Liberia: Ex-Central Bank Governor, Board Members Acquitted in Missing Banknotes Trial

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MONROVIA – Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay has acquitted former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia of criminal charges leveled against them by the State.

Judge Gbeisay cleared the ex-CBL officials of the criminal charges of Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, among others on Tuesday, August 24, 2020.

In his ruling, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay said the prosecution did not prove beyond all reasonable doubts that the defendants printed excess Liberian dollar banknotes without the authorization of the Legislature.

Judge Gbeisay added that the CBL accounted for all monies printed.

Judge Gbeisay also added that the amount of Liberian dollars banknotes printed and sent to Liberia were double-checked.

Judge Gbeisay said the actual amount of banknotes printed and sent to Liberia was over L$15,506 billion.

He also ruled that the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) mislead the prosecution into charging the defendants for the printing of L$13 billion-plus, instead of L$ 10 billion as contracted, thereby reaching an erroneous conclusion that L$2.645 billion was missing.

“The court wondered why the chief prosecutor did not nolle prosequi the case against the defendants,” Judge Gbeisay asked.

“The fact remains that there was a need to print banknotes. Also, there is no evidence that any of the monies was pocketed in any of the defendant’s pockets. The evidence in a criminal case must be inclusive,” he said.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, it is a well-calculated opinion of this court that from the analysis of evidence adduced at trial before this court, it is 10 billion LRD that was printed under the 2017 contract with an excess of 374,750,000,000 making a grand total of 10,345750,000,000.00; and that there were no printing of an extra 2.645 Billion LRD and that no such 2,645 LRD Billion existed to be missing and or not accounted for, this court hereby declared.”

He continues :”The defendants having being found Not Guilty of the printing of L$2.645 Billion and the court having established that the unauthorized printing by CBL is not a specific crime under the Liberian criminal law; the charges of Economic Sabotage , Fraud on the Internal Revenue Misuse of PUBLIC Money, Prop or Records, Theft /Illegal Disbursement of Public Money, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Facilitation Theft of Property not been proven the defendants are hereby adjudged not guilty; with the proviso that they may be reprimanded under the Code of Conduct or the Legislature for the abuses of their offices. The defendant are hereby set at liberty and the Criminal appearance Bond ordered returned. The Writ of ne exeat Republic is hereby ordered revoked.”

The former officials, ex-governor Milton A. Weeks along with three board members of the CBL, Elsie Dossen Badio, Kollie Gamba, and David Farhai were on trial for the alleged illegal printing of huge quantity of Liberian bank notes.

They were indicted on June 8,2020 by the grand jury of Montserrado County for the alleged commission of the crimes of Economic Sabotage, Criminal Conspiracy, Criminal Facilitation among others.

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