US$25 Million Mop Up Exercise Audit Report “Indicts” Govt Officials
The Liberian Auditor General Report of Factual Findings of the application of $25 million dollars to mop up excess Liberian dollars on the market has been released and “indicts” the Government officials who managed the exercise.
According to the factual findings of the Auditor, field visits were conducted to ascertain entities which participated in the Mop Up Exercise as listed by the Central Bank of Liberia in its report.
15 entities received $491,697 USD but denied that they participated in the exercise. Another 27 entities received nearly $703,000 USD but are not registered with Liberia’s Business Registry.
52 entities received nearly $1.1 million dollars but refused to respond to calls and text messages from auditors to confirm receipt of the money. 8 entities recorded in the CBL records as receiving over $163,000 were not in operation when the auditors visited them.
Another finding said, “The money issued from the vault daily and disbursed to beneficiaries from the bank’s United States Dollars operational vault was not posted to the bank’s accounting system in real time. For example, money taken from the vault between the periods July 17 – 31, 2018 was not posted to the vault until August 1, 2018 in lump sum. The lump sum amounts posted were without supporting schedules…”
The General Auditing Commission (GAC) in its factual findings further said it “…was informed by the CBL that there is no amount classified as mopped up cash currently sitting in a separate vault as was the case during the period of the mop-up Exercise. The Assistant Director for Banking Operations confirmed on April 24, 2019 that the total amount mopped up was subsequently re-infused into the economy to service CBL customers’ demands during and after the Christmas Season…”
On the authorization for the mop-up exercise conducted by the Central Bank of Liberia as mandated by the Technical Management Team (TEMT) for the [period July 17, 2018 – March 21, 2019, auditors found that “TEMT Meetings minutes provided to the GAC did not include minutes for the month of November 2018. The Minutes covered the months of July, August, September, October, and December 2018. The meetings minutes provided by the TEMT were not signed…”
In its findings the GAC reports that on July 16, 2018, the Government of Liberia through Finance and Planning Minister Samuel Tweah and Central Bank Governor Nathaniel Patray signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to use a portion of Liberia’s foreign reserve of $25 Million to intervene in stabilizing and maintaining the volatile exchange rate on the local market.
But that MOU, according to the GAC, “…did not address the issues of monitoring, segregation or duties, etc…”
Also noted was that the TEMT authorized the CBL to re-infuse the mopped up funds into the local economy. That explains why there is no mopped up funds availability to verify. The Liberian local currency continues it free fall because of the massive failure of the exercise overseen by the TEMT which include its Chairman Samuel Tweah, Minister of Finance and Planning of Liberia, Co-Chairman Nathaniel Patray, Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Members, Wilson Tarpeh Minister of Commerce and Industry, Thomas Doe Nah, Commission General, Liberia Revenue Authority, Molewuleh B. Gray, Chairman, National Investment Commission, Charles R.G. Bright, Advisor, Economic Affairs, Office of the President and Trokon A. Kpui, Minister of State Without Portfolio.
The Members of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank were also involved and include D. Sheba Brown, Elise Dossen-Badio and Richard Dorley.
President George M. Weah, in a nationwide address announced on July 16, 2018, “an immediate infusion by the Central Bank of Liberia the amount of $25 million into the economy to mop up excess liquidity of Liberian dollars…”
$15 million USD was used for direct mop up from large importers, small businesses and foreign exchange bureaus and another $2 million USD was auctioned to TOTAL Liberia, a business company.
The Audit of the $25 million Mop Up Exercise was directed by President George M. Weah in response to a prior forensic report conducted by the US-based audit firm Kroll.
An assessment of the GAC report reveals major lapses, lack of financial compliance or recordkeeping and disregard for internationally accepted good practices in the handling of the $25 million dollars which were obtained from Liberia’s Foreign Exchange Reserves and the potential for graft.
The report puts further pressure for immediate answers on the already tainted image of the Liberian Government which is dealing with massive discontent from the failing economy and poor governance.
A full and unredacted copy of the report is published for the reading convenience of our readers.
AG Report of Factual Findings on Applying the Agree-Upon Procedures of the US$ 25 Million Mop-Up Exercise