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GeneralLiberia news

2023 elections will determine more sanctions

United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy says that the all-important goal of transparent, free, credible, and peaceful elections here in October will be one important factor in decisions about additional sanctions in the months leading up to the vote.

He stresses that the United States anti-corruption efforts in Liberia remain robust and continuous and that the American government can and will employ sanctions as needed on an ongoing basis, in support of its shared development, democracy, and security goals, guided by her Strategy on Countering Corruption.

In an open letter addressed to the people of Liberia, commemorating International Anti-Corruption Day on Thursday, 8 December Amb. McCarthy continued that Global Magnitsky or GloMag sanctions are deservedly a hot topic in Liberia, and some Liberians have urged the United States to implement more sanctions and even proposed names, while others have objected that the sanctions process lacks due process.

“Let me be clear: GloMag is a tool the United States uses to protect itself from particularly corrupt actors, not a punishment against a country or government. It is also in no way a substitute for a domestic judicial process in the host country, including prosecution. Ultimately, ‘due process or an accused’s “day in court” can only happen under Liberian law, in Liberian courts”, the Ambassador further underscores.

He notes that Liberians generally agree with the United States’ analysis that corruption is the primary cause of Liberia’s failure to thrive, and most in the international community share similar assessment.

Amb. McCarthy maintains that is why the U.S Department of the Treasury took the extraordinary step of sanctioning five senior Liberian officials in only three years under GloMag, saying this set of sanctions has led to some positive results, including the resignation of the three most recently sanctioned officials namely, former Solicitor-General Sayma Syrenius Cephus, former Minister of State Nathaniel McGill and former National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Tweahway. Two other officials sanctioned by the United States are Senator Varney Sherman (Grand Cape Mount County) and Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba county, respectively.

He says Liberians have heard unusually stark language from the Government of the United States regarding the corruption of these individuals, and that in some cases, they have also heard responses from the sanctioned officials themselves.

However, he urges that in the upcoming 2023 elections, it will be the turn of the people of Liberia to let their voices be heard on this topic, especially since several of those sanctioned officials may be running for office.

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Designated Bill Tweahway is contemplating on vying for the senate in his native River Cess county, while his colleague Nathaniel McGill has declared his intention to contest in Margibi county and has already begun holding rallies to mobilize support. But former SG Cllr. Cephus disclosed to The NEW DAWN this week that he is challenging his designation before the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. 

Amb. McCarthy remains that ultimately, it is Liberians and not the U.S. government that are responsible for ensuring good governance in Liberia, adding that sanctions can help, but the ballot box is a far more important tool for holding officials accountable.

“If Liberians choose to elect or re-elect sanctioned officials as their leaders”, he notes, “that will send a very clear signal about how they truly feel about the fight against corruption and the future of their country.”

The U.S. Envoy reiterates that corruption is not a uniquely Liberian problem, but a global issue, even in the United States at all levels of governance.

 However, he says on International Anti-Corruption Day, it is worth considering what more Liberians can do to fight this scourge and recommends some urgent steps that he thinks the Government of Liberia can take now to fight corruption that require no international assistance, and that many of those steps are in already enshrined in the law of Liberia.

Fully funding Liberia’s integrity institutions, publishing the names of public officials who fail to comply with asset declarations, making information on all legislative votes and actions easily accessible to the public, and reducing funding for government agencies that do not comply with annual financial reporting requirements”, Amb. McCarthy recommends are but a few examples, among many others in enhancing the corruption fight. Story by Jonathan Browne

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).

One Comment

  1. US Ambassador Mccarthy must leave Liberia!

    America has options to Liberia’s friendship, the US should choose to leave Liberia should the US judge Liberia unworthy of US benevolence.

    Colonialism and their aparthied use of black people in Africa are over! No nation has the right to impose upon another sovereign state!

    This nonsense sanction threats to our elections is interference and must stop!

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