The indictment says it is demonstrably inconceivable for the CBL Board of Governors to have requested the printing of L$10,000,000,000 to replace all legacy notes when they knew that the total amount in circulation that should have been replaced was L$13.792 billion.

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