August 15, 2022

OFAC designates three Liberian officials pursuant to Global Magnitsky

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury has designated three officials of the government of Liberia pursuant to Executive Order 13818 for their involvement in serious human rights abuses or corruption.  Executive Order 13818, issued in December 2017, implements and builds upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.  The designated officials include the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, the Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor, and the Managing Director of the National Port Authority. 

According to OFAC, Bill Twehway used his position in the National Port Authority to award contracts to companies controlled by close family members, and to divert $1.5 million in vessel storage fees into a private account.  Sayma Syrenius Cephus, the Solicitor General, has received bribes in exchange for dropping certain cases, has abused his position to shield money launderers and block corruption investigations and prosecutions, and has been accused of tampering with and withholding evidence in cases against opposition politicians.  Nathaniel McGill, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff of the president, has received bribes and accepted kickbacks in connection with government contracts, and has redirected government funds to his own projects, made improper and undocumented payments to senior government officials, and has received money from multiple Liberian government institutions without documentation or justification. 

Twehway, Cephus, and McGill are designated for their involvement in corruption, the misappropriation of state assets, bribery, and corruption related to government contracts.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.

US Dept of the Treasury press release