MONROVIA-The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) says the US Department of the Treasury’s recent sanctions imposed on three senior officials of the Liberian Government is debilitating.
The Association says the sanctions have compromised the abilities of the affected government officials to execute their respective job duties and responsibilities effectively; and is urging President George M. Weah to act decisively by seeking their resignation or terminating them with immediacy.
The three sanctioned officials are the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cepheus, and the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Bill Twehway.
On Monday, August 15, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned Minister McGill, Solicitor General Cepheus, and Managing Director Twehway for their alleged involvement in ongoing acts of public corruption. The Department of the Treasury accused the three officials of engaging in corrupt practices for their own personal benefit and undermining Liberia’s democracy.
In a Release issued on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, the Association says, the resignation or immediate dismissal of the sanctioned officials by President Weah would go a long way in demonstrating the government’s genuine commitment to the fight against corruption in the public sector.
ALJA further urged the President to see the sanction imposition on Minister McGill, Solicitor General Cepheus, and Managing Director Twehway as an opportunity for him and his administration to reset the war against corruption in the Liberian Government.
Meanwhile, ALJA says, it whole heartedly welcomes the Department of the Treasury sanctions imposed on the affected senior government officials; and it is pleased that the United States Government has begun holding accountable, officials of the Liberian Government who continue to abuse the public trust and engage in corrupt practices that are detrimental to the people of Liberia.
The Association says, it is a sad and an unfortunate reality that a foreign power such as the United States is now more committed to the fight against public sector corruption in Liberia than the Liberian Government.
According to media reports, one implication of the sanction is that persons that engage in certain transactions with the sanctioned individuals may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Furthermore, the Department of the Treasury has threatened to institute similar sanctions against financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions with Minister McGill, Managing Director Twehway, and Solicitor General Cepheus.
The Association says, it hopes that the designation by the US Department of the Treasury office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) against the three officials will serve as a deterrent to public officials who brazenly engage in corrupt practices that undermined Liberia’s development.
ALJA say, it is not surprised by the US Government’s latest action taken against Minister McGill and the two other public officials given the persistent warning of corrupt practices in the Liberian Government made by US officials including US Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, President Joe Biden’s Special Assistant, Dana Banks and US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objectives of advancing press freedom through media capacity building, and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.