Liberia: General Auditing Commission ‘Hasn’t Received Request’ to Audit US$25 Million Mop-Up Exercise
MONROVIA – Sources within the General Auditing Commission (GAC) have hinted FrontPage Africa that the Commission is yet to receive an official communication from the Ministry of State, the Office of the President or the Ministry of Justice instructing the Commission to commence audit into the US$25 million provided by the government through the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) for the mopping up of excess liquidity.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Following mounting pressure for a full-scale investigation into how the money was disbursed, President George Weah announced on March 7 that he has mandated the GAC to audit the mopping up exercise and report to his office in two weeks.
However, a GAC top official who preferred anonymity told FrontPageAfrica that the Commission cannot begin any audit without an official communication requesting said audit.
“It has been a week since the Executive Mansion issued a press release disclosing the President’s mandate, but we have not received any official communication to that effect. The GAC cannot proceed in the absence of an official request,” the source said.
The President’s mandate through the Ministry of Justice to GAC, grows out of the Presidential Investigative Team’s report, which called for a ‘forensic investigation’ of the entire mop-up exercise carried out by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), and the report done by Kroll – an institution of international repute which was commissioned by the U.S. Government.
“The Ministry of Justice, by directive of President George Manneh Weah, has requested the General Auditing Commission to conduct an investigative audit into how the US$25 million earmarked for the mopping exercise was expended,” the Executive Mansion release stated.
The Presidential Investigative Team, in its report, recommended that given the many discrepancies noted in the manner in which the mop-up exercise was conducted in relation to the infusion of the US$25 million into the Liberian economy, there was the need for a forensic investigation of the entire mop-up exercise to be conducted.
The TEMT comprised Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Central Bank Governor Nathaniel R. Patray, III, (co-chair), Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, Minister of Commerce, Minister of State without Portfolio, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Commissioner General of the Revenue Authority of Liberia and the Economic Advisor to the President.
Meanwhile, there have been concerns in some quarters, especially the opposition bloc over the fortitude of the GAC to conduct said audit. The opposition political parties have rather advised that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) be given the mandate and resources to conduct the investigation.
“The President has directed the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to conduct a forensic audit into the misapplied, misappropriated or even stolen US$25 million that was meant to mop-up the excess Liberian Dollar from the market. We believe that this is an attempt to circumvent justice and shield Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray and other members of the TEMT from prosecution,” the collaborating opposition political parties said in a statement.
They believe an audit conducted by the GAC, which lacks prosecutorial powers, would yield no result but only languish in committee rooms at the Legislature without any action being taken.