UNITED STATES SUMMONS SENIOR LIBERIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OVER GRAFT

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury – Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has opened investigations over alleged corruption by three Liberian government officials affiliated to the OFAC.

The investigations target Liberian President George Weah’s Chief of Staff – Mr. Nathaniel McGill, Liberia’s Chief Prosecutor Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway.

“Through their corruption these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” read a statement by Brian Nelson, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, ” the designations demonstrate that the United States remains committed to holding corrupt actors accountable and to the continued support of the Liberian people.”

The officials are under probe as foreign government officials who allegedly perpetrated corruption, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818. The order builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

McGill, Cephus and Twehway are alleged of engaging in corruption including the misappropriation of state assets and funds, taking private assets for personal gain and bribery.

According to the statement by Mr. Nelson, all property and interests accrued from properties of the accused that are in the United States must be blocked and reported to Treasury. People who engage in transactions with the accused may also be subjected to sanctions, as spelt out by the statement.

The Liberian economy has been undermined by corruption which has equally affected democracy and robbed citizens of public resources which could lead to development. Liberia has suffered several effects of corruption such as; empowering illicit actors, degrading the business environment, and damaging the rule of law and effective governance.
The United States stands firm with Liberians in supporting democracy and the rule of law, hence the need to promote accountability for corrupt actors, regardless of their position or political affiliation.

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