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Sirleaf’s son due in Liberia court after central bank probe

Former Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

MonroviaLiberia, Mar 4 – The son of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and two other senior figures at the Liberian Central Bank are due in Court Monday following a probe into missing banknotes.

Two of them were detained just hours after independent US investigators dismissed rumours that a haul of newly-printed cash that should have been put in the national reserves had gone missing.

But the report, by private consultants Kroll Associates, did raise concerns “regarding the overall accuracy and completeness” of the bank’s internal records and found evidence of “systemic and procedural weaknesses”.

Charles Sirleaf, who held a senior post at the bank until last August, was arrested last week shortly after the release of the report. So too was another senior executive Dorbor Hagba.

Milton Weeks, the bank’s former governor until he stepped down when President George Weah took power in January 2018, surrendered to police on Friday.

A police source told AFP the three men would appear in court on Monday.

The report from Kroll Associates dismissed rumours that a container Liberian dollars worth US$102 million printed in Sweden had gone missing during transfer to the central bank.

But it raised concerns over procedures and practices at the bank that it said “were longstanding and continue to the present day”.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Liberia has been struggling with rampant corruption which Weah vowed to combat when he took office a year ago.

Following the protests that followed reports of the missing banknotes, Washington intervened at the request of the Liberian government and civil society groups, commissioning the inquiry by Kroll Associates.

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Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, was president for 12 years.

She gained widespread praise for stable governance following back-to-back civil wars which killed an estimated quarter of a million people.

In 2011, she was joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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