Former Central Bank of Liberia Governor Milton Weeks on Thursday broke silence over the News that 16 billion Liberian dollars went missing between the Freeport of Monrovia and the Central Bank of Liberia.
Mr. Week in an interview obtained by The Monrovia Times said he saw the need to make a statement owing to the fact that there were many reports in the Liberian Media that were totally false.
“There have been many many statements in the press, especially social media that are attributed to this that are totally false and I felt it necessary for me to set the record straight on a few matters because to me these false statements are getting out of hand.
According to Mr. Weeks there are no missing containers of currency as reported by the Liberian Media at least not to his knowledge.
“First of all, the story stated that there was a missing container of currency; I have said constantly that I am not aware of any missing container of currency, to my knowledge, there is no missing container of currency, I want that to be clear.”
On the Issue of why 15 billion was printed instead of the 5 billion that was approved by the legislature, Mr. Week said the board of governor obtained additional approval from the legislature to print the additional 10 billion and that the decision was done in consultation with the board of governors of the Central Bank.
“The second thing now that is being hot on is authorization for the money that was printed, I wish to state emphatically clear that we have, we did obtain authorization before printing the currency. The first authorization was in 2016 for the 5 billion and the second authorization was in 2017 for the 10 billion we printed.
That authorization came from the legislature but in addition to the legislature, even before the legislature, the board of governors acted on the strength of the authorization from the legislature for us to also get approval from my board for all of the printing, it was never a unilateral, one man decision. I am merely first amongst equals in terms of the board of governors, I do not make decisions unilaterally, I wish to make that point clear.”
Mr. Weeks said the first batch of money came in the country in 2016 while the second batch came into the country sometime between October and early 2018
“The second point I want to make regards the period that we are talking about that money came into the country, there is all sort of insinuations that money came in this year totaling some exorbitant amount of money. The fact to the matter is that we printed 5 billion in 2016 and that came in 2016. In 2017, we signed an agreement and we printed an additional 10 billion, that is all the money I am aware of that was printed, no more than that, the five billion plus the 10 billion.
The 10 billion that is been talked about, that money came in between October of 2017 and up sometime early in 2018, I don’t have the exact date because I left the bank since July as you know I did not leave with records, so all of those records should be at the bank to be able to state exactly when those amounts were imported, the dates for each of them, whether its the airport or the seaport. I can confirm that in terms of the aggregate 10 billion, some of it was imported by air, some of it was imported by sea. That is the truth”.
The former governor also said that all currency authorize were printed in Sweden and no other country as speculated by the Liberian Media.
“I also want to make clear that to the best of my knowledge, all of the currency that we authorize to be printed was printed in one location only and that is Sweden. There’re talks of other countries that I am not aware of. The Printer that printed the money have their international operations in Sweden, the money to my knowledge, to the best of my knowledge was printed in Sweden, both the first 5 billion and the 10 billion that came subsequently. So all this false information that going around talking about me, the one that really is bothering me now is that people are using false statement that I admitted that there is a missing container, that is such a lie and fabrication, I have never done such a thing.
What I have said and I continue to say is that I am very concern about this issue too because it affects our country, it affects our economy, it is not in anyone’s interest to destabilize this country economy and such false statement don’t help the situation at all. So these false statements I completely deny, I have never admitted anywhere that there was a missing container. I have said that I will continue, I am cooperating with the authorities and continue cooperating with the authorities for us to quickly get to the bottom of this issue because I think it is in everyone’s interest that we do so and that is all that I am trying to do. So I hope this has helped to clarify some of the issue, some of the concern that people have to try to remove and disabuse people minds of some of the false statements that are been attributed to me.
The Former governor said he was surprised at a Q&A going viral on social media that was constructed by unknown individual calming to be his statement to the Liberian National Police.
“I even saw a complete Q&A that someone has constructed from scratch calming that it’s an interview between me and the LNP; it is a complete fabrication that worries me that people are so vicious that they will go and construct an entire Q&A that is supposed to be representative of thing that I have said.
It is a lie and I am just so saddened that people will go to that extent, it’s not necessary, it’s not in the interest of our country, I remain committed to working with the authorities in what whatever way they decide that I can be of assistance so that we can get to the bottom of this matter as quickly as possible but in the meantime, let me reiterate I am not aware of any missing container, I have never been involved in any missing container, I would never be involved in any missing container of currency, I can say emphatically that I have all the authority that was necessary to the printing of the currency.”