Home Economy “Never Broken” …Koijee Reacts To US Sanctions; Says “Till Death, We’ll Remain Steadfast”

“Never Broken” …Koijee Reacts To US Sanctions; Says “Till Death, We’ll Remain Steadfast”

by newsmanager

By Our Staff Writer

WASHINGTON/MONROVIA: What appears to be his official response to sanctions imposed on Monrovia City Major, Jefferson Tamba Koijee, who is also Secretary General of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), was posted on the Facebook page of the Lord Mayor.

On Friday, the United States Treasury Department Sanctioned Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee for his alleged involvement in “serious human rights abuses and corruption in Liberia.”

In a Special Statement, dated Friday, December 8, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), accused Mayor Koijee of having a “reputation for stoking violence and has a powerful grip on Monrovia’s youth.”

But, in an apparent reaction to the American Sanctions, Mayor Koijee said on his Facebook page, Sunday, December 10, 2023: “To God Be the Glory, it is well. Long live the Blue Revolution. Till death, we’ll remain steadfast in serving the dreams and aspirations of our people. Never Broken-JTK.” He did not refute or confirm the chain of allegations levied against him.
Interestingly, the Monrovia Mayor has also been blamed by the American government of controlling ‘paramilitary-style organizations’ associated with the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). According to the report, the City Mayor recruits former combatants and recently released prisoners.
OFAC believes that Koijee has instructed these organizations to violently disrupt demonstrations conducted by government critics or political opposition.

Department of Treasury: “Koijee and his supporters have been involved in violence in connection with: an opposition rally in July 2022, students attending a memorial service for former Liberian Interim President, Amos Sawyer, in March 2022, an anti-rape protest in August 2020, a student graduation ceremony in December 2019, and an opposition rally in November 2018.”

According to the U.S Treasury Department, Koijee has also been engaged in acts of corruption including bribery and misappropriation of state assets for use by private political movements and pressuring anti-corruption investigators to halt corruption investigations.

According to OFAC, “Koijee is being designated for being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or who has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse and 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 who 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 pursuant to E.O. 13818.”

The implications of the sanctions, against the Monrovia City Mayor, according to the U.S government, “all property and interests in property of the designated mayor described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.”

OFAC added that “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.”

The U.S government which remains Liberia`s strongest ally in promoting democracy, rule of law and accountability, continued that “unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.”

Furthermore, the statement noted that “financial institutions and other persons” that engage in certain transactions or activities with Jefferson Koijee may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action.

According to OFAC, the prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of the designated CDC secretary general, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law.

“The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior,” OFAC noted.

OFAC maintained that Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets.

The United States government mentioned that it will continue to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.

The latest sanction of the Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee brings to four (4) the number of appointed officials under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government headed by ex-soccer star, George Manneh Weah who have been sanctioned by the United States of America under the Global Magnitsky Act.

In August 2022 the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Nathaniel McGill, then, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, and Chief of Office Staff of President George Weah; Bill Tweahway, former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) and Cllr. Sayma Syrenuius Cephus, former Solicitor General of Liberia, for public corruption and misuse of power.

Howbeit, former Minister McGill and Cllr. Cephus challenged the allegations levied against them in the Sanction regime issued by the American government. Interestingly, Nathaniel McGill and Tweahway were elected as senators for Margibi and Rivercess Counties respectively in the October 10, 2023 Polls.

The Liberian government has said, the sanctioned officials could not provide evidence against themselves.

The statement noted, that under the sanctions, all property and interests in property of the three (3) officials that are in the United States must be blocked and reported to Treasury, while people who engage in transaction with the officials may be subject to sanctions themselves.

McGill, along with the two, were immediately suspended from office by President George Weah. The three officials later resigned from government.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, sanctions under the Global Magnitsky program aim to target systemic corruption and human rights abuses.

Reading the statement on-behalf of the United States Treasury Department, then, US Ambassador Michael McCarthy noted, that the three former officials through corruption, undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit.

“Treasury’s designations today demonstrate that the United States remains committed to holding corrupt actors accountable and to the continued support of the Liberian people,” he said, then.

All three were hit with asset freezes on accusations of committing corruption in a country where such acts have long undermined its democracy and economy.

The sanctions, the Treasury said, were a reaffirmation of the United States to hold corrupt actors accountable, regardless of their position or political position.

Many are now watching to see if President George Weah who has won more admirations from international partners including the United States, in recent time after his peaceful acceptance of the just ended runoff elections, will also suspend or dismiss the US sanctioned Monrovia City Mayor as the President previously did to McGill, Tweahway and Cephus.

Some commentators also believe that it will be in the proper direction if Koijee decides to resign his post and await whatever investigation, if any, that may come, relative to the multiple serious allegations of rights abuses, promotion of violence and corruption made against him by the American Government.

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