Liberian President George Weah, a year before the presidential election, has been criticized for what he considered to be insufficient inquiry by a major American ally of three senior officials for alleged corruption and especially fraud.
The US administration threw a stone into the Liberian political pond, announcing sanctions in August against President Weah’s chief of staff and two other individuals accused of embezzlement.
The allegations highlight the endemic corruption plaguing the impoverished West African country, which anti-corruption NGO Transparency International ranked 136 out of 180 in its 2021 report.
In a report on the business climate in Liberia in 2022, the US State Department cites “pervasive government corruption” as a barrier to fuel investment and growth, such as a lack of electricity and roads.
The fight against corruption, like the fight against poverty, was one of the main promises that contributed to the election of the former soccer star in December 2017. In his inaugural address in January 2018, George Weah announced that he had “a mandate to eradicate corruption in the public service. I respect this mandate,” he said.
However, his presidency was marred by several scandals.
Weah decided to suspend the three offending officers. A press release issued by his services said he considered the allegations against them to be “serious”.
But after that he did not speak.
A simple suspension was “not enough,” replied archenemy Alexander Cummings. “It is not enough to protect the president against a growing public perception that he is involved in high-flying crimes,” he added.
“This should not be a case yet,” the human rights NGO Regional Observatory for Human Rights said in a press release, calling on Mr. Emphasis on Veya.
From the U.S. Treasury, Secretary of Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill headed the President’s Cabinet. He alleged that he “bribed business leaders, received bribes from potential investors” and “accepted kickbacks to bring contracts to companies he was interested in”.
He appropriated public property “for his personal benefit” and invited “warlords to intimidate his political opponents,” according to the U.S. Treasury.
– Inactivity or Inheritance –
The second, Attorney General Saima Sirenius Cebus, was accused of “developing close relationships with suspects in criminal investigations” and receiving bribes in return, particularly in possession of files related to money laundering.
A third, National Ports Authority Chairman Bill Dwayne, was accused by the Treasury of “swindling” $1.5 million into a private account.
McGill denied some of the allegations and described others as “vague” in a letter to the president. Mr. Cebus also wrote to the head of state to deny everything.
America’s voice in Liberia is based on historical and current relations between the two countries and the weight of the Liberian diaspora on the other side of the Atlantic.
The US indictments come a year before the presidential election scheduled for October 10, 2023.
Opponents of President Wee accuse him of not fulfilling his promises. He invokes the weight of inherited inheritance.
Until the US sanctions were announced, Mr. Weah “was in good shape against other potential candidates,” political analyst Victor Bright told AFP.
“Economic problems have increased since he came to power” but “he is building development infrastructure without being noticed,” he said.
It’s good that Weah fired three managers, he believes. In 2023, “President Weah needs to listen to the people if he doesn’t want to lose some of his potential voters”.
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