DOLO TOWN, Margibi County – Representative Tibelrosa S. Taponweh (District ONE, Margibi County), a member of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has openly voiced his opposition to those calling on disgraced former Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel McGill to run for the county’s only senatorial seat up for grabs in 2023.
Ex-Minister McGill was one of three top officials of the Weah-administration slapped with damning sanctions by the United States Government for their alleged role in public corruption in Liberia.
He, along with the other two alleged culprits, Bill Twehway, former Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) and Cllr. Syrenius Cephus, former Liberian Solicitor General resigned amid sustained pressure from the public.
Following his resignation, Minister McGill continued to visit Margibi County frequently, making public appearances and amassing large crowds. His supporters and some CDC loyalists have called on him to contest the county’s senatorial seat in 2023.
While he has not responded, observers believe his frequent visit to Kakata, the county’s political seat, is an indication that he is considering to run.
However, in a rare rebuke, Rep. Tarponweh has called on partisans has called on eligible voters of Margibi to reject McGill, once considered the most powerful figure within the CDC-led Government.
Rep. Tarponweh, who also chairs the County’s Legislative Caucus said Margibi is not a hideout for criminals and cautioned McGill to avoid the public space and seek repentance.
“If the Americans said that you are the most corrupt man in Liberia, I think you need to get out of the public space. Our view is that this brother (McGill) should not be thinking about contesting. He should go and seek repentance to clear his name. Margibi is not a dumping ground for criminals,” he said, while addressing a gathering at the Dolo Town Intellectual Forum in Margibi on Sunday.
In his capacity as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and President Weah’s Chief-of-staff, McGill led a lavish lifestyle, amassing huge properties in Monsterrado and other rural counties. He was always seen making huge cash donation to students and rural women. He claimed the money was ditched out on behalf of President Weah.
In one of his last public appearances as Minister, he told a group of women in Bong County that he sees nothing wrong with public officials stealing public money so long they are giving it back to the citizens, and not taking it out of the country.
Rep. Tarponweh cautioned Liberians to desist from celebration these sanctioned officials as doing so would send a bad signal. He said the decision taken by the United States to sanction the top three government officials was intended to save Liberia from further exploitation, and such Liberians should not be celebrating them.
“Our greatest ally took him out of the President’s Office because of corruption. He is a threat to the development of Liberia. What does that mean? I can say the President was helped by the United States of America to save our Country.
Our ally has been cooperating with us on many fronts. Those people who were sanctioned stole from you the Margibi citizens,” he said.
The Margibi Lawmaker told residents to collect the “stolen” money from the former Minister and make the best decision in the interest of the county.
“After acquiring ill-gotten wealth, they will be spending the stolen money. That’s your money; take it. Walk away and make the best decision in the interest of Margibi. During elections, you alone will be behind the ballot.”
Nathaniel McGill and two other officials of government (Syrenius Cephus & Bill Twehway) were sanctioned the United States of America for engaging into corruption including misappropriation of state assets, bribery, taking private assets for personal gain, among others.
The US Treasury said, during his tenure in government, McGill received bribes from potential investors, and accepted kickbacks for steering contracts to companies in which he had interest. He also manipulated public procurement process in order to award multi-million-dollar contracts to companies in which he has ownership, including by abusing emergency procurement process to rig contract bids and other offences.
Under the sanction, all properties and interests in properties of the three officials in the US were blocked and reported to the US Treasury, while people who engage in any transactions with the officials may be subject to sanctions as well.