GNN contacts in the United States via WhatsApp have revealed cogent information that several prominent Liberians who are current officials of the CDC-led government are expected to be sanctioned before the end of 2022 by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Already the axe of the OFAC took hold of its first victim when in 2020 Grand Cape Mount Senator Harry Varney Gboto-Nami Sherman was sanctioned noting that in 2010, Senator Sherman who is also Chair of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, was hired by a British mining company in an effort to obtain one of Liberia’s last remaining mining assets, the Wologizi iron ore concession.
According to the OFAC, Sherman advised the company that, in order to obtain the contract, they first had to get Liberia’s concessions law changed by bribing senior officials. In 2016, Sherman was indicted by the Liberian government, along with several other government officials, for their involvement in the USD 950,000 bribery scheme. But all of these allegations by the OFAC were denied by the Senator during his reaction when he spoke to local journalists in Monrovia immediately after this report was released.
In 2021, the OFAC also sanctioned Liberia’s ex-warlord who is also a sitting Senator, Prince Johnson for alleged corruption.
The sanctions against Johnson come under the Global Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the U.S. government to sanction those it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.
According to the report, Johnson was responsible for the slaying in 1990 of President Samuel Doe, who had been captured by his forces during the country’s 14-year civil war. Johnson sipped beer as he watched his men torture and mutilate Doe who begged in vain for mercy in a widely circulated video.
“As a senator, Johnson has been involved in pay-for-play funding with government ministries and organizations for personal enrichment,” a statement issued by the U.S. embassy said. “As part of the scheme, upon receiving funding from the government of Liberia, the involved government ministries and organizations launder a portion of the funding for return to the involved participants.”
Johnson also receives an undeserved salary from the Liberian government as a salaried intelligence source yet he does not provide any form of intelligence reporting, alleged the U.S. statement. He is being paid in order to maintain domestic stability, according to the statement.
“Johnson has also offered the sale of votes in multiple Liberian elections in exchange for money,” it said.
Johnson denounced the sanctions, telling The Associated Press on Friday that the U.S. statement of allegations against him “is vague” because it does not present “facts” that he had been involved in corruption.
He said he is waiting for a more detailed explanation and challenged the U.S. government to give details about which specific administrations in Liberia had paid him corrupt fees.
“What we want is the facts,” said Johnson. “You can accuse people, but the evidence is what is important. Coming from Uncle Sam’s website — obviously the most powerful nation on earth whose footprint we follow democratically — so you don’t just destroy people’s name by accusing them without facts.”
Travel sanctions were also imposed against Johnson’s wife, Ameria Bovidee Johnson, and their child, Blessing Johnson.
As the list of those Liberians to be sanctioned in sight, GNN source in the United States hinted that those queued for the sanctions are senior officials of the CDC-led government, but said it will hamper the work of the OFAC if their names are published.
GNN source in the United States also hinted that four lawmakers in the current Liberian Legislature have been hooked for the sanction; six from the executive branch of the Liberian government including the police, while two individuals are also expected to come from the judiciary.
The names of those expected to be sanctioned are been kept based on instruction by GNN source in the United States.