By Abednego Davis
Former CBL board members on trial (from left): Melisa Emeh, Kollie Tamba, Elsie Dossen Badio, David M. Farhat and former Executive Governor, Milton A. Weeks
Ex-CBL Board Member testifies, says ‘Gov’t subjected is to unnecessary humiliation in CBL LD$16B Case’
A defense witness and former member of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on trial at Criminal Court ‘C’, in connection to the alleged missing LD$16billion Liberian dollar banknotes, told the court on Tuesday, August 11, that the government’s intent is to subject them to “unnecessary humiliation,” because there is no evidence to convict them of the commission of the multiple crimes charged.
Defendant Kollie S. Tamba, in his testimony, wondered how the government arrived at the conclusion to indict them (board members) without any germane pieces of evidence. “Where is the evidence? Where is the evidence that we stole LD$2.6 billion out of the printed LD$10 billion Liberian dollar banknotes; again where is the evidence?” defendant Tamba further noted.
Further in his testimony, Tamba rhetorically asked the prosecution to show where did they transport the missing money, challenging, “Where did we hide the money?” The former member of the Board of Governors, whose testimony appeared challenging, said, “We have heard evidence from the prosecution that is prosecuting us for a frivolously vague, concocted charge of criminal theft against citizens that, throughout their entire lives, have tried to avoid any activity that would bring shame and disgrace to their families and themselves.”
Tamba also said that in the midst of a conglomeration of evidence that no money was missing, the government believed that there is evidence that they (board members) had allegedly converted the LD$2.6 billion for their personal benefit. “When Crane Currency, the Swedish money printing company said only LD$15.5 billion Liberian dollar banknotes were printed and delivered to the CBL and that amount is accounted for, the government disgracefully claimed that we stole the money,” Tamba said in his testimony. “The US Embassy in its publication of the Kroll Investigative report said that all the money contracted and printed by the Crane Currency was delivered and received in the CBL’s vault,” defendant Tamba added.
Also, defendant Tamba reminded the court in his testimony that retired and former Executive Governor of the CBL, Nathaniel Patray, published a statement indicating that they investigated and analyzed that all monies contracted were received and booked in the CBL’s vault. Again, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, Mr. Tamba said, over the last weeks made a public statement on the airwaves that no money was missing in the country.
Tweah, Tamba said, in that statement asked the opposition to apologize for propagating such false news that money was missing. Tamba said in his testimony that the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Frank Musa Dean, published that after an exhaustive examination and analysis of all documents, “We concluded that no money was missing.”
“It is baffling, as to why the state, represented by the very Ministry of Justice, has subjected us to this humiliation, where we have heard our names on the radio in various vernaculars and on social media in connection with the theft of LD$2.6 billion Liberian dollar banknotes,” Tamba emphasized.
Tamba added that “We are just walking to this court on a daily basis, hearing these frivolous charges being read to us. This is a disturbing experience. We can only ask ourselves why.”
Testifying about some of the charges specifically, conspiracy and collusion among the Board of Governors of the CBL to convert the LD$2.6 billion for their personal use, Tamba said: “That charge is confusing in the entire indictment. How can the state charge five of its dedicated, honest, patriotic, and nationalistic citizens, who have exhibited in the course of their professional journey nothing but love to this state? How can the state now at this point in our lives, when we are retired to live our lives quietly from the fruits of our labor, treat us like this? Where is the evidence?” defendant Tamba inquired.
Source Daily Observer.