Beside the barbarity of the 1990s, and the shameful trial and conviction of ex-President Charles Taylor no scandal has been more ridiculing to the nation-state Liberia than the allegation that billions of printed Liberian banknotes disappeared on arrival in the country.
Media reports in late 2018 claimed containers and bags of money totaling around L$16billion (US$100million) were brought in through the Freeport of Monrovia and Roberts International Airport vanished.
In September 2018, the Ministry of Justice while announcing a probe into the matter said in a press statement 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.
This news made news around the world to a condescending high as anger flare across the country. Politicians recovering from the defeat of the 2017 presidential elections rightfully seized the moment to rally a population facing economic difficulties into protest action against the Weah administration.
An embarrassed President Weah preparing for his debut appearance at the United Nations General Assembly commissioned several inquiries and pleaded with the International community including the United States government to help probe the flow of money into the country.
More than five months on, there is no word on the state of investigations led by Liberian authorities. Though we understand that a firm selected by the USAID with specialization in forensic investigations to probe the ‘missing money’ saga is concluding its finds. The truth about the ‘missing L$16billion’ must come out!
This nation cannot afford to suffer any more reputational damage. Thus, it is important that the facts in this matter are presented in time and the truth unveiled to the rest of the world.
Should the report shows that officials – past and present acted criminally and took away the printed currency estimated at US100 million for their personal gain the wrath of the law must fall upon them.
On the other hand, if the outcome is that nothing was missing as reported, people behind the accusation must demonstrate humility to apologize to the President and people of Liberia.
The truth about the ‘missing L$16billion’ must come out for Liberians and the rest of the world to know whether or not it is another shocking scandal of the century or the great apocryphal of the millennium.