Leaked Document Shows LACC Will Now Investigate US$25 Million Mop-Up Exercise

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Hours ahead of President George Weah’s address to the nation, a communication has leaked to the public showing Justice Minister Musa Dean requesting that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission launch a “full-scale investigation” into the findings of the General Auditing Commission’s recent report on the US$25 million mop-up funds.

GAC recently submitted to the Ministry of Justice its findings into an Agreed-upon Procedure of the US$25 million intended to mop-up excess Liberian dollars on the market, however, the type of audit done was not the full investigative audit that the president had announced to the public.

However,  the GAC report unveiled many discrepancies between what the Central Bank reported and what was established by the investigation.

According to the leaked communication, the justice minister was requesting LACC’s officer-in-charge, Charles Gibson, to conduct the investigation “in the shortest possible time,” because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“The MOJ assures you of its continued collaboration, as the LACC proceeds with the matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us if need be,” the communication further quotes the justice minister.

According to an Executive Mansion press release, the president will address the nation at mid-day on Wednesday, on “prevailing national developments.”

It disclosed that the president’s address will also focus on the current state of the economy and the GAC’s on the botched US$25 million mop-up exercise.

Earlier, Transparency International’s local affiliate, the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, termed the GAC recent report “a waste of the Liberian people’s precious time and money.”

According to CENTAL, the government had disclosed that the president’s mandate grew out of the preliminary report from a presidential investigative team. That report had called for a “forensic investigation” of the entire mop-up exercise. An independent report conducted by Kroll Associates and sponsored by the U.S. government also suggested the same.

The organization wondered why the GAC proceeded with an Agreed upon Procedure instead of a forensic audit.

“CENTAL struggles to understand the rationale for this position, which contradicts the clear and unambiguous mandate of President Weah that the GAC conducts an investigative audit,” the release also provides.

According to the local transparency organization, the report released by the GAC cannot suffice as an investigative audit in light of the circumstances that gave rise to the commissioning of the audit.

It recommended that the president ask the GAC to conduct an investigative audit, in keeping with his earlier mandate and provide assurance regarding the findings. The group also recommends that the GAC be allowed an additional three-week period to conduct the forensic investigation, building on preliminary information in its possession.

CENTAL further encouraged the president to take appropriate administrative actions against the justice minister for failing to ensure that the presidential directive for an investigative audit was considered and adhered to by GAC.

The Liberian leader has been facing significant pressure to fix the economy and tackled perceived corruption within his government.

The Bush Chicken reached out to the Justice Ministry for comments but could not get a response within time to publish.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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