Ellen Lied – CBL’s Statement Disproves Ex-Leader’s Account on Money Importation

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    Central Bank of Liberia’s first public statement on the controversy surrounding the undisclosed $15billion printed Liberian banknotes shows former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did not say the truth in relation to the bank’s role in the saga.

    The former leader had claimed the George Weah-led administration, in a scheme to impugn her legacy, was suppressing the release of a Central Bank statement containing facts on the entire matter. She told the BBC that there was no money missing.

    But the CBL said in a statement that as of 24 September it has not issued any report to the investigative team probing the importation of money into the country by the Central Bank.

    The CBL confirmed investigators had requested it to provide the bank’s audited financial statement dated December 31, 2016, December 31, 2017 and Janausry1, 2018 to present from external auditor, KPMG, Ghana.

    Other documents requested, which the CBL is compiling include: Vault cash balance at the CBL and the National Housing and Savings Bank (both Liberian dollar and United States dollar) as at January 1, 2018 to present and the government’s foreign reserves lodged with the Federal Reserves Bank of New York as at January 1, 2018.

    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.

    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.