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Saturday, June 22, 2024

LIBERIA: US GOVERNMENT IS NOT HAPPY TO SEE OFFICIALS SANCTIONED FOR CORRUPTION CONTESTING FOR PUBLIC OFFICE

Date:

MONROVIA – The Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, Catherine Rodriguez says the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden is not happy to see public officials sanctioned for corruption contesting for public office in Liberia.

The US envoy was referring to Mr. Nathaniel F. McGill, former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, and Mr. Bill Twehway, former Managing Director of National Port Authority who were sanctioned for corruption last August by the United States government and are now contesting for the Margibi and Rivercess County senatorial seats, respectively on President George M. Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) ticket.

McGill and Twehway, on July 4, Liberia’s National Elections Commission certificated the US-sanctioned and disgraced former public officials to contest the October 10, 2023, Senatorial election.

It can be recalled, that in August of last year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released a report designating the two Liberian government officials, including Sayma Syrenius Cephus for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia.

US Treasury Department notes the officials were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

Through their corruption, according to the US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson, the officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit.

Nathaniel McGill’s Corruption Involvement

Nathaniel McGill was the former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah. The statement notes that during his tenure in government, McGill has bribed business owners, received bribes from potential investors, and accepted kickbacks for steering contracts to companies in which he has an interest.

It statement indicates that McGill has manipulated public procurement processes in order to award multi-million dollar contracts to companies in which he has ownership, including by abusing emergency procurement processes to rig contract bids.

“McGill is credibly accused of involvement in a wide range of other corrupt schemes including soliciting bribes from government office seekers and misappropriating government assets for his personal gain.

“He has used government funds allocated to other Liberian government institutions to run his own projects, made off-the-books payments in cash to senior government leaders, and organized warlords to threaten political rivals.”

According to the statement, McGill has received an unjustified stipend from various Liberian government institutions and used his position to prevent his misappropriation from being discovered.

McGill regularly distributes thousands of dollars in undocumented cash to other government officials for government and non-government activities.

The statement: “McGill is being designated for being a foreign person who is a current government 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.”

Bill Twehway’s  Corruption Involvement

Bill Twehway was the former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA).

According to the US Treasury Department, Twehway orchestrated the diversion of $1.5 million in vessel storage fee funds from the NPA into a private account. Twehway secretly formed a private company to which, through his position at the NPA, he later unilaterally awarded a contract for loading and unloading cargo at the Port of Buchanan.

Accordingly, the contract was awarded to the company less than a month after its founding. Twehway and others used family members to obfuscate their own involvement in the company while still benefitting financially from the company.”

The statement further states that Twehway is being designated for being a foreign person who is a current government official who is responsible for or complicit in, or 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.”

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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