Home Governance FIA’s Stanley Ford Entangled In US$6.2m Money Laundering… Suspended For Alleged Financial Malpractices

FIA’s Stanley Ford Entangled In US$6.2m Money Laundering… Suspended For Alleged Financial Malpractices

by News Manager

MONROVIA: In the face of alleged reckless financial transactions at the state-owned Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA), that is said to have amounted to ‘money laundering,’ President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has been suspended, with immediate effect, Mr. Stanley Ford, Director General of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA), on allegations of financial and other malpractices at the institution.

According to an Executive Mansion press release issued on March 25, 2024, placed on the government’s website, President Boakai has made it clear that there is no tolerance for any form of malpractice and, as such, he has directed the Ministry of Justice to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the matter.

President Boakai expressed confidence that the investigation will ensure that justice is served.

The President has further urged Mr. Ford to submit himself to the investigation and cooperate fully to make sure that the matter is resolved expeditiously.

According to the Executive Mansion, President Boakai’s move is a clear demonstration of his commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that public officials are held accountable for their actions.

In recent times, the FIA has been in media for alleged financial malpractices.

Reports say in October 2022, the suspended FIA boss, Mr. Stanley S. Ford, was transferred from the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), to head the once acclaimed Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), now Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA), as its Director General.

FIA is a statutory agency responsible to monitor and report suspicions of money laundering in Liberia and other parts of the West African subregion.

Ford’s appointment came exactly two (2) months after some erstwhile top Liberian Government officials, who included Nathaniel McGill, ex-Minister of State and former Chief of Office Staffs of former President George Weah; Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas, former Solicitor General of Liberia and Chief Prosecutor; and Bill Tweahway, former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), now Senator of River Cess County were sanctioned by the United States (US) Treasury Department in August, 2022.

The US sanctions were imposed on the trio amid widespread allegations, then, that some senior FIA officials, (names not given) supported the said sanctions through submission of several purported criminal files.

Confidential reports suggest that Mr. Ford was therefore appointed to the FIA as an “Al Capone” or cover-up man for the then governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led erstwhile administration.
According to confidential sources, the name, ‘Al Capone’ was used over the years by a popular American gangster who ‘introduced acts of money laundering’ in the USA through undercover schemes to support his ostensible mafia groups.

In Ford’s case, according to highly placed and unimpeachable sources familiar with the purported illegal financial transactions, it was intended to support the former ruling party (CDC) and its aspirations for reelection to state power.

Our sources also disclosed that Ford’s nomination to said portfolio, at the time, required confirmation hearing but due to his alleged closed ties with some past administration officials, he refused to submit himself to any confirmation process to date; rather he continues to serve as DG of the FIA.

To foster his alleged corrupt agenda, in late 2022, Ford was placed on the CDC Campaign Team’s Ways, Means and Financial Committee for the obvious purpose of using the FIA’s accounts as “vessels” to launder public funds with the alleged support of several ex-government officials.

It is gathered that in ‘operationalizing’ such plans, Ford allegedly appointed his foster brother, identified as D. Moses Cooper, as Comptroller of the FIA.

It is also gathered that Mr. Ford is the core signatory to all accounts of the FIA and therefore has fiduciary responsibility to protect the sanctity of those accounts.

However, during the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections, specifically in the period between September 11, 2023 to September 25, 2023, Mr. Ford caused to withdraw and did receive the total amount of L$1,065,732, 504.00 (one billion, sixty-five million, seven hundred thirty-two thousand, five hundred and four Liberian Dollars) from the FIA Account number: 1501008108, at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).

The amount was extracted allegedly by the Comptroller of the FIA, D. Moses Cooper, and subsequently delivered in cash to the FIA Director General, Mr. Stanley Ford.

During the same period between September 11, 2023 to September 23, 2023, Ford was alleged to have also received monies from the Government of Liberia (GOL), amounting to a whopping US$ 599,000.00.

All amounts were allegedly transferred from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), to the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA), and withdrew on the same day of transfers or deposits, sources hinted this paper.

The analysis of the National Budget shows that the FIA approved budget for 2023 was US$1,410,000.00.

But, further review of the FIA bank statement shows that the FIA received and expended combined total of Seven Million Six hundred thousand United States Dollar (US$7,600,000.00) for fiscal year 2023.

Thus, leaving an unexplained variance of Six Million Two Hundred Thousand United States Dollars (US$6,200,000) that was allegedly laundered through a purported budget fraud, money laundering and political financing schemes, the documents revealed.

Some financial investigators are of the view that for such apparent laundering which allegedly enabled Ford to aid campaign financing of the past government, he has earned himself the name of “Liberia’s Al Capone”.

Remember, Mr. Ford, who was appointed to serve as a member of the CDC campaign team: Ways & Means Committee (funds raising committee) reportedly authorized the withdrawal of Six Million two hundred thousand United States Dollars (6,200,000) in September 2023 during climax of Liberia political campaign activities and without any single piece of evidence to substantiate any legitimate withdrawals, an FIA insider who prefers anonymity for security and administrative reason said.

Moreover, sources added the following pattern of withdrawal of funds shows that the FIA Accounts were misused and abused between September 8, 2023 to September 23, 2023, as the funds were suspected to have been siphoned through criminal means and purpose.

Following media reports about the alleged money laundering, FIA Director-General, Stanley S. Ford, was invited by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), to explain what he (Ford) knows about the purported deposit and withdrawal on the same day, and what he did with the funds.

Director Ford has been questioned what he did with the State funds despite the Agency budget was approved by the National Legislature.
Interestingly, according to people familiar with said investigation, Mr. Ford admitted in his statement to the LACC, but clarified that he ‘got instruction from above.’
Mr. Ford refused to respond to media inquiry despite continued reminder via text messages since February.

The FIA boss, Stanley Ford, also allegedly violated the Code of Conduct under ‘Political Participation’ by serving as Co-Chair of the CDC Financial Committee during the 2023 Elections.

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