Liberia investigating $100 million in missing new bank notes

Liberian government on Wednesday confirmed it is probing the disappearance of 104 million U.S. dollars from the central bank, saying the missing money “has national security implications.”

The money, an equivalent of over 16 billion Liberian dollars, was ordered by the Central Bank of Liberia from printers overseas but is yet to be traced after a series of shipments, the government said.

Records showed that the money got missing since last year, toward the end of the erstwhile administration of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The shipments were recorded between November 2017 and August 2018.

Fifteen people, including former central bank governor Milton Weeks and Charles Sirleaf, son of the former president, have been banned from leaving the country pending the investigation, said Information Minister Eugene Nagbe.

Only the Central Bank of Liberia has the power to order new currency. The country does not have its own mint.

The ministry of justice said national police and other security agencies, including the Financial Intelligence Unit of Liberia, have been ordered to carry out the probe.

One source told Xinhua that President George Weah only became aware of the missing notes last month.

The Liberian government last approved the printing of new notes in August 2016.