By Ibrahim A. Sherif
Monrovia, Feb. 28 (LINA) – The body set up by President George Manneh Weah to probe the alleged disappearance of Liberian banknotes printed and imported into the country has recommended that the Liberian government change the new banknotes owing to the many discrepancies discovered in the actual amount printed by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).
Speaking Thursday at the press briefing of the Ministry of Information in Monrovia, the head of Secretariat of the Presidential Investigative Tem (PIT), Alex Cuffy, disclosed that there were many discrepancies involving the actual amount of Liberian dollar banknotes printed, shipped and received by the CBL which, according to him, has created doubts as to the total amount of money in circulation.
Cuffy indicated that the discrepancies ranged from the hiring of the company to the printing of the money and lack of factual information on the total amount of Liberian dollar banknotes printed.
According to the PIT report, the CBL contracted the CRANE Currency AB of Sweden (a company that is in the business of printing currencies) on two separate occasions to print L$15 billion at the total cost of a little above US$15 million.
The report revealed that CRANE Currency AB of Sweden knowingly and wilfully conspired with CBL officials to defraud the Liberian government by printing over L$18 billion.
The PIT report further disclosed that the CBL reported that it printed L$15,506 billion which was later discovered by the PIT to be in excess of L$2.645 billion.
Cuffy added that the CBL and CRANE Currency AB of Sweden did not abide by international best practice which led them going outside of the initial agreement they had for the printing of additional banknotes that was not authorized by the National Legislature.
The report uncovers that the additional L$10 billion that CBL claimed it printed did not get authorization from the National Legislature before printing the amount.
PIT also recommended the setup of a forensic investigation team to investigate the US$25 million mop-up exercise that was conducted by the CBL in handling excess liquidity on the local market.
The report stated that the form and manner in which the US$25 million was infused into the Liberian economy did not meet international standards.
The head of Secretariat disclosed that information leading to the investigation was gathered from interviews with 78 persons, including former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Speaker Alex J. Tyler, amongst others.