L$16 billion, not L$9 billion: How it disappeared…

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Monrovia, Liberia- Since last week, Liberia has been rocked by information of huge sum of missing Liberian dollars; a news that have shocked Liberians all around the world, especially when the country is facing its worst economic debacle since the end of the Liberian civil war. After the news came out, the government remained tight-lipped, claiming that they were conducting initial investigation. But how did L$16 billion disappeared in tin air? Who were involved? The Liberian Billboard investigative team has been gathering info from sources in high places in government, and reports.

 

The Arrivals:

Unlike what was previously reported, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe on Tuesday reported that the money being unaccounted for is L$16 billion, instead of L$9 billion, an amount which has created more shock among Liberians. Although the Minister failed to give details of the arrivals of the monies into the country, he also denied that the government announced that any money is missing, The Liberian Billboard have gathered information on how the whole issued occurred.

Nearing the end of President Sirleaf’s term, the House of Legislature passed an act to print additional Liberian banknotes; an action which they said, would create economic relief.

The first unspecified amount of Liberian dollars arrived in the country in November 2017, a month before the second round of the 2017 elections via the Roberts International Airport and can be attributed to the past regime.

In March 2018, the second container arrived at the Freeport of Monrovia. After the container arrived, instructions from high level officials in the current government were sent to APM Terminal that Senior Executives directly handle the offloading process as it was a matter of national security. Under escort of the Liberia National Police and some staffers of the Central Bank of Liberia, the containers containing the monies were escorted not to the Central Bank of Liberia, but to an unknown location. Unconfirmed reports says, the Central Bank of Liberia has an offsite vault, however, whether the money was carried there is yet to be verified. Both amounts totals L$16 billion (US$120 million).

 

The Cover-up:

When the second shipment of money arrived in March, the government did not inform the public about its arrival, neither did they tell citizens about the disbursements. Until the information leaked, starting with Mr. Philibert Browne outburst, the government information surrounding the money were shrouded in secrets.

Like we reported yesterday, highly placed sources informed The Liberian Billboard that the US$25 million announced by the President for economic relief came from the money that arrived in the country in March. What is even more fascinating, the Inspector General of Police is the one who provided escort for the containers.

While people are trying to shield the President from this money saga, officials in the President’s inner circle had direct knowledge of the amount. Sources deeply rooted at the echelon of the current government operations says, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill had direct knowledge of the money arrival, as well as disbursements.

Speaking on ELBC radio Tuesday morning, Min. Eugene Nagbe confirmed that the government hasn’t announced that any money is missing. This might be true as our sources say, top officials of government had direct knowledge of the money arrival and were involved directly with disbursements.

Additional information available to the Liberian Billboard says, during an emergency meeting on Monday, top government officials discussed ways to cool tensions surrounding the money saga. A source told The Liberian Billboard that an official was quoted as saying, “This is just two weeks talk. After two weeks, this whole thing will die down.” The strategies that were designed include, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe appearing on various talk shows, while CDCians and supporters of the government call in to express support to the government on the issue; and security agencies carry out pretentious investigations about the whole saga. Information surrounding the investigation will then be released bit by bit until persons selected to take the fall are announce. Our sources says, few persons have already been prepped to take the fall, and will be prosecuted and jailed under pretense, and released after tensions from the public have subsided.

 

The Beneficiaries???:

Our sources revealed, former Bank Governor Milton Weeks had some issues with the way money storage, arrival and disbursements were been handled. With instructions from the Offices of the Minister of State, he was asked to resign. “After Week’s resignation and Mr. Nathaniel Partray ascendancy to the position of Governor, disbursements became smooth, with Minister Tweah and McGill direct knowledge”, our sources said. “They took money at will and it is impossible to say that the President didn’t have knowledge of the disbursement because the place the containers were carried, he should know when money is being removed from there”, one source stated.

Since the inauguration of this government, certain officials within the circle of the President have become to acquire properties without asset declaration. Most of these properties were acquired in between times of these monies arrivals and the news becoming public. Please see officials and properties acquired in recent times below:

  1. Nathaniel McGill

In January, Mr. Nathaniel McGill made a part payment on a 5-bed room house on the RIA highway opposite the Bible Way Mission. According to reports, Minister McGill said he took a loan from LBDI to make the part payment. However, latest information available to the Liberian Billboard says, Mr. McGill has paid the full amount of US$180,000.00 for the property.

Mr. McGill property opposite the Bible Way Mission

2. Samuel Tweah

Finance Minister Tweah is currently constructing a real estate outside Monrovia. The cost is not known, but it comprise of many buildings, and fenced.

Minister Samuel Tweah Estate outside Monrovia

3. Jefferson Koijee

Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee is reported to have recently bought the property of the late John Caranda located in Sinkor. According to reports, Koijee paid the property three times because of ownership disputes and the amount is valued at over US$100,000.00.

Mayor Jefferson Koijee property he recently purchased in Sinkor, Monrovia

4. Sekou Kalasco Damaro

Information in possession of the Liberian Billboard says, Presidential Aide, Sekou Kalasco Damaro recently purchased a property on the RIA highway. The value is unknown.

Presidential Aide, Sekou Kalasco Damaro seen posing at recently purchased compound
As it is a fact that Liberians often talk issues for two weeks, it is also important to note that Liberians don’t forget that easily; evidenced by the 2017 elections results. While majority of the population are barely getting by, it is an affront to struggling citizens to have monies going missing, while top government officials swim in luxury spill cash of properties.
Many citizens who spoke to The Liberian Billboard expressed serious dissatisfaction with the government on the current state of affair and some who supported the CDC during the elections went as far as stating their regrets for voting them to power. However, other Liberians urged the public to remain calm as the government investigate the matter.
The Liberian Billboard will keep updating the public on additional info.