Liberia: under pressure, George Weah lets go of his relatives sanctioned by the United States
Liberian President George Weah (here in 2018) on Tuesday, August 16, suspended three senior officials accused by the United States of corruption.
AP - Ludovic Marin
Text by: RFI Follow
Thunderbolt in Liberia after the suspension, Tuesday, August 16, of three senior officials, accused of corruption in a recent report.
The three men, including President George Weah's chief of staff, were sanctioned by the United States on Monday for "
undermining democratic institutions in Liberia for personal gain
George Weah, who had made the fight against corruption his hobbyhorse, ended up cracking down.
On the Liberian government website, President
said he was worried by the allegations of the US Treasury, which pinned three of his close associates for
acts of corruption
The sanctioned senior officials are not unknown: there is Nathaniel McGill, the chief of staff of the president of the Republic, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, the attorney general, and Bill Twehway, the CEO of the National Port Authority.
George Weah called the US allegations "
As a result, he suspended "
with immediate effect
" the three people cited, before replacing them with their deputies, the time to conduct an investigation.
For Liberian journalist Bettie Mbayo, the head of state had little choice:
You can't say you want to fight corruption while at the same time your loved ones are caught in the act.
This clearly raises questions about the integrity of George Weah.
He now has the responsibility to show that he is sincere in relation to his promises.
In 2017, the year of his election, President Weah made the fight against corruption his priority.
But since then, almost nothing has changed.
While the Liberian opposition welcomes the suspension of the three senior officials, researcher Ibrahim Al-Bakri Nyei pleads for structural reforms:
The stake is more important than the dismissal of civil servants.
It is a question of capacity, integrity and independence of Liberian institutions.
If a foreign government has to tell you that your government is corrupt and acting for you, that means you are not running a functioning government.
The US sanctions announced on Monday come a month after George Weah invited Washington to a summit of African heads of state, where the fight against corruption should be discussed.
The summit is to be held from December 13-15.
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