‘Treat With Urgency’ -Justice Movement Urges Govt on LD16b Probe Result -But MICAT Official Denied that Forensic Report Is Available
US-based Liberian group, the Movement for Justice in Liberia, has revealed the availability of the probe result issued by the international forensic investigators hired to investigate the missing 16 billion Liberian dollars. Before this disclosure, there have been public demands requesting the government to make the investigative results public, although neither the US Embassy nor the Government has announced the completion of the investigation into the 16 billion Liberian dollars saga. Surprisingly, the US-based Liberian group over the weekend spoke about availability of the probe result expressed concerned about the what they consider failure by the Weah Government to account for the missing billions, which according to the group, represents 5% of the nation’s GDP and 18% of the current national budget, which it considers extremely worrisome; but an official of the Ministry Information dismissed report of the availability of the probe result as unfounded; The ANALYST reports.
The Movement was also clear in a press release in calling on the George Weah-led government “to treat the availability of the investigative report as a matter of urgency,” although a release by the movement falls short of stating precisely when the report was made available to either the Government or the US Embassy.
The Movement also asserted that the prolonged investigation into the disappearance of the $16 billion Liberian Dollar Banknotes printed and brought into the country in March 2018 few months into President George Oppong Weah’s leadership has serious economic and security implications for the country, saying that the Movement is extremely concerned about the government’s demonstrated disregard and gross insensitivity to this embarrassing scandal.
In the press release dispatched from Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA on January 26, 2019, the Movement indicated that presenting the unhindered or unaltered report to the public is much more important as anxiety and apprehension are growing, the Movement asserted, noting, “Any attempt to further delay the release of the report will be counterproductive as “Liberians have become very impatient.”
The Movement said it finds it incomprehensible that Mr. Weah is not taking advantage of the current investigation to clear his name, the reputation of his government and image of the country. “This laissez-fair attitude of President Weah speaks volumes. It gives Liberians the impression that the billions were indeed stolen by the President and his operatives.”
Signed by Ansony Sieh and approved by Ysyndi Martin-Kpeyei, the Movement for Justice in Liberia said sadly, the Movement has learned that the Weah Administration is currently planning to temper with the report that is shortly expected to be submitted to the President by the Independent Investigators as a way of covering up the facts. “President Weah and his syndicate are capable of embarking on such dubious approach given the multiplicity of scandals ranging from serious allegations of stealing state resources to the blatant violation of the laws of Liberia,” the group accentuated in the release.
Notwithstanding, the release said the Movement is absolutely confident that the international forensic investigative experts will release its findings to the public through the Embassy of the United States accredited near Monrovia as soon as possible. The Movement expressed belief that the experts will not allow their integrity to be brought into question at the expense of the CDC government that doesn’t have one to protect.
The Movement pointed out that it knows that the US government through its Embassy in Monrovia meant well when it agreed to the Liberian people’s request for a team of independent forensic investigators to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the missing billions.
“The terms of the investigation had specified that the government would have nothing to do with the investigation beyond giving green-light which allowed the team to conduct the investigation. The government also acknowledged its cooperation with the investigators by providing all financial transaction documents regarding the missing billions. The terms also provide that the investigative team would make its findings public upon completion of its work; and that regular updates would precede the final report.
“To the latter we must say, the team is yet to make a single update regarding their investigative work and we at the Movement for Justice in Liberia are very saddened by this breach. We fear that this is making the citizens of Liberia confused and thus, becoming suspicious of the entire investigation,” the release intoned.
The Movement hopes the international forensic investigative experts are not worried about any forms of political or economic consequences that their report has so far uncovered. Contrary, the greatest economic and security threat to this nation and people is the unresolved mystery into the disappearance of the missing billions. Hence, all must be done to report the facts and nothing but the facts no matter who the culprits are. Our memories are fresh on how corruption cases for which no one was held accountable precipitated our bloody past.
“The Movement wants the forensic investigators to understand that our recent bloody past has taught us to never result to war, but to use our collective voices and civil actions to correct the wrongs and face the forces of evil that confront us. The people can only demand resignations as this pending report might seem to warrant and not to endanger the fragile peace and democracy they now enjoy,” the release added .
Concluding, the Movement for Justice in Liberia therefore inform the Liberian government and the international forensic investigative experts that making public the outcome of this scandal must be treated as a matter of urgency.
Meanwhile, an official of the Ministry of Information on request of anonymity told The Analyst that any insinuation that the forensic probe result was made available to the Liberian government by the US Embassy is farfetched.
The MICAT official pointed out that the United States Government announced to the Liberian people when it was embarking on its forensic investigation of the missing billion saga, and at the same time pronounced the term of operation of the investigators, saying that the US Embassy in Liberia would likewise call the media to announce that its findings into the L$16 billion missing report was submitted to government.
“If they critics cannot trust the Liberian government, can’t they trust the US government too?” he wondered.