Home EconomyCorruption US$6.2m Probe of FIA’s Ford Hitches At LACC

US$6.2m Probe of FIA’s Ford Hitches At LACC

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: Liberians at home and abroad previously celebrated report that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), discovered, and was probing what anti-graft crusaders described as money laundering that is said to have awash the Financial Intelligence Agency, then, headed by Mr. Stanley S. Ford.

During the first quarter of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s administration, the LACC reportedly obtained series of dossiers allegedly relating to a whopping US$6.2 million fraudulent transactions including Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) checks, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning payment vouches, among others from the State-owned FIA.

FIA’s now suspended boss, Stanley Ford, reportedly told LACC investigators at the time that he got instruction “from above” to carry out some of the transactions that relate to the financial dossiers.

However, many months have elapsed since report of the probe became public knowledge, there have been no further information as it relates to its completion, associated findings and recommendations.

In October 2022, 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.

In Ford’s case, according to intelligence, the alleged money laundering transactions involving him, were intended to support the then ruling party (Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), and its then aspirations for the reelection of then incumbent President, George Manneh Weah in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections.

Ford’s nomination to said portfolio, at the time, required confirmation hearing by the Liberian Senate but due to his alleged closed ties with some past officials, he refused to submit himself to the Senate, the Upper House of the Liberian Legislature for any confirmation hearing. Yet, he served as DG of the FIA, prior to his recent suspension on graft-related claims and the probe.

Highly placed sources familiar with the reported financial transactions said to foster his alleged corrupt agenda, in late 2022, Ford was placed on the CDC campaign team’s Ways, Means and Financial Committee.

His placement was for the purpose of using the FIA’s accounts as “vessels” to launder public funds with the alleged support of several senior officials of the then ruling regime.

It is claimed that in ‘operationalizing’ such plans, Ford appointed his foster brother, identified as D. Moses Cooper, as Comptroller of the Sate-owned Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA). So far, Mr. Cooper has not commented on the issue, and it is not clear whether he too, is facing any investigation.

It was also established 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 allegedly caused to withdraw and did receive the total amount of LD$ 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).

According sources familiar with the financial investigation, 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.

Moreover, 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 a combined total of Seven Million Six hundred thousand (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 million) that was allegedly laundered through a purported fraudulent budget, money laundering and campaign financing schemes, the documents revealed

Some financial investigators are of the view that such high-profiled broad-day money 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) supposedly authorized the withdrawal of Six Million two hundred thousand United States Dollars (6,200,000) in September 2023 during CDC Campaign activities and without any single piece of evidence to substantiate the withdrawals, one source said.
According to the source, the following pattern of withdrawal of funds shows that the FIA’s Accounts were misused and abused between September 8, 2023, to September 23, 2023, when funds were siphoned through an apparent 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 series of deposits and withdrawals that allegedly occurred on the same day, and if true, what he did with the funds.

Director Ford was questioned what he did with the State funds despite the Agency budget was formally approved by the then 54th National Legislature.
Interestingly, according to sources familiar with the probe, Mr. Ford admitted in his preliminary statement to the LACC, but clarified that he got “instruction from above.”
The FIA boss, Stanley Ford, also allegedly violated the Code of Conduct for public officials under ‘Political Participation’ by serving as Co-Chair of the CDC Financial Committee during the 2023 Elections.
Despite these available documents to the LACC, the Commission is yet to release the much-awaited findings of the US$6.2 million investigation and associated recommendations, if any, at the State-owned Financial Intelligence Agency.

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