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Upright Defiance?

Despite US' Warning, McGill Still Enjoys Weah's Gov't Protection

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The Stage Media (TSM) reported that Executive Protection Service (EPS) officers were reportedly suspended on the “order” of sanctioned and resigned Minister for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill.

TSM quoted sources in September of this year’s publication titled,” EPS Officers Suspended on McGill’s Order?” detailed that although former Minister McGill has resigned after being sanctioned by the United States government, he still enjoys every bit of the George M. Weah-led Government.

The former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, Solicitor General Cyrennius Cephus and the Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Bill Tweahway for acts of corruption. The sanctions fall under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

On Monday, November 14, Ambassador Michael McCarthy warned individuals and financial institutions against doing business with former and current officials of the Government of Liberia (GOL) who have been sanctioned by its Treasury Department.

According to him, the US government will also carry out enforcement actions against institutions or individuals that are involved.

“I also want to note that it was three months ago, almost to the day, that I announced to you in this room the Treasury Department’s Global Magnisky sanctions of Nathaniel McGill, Bill Tweahway, and Syrenius Cephus. I think it’s important to draw our attention back to the Treasury Department’s statement, specifically its notification that persons that engage in certain transactions with these sanctioned individuals “may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.””

“Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities could be subject to US sanctions.”

He pointed out that the warning from the US government also applies to Senators Varney Sherman and Prince Y. Johnson, who have also been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department under the Magnisky Act.

Ambassador McCarthy pointed out that though the sanctioned imposed on the five individuals are not directly on the Liberian government; anyone supporting these sanctioned former and current government officials “may be opened to sanctions themselves.”

McGill, according to the US Treasury Department bribed business owners, received bribes from potential investors, and accepted kickbacks for steering contracts to companies in which he has an interest. McGill has manipulated public procurement processes in order 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 personal gain. He has used government funds allocated to other Liberian government institutions to run his own 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 was designated for being a foreign person who is a current government official (now former) 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.

Two months after the article’s publication, a source said,” Look, Nathaniel McGill is still enjoying this Government”; McGill resigned, but, his benefits are still being given to him by the Government of Liberia under the watchful eyes of the President of the Republic of Liberia, George M. Weah.

“All three EPS Security officers assigned to him when he was Minister are still with him. There are still firearms carriers, and they are paid by the Government of Liberia,” the source disclosed. 

Additionally, the source revealed that “The last time, when Fredrick Bartuah and Wynson Otis asked for the three officers to return their weapons to the EPS armories,[where weapons are kept], they were served with a suspension letter for a month without pay.”

The source said, “As we speak, the officers are still on the McGill’s duty; they go with him everywhere he goes and provide him security on behalf of the Government of Liberia.”

The source additionally said most officers have started neglecting their assignments due to the working environment.

On the three EPS officers on McGill’s duty, the authorities of the Executive Protection Service, are yet to respond to inquiries from TSM.

However, an earlier interview was booked for Monday, November 28, 2022, and another was rescheduled for Friday, December 9, 2022, but it did not also work.  

On November 25, 2022, a text message was sent to EPS boss Trokon Roberts and EPS Media officer Philip Moore.

In a follow-up to Mr. Moore on November 28, 2022, he said, “Mark, I told you that we would have spoken today but my boss has traveled. So, we can not have the interview now; when my boss returns, we will have the interview.”

An official interview with the EPS authorities is yet to be conducted to hear why the force has not recalled the three EPS officers assigned with sanctioned and former Minister for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel F. McGill.

The unanswered question is, “Whose responsibility is if not the Liberian Government through the EPS boss”?

Investigation continues.

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