Liberia Council of Churches Detaches from ‘Missing Billions’ Probe; Holds Talks With #BringOurMoneyBack Campaigners
Monrovia – The Liberia Council of Churches on Wednesday held a meeting with campaigners seeking accountability from the government for L$16 billion recently reported missing.
In the meeting, the LCC told the Concern Citizens United to Bring Our Money Back or COCUMOMB that it is holding consultations with major stakeholders including international partners and the government to ensure that the ‘missing’ L$16 billion is fully accounted for.
The campaigners have since expressed “stern dissatisfaction” over the latest statement by the Central Bank of Liberia denouncing that billions of newly minted banknotes have gone missing.
At the Wednesday meeting, the LCC through its President, Bishop Kortu Brown, promised to intensify its engagement with International Partners to ensure full accountability and justice for this missing money.
COCUBOMB encouraged the Church to join this national cause to end mass looting and impunity in Liberia, a release from the #BringBackOurMoney campaigners states.
Meanwhile, the group assured the LCC that it is mobilizing for another “mass nationwide peaceful protest in order to further demand the full restitution of the people’s money,” walleging that it has received several threats against its campaign.
“COCUBOMB informed LCC about continuous death threats against campaigners of Bring Back Our Money Campaign. The plan by MCC and other high-ranking officials of GoL to unleash thugs against campaigners of COCUBOMB was highlighted as as well a planned plot to expel the National Chairman, Martin K. N. Kollie, from the University of Liberia,” the group said.
At the same time, the group insists that it would do “nothing to undermine the peace and stability of Liberia” but cautioned the government “to refrain from provoking public discontent and anger”.
The meeting was held after the secretary general of the LCC had announced that the council will not participate in the presidential investigation set up to inquiry about the alleged missing 16 billions of Liberian dollars.
Rev. Christopher Toe disclosed that the leadership of the council met on September 23 and resolved to play a “neutral and impartial role to ensure that the country’s hard-earned peace is sustained”.
The LCC contends that it was not consulted by the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice before being included on the investigation team, something the organization leadership rejects strongly.
At the same time, the #BringBackOurMoney protesters have slammed the recent statement released by the Central Bank of Liberia, disclosing that the L$16 billion is not missing as reported.
It also reechoed calls made during its September 24 to audit the past government and all financial transactions under President George Weah including the infusion of US$25 million to mop up excess liquidity of the Liberian dollar. The group, during the protest, petitioned the United States government through its embassy near Monrovia, the European Union, the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS asking to freeze all support to the country until the government properly accounts for the ‘missing billions’.
Despite recent twist of events and a new narrative coming from the government about reports of missing money, COCUBOMB is requesting that the government give regular updates to all Liberians pertinent to the ongoing investigation from an independent investigative panel.
It also wants “officials of government refrain from making further statements that would prejudice or prejudge the ongoing investigation”.