Montserrado County Attorney Justifies Release of Charles Sirleaf

Montserrado County Attorney Edwin Martin

Monrovia– Charles Sirleaf, Deputy Governor of Operations who is one of five Central Bank of Liberia officials charged with money laundering, was on Tuesday evening, August 20 released from the Monrovia Central Prison.

Sirleaf – son of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – was on early Tuesday detained with four other executives of the CBL on new charges of money laundering.

The others were former Governor Milton Weeks, Director of Finance Dorbor Hagba, Director of Operation Richard Walker and Deputy Director of Internal Audit Joseph Dennis.

The five CBL officials were previously charged by the state with economic sabotage, theft of property, criminal conspiracy, facilitation and solicitation.

They are yet to plead guilty or not guilty to these charges.

But a day after Sirleaf was released, Montserrado County Attorney Edwin Martin disclosed that the release was because of Sirleaf’s “ill-health and not for any other reason”.

Said Martin: “We heard about his ill-health and released him because we don’t want this man to die in jail; the prosecution is not interesting in prosecuting a dead man”

Cllr. Martin said Sirleaf was released on medical ground because the state wants to prosecute Sirleaf alive so that he and others can know why they have being prosecuted.

He said after the release of Defendant Sirleaf, he was turned over to his lawyer to seek medical treatment only in the country while the rest of the Defendants will remain in jail until they can file a valid criminal appearance bond for their temporary release ahead of the start of the trial.

This is Sirleaf’s second “medical ground” release since he was arrested on March 1, 2019 and subsequently indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County, who was sitting in the February 2019 Term of Court.

Solicitor General Cllr. Syrenius Cephas claimed, in the state’s indictment, that the five CBL executives while occupying various positions at the CBL in April of 2016 up to and including August 2018 “knowingly, deliberately and intentionally colluded and conspired with wicked intent to launder money and sabotage the Liberian economy when they defraud the CBL and the Government of Liberia by unauthorizingly printing excess Liberian bank notes amounting to L$2,645,000,000”.

The state prosecutors further that the five defendants “unauthorizingly paid and cause to be paid and did pay the amount of US$835,367.72 to Co-Defendant Crane Currency of Sweden the company” that printed the alleged missing Liberian bank notes and brought into the country.

The the five Defendants were arrested following and Presidential Investigative Team and Kroll Associate Reports.

“In the printing of the unauthorized 10,000,000 Liberian dollar bank notes Co-Defendant Crane Currency surreptitiously proceeded to print and caused to be printed 10,359, 750, Liberian bank notes, 359,750,000 in excess of the contract amount,” the state prosecutors added.

State prosecutors said that co-defendants, Weeks, Sirleaf, and Hagbe proceeded to pay US$12,166, 831.12 to Defendant Crane Currency for the amount of Liberian dollars notes printed, and US$2,045,141.92 in excess of the amount to be paid for printing unauthorized L$10,000,000,000 bank notes.