Liberia: Unity Party USA-Based Wants Imposition of Sanctions against Pres. Weah, Inner Circle over Alleged Corruption, Abuse of Human Rights

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Monrovia – Unity Party’s United States and Canada branch has called on the United States Government to impose the Magnitsky sanction on President Weah and members of his inner circle for alleged acts of corruption and abuse of human rights.

The Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which applies globally, authorizes the U.S. Government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders and corrupt; freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.

Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County was the first Liberian to be hit with the Magnitsky sanction in 2020 under the Trump’s administration.

The political group, in a press statement issued by its Chairman, Mr. Kerper Dwanyen, accused the Weah-led government of engaging in the systematic looting of the national coffers in countless ways that continue to affect the lives of Liberians on a daily basis and said it was time for the U.S. to step and ensure accountability.

“We are hereby calling on the government of the United States to impose Magnitsky act sanctions against President George Weah and members of his inner circle involved in corruption and the abuse of the human rights of Liberians,” the group said in the statement.

The call comes within days after an influential member of a Congressional bi-partisan Human Rights Commission, Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey accused President Weah of leading a kleptocratic Government that has engaged in political corruption from the day he assumed office by depleting the Government coffers for personal use while the people of Liberia suffer.

Kleptocracy, as made simple by Wikipedia, is a government whose corrupt leaders ( called kleptocrats) use political power to appropriate the wealth of their nation, typically by embezzling or misappropriating government funds at the expense of the wider population.

In a video making rounds on the internet Rep. Smith, who serves as the Co-Chair on the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is heard saying: “In Africa, we have a special relationship with Liberia, which was founded by freed American slaves. Unfortunately, President George Weah leads a kleptocratic Government that has engaged in political corruption from the day he assumed office by depleting the Government coffers for personal use while the people of Liberia suffer…”

The group’s statement also followed a communication written by Rep. Yekeh Kolubah to United States Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, drawing the U.S. government’s attention to the “rampant corruption” in the Liberian Government.

In response, Ambassador McCarthy, in a communication to Rep Kolubah, which has also gone viral on social media said thanked the Montserrado County District #10 Representative for flagging out the issue of corruption in government.

The Ambassador wrote: “Like many Liberians and those who care about the future in this country, I share your concern. This is why the U.S. Mission in Liberia has invested heavily to implement increased transparency in Liberia’s budget tracking system, professionalize criminal justice operation, and build the capacity of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), and other integrity institution.” He continued: it is my hope snd expectation that these institution and the good people of Liberia will continue the noble and necessary fight against corruption.”

Resisting the ‘Twin Evils’

According to Mr. Dwanyen, the “Twin Evils” of jungle justice and rampant corruption threaten the Liberian people’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as “frustrate our efforts as diaspora Liberians to ensure we have a peaceful, thriving country to come home to, and we are duty bound to speak out.”

He said since assuming power in 2018 under ‘dubious and disputed circumstances’, President Weah and his cronies have engaged in the systematic looting of the national coffers in countless ways which the Liberian people are aware of and suffer daily the negative consequences that have come with this level of official corruption.

According to him, the government, witnessing the resounding rejection of the voters in the just ended Senatorial elections has embarked on a mission to disregard the law by all means necessary and is on a clear path to establish dictatorship.

A classic example of the government’s dictatorial tendency, he said, is the latest treatment of the Unity Party National Secretary General, Mo Ali by the Liberia National Police (LNP).

On Thursday, Mr. Ali was arrested and detained for nearly 24 hours by the LNP after he was invited to its headquarters for questioning over his social media comments. Party officials said Ali and his lawyers were kept waiting for nearly two hours before the police investigators informed them that Ali would be arrested and charged for arson attack, attempt to commit murder, and terroristic threat. Despite the Minister of Justice’s call for Ali’s immediate release until the evidence backing his charges are produced, he stayed behind bars until the next day.

Kerper said the bogus charges by the police against Ali in contravention of the Ministry of Justice clearly indicates the arson attack against the NEC was staged managed, and it was done in the mode of previous incidents of such nature in the country’s recent dark past.

He noted that the government’s attempt to silence Mr. Ali on the basis of his vigorous and patriotic speech as an executive of the prominent opposition political party in the country, is a dangerous escalation of government’s repression that should not be tolerated.

“Yesterday, it was Justice Kabineh J’aneh, government auditors and Senator-elect, Brownie J Samukai and countless others. Today, it is Mo Ali. Unless we stand up and say NO MORE, tomorrow it will be other Liberians,” he cautioned.

He added” “All efforts must be exerted to counteract the repressive tactics of the government and ensure that George Weah and his ruling inner circle are held accountable for their twin evils of corruption and jungle justice.”

‘Practice of Voodoo Economics’

Further in his statement, the UP’s US-Canada Chairman stated that it is of the party’s firm conviction that the “abuse of human rights in the country, the spate of unresolved murders of government auditors and financial management professionals, and the manipulation of the electoral process are directly linked to the efforts aimed at sustaining the kleptocracy of the Weah administration.”

 Owing to these, he said the party’s diaspora branch view the plan of the government to print additional U$48 billion as another scheme to enrich a few individuals that will throw the Liberian economy into a further downward spiral of hyperinflation that is not supported by any sound economic advice or theory.

The group called on the Senate to reject the resolution passed by the House of Representatives, authorizing the Central Bank of Liberia to print the new family of banknotes to completely replace the legacy notes.

“This massive, unwarranted explosion of the money supply is simply voodoo economics. We therefore call on the Liberian Senate to exercise its fiduciary responsibility to current and future generations of Liberians by categorically rejecting this unsound effort to bring more economic hardship to the country and fully investigate the series of money printing that is not being accounted for as this represents unabashed corruption eating away at the future of the country.”

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