Liberia + 1 more

UNHCR Liberia Factsheet - February 2019

Situation Report
Originally published
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US embassy releases report on allegations of the disappearance of new Liberian Dollar banknotes. Several arrests take place in connection to the report.

■ On 28 February 2019, the US embassy released the independent report carried out by investigative auditing firm Kroll associates. The document looks into the alleged disappearance of more than $100m worth of newly printed Liberian banknotes in 2018.

  • Related arrests, yet to be formally charged, include that of Charles Sirleaf, who is son of Liberia's former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and deputy governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) at the time of the alleged disappearance of banknotes in March 2018.
    Milton Weeks, former head of CBL, and Dorbor Hagba, CBL official, were also arrested.

■ It can be recalled that the banknotes, ordered in November 2017 and intended for CBL, allegedly vanished from containers which arrived in the country in March 2018, two months after Mr Weah became president. The notes amounted to approximately US$100 million (L$16 billion).

  • In September 2018, President George Weah ordered an investigation and more than 30 former bank officials were barred from leaving the country.

■ Despite the allegations, Kroll’s report did not find any proof that the shipping containers full of banknotes had vanished.

  • Kroll’s report found that CBL had acted unlawfully by printing and importing into Liberia three times the amount of banknotes it had been authorised to print. According to the document, CBL was not able to properly account for the money nor to present proper documentation on how the money was infused into the Liberian economy. The report also points to widespread inconsistencies at CBL and suspects shortcomings in the country's fiscal and monetary management processes continue to this day.

■ The Government of Liberia also released its own report, which similarly said that it had found no evidence of the existence of containers full of banknotes.