MONROVIA, Montserrado – President George Weah has revealed that independent investigation report on the alleged L$16 billion missing bank notes will finally be released to the public next month.
Weah made the disclosure on Monday when he addressed the 54th National Legislature for his second Annual Message.
“The report from the Kroll audit team is expected at the end of February 2019, and will be released to the public by USAID,” he said.
Following media reports last year that new banknotes of L$16 billion brought into the country between November 2017 and March 2018 through the seaport of Monrovia and the Roberts International Airport had gone missing, the government said it had launched an investigation into the matter.
But Liberians under the umbrella of the Concern Citizens United to Bring Our Money Back or COCUBOMB staged a mass protest and petitioned the international community, including the U.S. Embassy, the European Union, and United Nations to independently investigate the report. The group also call for the international community to suspend aid to the country until the government properly accounts for the money.
The government then requested the assistance of the European Union, African Union, the United States, and ECOWAS to help in conducting an independent external investigation into the alleged missing money.
The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia disclosed that USAID had reached out to independent, internationally recognized firms with specialization in forensic investigations to conduct a scoping mission that could ascertain the basic facts of the alleged missing currency and determine to what extent a broader mission would be needed.
According to the embassy, such a report from independent investigators would be most credible and effective to determine the scale of the problem. The embassy said it would also be an appropriate means of U.S. support to understand the allegations and facts.
Weah said because of the gravity of the allegations, his administration took several other actions including the setting up a Special Presidential and Technical Committee to investigate the report. But he did not mention whether the findings of the government’s investigation would also be released.
However, he said if it is established in the U.S. government’s independent investigation that there has been any “willful act of criminality, negligence, or malfeasance” by anyone implicated by the report, he or she will bear the full weight of the law.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah