WATCH: Ex Liberian president's son charged over missing money scandal

2019-03-05 20:18
Former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Charles Sirleaf (C), the son of Liberia's former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is escorted outside the City Court of Monrovia on March 4, 2019, where he appeared and was charged with economic sabotage following a probe into missing banknotes. (Zoom DOSSO / AFP)

Former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Liberia Charles Sirleaf (C), the son of Liberia's former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is escorted outside the City Court of Monrovia on March 4, 2019, where he appeared and was charged with economic sabotage following a probe into missing banknotes. (Zoom DOSSO / AFP)

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Liberian police has formally charged the son of the country's former president in connection with the unlawful overprinting of local currency worth millions of US dollars.

The 61-year-old Charles Sirleaf, son of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was ordered by a court in the Liberaian capital, Monrovia, on Monday to be held in jail pending the scheduling of the trial.

Additionally, former deputy governor of the country's Central Bank, former head of the bank Milton Weeks and bank official Dorbor Hagba were also ordered by the court to be kept in jail.

The crowded court heard that between 2016 and 2018, Charles "purposely with wicked and criminal intent connived and conspired with other officials" to print local currency but also pocket some of the proceeds. 

Judge Kennedy Peabody said Charles would be charged "with the commission of economic sabotage, misuse of public money, property or records and theft and or illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money and criminal conspiracy".

"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 do come out. "When everything is done, I hope Liberia will be in peace and people will not take to the streets again."

Weah announced the probe in September into the handling of around 16 billion Liberian dollars ($99m) destined for the central bank.

What exactly happened to the money remains unclear, with a report by the US investigative agency Kroll Associates saying its arrived at the central bank but that there were failings at each stage of the process.

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.

Ellen, 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.

Read more on:    ellen johnson sirleaf  |  liberia  |  west africa
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