By Amos Fofung
Security officials in Liberia are said to have charged the son of the country’s former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in connection with the unlawful overprinting of local currency worth millions of US dollars.
According to Aljazeera, 61-year-old Charles Sirleaf who served as former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Liberia was ordered by a court in the capital, Monrovia, on Monday to be held in jail pending the scheduling of the trial. He is being detained at the Monrovia Central Prison pending their court appearance.
His mother, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, we should recall was the first elected African female head of the state and is today credited with stabling the economy after the first and second Liberian civil war which ruin the country and claiming the lives of some 250,000 people.
The detention of Charles Sirleaf has soiled the image of his mother due to the fact she was the one who wrote the Liberian senate nominating him for the Liberian Central Bank job.
“Charles Sirleaf and his accomplices Milton Weeks and Dorbor Hagba, including defendants Richard Walker and Joseph Dennis who according to local media reports are at-large, are criminally liable [for] … Liberian dollar banknotes brought into the country which cannot be accounted for by them,”
VOA on the issue reported that “their arrests came after a government report and a separate U.S.-commissioned report pointed to the mishandling of billions of Liberian dollars in local banknotes.”
According to the U.S.-backed report, Liberia’s central bank unlawfully ordered three times the number of bank notes it had been authorized to print, money that it can’t wholly account for.
The investigation which Liberian current president George Weah, says is an indication of his government’s transparency seek to investigate the handling of around 16 billion Liberian dollars ($99m) destined for the central bank.
He was last Monday charged with the unlawful printing of Liberian currency worth millions of US dollars. Liberian Judge Kennedy Peabody said Sirleaf also face charged of “economic sabotage, misuse of public money, property or records and theft and or illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money and criminal conspiracy”.
President George Weah separately expressed appreciation to the country’s partners, especially the United States, for helping with the investigation.
“I wanted the Liberian people [to] know that we are transparent,” the president said in a statement. “Whatever happens from [the] findings, we will follow it because, in the process of getting information, a lot of things will come out.”
Elected into office in 2018, President George Weah vowed to combat corruption in Liberia, ranked among the poorest countries.