Home Governance New US Sanctions Ready …As Washington Warns Against Doing Business With Designated Officials

New US Sanctions Ready …As Washington Warns Against Doing Business With Designated Officials

by News Manager

MONROVIA: Fresh reports emanating from the United States Capitol, Washington D.C., suggest that series of additional sanctions against some top-level Liberian government officials and business executives have been loaded and are pending formal release shortly.

The new sanctions will be announced in Monrovia by the American government at program marking the celebration of this year’s International Anti-Corruption day.

The US Treasury Department releases the names of public officials in countries worldwide who are determined to be engaged in acts of corruption in December of every year since the famous Global Magnitsky Act was enacted in Law by the United States Congress.

According to authoritative but confidential reports, the new sanctions on Liberia would include officials from particularly two of the three branches of the Liberian government as well as business executives.

Moreover, US Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Michael McCarthy, told journalists on Monday, November 14, 2022, that the US is monitoring those who have already been sanctioned.

He reiterated warning against individuals and groups in doing any business with the three former Liberian officials who were sanctioned by the United States Government three months ago.

In August, US government’s Treasury Department’s Global Magnitsky sanctioned former Presidential Affairs Minister, Nathaniel McGill; former Solicitor General of Liberia, Cllr. Sayma Julius Syrenius Cephus; and National Port Authority (NPA’s) former Managing Director, Bill Twehway for their alleged involvement in corruption.

Two incumbent lawmakers who are expected to contest in the 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections including Prince Y. Johnson and H. Varney G. Sherman of Nimba and Grand Cape Mount County respectively are still under the radar of the American government, while anyone doing business with any of the above named sanctioned officials also risked being sanctioned as well.

In a bid to tighten the screws on the sanctioned Liberians, Ambassador McCarthy said “I also want to note that it was three months ago, almost to the day, that I announced to you in this room the Treasury Department’s Global Magnisky Sanctions of Nathaniel McGill, Bill Teahway and Syrennius Cephas. I think it’s important to draw our attention back to the Treasury Department’s statement,
specifically its notification that persons that engage in certain transactions with these sanctioned individuals “may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.”

“I think it is important to draw our attention back to the Treasury Department’s statement especially it’s notification that persons that engage in certain transactions with these sanctioned individuals may themselves be exposed to sanction or subject to an enforcement action,” the US Ambassador pointed out.

“We don’t want them in America spending stolen money, and if it is there, we are going to freeze it. But, it’s not so much about prosecution, that’s up to the process in Liberia. Am I disappointed that nothing is going to happen to Varney Sherman or Prince Johnson?,” the topnotch US Diplomat asked rhetorically.

However, he added, that “It is really up to the Liberian people to decide.”

Speaking at a news conference held at the US Embassy in the diplomatic enclave of Mamba Point
Ambassador McCarthy: “Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities could be subject to U.S. sanctions.”

According to him, this applies not only to those who transact with these three individuals, but also with the other two individuals sanctioned under Global Magnitsky in recent years: Senator Prince Y. Johnson and Senator Varney Sherman,” Ambassador McCarthy noted.

Since the US government’s decision, there has been mixed public reactions, especially as it relates to the three sanctioned Liberian officials who were later suspended by President George Weah but later resigned their respective positions in government.

Many Liberians at home and abroad have been calling for the prosecution of the sanctioned officials to account for their deeds before a court of competent jurisdiction while others have been calling on the American ruling establishment to provide evidence of the corruption allegations levied against them.

Some of the sanctioned officials have categorically refuted claims of their involvement in unbridled corruption including stealing from the Liberian people such as women and children, who are now at the bottom of the economic ladder and languishing in misery and diseases.

But, Ambassador McCarthy indicated that the issue at hands isn’t only court issue, because the alleged acts of the individuals have reached a level of corruption and disruption in the country’s democratic process.

Meanwhile, the US Diplomat has termed as false and mere rumor, claims that have been circulating in certain global quarters that the U.S. currency has been recalled from the world market.

“Regarding a story that was going around last week regarding U.S. currency being recalled-this is a rumor that sometimes makes the rounds and is completely false. The United States Treasury has always stressed that despite new designs in our currency, the old bills in circulation remain legal tender. As they announced when they released new $100 bills in 2011, “U.S. currency users should know they will not have to trade in their older design $100 notes when the new ones begin circulating,” he clarified.

However, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Global Public Affairs, Elizabeth Trudeau, says Liberia remains an important partner and friend to the US, and as such, Liberians must lead the pathway for a better Liberia.

“Liberia’s future is up to Liberians – the way the future is shifted is determined by the people,” she noted.

In the regard of having a positive future and a better Liberia, the US government official wants the Liberian media to play critical role, as they are not only the citizens’ voice, but their eyes and ears as to what impacts the country.

Howbeit, the US Treasury Department says, following the sanctions, all property and interests in property of individuals that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

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