Liberia: Justice Ministry Insists CRANE Currency Has Been Charged Despite Denial
MONROVIA – The Ministry of Justice insists that it has officially charged CRANE Currency, the company which stands accused of conniving with the staff of the Central Bank of Liberia to print excess Liberian dollar banknotes and under reporting same, with economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and criminal facilitation.
The Justice Ministry’s insistence is based on a March 21 release by the printing house denying ever being indicted by the Government of Liberia and at the same time, denying any form of wrong doing in the printing of the Liberian dollar banknotes.
According to the Ministry of Justice, charges were leveled against CRANE since March 4 and the case is scheduled for the May Term at Criminal Court “C” of the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
The Justice Ministry said in a statement referenced the Presidential Investigation Committee (PIT) which disclosed that the airway and seaway bills, along with the packing lists, clearly established that CRANE printed L$18.6 billion banknotes over and above the L$15 billion banknotes it was contracted to print.
In its March 21 press release, CRANE denied allegations of receiving kickbacks to violate the contract with the Government of Liberia.
“That allegation is false and without merit. Crane fulfilled its contractual obligations as set out in two delivery contracts and two subsequent documented agreements between the CBL for Crane to deliver the finished banknotes, and every banknote delivered was properly invoiced and accounted for. Crane was paid in full the correct amount (and no more) as had been agreed with our Liberian customer for these contracted deliveries of banknotes, and there were no excess or improper payments made by the CBL or any other party.”
PIT report, Milton Weeks, found former Governor of the Central Bank, Charles Sirleaf, Deputy Governor for Operations, Hagba Dorbor, director of banking, Richard H. Walker and Joseph Dennis liable of conniving to conceal the true nature of the total and actual amount of Liberian dollar banknotes printed and received by the CBL.
They were all arrested upon the release of the report on February 29. Currently, they face charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and Misuse of Public Money, Property or Records and Illegal Disbursement and Expenditure of Public Money.
According to the Kroll report, Crane AB was awarded the second contract in June 2017 by the CBL to print new banknotes totaling L$0.0 billion, four weeks before two officials from the Legislature requested that the CBL replace all legacy banknotes.
The CBL procured the services of Crane AB for both contracts without adhering to its own internal tendering policies for procurement, the report said.