The incidence of corruption is very common among public office holders. Each year, anti graft agencies in the African continent usually busy themselves with trying to press charges with the aim of prosecuting leaders for corruption cases.
In a continent where poverty is very widespread, it seems really incredible the high volume of funds misappropriated by corrupt officials of the state.
Corruption is the major reason why the African continent is replete with poor health care, poverty, poor technology and massive unemployment.
Guardian newspapers reported that Liberia’s Justice Minister Musa Dean had on Thursday, May 14, 2020, informed a court seating in the nation’s capital that he was dropping charges against Sirleaf, as well as the others.
The five persons were indicted, in 2019 for economic sabotage and other financial crimes after an investigation revealed an order for cash worth some 16 billion Liberian dollars included Sirleaf’s son and four previous central bank bosses.
Also in a related development, RFI reported that former bank Governor Milton Weeks still had charges of economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation, criminal facilitation and money laundering pressed against him; so he would be expected in court to answer to the charges.
Solicitor General SyreniusCephus hunted the move to drop the corruption charges in accordance with the country’s Criminal Procedure Law that allowed prosecuting attorneys the authority to file for a motion to dismiss a criminal indictment against any accused person.
In a telephone conversation, the judge stated that since Executive Governor Milton Weeks was Chairman of the board, Sirleaf and the three others accused persons only acted based on instructions.
The Sudden Disappearance
In 2018, parallel investigations launched by both Liberia and the United States following speculations that a container full of newly-printed Liberian currencies, worth more than $100million, was nowhere to be found.
After several weeks of investigation, Kroll Associates Incorporate published their discovery, debunking rumours the money was missing.
Their report revealed that the Liberian government actually gave approval for the printing of new banknotes totalling $5billion, but that the Central Bank Liberia went ahead to print some excess.
Meanwhile, Liberia’s Solicitor General, Cephus said the government had dropped charges against the company which printed the money (Crane Currency of Sweden) but would arrest and prosecute the board members of the CBL who approved the printing of the excess bank notes.
Punch Newspapers reported that Liberia reported that a 2019 report from US corporate investigations firm, Kroll Associates noted that the printed money actually arrived at the Central Bank of Liberia, but that the bank’s officials did not follow proper procedure nor keep consistent records.
Front Page Africa reported that all charges proffered against Mr. Sirleaf, son of Liberia’s first woman president, and others, in the ongoing L$16 trial, had now been dropped, making Mr. Sirleaf a free man. While others, who were charged along with him bagged reduced charges and only one still had all the original charges levelled against him.
Cephus, Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, announced on Friday, May 15, that the state prosecuting arm had dropped all charges against Mr. Sirleaf having discovered that his only mistake in the process was making an egregious abuse of administrative discretion by not following through with the instructions he had received earlier regarding the printing of the first L$5 billion.
Cephus also termed Mr. Sirleaf’s mistake as a gross malfeasance adding it could not be categorised as criminal.
In his words, Sirleaf printed a completely new bank notes containing L$500 denomination which was not the original goal but was introduced for use into the Liberian economy. Instead of effecting a withdrawal or replacing the legacy bank notes, they went ahead to infuse the new bank notes into the economy, creating a parallel usage of both the mutilated bank notes which was the legacy bank notes.