The son of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been formally charged following an investigation into the unlawful printing of local currencies running into the millions of dollars.
On Monday, Charles Sirleaf, deputy governor of the central bank of Liberia (CBL), and two others – Dorbor Hagba, director of banking, and Milton Weeks, the former bank president – faced multiple charges, including economic sabotage, misuse of public funds and criminal facilitation, state media reported.
CNN has been unable to reach Charles Sirleaf, Hagba or Weeks for comment.
The three are being held without bail until a trial begins, according to state media. Two other bank officials wanted in the case are said to be on the run.
An investigation into the alleged disappearance of bank notes worth more than $100 million – about 4.75% of Liberia’s gross domestic product – was launched in October by the US-based investigative firm Kroll Associates Inc. at the direction of Liberia’s government.
In a final report released Thursday, Kroll said it found no evidence the bank notes went missing, as local media had reported earlier. According to the report, the money made it into the central bank’s coffers. But Kroll also said that more money was printed than had been approved by the legislature.
Kroll raised concerns over what it called “discrepancies at every stage of the process for controlling the movement of bank notes” into and out of the central bank during its review into the bank’s activities.
The US Embassy in Liberia, which commissioned Kroll for the investigation, said the report “identifies systemic and procedural weaknesses at the (central bank of Liberia), and identifies shortcomings in Liberia’s fiscal and monetary management processes that are longstanding and continue to the present day.”
The suspected disappearance of money led to widespread protests on the streets of the capital of Monrovia when the news first broke in October.
Faced with public anger and a social media campaign by protesters demanding to “bring back our money,” Liberian President George Weah ordered the investigation that led to this week’s charges.
CNN was unable to reach a spokesman for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was in power during the period under investigation. The Nobel Prize-winning leader stepped down last year after two terms as Liberia’s President.