Recently, edition of the Spoon Talk show, host Stanton Witherspoon, who customarily affords officials of President Weah’s administration ample time to speak on his program, unquestionably took a hard-hitting stance against President Weah’s “kleptocratic regime.”
Mr. Witherspoon highlighted several failures and alleged corrupt acts by President Weah and his officials, including:
- President Weah’s failure, in over five (5) years, to hold a news conference,
- President Weah’s repeated use of pre-recorded speeches to address the nation.
- The Finance Minister (Tweah) uses “hush money,” ranging between USD$ 3,000 to USD$ 20,000, to silence on-air government critics.
- The government tried bribing Mr. Witherspoon by offering him “USD$50,000” to silence his criticisms.
- The Finance Minister (Samuel Tweah) continual misappropriation and siphoning of government funds, including:
- Misuse of the Road Funds
- Missing funds for rice subsidies
- Missing funds for Liberia’s census
- According to Mr. Witherspoon, “the first money Samuel Tweah ate” was the $25,000,000 mop-up money.
Liberia’s finance minister’s brazen money laundering scheme using the U.S. financial system is perhaps one of the most ill-advised schemes that may land him on a U.S. sanctions list – second only to the former finance minister of Mozambique’s money laundering scheme that plunged Mozambique into financial crisis.
Mr. Witherspoon said Liberia’s finance minister’s withdrawal of $25 million from the New York Federal Reserve Bank was allegedly transferred to banks in Ivory Coast, where the Finance Minister owns a home.
Corruption has been a persistent problem in Liberia, dating back to the country’s founding in the 19th century. Despite efforts to combat corruption, under President Weah’s administration, corruption remains a significant issue that affects various sectors of the government and society, leading to Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey calling President Weah’s administration a kleptocracy to fleece the country. Examples of corruption under Weah include the missing billions from Liberia’s Central Bank, bribery, and significant corruption that led to sanctions of officials of his administration by the U.S. government.
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