Washington slaps sanctions on Liberian officials over corruption

The United States announced Monday it had imposed corruption-related sanctions on several senior Liberian officials, including a close aide of President George Weah. 

The sanctions target among others Nathaniel McGill, the Minister for Presidential Affairs who serves as chief of staff to the president. 

He was accused of using “his position to undermine the integrity and independence of Liberia’s democratic institutions and subvert government priorities for personal gain,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. 

A separate statement from the Treasury Department said McGill had taken bribes over government contracts. 

Two other senior officials were also punished: Sayma Syrenius Cephus, who is Liberia’s attorney general, and Bill Twehway, who heads the National Ports Authority. 

The sanctions mainly involve freezing the targeted officials’ assets in the United States. Liberia is the oldest republic in sub-Saharan Africa, founded in the 19th century at the instigation of the United States for freed slaves.