Liberia: ‘I Am Angry’: Ex-President Sirleaf Slams Weah’s Government’s Handling of Missing Billions Saga
Monrovia – Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has frowned on how the reputation of Liberia has been drugged in the mud by the current administration through the manner in which it handled information about ‘missing containers’ full of banknotes.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Speaking to the BBC FOCUS on Africa on Friday, the ex-president said, though she is not aware of what the current administration has been involved with, she is certain that no money printed during her administration ever got missing and all moneys printed were properly accounted for.
“This container that they’re talking about, the Minister of Finance has been clear on that, he said there’s no missing container, there’s no missing money. I am certain whatever my administration did was in accordance with the law and the constitution and there has been no money that has been missing,” she said.
She wondered why the George Weah-led government is refusing to release an investigative report compiled by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on the matter.
“The Central Bank has already done an investigation on the direction of the Minister of Justice. Why haven’t they released the report of the investigation? Why are they sitting on it? Has the President realized what he has done to the country? The reputation of the country is also at stake. They’re talking about 16 billion, do they know what the GDP of this country is?” Madam Sirleaf said.
She also dismissed claims that she ordered the printing of extra 10 billion in banknotes though the legislature only approved 5 billion in 2016.
“The Central Bank is an autonomous institution, the National legislature by its constitutional role gives approval for the printing of banknotes – the record on that is clear. Why they didn’t take time to look at the records before coming up. What a clearly lies,” she said.
“I’m angry, I’m shocked. When it comes to the government, I say this is our country, we have a new President, we all must support it for the good of our country. I’ll like to call on the government – even that the country’s reputation and innocent people’s reputation has been impugned – they must go back to the media and say that the investigation is concluded and the evidence and facts are known, they must go back to the media and correct it.”
Madam Sirleaf said she’s aware that 15 billion Liberian dollars was printed, but it’s up to the Central Bank to say whether the money is in circulation or in its vault.
She slammed Information Miniser Lenn Eugene Nagbe who also served as her Minister of Information for ‘misleading’ the public when he said, the moneys were printed in China, Sweden and Lebanon.
“They should take time and check the facts, take time and go through the process.”
“Let me tell you, what I know, contracts were signed and there’s a company called CRANE International that printed Liberian banknotes only in Sweden. The records on that are clear. Again Mr. Nagbe is impugning innocent people reputation and credibility,” Madam Sirleaf added.