GANTA, Nimba – Mulbah Morlu, the chairman of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change, has called on the Presidential Investigation Team set up by President George Weah to probe the alleged disappearance of billions in newly printed banknotes to investigate the opposition Liberty Party.
Morlu’s statement comes after the investigative team admonished all members of the executive and legislative branches of the government to refrain from issuing press releases and utterances in public especially without consultation with the body.
Morlu told journalists in Nimba that Liberty Party had purchased 30 brand new pickups that were brought into the country for its 2017 presidential and representative campaign at the time the reported missing billions were printed.
As Liberty Party has been calling for those involved in the scandal to be investigated and prosecuted, Morlu has said the party should also be probed on how it procured those vehicles.
“The Liberty Party was a beneficiary of the financial benevolence of the then Unity Party-led government,” Morlu added.
“It is necessary for the party to provide [an] explanation on where it got the money from to procure the vehicles it used during the campaign period.”
But Daniel Sando, the assistant secretary general for political affairs of the Liberty Party, told The Bush Chicken on Monday, October 8 via mobile phone that the CDC chairman is using diversionary tactics to mislead the Liberian people.
“Morlu does not know what he is saying and will not divert the public attention from the missing billions,” Sando added.
According to Sando, Morlu has a habit of making reckless and unfounded statements regarding issues of national concern. He added that Liberty Party was not surprised by Morlu’s utterances.
If anyone should be called by the investigative team on the missing billions, Sando said it should be Morlu, because the CDC chairman had publicly acknowledged that he knows what happened to the money.
“If Liberia was a serious country, the investigation team would have by now called Morlu for questioning because of his utterances surrounding the missing money,” Sando said. “The missing L$16 billion has to do with money laundering and the CDC government is joking with it.”
Addressing a press conference held at the CDC headquarters on Saturday, September 22, Morlu admitted to knowing about the missing money: “For me, I am not going to hurt my head about the missing billions because I know what happened to the money.”
Morlu added, “If I were called to testify in the missing billions saga, I would tell the investigators that [former Central Bank executive governor Milton] Weeks should by now be sitting on prisoners’ beach and asked how containers containing Liberian banknotes left the Freeport of Monrovia and ended up at the National Housing and Saving Bank vault where is it alleged that pickups were driven there under the cover of darkness, uploaded, and taken to personal homes during the 2017 presidential and representative elections.”
Members of the investigative team did not respond directly to a question about whether they would call Morlu for questioning, although they said they were considering a wide range of individuals.
Concerning Liberty Party’s 2017 campaign funds, Sando said his party had made available all required financial declarations to the National Elections Commission on September 1.
He added that no matter how corrupt past governments were, such huge amounts of money had never disappeared before, but less than eight months of a George Weah presidency had produced this result.
“That is the reason we see Morlu riding luxurious vehicles and sleeping in top hotels while Weah is also building mansions,” he added. “Is it not a concern?”
“If there is any reason why Liberians should believe that the missing billions were expended through the 2017 elections campaign, the CDC should be held accountable because of [former president Ellen Johnson] Sirleaf’s support to the party,” Sando said, referencing Sirleaf inviting Weah during the elections season for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Gbarnga-Salayea road.
He further said several opposition political parties had called on Weah to audit the past government, but the president refused to do so.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah