Ellen Doubts, Weah Silent On US$449million Transfer

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EX-President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has expressed disbelieve that the Liberian economy she operated for 12 years has the capacity for a collective of Indi duals to transfer about $400 million United States dollars into foreign bank accounts.

In December 2017, the closing year of the Johnson Sirleaf’s administration, the Central Bank of Liberia reported more than $449 million United States dollars were transferred outside of Liberia into the private accounts of individuals in foreign banks via personal remittances.

Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in relation to President George Weah’s claim that she left behind a bankrupt country, Sirleaf said at the time of departure the nation’s financial position was sound than what Weah is alleging.

She promised to ask the Executive Governor of the Central Bank to provide detailed explanation regarding his statement of 18 December on the state of the nation’s economy.

The Liberian government does not have such amount of money for individuals to transfer oversea, she said.

“For the 12-month period ended-October, 2017 (i.e. November, 2016 – October, 2017) as compared with the period ended October 2016 (i.e. November, 2015-October, 2016),” CBL Governor Milton Weeks said.

“The trend of personal remittances suggests a 70.9 percent decline in net inward personal remittances largely driven by substantial increase in outward personal remittances during the current period.”

Johnson Sirleaf admitted that she failed to fight corruption and there has been accusations that corrupt officials in her regime were transferring money to secrecy jurisdictions.

One account claims some ex officials starched hefty but unspecified money in foreign bank accounts including Lebanon and the Kingdom of Morocco where a certain top official and associates is alleged to have more than US$200million.

Sirleaf made her first foreign travel to Lebanon and the last Ambassador she commissioned took assignment in Morocco.

President Weah who has issued strong words against corruption has kept his silence on the matter ever since his inauguration on January 22. His staff contacted on the matter said they were unaware of the Bank’s report. When this paper shared a copy with the President’s office, Press Secretary Sam Manneh promised a response after Weah’s state visit to Morocco, Senegal and France.

-Festus Poquie