Police Announce Investigation into Death of Central Bank Official

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberia National Police says it is investigating the death of Matthew Innis, the deputy director for Micro Finance in the Regulation and Supervision Department at the Central Bank of Liberia.

The police issued a press release on Monday noting that Innis, a 48-year-old, had died in a fatal road traffic accident at around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 3, three days after the government’s Presidential Investigation Team and the United States government released their separate reports investigating the allegedly missing billions of new Liberian dollar banknotes.

While both reports revealed no evidence that containers of money went missing, they identified incidents where the constitution and laws were broken during the process to print and import new banknotes.

The reports also identified missteps by the Central Bank in implementing the government’s US$25 million ‘mop-up’ exercise, intended to stabilize the economy. They noted that the exercise had created the potential for misappropriation of funds, potential opportunities for money laundering, and potential execution of transactions with illegal businesses, thus leaving the government with a risk of having huge funds unaccounted for by the Central Bank.

The government’s report particularly pointed out that in one instance, the Union Local Forex Bureau, located on Carey Street, received a total of US$5,500 for its equivalent in Liberian dollars currency during the mop-up exercise, but the Central Bank’s records show that it received US$161,900.

Amid these potential economic crimes, the mysterious death of the Central Bank official just after the release of the investigation report created suspicions among citizens.

Some comments on social media suggested that the deceased had probably been murdered for fear that he may leak important information exposing his superiors.

Talk show host Henry Costa, who is known for his provocative statements, added to the rumors: “Matthew Innis, a senior ranking employee of the Central Bank with knowledge on how the 25 million mop-up was conducted, was killed at 2 a.m. this morning under somewhat suspicious circumstances.”

According to FrontPageAfrica, family members to the late CBL official had informed them on Saturday that he was going to work, although he did not normally work on Saturdays. According to the newspaper, the family was not able to reach Innis until early on Sunday morning when someone notified them that Innis had been killed in a hit and run incident on the SKD Boulevard.

However, the police have called on the public to remain calm as it investigates the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident.

“Members of the public are also urged to desist propagating hasty conclusions ahead of a police investigative outcome,” the police noted in the release.

Featured photo by Jefferson Krua

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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