The Secretariat of Assets Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRReT) has announced that it has begun its work with involvement of international forensic investigators and prosecutors, reassuring the general public and the international community that the war on waste, abuse and the mismanagement of public resources for the last ten years, and even now, “will be, and is being fought across barriers and political connections or interests without any courtesy.”
The AIRReT Secretariat further warned all those connected therewith invited/summoned and questioned irrespective of their ranks or grades in the Liberian society that the process will continue until all stolen assets, wherever hidden, are investigated, located, identified and tracked down.
The process involves the examining and analyzing of all audits and criminal investigation reports by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) as well as other presidential commissioned investigative reports dating as back as to the last ten years of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration, including the US$25m (US twenty five million dollars) that is currently being investigated by the LACC.
An announcement signed by the Chairman of AIRReT Secretariat, Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, who is also the Special Independent Counsel in the excise and approved by the Solicitor-General of the Ministry of Ministry of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, noted that the exercise is being conducted with the view of giving those who have been audited or investigated the opportunity to appear and provide detailed explanations on the alleged financial discrepancies or allegations of waste, abuse and the gross mismanagement of public funds that are recorded in these reports against them.
Accordingly the Assets Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team said advised the general public to take note that the Assets Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRReT) has begun, with the aid and guidance of two UK based international forensic auditors, financial investigators and prosecutors, including Adeste Advisory Group and Grant Thornton.
The AIRReT Public Service Announcement asserted that the exercise is exclusively limited to public officials, past and present, who have been audited by the GAC or investigated by the LACC or other presidential commissions or task force.
“Therefore, in critically analyzing these audit and investigative reports, AIRReT humbly solicits the support of all Liberians, home and abroad, irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliation, to come forward and join this patriotic war on rampant corruption and the abuse of public trust,” the AIRReT communication said.
The team indicated that by so doing, Liberians who are willing to assist the asset recovery process should do so by providing any requisite information or intelligence that may lead to the discovery and subsequent recovery of stolen assets.
The AIRReT team named such assets as monies, buildings, supermarkets, hotels, vehicles, real estate properties, shares in corporations, bank accounts owned individually or collectively, within and without the Republic of Liberia, belonging to persons of interests already listed and identified or yet to be identified, or defendants facing criminal prosecution in the courts of Liberia, or assets which have been secretly transferred in the names of their families, friends, wives, sons and daughters-assets wherever found, or hidden as of the date of this publication.
AIRReT further beseeched the unbridled cooperation and support of both Liberians and foreign residents or people who have interest in the progressive development and stability of Liberia and its struggling people; adding, “we mean people who knowingly or unknowingly are holding these stolen assets by whatever arrangements to the detriment to the Liberian State and its people, whether as surrogates or trustees to also come forward and make such disclosure to the AIRReT Secretariat as of the date of this publication up to and including September 20, 2019 and thereabouts.”
Consequently, two separate and distinct bank accounts both in US and Liberian dollars, including LRD account #160-100-2817 and USD Account #160-200-3653, have been opened at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) for the sole purpose of helping those who quietly want to make restitution of funds that they cannot account for in the GAC, LACC or other presidential investigative reports, the AIRReT Secretariat Chairman Johnson and the Solicitor General of Liberia Cephus said in the announcement.
They said absolutely, there shall be no deposit made outside of these designated accounts; noting that anyone making or who wishes to make a deposit in any of these bank accounts as a form of restitution shall be required to furnish AIRReT with only the deposit slip evidencing payment, and same shall be followed by a careful review of its (deposit slip) authenticity for the possible removal of his/her name from the list of persons or institutions of interest. The account numbers are:
Meanwhile, the Asset Investigation, Recovery and Restitution Team Secretariat reiterated that there would be “no mountains too high to climb; no valleys too low to walk; and absolutely there would be no oceans too deep to swim.”
“In summary, AIRReT hereby subscribes to, and confirms and affirms that it shall unconditionally uphold the equal protection clause of Article 11(c) of the 1986 Constitution which instructs that all men are equal before law irrespective of creed, color or status,” the announcement concluded. SEE FULL TEXT OF THE AIRReT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT ON PAGE 7 OF THIS EDITION.