Liberia’s central bank says no money was missing

The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) did not lose more than $100 million in newly printed notes, as alleged recently, sparking protests in the West African country and an investigation that involved international partners According to Governor Nathaniel Patray, an internal audit found that all the notes shipped to Liberia between 2016 and 2018 were properly accounted for and stored in the bank’s reserve vaults.

The information minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe said in September that two separate shipments of new banknotes containing a total of LD$16 billion went missing over the past year. As a result, the Liberian government banned 15 citizens, including the son of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Charles, who once acted as executive governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), from leaving the country.

President George Weah condemned a protest against the supposedly missing funds on Sunday which saw protesters call for sanctions by the international community against the Liberian government.

“You jumped in the streets calling for international sanction. The government that was in power that has right to print money you didn’t call for sanction on them. But we who haven’t asked for printing of money you want to get at us with sanction,” Weah said.

Milton Weeks, the Central Bank governor at the time the money was said to have arrived said last month that he was not aware of any missing money, but he was cooperating with investigators.

The issue may cost Finance Minister Samuel Tweh his job, according to a report by local newspaper The New Republic. 

“He [President Weah] is not happy over the level of utterances he has been making in recent times, especially on the alleged L$16B dollars case,” the newspaper reports quoting ‘a credible source close to the presidency’.

Tweh had recently told the media that there was no LD$16 billion missing, contrary to what the government official spokesman, Lenn Eugene Nagbe said.