Liberian President George Weah suspended Nathaniel McGill, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, and two other officials after the US Treasury added them to a list of sanctioned people amid allegations of corruption.
The claims against McGill, who is also the president’s chief of staff and Chief Prosecutor Serenius Cyphus and Bill Twehway, the managing director of the National Port Authority, will be investigated, Weah said in a statement on the presidency’s website.
The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control alleged that McGill had bribed business owners and received bribes from potential investors. Cyphus and Twehway are also accused of being responsible or complicit in corruption.
Calls to McGill and Twehway’s mobile phones didn’t connect, while Cyphus said he would comment later when contacted by Bloomberg.
“Through their corruption these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a separate statement on Monday.
State corruption will be a key campaign issue ahead of October 2023 presidential elections when Weah will be seeking another term in office.
The former AC Milan football star won power in 2017 after pledging to improve the quality of life in a nation where more than half the people live on less than $2 per day. However, scandals at the central bank, poor governance and graft allegations have so far overshadowed any attempt of economic recovery.
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