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A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region

LIBERIA, SIERRA LEONE AND MALI


Macky Sall’s African Tour
President Macky Sall who doubles as the president of Senegal and the current president of the African Union went on an African Tour this week. While the French President, Emmanuel Macron, had targeted Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Cameroon for his African tour, Macky Sall will be visiting Mali, Chad and Gabon [1].

Consequently, he was in Mali on August 15 and was welcomed by the Malian Transition president, Colonel Assimi Goïta. The visit aimed at exchanging and working with the Malian authorities to ensure a successful transition, as well as supporting Mali’s integration in African and international activities. He used the opportunity to invite other African countries and the international community to support Mali in its relentless fight against terrorism.


LIBERIA


Political Dynamics
Liberia learns from Sierra Leone

The sudden political and violent unrest experienced recently in Sierra Leone because of citizens’ dissatisfaction with the poor economic and political situation of the country is serving as a lesson to other ECOWAS States. It can be recalled that similar unrest and protests were also experienced in Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso, before the democratic rule in these countries was eventually snatched by putschists. Taking a cue from the situation, organizations, individuals and political stakeholders and parties have taken to various platforms to advocate, reinforce democratic measures and call for peace. One of such is the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) in Liberia. The Party leader, Alexander B. Cummings, issued a statement on August 14 commending the restoration of calm and order in Sierra Leone while calling for respect for the rule of law and increased commitment to deepening the culture and values of democracy in Liberia and throughout the West African sub-region [2].


Liberian top officials involved in corrupt schemes
Three (3) Liberian government officials Nathaniel McGill, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and Bill Twehway have been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia. They have been accused of using public offices for their personal benefits, thus undermining democracy. The sanction aligns with the United States’ commitment to hold corrupt actors accountable and bolster anti-corruption efforts in the implementation of the United States Strategy on Countering Corruption [3].


Nathaniel McGill is Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah. He is reported to have been involved in numerous corrupt schemes, manipulated procurement processes, bribed business owners, received bribes from potential investors, and used government funds to run his own projects. Sayma Syrenius Cephus is the current Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor of Liberia. Cephus is accused of shielding suspects of criminal investigations, tampering with and purposefully withholding evidence in cases involving members of opposition political parties to ensure conviction.

Similarly, Bill Twehway is is accused of orchestrating the diversion of $1.5 million in vessel storage fee funds from the NPA into a private account. He is the current Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) and has been reported to have secretly formed a private company for loading and uploading cargo contracts. These three are sanctioned for being current government officials and involved in corruption schemes. Hence, all their property and interests in the United States are blocked and reported to OFAC. Additionally, at least 50% of entities they own directly or indirectly are also blocked.

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