For the first time, the People’s Unification Party (PUP) has stated its position on reports into investigation concerning the alleged missing 16 billion Liberian dollars. The PUP issued a press statement, which the party said is their official response to the report by of the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) established to probe circumstances surrounding the printing, importation and infusion of “Sixteen Billion Liberian Dollars” into the Liberian economy. The party’s reaction also captures issues relating to the US$25 million that was intended to mop up excess Liberian dollars to curb the exponential rise in prices of basic commodities and to stabilize the economy; More importantly, the party beseeches the General Auditing Commission (GAC) which is ordered to probe the mop-up issue, to be patriotic in its audit of the US$25 million mop-up exercise, saying the peace and stability of this country rest on the Commission’s shoulder; The ANALYST reports.
In its press statement dated March 11, 2019 and released on March 17, 2019 the PUP cautions the General Auditing Commission to be honest in dealing with the investigation of the US$25 million mop up exercise as ordered by President George Manneh Weah, reminding the GAC that the fate of the state is squarely on its shoulders.
“Let me remind you further that the peace and security of the country is fragile and can therefore be no be gainsaid that the way you handle this audit will speak not only to the corporate integrity, independence and credibility of the Commission but to the individual credentials, commitment and dedication of the officials and staff of the General Auditing Commission,” the PUP indicated.
The People’s Unification Party intimated that while it is troubling to hear that almost every member of the Board of Commissioners of the GAC is nearly legally incompetent inasmuch as their tenures are concerned, “we want to even remind them that the best time to leave an immaculate legacy is at critical times as these.”
They said “Most often than not, it is indisputably at such grave times as these when in all societies of created states of beings, we celebrate our colleagues for strangely looking deeper beyond their own interests to accentuate the common good of all to the total disbelief of the rich and the powerful few who had always orchestrated ploys to rob and contain the poor and the weak.
‘This is serious because there are those who, by their own admiration of our stance in society today, would chose to immortalize our beings and personalities by naming their children after us even after we transition to the world in the hereafter.”
The party however said profoundly appreciates President George Weah for his initial “progressive and revolutionary action taken towards the immediate arrest and prosecution of persons-of-interest (POI) including some present and former officials of government found culpable by the PIT of fraud, waste and abuse of state funds in the sixteen billion Liberian Dollars saga.
The PUP statement expresses stately gratitude to the head and members of the Presidential Investigative Team for putting up such a very brilliant and credible report, cautioned the General Auditing Commission that maintenance of the Peace and Security id contingent on the way the GAC will handle its audit of the US$25 million intended for mop
Notwithstanding its appreciation of President Weah, the PUP statement urged the President to act with the same zest, enthusiasm and urgency with which President Weah has immediately arrested, incarcerated and prosecuted of Mr. Charles Sirleaf, Milton Weeks and others, to act similarly and in equal proportion and magnitude when the GAC report is handed down.
“Mr. President, there is no time quite appropriate and better than now for quality decision making in Liberia. The quality of decision you make in this matter will save the face of your regime and promote your image and popularity and the success of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development here in Liberia and across the globe,”
The Party said she is therefore hoping that the GAC will take into serious consideration the smoking guns pinpointed by the report, saying that the PIT report expressly identified smoking guns in the exercise of the US25 million stimulus package in following counts including 2.2.20 wherein the PIT report mentioned that “failure of CBL to provide information on foreign currency banknotes and foreign auction exchange”.
The Report’s Section 2.2.22 states that the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) had no clear strategy and CBL deviated from conventional best practice which calls for use of legitimate banking institutions and licensed foreign exchange bureaus or sale auction. Instead, the TEMT and CBL carried out the sale of US Dollars directly to foreign exchange bureaus and businesses in the market;
The PUP also pointed to 2.2.23 (No standard criteria set for the participation of foreign exchange bureaus and businesses in terms of their legitimacy); and 2.2.24 the PIT Reported said “Principle of Know Your Customer was not observed throughout the mopped-up exercise thereby creating the platform for illegal business dealers to clean their illegal money”
To this count, the PUP said it believes that there was high possibility for money laundering and probable acts of terrorist financing since in fact the TEMT and the CBL did not see it necessary to know their customers.
Saying “Tombs-up to the Presidential Investigation Team (PIT),” the PUP asserted that the PIT would have reported something quite disappointing to the Liberian people; a reason why the party said Liberians strongly appealed for international intervention in investigating the issues of our alleged missing billions.
“The PIT report in some specific aspects strongly corroborates with the Kroll investigation report, we are of the renewed conviction that the sense of nationalism and patriotism has not completely been devoured out of the public domain.
Meanwhile, the People’s Unification Party, in their statement signed by its Acting National Chairman L. Moses Kiyean Kwehai expressed the belief that a war and economic crimes court in the country is a necessary safeguard against Impunity.
“Finally, while we appreciate and congratulate the President and the PIT for the daring step against corruption, the People’s Party would find it somewhat irrational, repugnant and comical that the state, as robust as it is at fighting corruption and punishing corrupt officials for acts of economic sabotage, the same state will ironically be begging the question of establishing War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia.
It is not reasonable to punish thieves and celebrate people who committed mass murders of genocidal measures, the party said, adding, “Going forward, the establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court in Liberia is the best safeguard against impunity and the assured platform for deterrence of would-be economic criminals and nefarious war mongers.”