September 28, 2018 / 10:47 AM / 18 days ago

Liberia court orders more than 30 ex-central bank officials arrested over missing cash

MONROVIA (Reuters) - A Liberian court has issued arrest warrants for more than 30 former central bank officials in connection with $104 million that went missing on the way to the bank, according to a court document released on Friday.

A money changer counts banknotes in Monrovia, Liberia September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Derick Snyder

Former bank governor Milton Weeks and Charles Sirleaf, the son of the west African nation’s former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, were among those ordered arrested over the missing money, equal to about 5 percent of Liberia’s GDP.

There was no immediate comment on Friday from Weeks, Charles Sirleaf or any of the other people named on the list or their lawyers.

Weeks has in the past said he had nothing to do with the missing cash and is cooperating with investigators. Reuters has not been able to reach Charles Sirleaf or his mother for comment.

The court said it had information that the named individuals planned to leave Liberia and ordered that they “be brought before this Honourable Court to answer to criminal charges levied against them by the Republic of Liberia”. The document did not say what charges they would face.

The government said last week that the Liberian dollars, newly printed abroad, had been unaccounted for since arriving at port in November 2017 and August of this year.

The scandal has saddled President George Weah with his biggest political crisis since he took office in January and drew thousands of protesters into the streets of the capital Monrovia on Monday.

Reporting By James Giahyue; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Heavens

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