Top: Suspended Minister of State for Presidential AffairsNathaniel McGill. Photo credit: Liberia News Agency
By Gabriel M. Dixon
MONROVIA – President George Weah has suspended the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, a day after he was sanctioned by the United States over allegations of concession-related corruption.
The Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Bill Twehway and the Solicitor-General of Liberia Syrenius Cephas, also sanctioned by the United States, were also suspended.
“The President of Liberia has received with serious concern, a recent the United States Treasury Department report…,” an Executive Mansion statement said on Tuesday.
“The President has also designated the principal deputies of the suspended officials to act in their stead,” it added.
The DayLight has reached out to McGill and Twehway, and efforts to contact Cephas did not materialize.
The United States Treasury Department on Monday sanctioned McGill On Monday for “bribing business owners, receiving 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,” the Treasury Department said.
Since the inception of the Weah-led administration, Liberia has signed and ratified several concessions, including Solway Mining Incorporated, Western Cluster Mineral Agreement, and Mano Palm Oil Industries Limited (MPOI). It has issued several logging contracts. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the government generated US$70,915,618 from the extractive sector, according to the Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI).
The sanctions are in line with the U.S. Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which aims to combat human rights abuses and corruption worldwide.
As the result, McGill, Twehway, and Cephas’s assets in the United States are blocked and they cannot travel or do business with Americans or on American soil.
The US Treasury Sanction comes just over two weeks after its State Department’s gloomy report on Liberia’s investment climate.