By Kruah Thompson
Senator Prince Yormie Johnson (PYJ), who suffers economic sanctions imposed on him by the United States Treasury Department for corruption here, says if his support for President George Manneh Weah is considered by detractors as vote-selling then he is prepared to sell more votes come 2023.
Senator Johnson: “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.”
This is the first public response by the notorious warlord-turned politician to last Thursday’s economic sanction imposed on him by the U.S. Treasury Department for his involvement in corruption, which coincided with the global celebration of International Anti-Corruption Day.
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.
“The pay-for-play funding scheme involves millions of U.S. dollars. Johnson has also offered the sale of votes in multiple Liberian elections in exchange for money. Johnson is designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery”, says the Treasury Department.
But mounting the pulpit at his own church in Paynesville City outside Monrovia during Sunday (December 12, 2021) worship, Senator Johnson argued that claim that he received money
from a government ministry to provide intelligence to the Government of Liberia is something troubling because he is not the security arm of the government, noting that he has not worked with any government ministry to control a budget, saying “If you say I’m corrupt be specific.”
He continues that God can never abandon his children, so anyone that is bent on pursuing him for whatever reasons should come out with evidence saying, Be factual and truthful. I’m not your enemy.”
However, he says if it is his support for President Weah for the level of job the President is doing in the country, then there is no case.
Meanwhile, Senator Johnson condemns Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe for being the first person to congratulate the United States Embassy near Monrovia for implicating him (Johnson) as a corrupt official and publishing it on its official website.
He challenges the U.S. Government, saying the article lacks facts and truthfulness, and argues that since he served the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Liberian Senate, he has neither been mentioned by the General Auditing Commission nor the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission on corruption issues.
“For 16 years, no corruption but at the last minute, you call my name without justification.”
He explains while contesting for office in 2017, before giving support to President George Weah, they reached a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) to provide electricity, jobs, hospitals, scholarships, construct roads, including positions in government for his MDR party and the people of Nimba County.
According to him, the MOU was drafted by both lawyers from his camp and from the camp of President Weah, which served as an agreement to lend support to Mr. Weah’s bid for the Presidency in exchange for jobs and development for his kinsmen.
Sen. Johnson maintains President Weah is living up to his part of the agreement by building road from Ganta to Sacleapea, from Sacleapea to Loguatou near the border with neighboring Ivory Coast, something for which he says, the people of Nimba will never be ungrateful to the President.
If you do not want President Weah, vote him out, but I remain stable in my mind that Nimba County is not ungrateful”, he says.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/u-s-sanctions-pyj-for-corruption/ Editing by Jonathan Browne