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GeneralLiberia news

CENTAL wants designated officials dismissed

By Lewis S Teh

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia or CENTAL urges President George Weah to immediately dismiss all three officials designated by the US department of treasury for public corruption.

“CENTAL, therefore, calls on President Weah for the immediate dismissal of those three officials if he must redeem the image of his government and Liberia at large”, the Center urges.

The Executive Mansion announced on Tuesday, August 16, that President Weah has suspended Minister of State Nathaniel McGill, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority Bill Twehway, and Solicitor General Seyma Cyrenius Cephus with immediate effect to enable them to face investigation

CENTAL in a news conference Tuesday said the designation by the U.S. Treasury is welcoming and a great step toward minimizing corruption in Liberia.

 Thus, we urged the US Government to “spare no accomplices and beneficiaries of such significant acts of corruption being perpetrated by some Liberian Government officials”. 

CENTAL Executive Director Anderson Miamen hopes the move would translate into an all-out attack on corruption in government with no sacred cows to spare.

 He says although the consequences of such an attack are largely external with any internal effect seemingly prevented by the sovereignty touted at Liberia’s borders and shores, saying “We held that an external contribution would inevitably yield domestic impact if all accomplices and beneficiaries are held to account.”

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The CENTAL boss describes the sanction as a significant step in heeding Liberia’s position by designating Nathaniel McGill, Syrenius Cephus and Bill Twehway for their “involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia.”

 Miamen says CENTAL believes that by taking such actions, the United States is rising to the expectations of many Liberians that such designations affect all corrupt public officials and not only a few. 

“This is particularly important, given that the US Government has often spoken authoritatively regarding acts and actors of corruption—a stance which demonstrates that it might be well-informed of “on-going public corruption” than many Liberians from which these acts are kept secret.

He notes that the latest designations bring to six (6) the number of Liberian Government Officials that have so far been designated under the Global Magnitsky Act for their involvement with significant corruption.

 He recalls that former passport director Andrew Wonploe, Senators Varney Sherman and Prince Y. Johnson were earlier designated. 

CENTAL believes that these designations reinforce countless recommendations that have been made to President George Manneh Weah and the Government of Liberia to show genuine political will and be practical, impartial, and holistic about the fight against corruption.

 Miamen underscores that the fight against corruption must neither be reduced to an intellectual exercise nor abused by thwarting legitimate processes to fight back at those in the vanguard fighting corruption. 

 The dissolution of the current Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) through the recent enactment of the amended LACC Act; continued lack of will to adequately fund public integrity institutions; and failure of the President to take appropriate corrective actions against government officials accused and investigated for grave incidences of corruption are classic examples, he cited.

 CENTAL believes that President Weah still has an opportunity to redeem his government, noting that such revival must begin by immediately dismissing, and not suspending officials of the executive that have been internationally found wanting in integrity. 

“President Weah cannot afford to be oblivious to history and the passage of time. Retaining Nathaniel McGill, Syrenius Cephas, and Bill Twehway would amount to explicit confidence in their integrity as against the countless outcry of Liberians, and now international partners, on several occasions.” 

He adds that citizens have a role to demand accountability for corruption and to reject members of the Legislature, who have been designated at the polls in 2023, and beyond, saying “We must never give up in our quest for a better Liberia, and must keep pushing till victory against corruption is achieved”.

Meanwhile, CENTAL recommits to meaningfully supporting the fight against corruption in Liberia, individually and in collaboration with state and non-state actors. 

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