By Lennart Dodoo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monrovia – Another three prominent figures from the outgoing government, Finance Minister and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah, Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, and Senator Emmanuel Nuquay, along with their spouses and minor children, have been banned from entering the United States by the United States Department of State.
The visa restriction is being imposed under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2023, highlighting the U.S. commitment to combating corruption on a global scale.
The designations come in response to allegations that Tweah, Chie, and Nuquay abused their public positions by soliciting, accepting, and offering bribes to manipulate legislative processes and public funding, including activities in the mining sector. The immediate family members of the designated individuals, including spouses Delecia Berry Tweah, Abigail Chie, and Ruthtoria Brown Nuquay, as well as Tweah and Nuquay’s minor children, are also included in the sanctions.
Over the weekend, Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee, was designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818. The order targets individuals engaged in serious human rights abuses and corruption. Koijee, in addition to human rights abuses, has been accused of corrupt acts such as bribery and misappropriation of state assets. He is alleged to have pressured anti-corruption investigators to cease all corruption investigations.
The sanctions, according to the United States Department of State underscore the United States’ commitment to holding accountable those involved in corrupt practices and human rights abuses globally. The actions were announced on the occasion of the opening of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption, emphasizing the international effort to combat corruption.
As part of the broader initiative, the U.S. Department of State is designating over 30 individuals under Section 7031(c), while the Department of the Treasury is designating two individuals and 44 entities pursuant to E.O. 13818. The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, upon which E.O. 13818 is built, enables the U.S. to target individuals and entities involved in corruption and human rights abuses.
Section 7031(c) mandates that foreign government officials with credible information linking them to significant corruption or gross violations of human rights are generally ineligible for entry into the United States. The officials must be publicly or privately designated under the provision.
These sanctions, according to the U.S. Department of State, serve as a stern warning to officials engaging in corruption, emphasizing that the international community is united in its commitment to combating corruption and promoting transparency and accountability.
Meanwhile, Koijee has described the U.S. sanctions against him as the biggest conspiracy among all the accusations that have come his way. Addressing Liberians at the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions on Carey Street in Central Monrovia on Monday, December 11, 2023, Koijee said OFAC’s sanction is the biggest of all lies told against him.
According to Koijee, President George Weah is aware, adding that the CDC and the Liberian government will soon speak regarding the situation. “Everybody is telling me, ‘What about the biggest conspiracy? What about the sanction?’ Let me say to you and not be disrespectful: I belong to an institution. His Excellency President George Weah received the news, and he was devastated, so he cut short his trip and came yesterday evening. Officially, the party will be stating out its position, and the government will also state her position,” Koijee said.
He added: “While we wait for those two major positions, we can safely say to you, our people, that we are victims of sustained malicious propaganda that consummated into what is known as a sanction.”
According to Koijee, he sees the sanction against him as a means to keep him out of politics, something he said he dares not to do. “We can say to them clearly that if this was a tactic of intimidation, if it was a tactic to break us down, we want to say, try harder because we have gotten more invigorated, stimulated, and prepared for what may come. But we shall come to turn our back neither should we go down on our knees; we are prepared to stand up more than ever before,” CDC Secretary-General said.
He added: “We will speak officially; we will address our conspirators. Whatever it is, we will not keep it hanging. It will be dealt with decisively. We want to say to the Liberian people to remain calm until the party can speak. Do not get into an action that we did not approve.”
“We want to say to you, remain calm because we can certainly assure you that we are innocent of everything they have said about us. Because we are the children of God, we believe that God shall never fail us,” he stressed.
Source: Frontpage Africa