Liberia: Deputy Speaker Calls on Govt Officials to Watch “Our Behaviors” amid U.S. Sanctions


MONROVIA – The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, has underscored the need for officials of government to be mindful of their behaviors, especially in the wake of recent sanctions on three top officials of the government.

He said, while he has no judgment on the sanctioned officials, the opinion of the United States cannot be taken for granted.

“We all need to watch our behaviors, rightly or wrongly, justly or unjustly, the United States’ opinion is an opinion that is considered strongly by the international community. We need to extend our hands to understand in terms of helping us understand in dealing with issues in aspects of corruption.”

Rep. Koffa made the statement on Tuesday at the Capitol during an interview with legislative reporters.

He admonished the Executive to make more decisive actions against corruption.

He was also quick to clarify that the sanctions instituted by the U.S. Treasury Department is not a sanction on the Liberian government, rather a sanction on officials of government for public corruption.

On August 15, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Liberian government officials Nathaniel McGillSayma Syrenius Cephus, and Bill Twehway for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia. These 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.

“Through their corruption these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “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.”

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.

According to the Treasury 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.