Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]

Claim: UBA Ghana Reportedly Blocked Nathaniel McGill’s $4M Account

Verdict: False

Full Text: Global News Network, Thursday, August 18, reported that Suspended Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill’s account at United Bank for Africa (UBA) in Accra, Ghana, containing over Four Million United States Dollars, has been blocked based on instructions from the sanctions committee.

The story attracted many social media users, including KMTV, an online media outlet, and blogs: All Factz, and  The Liberian Influence.

Monday, August 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that it had designated three Liberian government officials, Nathaniel McGill, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and Bill Twehway, for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia.

According to the notice, these officials were designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of severe human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

“Through their corruption, these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Treasury’s designations today demonstrate that the United States remains committed to holding corrupt actors accountable and to the continued support of the Liberian people,” the Department said.

The U.S. government is accusing McGill of bribing business owners, receiving bribes from potential investors, and accepting kickbacks for steering contracts to companies in which he is interested.

He is also said to have manipulated public procurement processes to award multi-million dollar contracts to companies in which he has ownership, including by abusing emergency procurement processes to rig contract bids.

“McGill is credibly accused of involvement in a wide range of other corrupt schemes including soliciting bribes from government office seekers and misappropriating government assets for his gain. He has used government funds allocated to other Liberian government institutions to run his projects, made off-the-books payments in cash to senior government leaders, and organized warlords to threaten political rivals. 

McGill has received an unjustified stipend from various Liberian government institutions and used his position to prevent his misappropriation from being discovered. McGill regularly distributes thousands of dollars in undocumented cash to other government officials for government and non-government activities.

McGill is being designated for being a foreign person who is a current government official who is responsible for or complicit in, or who has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery,” the U.S. authorities said.

The U.S. authorities have therefore ordered that all property and interests in property of these politicians that are in the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

Verification: The Stage Media contacted UBA Ghana through its Facebook page, and the bank said, “Please be informed that we do not have an account in UBA Ghana in the name of Nathaniel  McGill. Therefore, we can’t block a statement we do not have. The reports are false and should be disregarded.

We also used ScamDoc to verify the Facebook Page of the bank, which analysis resulted in a 99 percent trusted source.

Ghana Business News also reported that “UBA Ghana says there’s no $4m account in the name of a Liberian government official on U.S. sanctions list.”

In the article, the Ghana news outlet said Henry Nii Dottey, Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of the bank, in an inquiry on the claim, said on August 19, 2022, that the bank has no account in the name of McGill.

Furthermore, McGill told FrontPage Africa that he does not have Foreign accounts.

“I am one official of the government who does not have any foreign bank account. GAC or whoever can audit me, I don’t have any foreign account, and neither am I a signatory to the Ministry of State’s account. I don’t take government money,” Min. McGill told FPA.

Conclusion: With UBA Ghana verifying the claim, it is safe to say that the story reported by Global News Network is False.


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