MONROVIA, Aug. 16 (LINA) – President George M. Weah has announced the immediate suspension of three of his officials – Nathaniel McGill, Seyma Syrenius Cephus and Bill Twehway following a United States Treasury Department report which designated them for specialized sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act.
President Weah said he received with serious concern the report by the U.S. Treasury Department, designating Mr. McGill, Minister of State, Cllr. Cephus, Solicitor General and Mr. Twehway, Managing Director of the National Port Authority for sanctions.
A government statement averred on Tuesday that “President Weah views the allegations against the officials contained in the report as grave,” while noting that his action to suspend the three officials was intended to enable them to face investigation.
On Monday, August 15, 2022 the United States Secretary of Treasury placed sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act on the three Liberian officials, as announced by U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy.
During the pronouncement, Amb. McCarthy indicated that the decision was reached after a rigorous inter-agency investigation which determined that the three officials engaged in corruption acts, adding that they are now subject to U.S. financial sanctions and visa restrictions.
“This is a decision that the U.S. Government does not take lightly because corruption is not a light topic,” said Amb. McCarthy as he quoted Treasury Secretary Yelleh who opined that “Corruption acts take resources from citizens, undermine public trust, and threaten the progress of those who fight for democracy.
However, the U.S. envoy clarified that these are sanctions against individuals, not against the country, the party or the administration.
The three Executive Branch officials, he said, are being singled out today, however, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, or GloMag, has only existed since 2017, so no previous Government of Liberia administration could have had individuals sanctioned under the GloMag.
He said the announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department, does not exclude others from potential future sanction, adding that full accountability in Liberia can only come from Liberians themselves.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury has emphasized that as a result of the sanction, all property and interests in property of these targets that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Additionally, the Treasury directed that any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.
It noted that OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of blocked or designated persons.
Among other things, the U.S. Treasury indicated that persons that engage in certain transactions with the individuals and entities designated may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.
Unless an exception applies, the Treasury emphasized that any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities designated could be subjected to U.S. sanction