Liberia issues travel ban after '$60m vanish'


Liberia's government has banned 15 people, including the son of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from leaving the country while it investigates the alleged disappearance of tens of millions of dollars intended for the central bank, the Ministry of Information has said in a statement.

Border posts have been informed that Charles Sirleaf, the deputy governor of the central bank, and Milton Weeks, the former governor of the bank, are among those barred from travelling abroad, the statement added.

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Mr Sirleaf and Mr Weeks have not yet commented.

However, Mrs Sirleaf was quoted by the Front Page Africa news site as saying that the bank had given "full evidence and clarification" to refute allegations that the money had disappeared.

The government has ordered an investigation into the alleged disappearance of the newly printed bank notes that had reportedly come from abroad between November last year and August this year.

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"The government... takes the ongoing investigation seriously because it has national security implications," the statement added.

The statement did not say how much had allegedly gone missing. Some reports put the number at around $60m (£45.6m) and others at around $100m.

The central bank had flatly denied that containers packed with the money had disappeared from the port in the capital, Monrovia, Liberia's Daily Observer news site reported.

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Mrs Sirleaf, a former Nobel Peace Prize winner, stepped down as president in January after her two terms ended.

She was succeeded by former football star George Weah, following his stunning victory in elections a month earlier.