MONROVIA: Former Solicitor General of Liberia Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus who was among the few Liberians designated by the US government, has urged President Dr. George M. Weah to immediately commission a Panel of International Experts, to be chaired by ECOWAS and Co-chair by a Liberian to investigate the growing waves of sanctions slapped against not just mere individuals in the Weah government but core officials of the government by the United States Government
Cllr. Cephus suggested that such commission of investigators should be drawn from the Liberian National Bar (LNBA), the African Bar, the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA), the International Criminal Court Criminal (ICC), and at least retired officials from OFAC from the US Department of Treasurer and an observer from the African Union (AU) to indicate impartiality and transparency of the process.
Making the suggestion in an “Open Letter to President Weah” on his Facebook page, Cllr. Cephus informed President Weah that “Your Excellency that Liberia’s current democratic gains which culminated into Your Excellency’s recent decision to graciously concede defeat in a free, fair and competitive contest, are being grossly undermined by the current waves of economic sanctions being imposed by the US Treasury Department on a number of officials in Your Excellency’s government.”
He noted that “Your Excellency’s government is on the verge of leaving power with a horde of falsely decorated “corrupt officials”, something which I suspect will not only obviously overshadow Liberia’s current democratic credentials on the world stage but could later hunt and hurt you so badly that your future bid, (if will ever happen again), for the highest office in this country could become a laughing stock.”
The former Solicitor General furthered, “As I indicated from the onset, and which obviously led you to receive a counter advice from your Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean to “play low” and let the sanctioned officials including me “cry their own cry”, this thing is getting serious, and it is all happening around you, and yet, there is no action taken, which is why every sanctioned official looks like a “convicted criminal,” although without trial.”
Accordingly, he beseeched President Weah to immediately commission a Panel of International Experts, chair by ECOWAS and Co-chair by a Liberian, and note that the commission should be drawn from the Liberian National Bar(LNBA), the African Bar, the European Criminal Bar Association (ECBA), the International Criminal Court Criminal (ICC), and at least retired officials from OFAC, and an observer from the African Union(AU) to investigate these sanctions against not just mere individuals in the CDC government but core officials of your government.
“Excellency, I am totally innocent of what I was accused of, but my mere denial or dismissal of these allegations, as in the case of other officials, is not sufficient to set me free or to set anyone free, until I can have “my day in court” which is a cardinal constitutional benchmark of due process under Liberian law,” Cllr . Cephus lamented.
He expressed the belief that “Your Excellency will not again sweep this suggestion under the carpet because I believe, and which is now true, that the proverbial “town trap” is not for “rat alone.
“How sad is it that so many “rats” have been caught, and others are apprehensive and jittery, and scurrying for cover because they do not know where the “chips may fall” next, is a crude lesson that we all must learn as we await our fate,” he exclaimed.
It can be recalled that Cllr Cephus and three others, including Senator-elect Nathaniel Fallow McGill, former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs; and Bill Tweahway were designated on sanction for corruption by the United States Department of Treasurer which forced the three officials to have resigned from government.
In his letter of resignation, Cllr Cephus informed His “Excellency, working with Frank Musa Dean and his cronies was like living in hell— Frank Musa Dean ran and continues to run a “parallel government” opposed to anyone seen as your ardent supporter; he shut his office doors on me for two years, and boasted about this on OK FM; intermittently kept speech from me, and during these periods, he held press conferences, and issued countless inflammatory press releases in which he falsely accused me of running a “parallel Ministry of Justice” after incessantly failing to convince Your Excellency to have me dismissed unceremoniously without any justifiable reason.
“ Despite these incendiary attacks on me in the Liberian media, especially the FrontPage Africa newspaper sponsored by Frank Musa Dean and cronies for the past two years, Cephus said the litany of administrative provocations, ranging from denial of basic amenities, using certain prosecutors to undermine my authority, to usurping my functions and spreading false information about my actions and activities as Solicitor-General, I chose silence and patience as effective tools to work in this sort of unsavory environment that reduces the Ministry of Justice to Frank Musa Dean’s “private law firm” with the belief that with time and events there would have been a change of behavior and he would have ultimately realized that this was a public office but I was wrong”, Cllr. Cephus said.
Amongst other things, Cephus said he found himself, his life, and his future and that of his family draped in US Treasury Department sanctions lured by Dean’s ceaseless provocations, naming his achievements as Solicitor-General ranging from the formation of the Assets Investigation, Restitution and Recovery Team (AIRRET) in 2019 which was led by Grant Thornton LLP, United Kingdom, Adesteh Limited UK, and Duane Morris LLP, New York.
He also named a civil action he filed with the Civil Law Court, Temple of Justice, against “The Albatross Limited” (TAL) on September 15, 2020, and strenuously prayed the Court to adjudge liable, and the Court subsequently did adjudge liable, “The Albatross Limited” for the sum of 6.4m British Pounds (US$8m) representing proceeds of financial crimes, ranging from non-payments of statutory annual registration fees, including but not limited to corporate taxes and other royalties due the Liberia Maritime Authority(LMA) vis-à-vis the Government of Liberia, which was frozen by the National Crimes Agency(NCA) in Great Britain amongst others.
However, the SG indicated that his resignation today “closes a rather distressing and painful barrage of experiences that I have endured under Frank Musa Dean while serving as Solicitor-General and Chief Prosecutor of the Republic, but I hold no ill-will, and absolutely no grudge against him or his cabal for what has happened even though I am quite aware that he is undertaking a rather salacious and sustained campaign to through his cronies to have me ejected from other professional institutions under a controversial process with no precedence”.
“But, as I Christian, my battle is God’s and for this reason I am impelled to take solace in a stanza in which our national anthem says “…With God above, our rights to prove, we’ll prevail over all.” I can assure Your Excellency that I shall prevail because I am totally innocent as these allegations are totally groundless,” he said
He noted that he will not wear a crestfallen face because God Almighty is on his side. “Therefore, as I endure the shame and wrong public designation as a “corrupt” official instigated by Frank Musa Dean and coterie in the eyes of my own people who are helpless to provide any assistance, others celebrating and calling for my arbitrary arrest, detention and public execution without due process, let firmness and courage be our credo, because this too, except there is no God, will surely come to past and Frank Musa Dean and cronies will fail”, he concluded.