About five 20-foot containers containing printed banknotes were ordered and arrived in the country in the closing three months of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration with more arriving towards March 2018, shipping records have revealed.
As investigators review bills of laden related to money shipments, there are suggestions that there could have been more consignments ordered from several locations toward the conclusion of the Sirleaf administration.
Documents show that on December 2017, for instance, two containers of banknotes were cleared from the Freeport of Monrovia. These consignments arrived on November 28, 2017 but were not cleared until December 18, 2017 though the authorities had secured a special release on November 21, 2017, to ensure the clearance was done expeditiously.
Besides in March 2018 the Central Bank prepared a notice of special release for the clearance of three containers from the port. This shipment arrived on November 21, 2017 but did not get cleared until April 3, 2018 even though a special release had been obtained on December 19, 2017 for the clearance.
Additional shipments arrived in Monrovia via the port in January, February and March 2018. The Ministry of Justice Tuesday confirmed media reports that a container and bags of money totaling around L$9billion (US$60million) brought in through the Freeport of Monrovia and Roberts International Airport had gone missing but that the Weah administration was not aware of the consignments and directly indicted the departed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led administration as the culprit. Information Minister Eugene Nagbe put the amount of missing money at L$16billion
The ministry said in a press statement that the several consignments of money arrived between November 2017 (at the twilight of the Ellen regime) and August 2018–eight months after President George Manneh Weah took over the country’s leadership.
“Evidence available to the investigative team has established that the current administration was not informed about the arrival of the containers and bags of moneys into the country, ” Justice Minister F. Musa Dean said.
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reacted strongly to the allegations by her successors claiming they are intended to impugn her legacy and that of her administration.