Corruption ‘Kingkongs’ Head committee

Mark N.

Monrovia-Jan-17-TNR: Liberia is becoming a country where those accused of undermining the growth and development of the country through corrupt practices and other negative vices are usually rewarded with key government positions thus, encouraging them to continue their nefarious acts at the detriment of ordinary Liberians.  

This is exactly the case with the recent elections of some sanctioned Liberians who have been accused of massive corruption while serving in previous administrations and others who were responsible for serious mayhem and were accused of committing heinous atrocities during the country’s nearly 14 years of civil unrest.

With these allegations on them, they do not seem to be moved in any way.

On Monday, January 15, 2024, members of the 55th Legislature took their seats to run the affairs of the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate which constitutes the National Legislature of Liberia. The lawmakers were inducted into office on Monday, January 15, 2024.

This means that the Senators elected in 2017 have six more years to go, while those recently elected have nine years to serve their constituents. For some of the lawmakers, both old and new, integrity issues have been raised against them, based on their dealings in past and present administrations.

Some were relieved of their positions because of their involvement in some corrupt practices, while those who were to account for their involvement in war and economic crimes were designated by the Unity States for sanction.

Backgrounds of lawmakers and current Committees/positions:

Alex Tyler of Bomi:

Bomi County Senator Alexander Tyler widely known as Alex Tyler served as Speaker of the House of Representatives during the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime, he was reportedly involved in corruption practices for which he was removed as Speaker and later defeated as Bomi County Representative.

Tyler’s name was mentioned in the Sable Mining bribery and questionable payments made to Liberian officials. It was reported that Tyler at the time received the sum of US$75,000 in bribes. Today,  Tyler was elected and back in the Senate. He has not cleared his name yet but has reappeared this time at the Liberian Senate and is being placed on one of the major committees at the Senate as Liberia’s Representative to the ECOWAS Parliament.

Nathaniel F. McGill of Margibi County:

Senator McGill served as a powerful Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah. McGill was accused in 2022 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of using his position to undermine the integrity and independence of Liberia’s democratic institutions and subvert government priorities for personal gains.

He is now a Senator clothed with the responsibilities of making laws and making major decisions for the people of Liberia. McGill is being rewarded as chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Education and Administration.

Bill Twehway of Rivercess County

Mr. Bill Twehway served as Managing Director of the nation’s economic gatewayNational Port Authority (NPA). He was elected Senator in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Election and is now one of the decision-makers in Liberia.

According to the United States U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Twehway, orchestrated the diversion of US$1.5 million in vessel storage fee funds from the NPA into a private account and formed a private company to which he later unilaterally awarded a contract for loading and unloading cargo at the Port of Buchanan.

Bill Twehway and others used family members to benefit their involvement in the company while still benefitting financially from the company, the US Treasury Office added.

Despite being sanctioned by the United States Treasury’s Office, Twehway is also being rewarded with the position of a Senatorintegrity institution where major decisions are made for the growth and development of the country.

Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County:

In 2021, Prince Y. Johnson was designated by the Department of the Treasury under Global Magnitsky for his role in corruption. He is said to have been significantly involved in corruption through engagements involving millions of dollars in bribery and pay-for-play funding schemes.

Prince Y. Johnson is a popular name in Liberia when discussing the Liberian crisis which claimed the lives of several thousand people.

As a leader of the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), Johnson was recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) to be prosecuted for atrocities he allegedly committed during the Liberian civil war which lasted from 1989 to 2003.

The one-time accused lawmaker is serving his three consecutive terms as Senator of Nimba County. He has been given the responsibility of chairing the Senate’s Committee on Internal Affairs, another major decision-making body at the House of Elders.  

Albert Toe Chie of Grand Kru:

Former President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert T. Chie who is also amongst the most recent designated Liberia officials, was appointed to chair the Senate’s Committee on Public Works.

Despite being sanctioned for bribery and corruption as stated by the US Treasury Office, and stepping aside during the Senate’s Pro-tempore election, Senator Chie has been rewarded to head a major committee at the Senate.

Despite warning by the US Treasury Office disclosed that, “Through their corruption, these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” Liberians ignored their own plights and warning by United States and went ahead to elect some of the accused and even rewarded them with key positions at the Legislature.

Political observers say placing these designated Senators on major committees has put Liberia on the redline with the United States because part of the sanction implications states that; “Persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.”

Musa Hansan Bility of Nimba:

Musa Hansan Bility, one of the newest members of the House of Representatives has been inducted to represent the people of Nimba County, specifically  of district number 7, despite a barrage of corruption allegations against him before being elected as a member of the 55th Legislature.

The Nimba County lawmaker was found guilty by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)-International Federation of Association Football for misappropriation of funds as well as for receiving benefits and found himself in situations of conflict of interest, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

With these allegations against the Liberian businessman, he was elected to the august House to make major decisions for the country.

These above-mentioned individuals are now duly elected members of the Liberian Legislature who will, for the coming years, decide for the people of Liberia at the county’s first branch of government.

The baffling question is whether the United States Government and other international community will do business with Liberia with the presence of these sanctioned and allegedly corrupt individuals being placed on major committees at the House and Liberia Senate.

All of them have failed to exonerate themselves. But they have told the media over the past time that they were not given a forum to address these allegations.  More to that, they have all denied these allegations.

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