President Weah Disagrees with Predecessor on Son’s Prosecution

MONROVIA, Montserrado – A week after former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf accused the government of illegally indicting her son Charles Sirleaf, President George Weah has sharply reacted, dismissing the claim.

Charles Sirleaf, who served as the deputy governor for operations of the Central Bank, was arrested in March and charged for multiple criminal offenses along with the former executive governor Milton Weeks and three others. The charges included economic sabotage, misuse of public money, property or records, illegal disbursement and expenditure of public money, and criminal conspiracy.

Their charges are related to their roles in printing excess Liberian dollar banknotes – L$146,250,000 in the first tranche of L$5 billion in 2016 and L$359,750,000 in the second tranche L$10 billion printed in 2017.

He and his co-defendants were arrested based on a report released by a presidential investigation team set up by President George Weah to investigate reports of the alleged missing of L$16 billion in new banknotes. According to the report, the decision to print excess banknotes cost the government an extra US$835,361. They were placed behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison, but are currently released on criminal appearance bonds.

The former president appeared on the Aljazeera program “Upfront,” where she claimed her son was unjustly charged.

“He was unjustifiably, illegally charged,” Sirleaf said during her interview, which grew testy at times.

But in a major address to the nation on Wednesday, Weah countered and said the defendants are undergoing due process of law, under the country’s legal system.

“No one has been arrested illegally, or detained unjustifiably, in connection with these trials,” he said, in what appeared to be a rebuttal of Sirleaf’s interview.

He additionally promised to ensure that the trial continues to the end when the final verdict is rendered by the court.

Featured photo by the Executive Mansion

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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