PYJ, Varney Sherman not off the hook
- U.S. Government reminds
The United States Government says recent pronouncement by the Treasury Department to sanction foreign financial institutions that knowingly do business with three recently sanctioned Liberian government officials also applies to Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba county and Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County.
Both senators were earlier sanctioned under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act in 2021 for bribery and votes buying respectively.
On September 15 this year, the United States Treasury also designated three officials of the Weah administration, including Minister of State, Nathaniel F. McGill; Solicitor General Sayma Syrenius Cephus and Managing Director Bill Tweahway, for ongoing significant public corruption.
The trios resigned subsequently after President George Manneh Weah suspended them.
Addressing a Press Roundtable event on Monday, 14 November with visiting Acting Assistant Secretary for Global Public Affairs, Elizabeth Trudeau, at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, U.S. Ambassador Michael McCarthy said it was important to draw attention back to the Treasury Department’s statement, specifically its notification that persons that engage in certain transactions with the three sanctioned former officials “may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action”, and that “Unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilities a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities could be subject to U.S. sanctions.”
He says this applies not only to those who transact with McGill, Cephus and Tweahway, but also with Senators PYJ and Sherman.
Senator Sherman still chairs the Committee on Judiciary in the senate, while Senator PYJ, a key campaigner for President Weah’s bid for second term, was constrained to resign last year as head of the committee on defense, security and intelligence after he was designated by the Department of Treasury, though he denied any wrongdoing.
Senator Sherman owns one of the major law firms in Liberia, Sherman & Sherman, while PYJ has a university college in Ganta, Nimba county, known as the PYJ Polytechnic University College besides pastoring a church in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. Story By Jonathan Browne