MONROVIA – From the first day it was announced that a group of Liberian politicians, former officials of the George Weah administration, was sanctioned by the United States of America for alleged corruption and abuse of public offices, controversy spurs over the intent of the fateful action. While some think the US could not have done so without clue and evidence, there are those who argue that Uncle Sam actually does not have an iota of proof because if they did have, they would shy not away from adducing it. A Liberian who is given to much diplomatic acumen and political thought has picked up the issue with an unusual sense of interrogation and sane analysis. He released a serial commentary from which The Analyst reports on Part I.
A well-known Liberian political commentator has joined others in that ado that has characterized the sanctioning of three Liberians who were serving top positions in the government of President George Manneh Weah. Amongst those sanctioned is Mr. Nathaniel F. McGill, who was serving as the President’s Chief of Office Staff and Minister for State for Presidential Affairs.
A United States-based Liberian, Mr. Salomon P. Harris, has entered the rather uproarious debate generated by the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act sanctions on the former Liberian officials, specifically zeroing in on former Minister of State McGill.
In a commentary titled, “Is The Sanctioning of Nathaniel McGill a Consequence of Law or Political Retribution?” Mr. Harris wonders whether McGill is given his day in court or whether challenging the Treasury decision to sanction him merely on account of unproven allegations would change anything only with the fate of time we shall all know.
Nonetheless, he writes, that what is essentially important is the integrity and morality of the decision taken against him in the context of Law and facts.
“In light of this, I would like to emphasize that the Americans and the decisions they made are not beyond reproach nor are the Americans infallible,” the Liberian political commentator said. “History is replete with numerous accounts where the Americans have made wrong and fatal decisions in other countries and these countries are currently suffering the consequences of those wrong foreign policy decisions, i.e. Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan et al. To fully grasp my argument one has to divest him or herself from the fanciful thoughts of politics and wear the lenses of law and evidence.”
Arguing further, Mr. Harris asserts: “Here is exactly what the U.S. Treasury stated about McGill, “Nathaniel McGill (McGill) is Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah. During his tenure in government, McGill has 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.”
Mr. Salomon P. Harris continues: “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”.
“For the record, these are all allegations until proven with tangible evidence. At the same time, McGill has categorically denied these allegations and characterized them as devilish maneuverings by his political nemeses. He has said to Aljazeera and other foreign news outlets that he has never committed these crimes for which he is being harshly penalized. He also stated that he has notified State Security Authorities of criminal attempts by roguish individuals imposing in his name to solicit money from businesses. He has demonstrated the willingness to clear his name in court but sadly no one is listening to him, only because politics has blinded the eyes of many in a country where political differences amount to vicious enmity, a grim and obnoxious mentality all sides of the political divides in Liberia are guilty of. So, with this ridiculous mindset, no one cares about McGill’s right to due process, including some powerful people with whom he shares political alignment. America is the accuser and judge, the lord and the gospel, what it says and does is final and unchallenged —even if its decisions questionably fall short of the law.”