Liberia: Central Bank New Executive Director Sidiki Fofana Has Troubling Past

Philadelphia, PA and Monrovia, Liberia – February 1, 2019: An investigation conducted by the West African Journal Magazine into a new employee in a senior level position at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has revealed some troubling information.

Mr. Sidiki Sekou Fofana, also known as Sidiki Fofana, and now goes by Hamed Sifonic in Liberia, a former resident of the cities of Darby and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, the United States, has since assumed the position of Executive Bank Director since January 1, 2019 in the Weah Administration in the small and impoverished West African country.

Sidiki Fofana Dossier
Sidiki Fofana Dossier

A 79 page dossier of public records obtained from Pennsylvania state government and other public data contained the following on Mr. Fofana:

  1. Parking Offense
  2. Driving an Unregistered vehicle
  3. Allowing the Illegal Use of a License plate/card
  4. Operating A Vehicle Without Insurance
  5. Operating a Vehicle With Inspection
  6. Improper Pass On The Right
  7. Driving on the Wrong Way
  8. Careless Driving
  9. Failure To Yield
  10. Failure To Yield To Work Vehicle and
  11. Illegal Parking Where Official Sign Prohibit
magisterialcourtdoc-philadelphia
Magisterial Court Docs – Pennsylvania

Mr. Fofana whose position is not directly reflected in the bank’s current organizational structure also had several liens and judgements filed against him in the City of Philadelphia:

  1. Federal lien for $5,749 filed on November 5, 2010
  2. Civil Judgment for $4,475 filed on August 9, 2012
  3. Civil Lien for $2,355 filed on July 6, 2012
  4. Civil Judgment for $1,763 filed on August 20, 2012
  5. Civil Judgement for $1,140 filed on April 2, 2012
  6. Civil Judgment filed for $1,458 filed on July 28, 2011
  7. Civil Judgment filed for $1,100 filed on July 2, 2011
  8. Civil Judgment for $1,613 filed on August 26, 2011 and
  9. Civil Judgment for $895 filed on August 5, 2018

The most egregious offense include a charge of Retail Theft of Merchandise by Mr. Fofana on May 29, 2018. He initially pleaded Not Guilty on June 19, 2018 and recently as of November 21, 2018, pleaded guilty in a Magisterial Court in Pennsylvania. Penalty was imposed and Fofana paid $210.25 and the case was closed.

sidikisekoufofana
Mr. Sidiki Sekou Fofana

Fofana was also booked on December 18, 2016 and charged with the misdemeanor of Driving Under the Influence with a high rate Blood Level Alcohol (BAC ) of .10 to under .16 detected by a breathalyzer test. In Pennsylvania, “…The first time you are arrested and convicted for drunk driving in the State of Pennsylvania you will receive 6 months of probation and a $300 fine if your BAC was between .08-.99. If your BAC was from .10-.159 you will receive from 2 days to 6 months of prison time prison, a $500-$5,000 fine and a 12 month driver’s license suspension. One drink equals 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol), or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol). Under current Pennsylvania law, (.08 BAC and higher) is legally intoxicated.

Since it was his first offense, he was diverted to an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)  which is  a special pre-trial intervention program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States for non-violent offenders with no prior or limited record. Defendants in an ARD program are placed under supervision which is also similar to probation.

centralbankofliberiabuilding
Central Bank of Liberia Building In Monrovia

Senior level employees of the Central Bank including the Governor, his Deputy, and those in operational roles, as would Mr. Fofana, are required to be “persons of good standing and unimpeachable character from the business and academic communities with experience and expertise in business, banking, finance , economics and management…” according to the Bank. Fofana has no real professional experience which he brings to the banking sector in Liberia which has been dogged by a “missing $16 billion” scandal. It is unclear if relevant authorities and citizens are aware of the information from the past of Fofana.

He has, however, transitioned to Liberia and is already functioning in his position which is considered critically strategic since he will have access to highly confidential information, contribute to decision-making and oversee general administrative operations at the Central Bank.

The Weah Administration has been dogged by charges of appointing incompetent individuals with no professional experience and in some instances, troublesome legal past.

liberia-political-map
Political Map of Liberia

In a separate development, Liberia’s Central Bank is establishing a “robust” credit reference system to help address the issue of non-performing loans (NPLs). President George M. Weah, in his State of the Union address on Monday, disclosed that the Non-Performing Loans remain a challenge for his government. CBL data showed total NPLs of total loans stood at 163% last April but declined to 12.3 % last July.

“The central bank is taking steps … to address the issue of non-performing loans,” the Liberia President told citizens.

(This story has been updated)

By Our Correspondents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Monrovia, Liberia

West African Journal Magazine

 

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West African Journal Magazine

The West African Journal was a major magazine publication in the United States with a focus on the Mano River region and West Africa sub-region during the civil crises in Liberia and neighboring countries during the decades of the 1990s. This was the period when many citizens and others in the sub-region were fleeing their homeland due to conflicts, and the magazine was a reliable source of information covering developments in the region and in the Diaspora.  However, the magazine suspended publication several years ago but is now back. It is, therefore, delightful that The West African Journal has been reactivated. The print edition of the magazine, to be published monthly and distributed in the United States, West Africa, and other parts of the world, will provide analysis of the major events of the period under review. Due to challenges relating to availability of reading materials in the sub-region, a few hundred copies of every edition of the magazine will be distributed free of charge to libraries and reading rooms at schools and institutions of higher learning in the sub-West Africa sub-region. The Journal covers government/politics, economics/international trade/investment and partnerships, women's issues, showcase of tourism and historic attractions in West Africa in particular, and Africa in general, as well as cover the Diaspora, entrepreneurship, among others. The Journal also taps into growing interest in the Unites States regarding resource-rich Africa as the next frontier for global economic progress amid an increasing global competition for access to the continent’s abundant natural resources. The magazine will regularly cover bilateral and multilateral partnerships between the US/multinational agencies and Africa/individual African countries. More importantly, in considering the danger of Climate Change and Global Warming, The Journal serves as a strong and unrelenting advocate to create international awareness regarding Climate Change, especially how West African countries and the African Continent as a whole are being negatively impacted. Through its environmental coverage, The Journal promotes education and awareness for people to be empowered. Our experienced team of editors, reporters and feature writers are excited to bring the stories that impact politics, finance, economy, arts, health, education, climate change, women and youth issues in Africa today. Contact The West African Journal is registered and published in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. Plans are underway to open a bureau office in Liberia, from which operations in other West African countries will be coordinated. Our journalists, who bring decades of high engagement of news and reportage, include former BBC veteran correspondent Isaac D.E. Bantu, former Daily Observer Features Editor and publisher of the West African Journal Joe S. Kappia, and Pana Press Editor Tepitapia K. Sannah, and respected Photo journalist and editor Gregory Stemn. These experienced and internationally-respected journalists ensure a high standard of professional journalism. Information and inquiries for The West African Journal should be directed to the following: Editor-in-Chief; Email: WestAfricanJournalMagazine@gmail.com Isaac D.E. Bantu: Publishing Partner; Email: WestAfricanJournalMagazine@gmail.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 55053, Washington, D.C. 20040-5053 USA Thank you. Managing Editor