By Lewis S. Teh
The Center for Transparency and Accountability Liberia (CENTAL) welcomes economic sanctions imposed on Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson by the U.S. Treasury Department for corruption.
“Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, we highly welcome this action by the United States Government to impose sanctions on Senator Prince Y. Johnson, this is an important display of its commitment to “elevating anti-corruption as a core national security priority”.
CENTAL Executive Director Mr. Anderson Miamen made those statements Wednesday, December 15, 2021, at his office in Sinkor during a news conference, noting that Sen. Johnson is designated for his “involvement in significant corruption in Liberia through engagements involving millions of dollars in bribery and pay-for-play funding schemes”.
Miamen says, the sanctions by the United States government brings to three (3) the number of Liberian Government Officials designated in two years under the Global Magnitsky Act for their involvement in significant corruption, the other two being Senator Varney G. Sherman and former Passport Director, Mr. Andrew Wonploe.
According to him, corruption in Liberia undoubtedly affects the interests of international partners and all aspects of diplomacy and foreign assistance. Thus, the war against it cannot be left to the Liberian people alone, stressing “It must be fought and won by the Liberian People with significant support and solidarity by our friends and partners in the International community.”
Mr. Miamen continues that the process of fighting corruption has to be inclusive, robust, and timely, by ensuring those playing varying roles in promoting, fostering, and sustaining corruption in the country bear full responsibility for their actions.
CENTAL, therefore, says there is a need to go beyond the current designations of public officials to bring to account all those connected to the reported schemes or acts of corruption, for which individuals are being designated/sanctioned.
“We are confident that the U.S. Government exudes authority in these matters and can do much more for the country, especially ordinary citizens whose lives and progress continue to be undermined and stagnated largely due to the corrupt behaviors of their national leaders.
As Corruption often involves multiple players, we encourage the United States to spare no accomplices and beneficiaries of these significant acts of corruption being perpetrated by some Liberian Government Officials.”
Miamen insists that all those involved with “pay-for-play schemes which rip-off millions from the country should be designated in addition to Senator Prince Y. Johnson, and those who provided “salaries to Senator Johnson for intelligence services”, when already fully paid by the Liberian Government as a Senator should also be named and designated.
He says immediate families of those designated, who are the likely beneficiaries of proceeds of corrupt conduct, have also been covered, adding that what is left to be done, therefore, is to expand the designation to cover enablers and accomplices to these acts of corruption, which do not only take away meager state resources from public-interest programs and activities but undermine citizens and partners’ confidence in the country’s governance process.
He further went on to express optimism that the United States Government has all such information. “Hence, we call on it to timely act on same to send an even stronger message to ordinary Liberians, public officials, and the world at large about her commitment to supporting national efforts to holistically end the culture of impunity for Corruption and other related crimes in Liberia.
In a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, the U.S. Treasury under its Global Magnitsky Act details that as a Senator, PYJ has been involved in pay-for-play funding with government ministries and organizations for personal enrichment. It says as part of the scheme, upon receiving funding from the Government of Liberia (GOL), that involved government ministries and organizations launder a portion of the funding for the return to the involved participants.
But Senator Johnson argues: “If supporting President Weah to win and getting the dividends of democracy is termed by my detractors as selling votes, then I will sell more votes.” https://thenewdawnliberia.com/cental-be-non-selective-in-corruption-fight/