Missing Billions Investigative Team Breaks Silence – Backs CBL’s Recent Statement
“I have no interposed to the what the CBL did, that’s their right and they did it right, I just hope they had done it long time ago we wouldn’t be here if they had done it a little earlier”, Charles J.L Gibson, Commissioner for Investigation and Enforcement, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and chair of the Technical Presidential Investigative Team (PIT).
The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Liberia National Police (LNP), National Security Agency (NSA) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) formed the technical team out of the entire Presidential Investigative Team on the reported missing billions.
President Weah’s constituted a committee following news of missing monies in the tone of 16billion, in which the Ministry of Justice, National Security Agency, Anti-Graphs institutions, faith-based, youth and students groups later joined the team.
In ensuring neutrality, the Liberian Council of churches withdrew from being a member of the team in order to ensure a thorough monitoring of the investigation while the National Muslim Council denied official communication relating to their role in the investigation, claims the technical investigative team refuted.
The Technical Team stated at Ministry of Information regular press briefing that faith-based institutions refused participation in the investigation due to their religious affiliations and roles in society.
However, the technical committee chair Gibson stated that though the CBL issued press statement is correct, the statement in no way undermines the investigation as the team remains vigilant and compose to reach the logical conclusion.
The CBL in its press statement indicated that following an internal assessment of the bank there is absolutely no money missing as it is being reported and investigated; that all monies printed and brought into the country between 2016-2018 were received and placed in the CBL vaults.
Additionally, the CBL governor Nathaniel Patray requested that the travel ban is lifted on CBL staff to ensure the smooth operations of the bank.
Mr. Gibson mentioned that the committee will take not less than 6 weeks to complete and submit reports the report to the government and international partners as the matter requires intense time and efforts.
“This is not an ordinary investigation but it borders on money laundering and financial crimes which will need patients to get to the bottom of the matter”.
He called on Liberians to exercise patience and impose trust in the committee as they have the capacity to investigate the alleged billions.
“Beginning next week a list will be sent to the Ministry of Justice of people being investigated and will be placed on the travel ban list while some CBL staff who are cleared names will be removed”.
Mr. Gibson explained that committee’s Terms of Reference borders on the revision of authorization to print and order currency and banknotes, to ensure accountability for Liberian and foreign banknotes; the 25million infusion into the economy and interview a number of people including review a number of documents among others.
“After the PIT was formed a sub-technical committee was also formed which comprised LNP, LACC, NSA FIU to accelerate the investigation to ensure timely work and we officially began work on October 1, 2018.
Though the team backed the CBL recent statement over the missing billions but has warned members of both the Legislature and Executive branches of government to refrain from making statements that would have the tendency to undermine the investigation.
Commenting further, a member of the Technical team and FIU head Alex Cuffy boasted of the team’s capacity and integrity to conduct and conclude the investigation but urged the government and the public fullest cooperation.
“With or without the FBI this team is well equipped to conduct this investigation void of flaws in ensuring a smooth investigation process”.
According to Mr. Gibson, the Technical team is yet to receive funding for the full operation of the investigation but it will carry out its function as per the TOR,
“we have not received a dime from anyone, every cent is from our individual pockets in moving forward with the investigation because we are patriotic citizens and want the best for the country”.