No Shielding!

latest United States targeted sanction against Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee, Finance, Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Pro-tempore Albert Chie and Margibi County Senator, J. Emmanuel Nuquay has been welcomed by a cross-section of Liberians with strong warning to the incoming administration of President-elect, Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

News of the latest round of sanction against Liberian government officials undoubtedly swept through the country as a wild forest fire spreads through a forest during the dry season. Within matter of minutes the social media was flooded with the report.

Over the years Mayor Koijee’s name was associated with almost every violent incident and human rights abuses meted against peaceful Liberians, but he persistently denied those allegations through press conferences, media releases and talk show appearances.

His denial however, did not deter the United States Treasury Department through its OFAC to slam targeted sanctions against Mayor. In his reaction over the sanction, Mayor Koijee says he is not deterred.

But in the case of majority Liberians who one way or the other commented on social media or through call-in talk shows on local radio stations across Liberia regarding the targeted sanctions against Mayor Koijee have tagged it as ‘Operations Sting’ by the US government to bite all those Liberian government officials who are bent on corruption and human rights abuses.

They have warned the incoming administration not to shield any sanctioned official as this will be met with strong resistance from the public. Many of the citizens complained that corruption has eaten up every fabric of the society and any attempt for the incoming Boakai government to shield officials sanctioned by the US Government will be met with stiff resistance from the Liberian people.  

In the case of Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, he has on many occasions been accused by Liberians of enriching himself, along with the alleged acquisition of real estate outside Liberia, something he has publicly denied.

As for Senators Nuquay and Chie, they form part of the 54thLegislature in Liberia which Liberians have tagged as being corrupt and the main problem affecting the development and growth of the country, as well as personal growth of the people of the country. The sanctioning has been welcomed by most Liberians who think the US sanction should have been imposed on them earlier.

According to these Liberians, since the CDC-led government of President George Weah lacks the political will to prosecute targeted sanctioned government officials, they will buttress the US Government’s action by pursuing the incoming Unity Party Government that will be led by Ambassador. Joseph Boakai to prosecute all those sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for alleged corruption, human rights abuses and perpetration of violence in Liberia over the years.

Most Liberians who have reacted to the latest targeted sanction placed on Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee as well as Samuel Tweah, Emmanuel Nuquay and Albert Chie want the incoming administration of Amb. Joseph Boakai to gather the political will to prosecute Koijee and all those sanctioned by the US government under the Magnitsky Act.

They believe prosecution will set a deterrent for those who will be guilty and punished in keeping with the laws of Liberia. For many years, corruption has eaten the fabric of the nation as people who are usually accused of corrupt practices in government or any other public space go with impunity as there are never prosecutions to curtail the menace.

With Liberians calling on the incoming Unity Party government to be led by President-elect Joseph Boakai, a time bomb/prosecution awaits the likes of Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee, former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, former National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway (now both Senators-elect for Margibi and Rivercess Counties respectively), former Solicitor General of Liberia Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson and Grand Cape Mount County Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Senators Albert Chie and Emmanuel Nuquay, who are all sanctioned by the US government on either alleged corrupt practices, human rights abuse and perpetrating violence.

Many political pundits and commentators are of the beliefs that incoming President Joseph Boakai will not want to start on a bad-footing with Liberia’s number and traditional ally, the United States by refusing to adhere to their calls to prosecute those placed on targeted sanctions for alleged corrupt activities as well as human rights abuses and perpetration of violence in Liberia over the years.

Diplomatic sources also hint that if incoming President Joseph Boakai is to open doors for international support and investments to boost the private sector in Liberia, he must set example by upholding integrity, transparency, accountability and respect for rule of law from the onset of his administration.

It is expected that the US government might likely provide pieces of evidence against those current and former government officials it placed on targeted sanctions for either corruption, human rights abuses and perpetration of violence in Liberia over the years.

Former United States Ambassador Michael McCarthy always said during his tenure in Liberia that the pieces of evidence were glaring leading to the sanctioning of those Liberian former and current officials by his government. He did say it took years for the US Treasury Department thru its OFAC to determine, document and reach conclusion to sanction those it sanctioned in Liberia.

Bomi County Senator Edwin Snowe some time ago told Liberians as well as former and current government officials placed on United States of America’s targeted sanctions that,If anybody thinks being sanctioned is an easy thing then they must be joking because it is tiring and draining in the lives of a sanctioned person.” He further warned that nobody should take sanctions for play.

But it seems the warning of Senator Snowe was never heeded as some former and current officials of government ignored the plight of poverty-stricken Liberians to pillage Liberia’s resources for their personal and selfish gains, benefitting only they and their respective families as well as close cronies and associates.

To make matters worse, the sanctioned City Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee took to the streets of Monrovia along with his very-same-band of Monrovia youths, who the Americans said he uses most times to carry out violence against the persons of innocent Liberians and the opposition bloc, as well as students, who then paraded him through the streets on Monday. He stated that he is not deterred by the sanctions imposed on him, not knowing the implications and consequences it will have on his life thereafter.

But despite failure of the Government of Liberia, under the watchful eyes of President George Weah, to prosecute persons and officials accused of corruption, human rights abuses and perpetration of violence, the United States through its Department of Treasury Office for Assets Control (OFAC) have been keeping track and documented Liberian government officials who chose to be corrupt, violators of human rights and perpetrators of violence over the last couple of years.

1 Comment
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