Opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Alexander B. Cummings says President George Manneh Weah and his “administration of thieves” are continuing to disgrace the country and worsen the living conditions of all here.
Through a statement reacting to the U.S. Government’s sanctions against high-ranking officials of the Weah – led government, Mr. Cummings said Wednesday, 17 August 2022 that the sanctions show the seriousness of their stealing from the Liberian people.
“Such is the seriousness of their stealing from the Liberian people that three of President Weah’s closest members of his inner circle have been sanctioned by the United States Government,” Mr. Cummings said.
Cummings urged President Weah to request the U.S. Government’s assistance to prosecute the designated officials, warning that “This is not the time for bogus suspensions, coverups, and fake investigations.”
“I strongly urge the President to therefore dismiss the designated persons, and formally request the assistance of the United States Government to prosecute them in keeping with Liberian law,” said Cummings.
Cummings insisted that President Weah’s mere suspension of his officials and close confidants is not good enough to address the injuries caused to the Liberian people by the actions of these individuals.
Further, he said it is not enough to exonerate the President from the growing public impression of his participation in the commission of these high crimes.
The ANC political leader deems as important public accountability action, the United States Government’s sanction against Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, Solicitor-General Sayma Syrenius Cephas, and National Port Authority Managing Director Bill Twehway.
This week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed specialized sanctions against McGill, Cephus and Twehway, accusing them of acts of corruption and other criminal conducts.
Regarding President Weah’s suspension of the three sanctioned officials, Mr. Cummings suggested that such presidential action of Mr. Weah’s closest cronies exposes “the unsettling truth about our President.”
“President Weah is either dangerously derelict or shamefully complicit in the stealing and abuses that have swallowed up his administration,” Cummings alleged.
Cummings noted that President Weah may pretend all he wants, but the corruption, lawlessness, and unaccountable behaviors on his watch are well-known to the Liberian people.
Secondly, he argued, Mr. Weah and his administration have announced several investigations into murders, mysterious deaths and disappearances, and corruption in the past.
Results of many of these investigations have yet to be made public or to lead to desirable outcomes, according to Mr. Cummings.
“Announcing yet another investigation amounts to a coverup that deceives only himself.
Using a parable to advance his argument further, Cummings said a fish rots from the head.
“President Weah is the head of this rotten fish which his administration is being shown to be,” he said.
The ANC leader suggested that it is telling that the officials targeted by the sanctions are the most powerful members of President Weah’s inner circle.
Cummings stated that the performance and activities of Mr. Weah’s Chief of Staff and gatekeeper, Mr. McGill, over the last five years have to be rightly viewed as reflecting the image, character and values of the President.
“If Weah did not know what his gatekeeper was doing, then Weah is an incompetent and inept leader,” Cummings argued.
“If President Weah knew what his gatekeeper was doing and he did not act to stop him, which appears to be more likely the case, then he is a partner, enabler and facilitator of the stealing,” he added.
The ANC political leader said the sanctions imposed on Messrs McGill, Cephus and Twehway are pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2017.
He said the instrument “targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.”
He said the sanctions are targeted and in support of the suffering Liberian people.
“It sends a clear and serious message to the corrupt and abusive administration of President Weah,” said Mr. Cummings.
For too long, said Mr. Cummings, the Weah administration has misled the country.
He alleged that the regime has failed to take the necessary actions to address the many scandals and reports of stealing and human rights abuses of the administration.
“For too long in the administration of our country, too few Liberians have continued to illegally and corruptly enrich themselves while too many ordinary families have had to go to bed hungry,” Cummings lamented.
He complained that too many schools are without teachers and adequate learning implements.
Also, he stated that too many young people are unemployed and unemployable, while teachers, doctors, nurses and civil servants are grossly underpaid.
“… [And] too many hospitals are without medicines and beds – all of these neglects of the suffering people while officials are stealing and enriching themselves. This is wicked and unacceptable leadership,” said Mr. Cummings.
Under a Cummings administration, he said, if a government official steals, he or she will end up in the same common jail as any other rogue.
“Justice must not and will not discriminate. It must and will be served equally and blindly to the big and small as well as to the haves and have-not, alike,” Cummings vowed.
Cummings claimed that in many cases of corruption, including accusations involving President Weah, he has not acted to hold his officials accountable or to even clear his own name.
He alleged that stealing in government has increased manifold and the actions of public officials have proven to be increasingly abusive.
Additionally, Mr. Cummings said President Weah has emboldened his officials to steal and behave unaccountably by his very bad examples of suddenly coming into unexplained wealth which he began to publicly display in the purchase and building of personal condominiums, resorts, and even an entire personal city, immediately after inauguration.
“This is after declaring to a United States Court that he was indigent and incapable of meeting his father’s responsibility to a mother and daughter,” Cummings continued.