Liberia: Swift Transfer Document Shows Criminal Defendant Sheik Bassirou Kante Paid U.S.$100k for P-Square Bicentennial Celebration

Monrovia — Long before Sheik Bassirou Kante could be arrested in the United States for money laundering conspiracy, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in Liberia was investigating his suspicious financial transactions and matching the cost of his extravagant lifestyle to the proceeds of his "alleged businesses" here in Liberia.

The head of the FIU, Mr. Edwin Harris, told the BBC on Wednesday that a local bank sent a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) on Mr. Kante's account which prompted an investigation into his deals in Liberia.

"In some instances, he was paying for funeral activities for the victims of New Kru Town stampede and he was involved in all sorts of activities that were questionable and raised red flag that indeed he was into unlawful activities," Mr. Harris said.

According to Mr. Harris, the payment of the funeral services for 29 persons raised eyebrows at the Financial Intelligence Unit, and just within that period, they received the STR. "If Sheik Bassirou was not going to be arrested in the U.S., he couldn't survive in Liberia over the next 60 days because we were about concluding our investigation for freezing assets and arrest of him because we felt that amounts coming into his account did not align with his core business."

As his financial transactions have come under investigation here in Liberia while also awaiting trial (in detention) in America, FrontPageAfrica has obtained a swift document that reveals that Sheik Bassriou paid the amount of US$100,000 to Nigerian megastars, PSquare for their performance during Liberia's Bicentennial Celebration.

When the news of PSquare coming to Liberia to perform at such an exorbitant cost broke out, the Liberian government came under harsh criticism from the public. Many questioned why the government would give such an amount to foreign musicians rather than supporting the local artists here. Many also claimed the government was being insensitive to the plights of Liberians who were experiencing economic hardship.

But Information Minister, Mr. Ledgerhood Rennie during a press conference clarified that the foreign musicians were being brought in by a "humanitarian".

"I want to be very clear with the government that the Bicentennial Steering Committee did not fund or solicit any international artist's participation at the grand launch. It was simply a humanitarian gesture by an individual who thought that he wanted to reach out to Liberians to show his own gratitude in appreciation of the celebration of Liberia's Bicentennial," Minister Rennie clarified.

On Thursday, February 3, 2022, Mr. Sheikh Bassirou, posted on his social media platform precisely Facebook of his desire of bringing the famous Nigerian duo P-Square to Liberia for the official launch of the Bicentennial scheduled for February 14. 2022.

Mr. Bassirou in the post stated, "In keeping with my promise to help support my government during the mega kickoff of the Bicentennial 2022 (YEAR OF THE RETURN). I present to you Mr. President, Africas biggest entertainers P-Square @peterpsquare @iamkingrudy @psquarre and they will be live in Liberia at the SKD on February 14 performing live for the people of Liberia 100% FREE. I am Sheikh Bassirou and I stand with my government in celebrating our Mama Liberia.

The Swift document obtained by FrontPageAfrica shows that Criminal Defendant Kante transferred the sum of US$100,000 from his GT Bank Account titled: Royal Gold Trading Inc. with account number: 020101240890020001000.

The money was paid to Stanbic Bank Plc. account titled One Marketing Management Ltd. in Lagos, Nigeria.

More Assets Frozen

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice and the Financial Intelligence Unit secured a freezing order on two more businesses belonging to Sheik Bassirou.

Assistant Minister for Litigation, Mr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, told FrontPageAfrica that it is likely that more assets would be frozen as their investigation continues.

The latest petition for the freezing of two other accounts associated with ROYAL Liquor Store and Brown's Trucking Handing Services Enterprise.

According to the petition for a freezing order, its preliminary investigation has established that ROYAL Liquor Store and Brown's Trucking operating contrary to their purposes of establishment, have been involved directly and or through their CEOs in questionable activities from which suspicious funds are generated, structured and deposited into their accounts and accounts of their CEOs.

The petition noted that the CEO of ROYAL Liquor Store was arrested in the United States on charges of alleged wire fraud and money laundering connecting to the proceeds of crimes transferred and deposited in the accounts of Royal Liquor Store and Brown's Trucking in Liberia. As such, the Ministry of Justice and the Financial Intelligence Unit believe that moneys in the accounts of these companies are proceeds of crime and should therefore be frozen.

The Petition: "Petitioner says further that from its preliminary investigation, it has reasonable ground to believe that the goods in ROYAL LIQUOR STORE containing beverages on retail sales were acquired by funds generated through [wire] fraud by its CEO Sheikh Bassirou Kante, who structured and laundered crime proceeds domiciled at the within named financial institutions and have used portion to acquire properties / goods located in ROYAL LIQUOR STORE while others disguised and transferred/laundered to accounts of Brown's Trucking. Petitioner says that the said property is a proceed of crime which is a fit subject for freeze in accordance with the Provisional Remedies Law of 2013, and the Money Laundering Act of 2012."

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