Liberian Journalist Wants United States Gov’t Place Economic Sanctions on Liberia for Corruption, Human Rights Violations
Monrovia – A Liberian journalist based in the United States, Stephen Binda, is craving the United States Government to punish Liberia’s Government officials for alleged acts of corruption and misuse of power.
In a communication to US Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, Binda wrote that since President Weah took over in January 2018, the country continues to face its worst economic turmoil, while officials of his government engage in corruption, abuse of power, as well as wage vicious attacks on the media and human rights activists.
“With little over a year in office, the following incidents have taken place under the Weah’s presidency: Disappearance of L$16 billion or US$105 million which your government currently investigated and discovered a systemic breakdown of fiscal policy and global banking standards.
“Unaccounted US$25 million which government claimed it infused into the economy although no documentation provided to investigators showing beneficiaries names and addresses. The erection and massive construction of questionable mansions across the city by President Weah and his officials.”
In addition, he outlined that the “branding of critical voices of the country as enemy of the state by President Weah, public attacks and outburst on BBC Liberian journalist, Jonathan Paye-Layleh by the President, the arrest and closure of FrontPage Africa Newspaper and its staff by Weah official in a US$1.8million libel lawsuit, the continuous refusal of government to grant operating license or accreditation to Liberian journalist Patrick Honnah.”
He also named the dissolution of tenure positions of integrity institutions in government, such as Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), arrest order of Journalist Philibert Brown by few CDC lawmakers at the National Legislature, the branding of the Press Union of Liberia and its membership as ‘useless’ by Information Minister Eugene Nagbe as some of the missteps by the Weah-led Administration.
According to him, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel Tweah’s threats to ‘weaponize’ party forces against members of Liberian media, the killing of a motor cyclist in Paynesville by an officer of the Liberia National Police, the murder of Journalist Tyron Brown in Du-port Road community and Jail threats of Front Page Africa Managing Editor Rodney D. Sieh, following the publication for a corruption news story on the President and government are some of the reasons that the government should be brought to book.
He furthered that President Weah’s responses on these national matters speak clear of his lack of transparency and prioritizing his personal interests above the four million Liberians.
“Additionally, comments in which he and other members of his government branded members of the media, opposition members and advocates as “enemies of the state” clearly support our findings of non-corporation from the government towards the media and opposition bloc,” he writes.
According the Binda, “these actions on the part of the President and his government have far reaching consequences on our country’s progress especially when his party intends to sweep power for the next decade”
Binda employed the United States Government to take appropriate measures to preserve the dignity, pride, wealth and the future of the citizens of Africa’s oldest republic.
He, among other things called on the United State Department of State and other agencies to keep a close eye on daily activities unfolding in Liberia under the Weah’s Presidency alongside its Arab allies amidst global terror threats.
He added that the United States begins to investigate signs of money laundering involving some officials of the Weah Presidency which violates international laws and considers travel restrictions of several officials who continue to breach and violate public trust.
He also wants the US considers imposing asserts freeze on accounts of President Weah in the United States and other places amidst questionable erection of mansions just two months into his presidency; begin investigation and prosecution of Liberian officials with US citizenship who engage into abuse of power and human rights violations in Liberia; that the US government considers imposing economic sanctions on Liberia, following a comprehensive review of its US federal reserved balance and financial laws in keeping with best international monetary practices as well as ensure the establishment and full implementations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for all war victims of Liberia.