Home Governance US Ties Sanctions To 2023 Elections …Says Ballot Box Far More Important Tool For Holding Officials Accountable

US Ties Sanctions To 2023 Elections …Says Ballot Box Far More Important Tool For Holding Officials Accountable

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, has disclosed that America’s ant-corruption efforts in Liberia remain robust and continuous.

“Even though we are announcing no new U.S. sanctions here today, I want to assure the Liberian people that our anti-corruption efforts remain robust and continuous,” Ambassador McCarty stressed, in an open Letter to Liberians he released yesterday in Monrovia.

According to the topnotch American diplomat, “As the Global Magnitsky sanctions of three Liberian officials in August demonstrated, the U.S. government can and will employ sanctions as needed on an ongoing basis, in support of our shared development, democracy, and security goals, guided by the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.”

McCarthy: “ The all-important goal of transparent, free, credible, and peaceful elections in October will be one important factor in decisions about additional sanctions in the months leading up to the vote.”

The US Ambassador maintains that Global Magnitsky, or GloMag, sanctions are deservedly a hot topic in Liberia.

“Some Liberians have urged the United States to implement more sanctions and even proposed names; others have objected that the sanctions process lacks due process,” he stressed.

“Let me be clear: GloMag is a tool the United States uses to protect itself from particularly corrupt actors, not a punishment against a country or government. It is also in no way a substitute for a domestic judicial process in the host country, including prosecution,” the US Envoy narrated.

Ultimately, he clarified, “due process” or an accused’s “day in court” can only happen under Liberian law, in Liberian courts.

The seasoned American Ambassador indicated that “Liberians generally agree with our analysis that corruption is the primary cause of Liberia’s failure to thrive; most in the international community share that assessment.”

“That is why our Department of the Treasury took the extraordinary step of sanctioning five senior Liberian officials in only three years under GloMag.”

The American Ambassador added that, “This set of sanctions has led to some positive results, including the resignation of the three most recently sanctioned officials. In our GloMag sanction announcements, Liberians have heard unusually stark language from the Government of the United States regarding the corruption of these individuals. In some cases, Liberians have also heard responses from the sanctioned officials themselves.”

He made it clear that “in the upcoming 2023 elections, however, it will be the turn of the people of Liberia to let their voices be heard on this topic, especially since several of those sanctioned officials may be running for office.”

McCarthy: “Ultimately, it is Liberians and not the U.S. government that are responsible for ensuring good governance in Liberia. Sanctions can help, but the ballot box is a far more important tool for holding officials accountable.”

“If Liberians choose to elect or re-elect sanctioned officials as their leaders, that will send a very clear signal about how they truly feel about the fight against corruption and the future of their country,” he emphasized.

“As I’ve said many times before, corruption is not a uniquely Liberian problem – it is a global issue, and one that we suffer from in the United States at all levels of governance,” he added.

However, he stressed, today, on International Anti-Corruption Day, it is worth considering what more Liberians can do to fight this scourge, “I believe there are many urgent steps the government of Liberia can take now to fight corruption that require no international assistance, many of which are in fact already enshrined in law.

He named fully funding Liberia’s integrity institutions, publishing the names of public officials who fail to comply with asset declarations, making information on all legislative votes and actions easily accessible to the public, and reducing funding for government agencies that do not comply with annual financial reporting requirements, are but a few examples. But there are many others, he added.

McCarthy: “On today of all days, we must together acknowledge that corruption in Liberia can be immediately and dramatically curtailed BY LIBERIANS, without any assistance from the United States or other donors, if that is something the government and people of Liberia truly want. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! I commend all Liberians who are truly committed to this noble effort, the US diplomat asserted.

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