Liberia: Who Stole U.S.$700k - Ld$10million From Charles Sirleaf's Account? 'Persons of Interest' Under Probe

Monrovia — Barely 72 hours after the Government of Liberia dropped charges against he and several executives at the Central Bank of Liberia in connection with the missing LD16 billion scandal, Mr. Charles Sirleaf, son of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and former Deputy Governor of the CBL has reportedly accused some tellers at the GT-Bank Liberia Limited of stealing LD$10 million and US$700,000 from his personal account.

Mr. Ikenna Anekwe, Managing Director of GT Bank and Mr. Prince Saye, Executive Director did not return calls seeking comment Monday. But Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe confirmed that the government was aware about Mr. Sirleaf's complaint. "The government is aware that there is an ongoing investigation by the Liberia National Police into a complaint by Mr. Sirleaf about illegal withdrawals from his bank accounts of the amounts of USD 866Thousand and LRD 10million. Mr. Sirleaf, who is the complainant and other persons of interest are cooperating with the police investigators. That's all I can say for now."

Mr. Sirleaf, when contacted Monday said he could not comment on the matter because the issue is being investigated by the police but would speak on it after his lawyer has been briefed. His lawyer, Cllr, Johnnie Momo, when contacted Monday also said that he cannot speak on the issue until he speaks to his client.

The money was reportedly stolen when Mr. Sirleaf was wrapped up in his legal wrangle over the LD16 billion saga.

Until the charges were dropped last week, Mr. Sirleaf was one of the central figures in the missing LD16 billion saga. But Solicitor General Sayma Cyrennius Cephus, told a news conference last Friday that the charges were dropped after it was discovered that Mr. Sirleaf's only mistake in the process was an "egregious abuse of administrative discretion" because he failed to follow through with the instructions he had received earlier as it relates to the printing of the first L$5 billion. Cllr. Cephus also termed Mr. Sirleaf's error as a "gross malfeasance" adding, "But not criminal."

Said the Solicitor General: "So what they did, they departed from the original objective of replacing the legacy banknote or using Thomas De La Rue with the designs, specifications, texture, physical appearance they went to Crane Currency. When they went to Crane Currency, Crane Currency printed and delivered every other thing that they needed."

The Solicitor General stated that Mr. Sirleaf printed an entirely "new money", containing L$500 denomination, which he said wasn't the original objective and it was infused into the economy. "Instead or withdrawing or replacing the legacy banknotes, they added the new money into the economy, so there was the concomitant or parallel usage of both the mutilated banknotes, which is the legacy banknotes."

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