Liberian President George Weah has been urged to file his United States Tax Returns either as a United States citizen or a permanent resident.
The call was made by Dr. Michael Rubin, an American columnist who said the Liberian leader’s Tax status has been brought under the spotlight when he referenced New York as his home recently.
It can be recalled that President Weah recently paid a visit to his house in Brooklyn in New York and boastfully said: “I am glad to be back home after four years.”
According to Rubin, by calling Brooklyn home, however, Weah reignited an earlier controversy over his citizenship.
“Weah is, without doubt, a Liberian citizen. He was born in Monrovia and attended primary and secondary school in the city, although he dropped out his senior year. After his soccer career took off, he moved in short order to Cameroon, Monaco, France, Italy, England, and the United Arab Emirates. In 1995, FIFA named Weah it’s player of the year. Ultimately, Weah moved to the United States where he reportedly received US citizenship.”
Dr. Rubin stated that while Weah obscures the citizenship question, his reference to New York as home raises another issue.
He added that not only citizens but also permanent U.S. residents must file U.S. tax returns, even if their assets are abroad. He said ss a permanent resident if not a citizen, Weah would have been subject to such a requirement.
“In order to counter perceptions of corruption, most American politicians voluntarily release their tax returns so that the electorate can understand what they own prior to taking office so that they can assess any increase in wealth as an office-holder. Donald Trump, of course, refused to release his returns greatly increasing suspicions that he sought to hide evidence of malfeasance.
“It is no secret that Weah’s record is poor with regard to corruption. Under Weah, Liberia’s slide in Transparency International’s Corruption Index has accelerated; the country is now on par with Russia. Weah has also failed to uphold his earlier campaign promise to establish an economic crimes court for Liberia, as legally mandated largely for fear that close political allies may be subject to its jurisdiction”, according to Rubin.
He said releasing his American tax returns to the Liberian press should be a bare minimum for Weah to demonstrate that he has nothing to hide and to recommit himself and Liberia to rule-of-law, pointing out that Pres. Weah should not resist; it is not only the natural outcome of his New York gaffe, but it is also the right thing to do.