MONROVIA – The long-awaited action from the US government to designate the Mayor of Monrovia Jefferson Tamba Koijee happened when the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Friday, December 8, 2023, designated Mayor Koijee.
Mayor Koigee, Secretary General of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) joined former and current government officials that include Nathaniel McGill, Cllr. Varney Sherman, Senator Prince Johnson, Bill Twehwey and Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the fearless Mayor of Monrovia was designated for stoking violence and his powerful grip on Monrovia’s youth, adding he controls paramilitary-style organizations associated with the CDC which allegedly recruits former combatants and recently released prisoners.
The OFAC says it has reason to believe that Koijee has instructed these organizations to violently disrupt demonstrations conducted by government critics or political opposition. 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 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. Koijee has also engaged in corrupt acts, including bribery and misappropriation of state assets for use by private political movements and pressuring anti-corruption investigators to halt corruption investigations.
Accordingly, OFAC says 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.
NATHANIEL MCGILL, SAYMA SYRENIUS CEPHUS, AND BILL TWEHWAY’S DESIGNATIONS
In August 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated three former government officials. The OFAC stated Nathaniel McGill, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and Bill Twehway for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia, stating that officials are 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.
The OFAC stated that “Nathaniel McGill, the former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah, Bill Twehway the former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), and Sayma Syrenius Cephus, the former Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor of Liberia corruption undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.
Brian E. Nelson stated that the Treasury’s designations demonstrate that the United States remains committed to holding corrupt actors accountable and to the continued support of the Liberian people.
“Corruption has long undermined Liberia’s democracy and its economy, robbing the Liberian people of funds for public services, empowering illicit actors, degrading the business environment, and damaging the rule of law and effective governance in the country.”
“Corruption also contributes to diminished confidence in government and public perception of impunity for those with power. These designations reaffirm the commitment of the United States to hold corrupt actors accountable. The United States is a proud and dedicated partner and friend of Liberia and stands with the people of Liberia in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for corrupt actors, regardless of their position or political affiliation.”
“The United States is also committed to working with the people and Government of Liberia to elevate countering corruption as a priority, including by bolstering public sector anti-corruption capacity, and reviewing and re-evaluating criteria for bilateral and multilateral assistance, including around transparency and accountability.”
“Holding corrupt actors accountable and bolstering anti-corruption efforts are both consistent with, and reflects our commitment to implementing, the United States Strategy on Countering Corruption,” Brian E. Nelson concluded.