Internal audit documentation have surfaced from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) verifying receipt of a consignment of 56 boxes of Liberian bank notes in various denominations of L$5, L$10, $50, L$100 and L$500.
Headquarters of Central Bank of Liberia
The audit documentation, copies of which are in the possession of West Africa Journal Magazine, are contained in a memo dated April 4, 2018 to then Bank Governor Milton Weeks from the Director of the Internal Audit Department one Adolphus Forkpa. Mr. Weeks separated from the Bank in July, 2018.
The memo confirmed receipt on April 3, 2018 of a consignment of $374,750,000 (Three Hundred Seventy Four Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand) Liberian dollars from Crane Currency in Sweden through the Freeport of Monrovia on Bushrod Island.
Attached to the memo is a breakdown of the denominations totaling $374,750,000.
Also in possession of the African Journal is documentation of Currency Shipment received by the CBL on Oct 17, 2017, November 17, 2017, December 17, 2017,January 18, 2018, February 18, 2018 and April 18, 2018. Total boxes of currency consignment in various denominations received during this period was 3,276 for a total amount of $10,359,750,000 (Ten Million Three Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Liberian Dollars).
By this time the George M. Weah Administration had been in office for nearly three months.
In a memo cover letter signed by one “Peter” and addressed to one “Miatta”, a reference to a Ms. Miatta Oberly-Kuteh, a bank executive, he tried to explain the confusion of the packing list of the consignment of money and admitted to over production of currency. “…what happened is that the factory needed to order extra boxes to accommodate the over production.Tailor made boxes would take some time to arrive so the factory made a number of its own boxes, which are not the same dimensions as those used for the bulk production…” the letter said.
It is unclear what “Peter” meant by over production or how much in over production of minted currency was made and who authorized it.
On March 29, another memorandum address to the Deputy Bank Governor for Operations Charles E. Sirleaf from the Deputy Director of Banking and PS Ms Miatta Oberly-Kuteh advised of the transfer of 8 pallets of printed materials from the National Port Authority (NPA) to the Central Bank reserve vault at the National Housing and Savings Bank in the commercial district of Waterside. The transfer was expected on March 30, 2018 and the memo also requested approval of a budget to facilitate the transfer.
On Thursday, former Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks, in a press interview, disclosed that the total local currency minted was $15 Billion (Fifteen Billion) Liberian dollars which arrived in the country between October 2017 and April, 2018 in various denominations.
Former Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks
There is controversy over how much of the cash entered the CBL after the Bank took receipt of it as documentation is disclosing.
Former Governor Weeks has strong denied any involvement or knowledge of the “missing containers of money” and says he is committed to cooperating with the authorities to get to the bottom of the matter. He has not been charged with any crime.
The Government of Liberia is requesting local and international investigation assistance into the matter. President George Weah has yet to make any comment on the matter.
Meantime, there are reports of a planned demonstration on Monday, September 24 in the Liberian capital.
According to social media posts, its appears some civil society groups and activists are planning to protest and demand the return of the “missing bank notes”.
In anticipation of the demonstration and as a precaution, the US Embassy in Monrovia is alerting US government personnel to avoid the areas of the demonstration, monitor local media for updates and keep a low profile.
This is standard practice by US diplomatic missions to safeguard their citizens in volatile areas around the world.
By Our Staff Reporters