Home Governance McCarthy Talks On More Stealing In Gov’t …Wants Margibi Health Officials Prosecuted

McCarthy Talks On More Stealing In Gov’t …Wants Margibi Health Officials Prosecuted

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MONROVIA: The United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Michael A. McCarthy, says “the blatant theft of government funds by public servants at the “highest levels” is not just unethical – it is a betrayal.”

Ambassador McCarthy told a Press Roundtable on May 31,2023, in Monrovia that “it is a betrayal of the oaths they took on assuming office, and a betrayal of international partners who take taxpayer revenues from their own country to help the people of a country in need.”

The US Ambassador specifically stressed the need for Margibi County Health officials to be prosecuted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to the fullest extent of the law.

“We look forward to seeing those prosecutions to a successful end, which will then allow us to resume reimbursing legitimate expenses at the county level in Margibi, per our US$55 million dollar Government-to-Government Health assistance program,” Ambassador McCarthy indicated.

Additionally, the American Ambassador said in the case of the appalling alleged kickback scheme of health funding for the people of Margibi County, caught on tape and courageously revealed by Liberia’s thriving Fourth Estate, “I want to reiterate that we support Minister Jallah’s recommendation that Margibi County Health Officials be prosecuted by the LACC to the fullest extent of the law.”

“In my most recent press release, I expressed a deep concern for this sort of corruption—which exists at all levels, regardless of political affiliation,” Ambassador McCarthy stated.

The American Ambassador pointed out that his statements echo President Biden’s National Security Strategy, which recognizes that “when government officials abuse public power for private gain, it degrades the business environment, subverts economic opportunity, and exacerbates inequality.

“[This] corruption also contributes to reduced public trust in state institutions, which in turn can add to the appeal of illiberal actors who exploit popular grievances for political advantage,” he asserted.

Commenting on the recent US$100m drug trial judgment in which all four state-accused defendants were found “Not Guilty” of the multiple criminal charges levied against them, the American Ambassador said “Like many Liberians, including the Minister of Justice, I was saddened to see the acquittal of suspects in both a recent human trafficking case and in the US$100 million cocaine trafficking case.”

“While I hesitate to second-guess any jury and I fully admit that I am not privy to all the details of the prosecutions or their defenses, I hope this does not send a signal of weakness in enforcement to international criminal cartels,” the Ambassador further told the media roundtable.

McCarthy: “From an outsider’s perspective it is alarming that convictions could not be obtained in Liberia, even when the evidence seemed so overwhelming. I am also worried about what these developments portend for Liberia’s justice sector, which the United States Government has supported with many millions of dollars over the years in capacity development.”

However, sharing some positive examples of Liberia’s criminal justice System, he indicated: “Today, I would like to share some positive examples of Liberia’s criminal-justice institutions and focus your attention on some remarkable law enforcement activities of the past month. This is the kind of steady, time-consuming, rule-of-law police work that often goes unnoticed and underappreciated. It is also the kind of consistent ground-level law enforcement activity that can begin to change attitudes about impunity regarding those who think they are above the law.”

The US Ambassador applauded what he characterized as “the outstanding coordination involving all members of the security sector and public prosecutors in recent weeks.”

McCarthy: “Our first salute goes to the Liberia National Police, for their collaboration with our Consular section that resulted in the arrest of two fraudulent document vendors who sought to undermine the integrity of U.S. and Liberian documents, which would have weakened the security of both our nations.”

“Let this be a caution to all applicants, that there are unscrupulous criminals in Monrovia who will try and seduce you into thinking that lies and forged documents are a short-cut to qualifying for a visa to the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you are caught using falsified documents, you will render yourself ineligible for any visa for years to come, if not for life, and the money you spent on these scoundrels will be lost forever.

“You may be ineligible for U.S. funded training and assistance opportunities as well. We greatly appreciate the assistance from the Government of Liberia in smashing these criminal enterprises and putting miscreants behind bars.”

Secondly, he mentioned that security forces working with the USAID-funded Focused Conservation project seized a shipment of pangolin scales –the largest interdiction ever in Liberia.

US Ambassador: “Let the wildlife smugglers understand that law enforcement is watching, and the police will catch and prosecute you!”

In addition, the tough-talking Ambassador disclosed that “the authorities arrested a suspect accused of mistreating a chimpanzee, delivering the animal to safety at a certified chimpanzee shelter”.

Third, the US Envoy congratulated a security sector interagency team that used “old-fashioned detective work to identify and raid pharmacies who were selling donated medicines.”

“Just this weekend, the joint security team in Karnplay prevented a suspect from smuggling stolen pharmaceutical drugs into Cote d’Ivoire,” he revealed.

According to the US Diplomat, the medicines which were purchased and donated by USAID and other international partners so that they could be given free of charge to those in need, were instead being sold by “heartless, greedy pharmacists to make easy money.”

McCarthy: Like the expression “stealing candy from a baby”, these criminals were stealing donated medicine from the poorest Liberians–mostly children – to make a profit!”

He added that it would be a lie to call this a victimless crime.

“I can tell you with no exaggeration that Liberians without resources have died unnecessarily over the past years because they were denied access to donated medicines. These pharmaceutical products belong to the poor, and they have a right to receive them free of charge,” he stressed.

“Let short-sighted, heartless thieves understand– the police are on to you, and they will hunt you down! Prosecutors are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to arrest you, put you on trial, and get you behind bars,” he declared.

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