Four opposition Collaborating Political Parties including the All-Liberian Party (ALP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), Liberty Party (LP) and Unity Party (UP) have promised to organize a series of MASS ACTIONS across Liberia Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governor Nathaniel Patray along with all other individuals connected to the present monetary and economic scandals are not immediate arrested by the Weah-led administration; Sallu Swaray Reports.
The opposition collaborating parties also indicated that it will be provocative for President Weah and his administration to ignore the fact that US$25m (about LD$4,000,000,000bn) ordered from our national reserve to facilitate a so-called “mop-up” exercise last year was handled in a bizarre and criminal manner.
The four collaborating parties made their demands yesterday, March 6, 2019, at the Headquarters of the ALP on the Old Road in Sinkor where they issued a joint position on reports by Presidential Investigation Team (PIT) And Kroll Associates, Inc.
The Opposition collaborating parties emphatically noted that upon receipt of the USAID sponsored report by Kroll Associates, Inc. and a local parallel report by the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) released last week that both they have analyzed and concluded that past and the current governments are culpable in the brazen and shameless looting of public funds.
Accordingly, the opposition collaborating parties have said Tweah must be arrested because he chairs the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) of the Weah-led government while, Samuel Tweah, while Patray must be arrested as the custodian of monetary policies and tractions for the government of president government.
The call for the arrest of former and present officials culpable and their speedy trial for their roles as spelled out by the Koll and PIT investigative reports will signal well for the people of the country.
According to the opposition parties, if these calls are not heeded and some of those directly culpable are left off the hook, “we will organize series of MASS ACTIONS across Liberia as a measure to express our dissatisfaction and to let President Weah and his administration know how Liberians are growing impatient by the day.
“We want the artificial hardships imposed by bad governance to end. The waves of looting by senior members of this administration while ordinary citizens are struggling to survive must stop,” the opposition parties exclaimed
The opposition partied have begun to rally support of the Civil Society, Religious Community, the Business Community, Labor and Trade Unions, the Liberia Marketing Association, to be prepared for these mass actions.
They are also calling on Youth and Student Organizations, partisans and auxiliary groups of the four Collaborating Political Parties, all other Political Parties and all peace-loving Liberians at home and abroad to remain resolved and take concrete steps in protecting the integrity of our country and to hold government accountable to the people of the country.
“Our move is deliberate and is intended to prevent the governance situation from degenerating into a crisis of cataclysmic proportions. We cannot sit supinely as laws are broken with impunity and innocent lives are destroyed either through fanaticism or under mysterious circumstances. This is the time to act, and act we must as a people to save Liberia!”
The urged President Weah to obey the oath of affirmation to defend, protect and uphold the Constitution and laws of our country and immediately halt his infamous practice of continuously and conspicuously violating and undermining of the constitution and laws of Liberia.
The opposition also pointed to the waves of violence against innocent citizens by fanatics of the CDC crowned by the alleged weekend murder in cold blood of a CBL official, Matthew Innis, who was said to have questioned the TEMT’s approach and interference in the mopping up of Liberian dollars from the market are trademarks of tyranny and belong to the dark days of our history.
The four Collaborating Political Parties therefore demand an impartial, transparent, and speedy investigation into the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Innis.
Current Government Is Liable US$25m
“Specifically, the current government of President George Weah is liable for the US$25m (about LD$4,000,000,000) as clearly accentuated in the report. Hence, it was a gross misrepresentation, and even a deliberate attempt to undermine justice and misinform the people of Liberia, when the President declared upon his return from Israel, that his government has been vindicated by the PIT and the Kroll Inc. reports,” the four opposition Collaborating parties have said.
They questioned: How can President Weah tell the world that his government is vindicated when the current Deputy Governor and other current executives of the Central Bank of Liberia are being prosecuted for MISUSE of public funds and economic sabotage and when the two investigative reports speak to gross inadequacy of internal controls and systems at the CBL as well as clearly pointing to fraudulent and suspicious actions and inactions of current fiscal and monetary authorities?
This hasty and prejudicial comment from President Weah, the four opposition parties said, only exposes the President’s intention to put a presidential shield of protection over key cronies of his political party who have been hooked by the findings of the reports.
The four Collaborating Political Parties therefore demand that in addition to the arrests already made, the government should move quickly to arrest Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray and other ranking members of the TEMT.
“This is in consideration of the investigations’ findings pointing to the conspicuously criminal way the Minister of Finance and Development Planning and the Central Bank Governor, as Chair and Co-Chair of the Technical Economic Management Team (TEMT) respectively, managed the US$25m (about LD$4,000,000,000b) so-called mop-up exercise of 2018,” they said.
They recalled that both Minister Samuel Tweah and Governor Nathaniel Patray had misled Liberians in 2018 that “no money was missing”. This action by the two officials created confusion last year and might have been a calculated ploy to conceal the fact that billions of Liberian dollars printed and shipped between January 2016 and August 2018.
This money, the opposition reasoned had either disappeared from the CBL or may not have been delivered to the CBL despite having been paid for, printed and shipped to the country by Crane AB. “After mounting public pressures, President Weah reluctantly agreed to commission two separate investigations into the money dilemma,” they said.
‘Two reports are unambiguous’
“We appreciate that the same Government that had initially resisted calls from civil society groups by downplaying this grave matter when news about it first broke out last year, has moved to arrest three (3) persons, including former Central Bank Governor Milton Weeks, current Deputy Executive Governor Charles Sirleaf and Director of Banking, Dorbor Hagba,” they said.
The opposition bloc welcoming the arrest of former officials demanded further warned, President Weah should avoid the temptation to shield officials of his administration mentioned in the reports as having contributed to the messy monetary situation in the country while at the same time pursuing former officials for criminal prosecution.
They said the two reports are unambiguous about the roles played by the current CBL administration, which, according to the two reports, did not fully cooperate with both Kroll Associates, Inc. and the Government-commissioned PIT.
Crime of Money Laundering Committed
In other words, they said the reports indict both past and present CBL administrations, saying that the Kroll Associates, Inc. makes it clear that requests made to the CBL for documentation “remain outstanding” and that information provided by CBL during the review exercise was inaccurate and “incomplete”.
They reminded the president that senior members of his Economic Management Team, as revealed in the reports, designed, directed and must have exploited last year’s monetary situation to have committed the CRIME OF MONEY LAUNDERING.
“In fact, the report of the Presidential Investigative Team (PIT) was unequivocal in stating that the “TEMT/CBL (under the leadership and direction of both Tweah and Patray) failed to set standard criteria for the participation of businesses in terms of their legitimacy, and “that the principle of KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER (KYC) was not observed throughout the mop-up exercise thereby creating the platform for illegal business dealers to clean their illegal money”. This is a very grave matter that the administration should not downplay.
“As a matter of fact, considered from the face value of the LD$2.5b (about USD$ 12.5m) bank notes and US$25m (about LD$4,000,000,000bn) one would come to the realization that US$25m is more in value than LD$2.5b (about US$ 12.5m). Even so, the economic paralysis created for the suffering mass of our people as a result of the actions of those former and present officials of government, is of consequential implications and requires reciprocal actions.
They then noted that it is therefore of grave concern to us that the Government of President Weah would move expeditiously in the direction of effectuating arrests in the LD$2.5billion (about USD$ 12.5m) case involving former Bank Governor Weeks, Charles Sirleaf and others, while being reluctant on extending similar action to his officials.