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CENTAL Lauds Boakai For FIA Boss Suspension

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has lauded President Joseph Nyuma Boakai for the immediate suspension the head of the Financial Intelligent Agency of Liberia Standley Ford for his alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

In a press statement dated March 28, 2024, CENTAL noted that given the gravity of such corruption scandal and its implications for the work and reputation of FIA and by extension the country’s integrity sector, an administrative sanction, should be taken, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

According to the group, called on the Liberia leader to take a very serious administrative action against Mr. Stanley Ford, director general of the institution and all those at the center of the saga, as their continued presence as leaders and managers casts dark shadow over the institution and neutralize its ability to fight financial crimes and other related crimes.

The integrity group, has at the same time, encouraged the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to timely complete her ongoing investigation into the matter as well as provide regular updates to the public.

CENTAL however urged institutions and individuals leading anti-corruption efforts to set very high standards for others to follow, both in and out of government.

In its statement, the group indicated that the latest incident at FIA does not only damage the entity’s reputation but affects the morale of staff that are working diligently and may sometimes sacrifice to perform their assigned responsibilities.

“President Boakai must act and do so now if stakeholders must have the required level of confidence in and continue to do business with the Financial Intelligence Agency of Liberia,” CENTAL noted.

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), recommendation to the Liberian leader comes few days after publications of the Independent Newspaper consistently highlighted some alleged dubious dealings at the FIA.

In its March 4, 2024 edition, the Investigative INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER revealed that it has obtained some dossiers (documents) which indicated that on September 22, 2023, during the climax of the Presidential and Legislative elections, Director-General of FIA, Mr. Stanley S. Ford, received US$ 599,000 and withdrew the amount on the same day, using a cheque bearing the name of the entity’s Comptroller who is identified as DMP Cooper.

According to the same publication of this paper (Independent), Financial statements and analysis also showed that the aggregate amount received in 2023, was US$1,079 million, and FIA Director General Ford withdrew and disbursed over 90% of the amount in the name of the same Comptroller.

According to sources at the FIA, these claimed shady financial activities were meant to enrich themselves during the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections and to support the then governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) 2023 political campaign.

Mr. Ford refused to respond to media inquiry despite continued reminder via text messages over a five-day period. Mr. Ford is believed to be a staunch member and supporter of the former ruling CDC, even though the act that establishes the FIA speaks against political affiliation.

FIA boss, Stanley Ford, allegedly violated the Code of Conduct for Liberia Public officials under ‘Political Participation’ by serving as Co-Chair of the CDC Financial Committee.

According to the report, over one million United States Dollars was disbursed in the name of the Comptroller, including over US$500 Thousand withdrawn on the same day it was transferred by the Central Bank of Liberia, while another report placed the total amount involved in the scandal to over US$6 million.

With these above reports, CENTAL has described, as not just disturbing but has the proclivity to erode citizens and development partners’ trust in institutions like the FIA clothed with the authority to fight corruption and other shady financial dealings, including money laundering.

According to the integrity watch group, if not properly disposed of, these allegations could hamper the credibility of the institution, including the outcomes of sanctions and other efforts made to enforce their very important mandate.

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