U.S. Watching Urey’s Presidency

Mr. Benoni Urey, ALP Presidential Candidate

It is uncertain as to whether the political leader of the opposition All Liberian Party (ALP), businessman Benoni Urey will ever visit the United States if elected as President of Liberia after the October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections, as many electorates are pondering over this situation.

His role played during the country yearlong civil war will forever be remembered as one of the confidants of detained former Liberian leader, Charles Ghankay Taylor when he served as head of the country’s Maritime program during the administration of the former Liberian leader.

Mr. Urey’s quest for the presidency seems to be paramount, as he vowed seriously to be elected as the next President of Liberia following the ending of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s tenure.

His boasted riches can be traced back during the reign of the former Liberian leader; during the days of the defunct rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), and the formation of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) as some associates of the Taylor’s regime were placed under the United Nations (UN) sanctions and travel ban in 2014.

During this period, a United Nations panel of experts recommended that Urey’s named be removed from the travel and assets freeze ban. The panel also said it did not find any reason to suggest that Urey was involved in activities that would be used to destabilize Liberia.

A local weekly reported today quoting the ALP political leader, Mr. Benoni Urey that he is still under the United States Treasury Department sanctions, and further disclosed that he has written the US Government to remove the ban since it was based on the UN sanctions now lifted.

According to the paper, Urey in an exclusive interview with journalist expressed hope that at the appropriate time the United States will remove its sanction on him, noting, “I forwarded an appeal to them that there is no merit based on the fact the Treasury list was created as a result of a UN-imposed sanction on us, and the UN has lifted these sanctions including other international organizations and countries lifted their sanctions. So, we hope that the US will do the same soon,” Mr. Urey told reporters.

In 2005, the US Treasury Department listed Urey as ‘Specially Designated Individual’ for his dealing with Taylor, a characterization which makes it illegal for US citizens and business with whom to conduct business, ultimately making it a crime for any US citizen or person within its territory and business found in violation, the Coalition of International Justice 2005 report reveals.

According to the report, Urey was put on the US Treasury list on April 26, 2005 as associate of Viktor Bout as all of the Bout’s businesses in the United States, associates and assets were frozen. The Treasury Department also blocked Mr. Urey from selling his house in Maryland, the United States for $1million after it got the information about the sale.

With this information regarding the status of the ALP political leader whose quest is to become President of Liberia, political analysts think if he wins the election the possibility of visiting the United States will be very difficult, if only the decision by the US to lift his travel ban stands.

Investigation continues

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About Cholo Brooks 12098 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.