‘Urey’s US$385K House in the USA’

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Questions arise on how he could afford such a house in 2000 as Maritime Commissioner

Liberian presidential candidates have been wooing electorates, convincing them that the October 10 presidential and legislative elections should usher in change to improve, among other things, the economic and infrastructural development of the country.

Many of the candidates, particularly the All Liberian Party (ALP), led by businessman Benoni Urey, have vowed to effect a regime change, because the governing Unity Party (UP) led government “has failed the Liberian people,” they say.

Corruption, the misuse of public funds for personal interest, has emerged as the number one cause of Liberia’s sorry history; and therefore, government officials who have been found to invest more than they earned have created concerns about their sincerity and how well, for example, presidential candidates may manage the country’s resources.

Information reaching the Daily Observer says that the ALP standard-bearer, Benoni Urey, in the year 2000 purchased his first house at the cost of US$385,000, located on 8500 Goshen View Drive, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, when he served in President Charles Taylor’s government as Maritime Commissioner.

The land on which the house is located is valued at US$214,500, and the total value of the property is US$562,400.

The information also revealed that Mr. Urey allegedly bought his second home in Silver Spring, also in the State of Maryland, at the total value of US$268,300. The property is located on 6,261 square feet of land, covering a building area of 1,188 square feet.

Mr. Urey served as Maritime Commissioner from 1996-2003, and was appointed as president of the Agricultural Development Bank in 1995.

Accordingto a UN report merely 12 days after President Taylor was inaugurated on August 14, 1997, he issued Executive Order #1 to the president of the International Trust Company (ITC), a U.S. based corporation that manages the Liberian shipping registry.

“Based on this order, the president of ITC was instructed to place 10 percent of the Maritime revenues into the personal account of Mr. Benoni Urey, Commissioner of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs. At the time 10 percent of the Maritime funds amounted to US$1.2 million annually. Maritime was receiving millions of dollars every year by registering more than 1,000 ships under its flag of convenience,” it said.

It said by the year 2000, the Liberian registry was netting an average of some US$15-20 million per year for the government of President Charles Taylor.

The report said for much of the Taylor era, Mr. Urey’s name resonated as the key figure of the president’s operations, and the United Nations Panel of Experts reported in 2001 that it was on the orders of Urey that the Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) transferred US$25,000 to San Air General Trading’s account at the Standard Chartered Bank in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, “for arms and transportation in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.”

The UN report cited four payments that were made to non-governmental accounts—two of the payments totaled about US$1 million, and they were used by the Taylor government to buy arms at the time in violation of UN arms embargo against Liberia.

It quoted a report by the Coalition for International Justice in 2005 that claimed Mr. Urey was a “primary liaison for the illegal purchase of weapons” in Liberia from infamous international arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States.

As Liberia seeks credible leaders to run the country, Mr. Urey’s record of his involvement in events in the country’s past places him in a tough position about what he might accomplish for the country, especially with the international community that is evidently suspicious of African leaders with challenging past.

In his reaction to the two homes he owned in the United States and how he purchased them, Mr. Urey said he owned the houses before Charles Taylor came to power in Liberia.

He added that the houses were bought by his sister in 1981, and were purchased by his daughter. However, the report said Mr. Urey’s eldest daughter, identified as Teila, would not have been more than five years old at the time the two houses were purchased.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Your put them there they will develop Liberia. We are seeing people on Facebook glorifying some of them who been suffering Liberia for the past 12 years. Liberians are very interesting I know this time around your will demonstrate for the whole month. After the demonstration, the gov’t will tell your we will see what to do and before your know it 6 years gone.

  2. Candidate Urey…kindly explain in detail the arms deal and the Maritime funds revelations. Please be candid with the electorates you are wooing to vote for you. This news has been around for quite a period of time about how you enrich yourself while serving at the Maritime Affairs. Are you truly in the interest of Liberia and the people? Sir, time is not in your favor to free yourself at this less than a month campaign seasons for this latest documented release of your past against Liberia and Liberian people.

    • Mr. Moore, these QUESTIONS can not be answered because Liberians are not looking to investigate Mr. Urey historical, illegal investments and corruptions while he was serving in Government. Prior to announcing himself and registering as a presidential CANDIDATE, these very QUESTIONS that you want him to clarify should have been some of the QUESTIONS for him to address from LIBERIAN JOURNALISTS in Liberia. We have heard repeatedly that Mr. Urey was the head of the Liberian MARITIME SERVICE in the Charles G. Taylor’s Administration. It is also known around the World that Liberia is the 2nd largest INSURER of SHIPS in the WORLD with an annual INCOME of 1.2 BILLIONS US DOLLARS. If such a high profiled personality was seeking the highest office of the LAND, these questions should have been asked prior to his quest for the PRESIDENCY. Sir, it is too LATE to get answers.

      • Gee; wow, wow,wow! What’s/where is the source of your narratives? No doubt, Liberia is the second largest “Ships REGISTERY” Nation; second to Panama. However, Liberia does not INSURE any SHIP. The Ships “INSURANCE BUSINESS” is dominated by “LLOYDS” of London. Liberia’s annual MONETARY RECEIPTS from ships REGISTERY, is far less than 100 million U.S dollars; needless to say, 1.2 BILLIONS U.S DOLLARS. It’s no secret. You can/may go on line-Internet and get all the info you want. It’s an international “PUBLIC RECORD”. The “SHIPS REGISTERY MONEY” is infact handle by an AMERICAN BANK; that pays the bills for Liberia’s foreign missions around the world. You may need to check with International Trust Co., A United States Banking Institution. Go on Google. The
        infos you are giving the Liberian People; with regards to SHIPS REGISTERY, are grossly misleading… As we try to put Liberia on the right footing/track, let’s do it RIGHT. There are far too many EXTRAPOLATIONS/FABRICATIONS coming from some sources.

      • Gee; No sir! Liberia does not INSURE any SHIP. The Ships Insurance Business is “DOMINATED BY LLOYDS OF LONDON”. Besides, Liberia does not have the FINANCIAL capacities/resources to insure SHIPS. It’s far beyond Liberia’s mains.

  3. No need to ask questions when the answer is in plain sight. Liberia’s system of governance is designed to allow politicians entering government to enrich themselves at the ex[pense of the people. With such a corrupt system in place, all 20 presidential aspirants will only lead the country down the drain. To get a different outcome, citizens must demand a different system such as Citizens Initiative that exists in Switzerland, over 20 states in the USA and the European Union. No need to keep crying and complaining about corruption within a system designed to be corrupt.

  4. I guess Urey is the only smarted Liberian man that ever worked for government and invested in Liberia. Now that we all know that he owed a house in the US from fake news and have businesses in Liberia that we can see and benefiting from them, it is time to move on. I believe Urey will be a better statesman than those that are in this year’s election. It is much better to start with him than group of starters who will complain all six years giving us bogus excuses. Heaven helps a man who helps himself. God loves the white man because he makes God to look good. Black people or let me say Liberian people, until we decide to put away hate, God will keep giving your blessings to others. Hard work, intelligence, smart, respect for nature benefit. So let’s go to on october 10th and elect Urey and Duopu for the next president and vp of Liberia. Thank you and All Hail Liberia.

    • I guess Urey is the only smarted Liberian man that ever worked for government and invested in Liberia. Now that we all know he has a home in the USA from fake news. He has businesses in Liberia that somehow, we are benefiting from. Well thank God some Lebanese man did not carry our wealth away , which we would have been so glad about it. We need to move on and vote for him. I rather vote for a man who already has than with a starter who has squaddered all what God given to him. Heaven will help those who help themselves. And that is why God loves the white man. Just sitting and complaining with not solve anyone’s problem. It is about time Liberians get off their feet and build their villages and towns. #vote ALP, the Farmer and the teacher .

  5. Want to take the country and its voters there, why stop at Mr. Urey ? Tell us more and who they are . The wondering minds would like to know more .

  6. YOUR NOT KNOW BENONI UREY DAT “DAMN ROGUE!” YOU EVER SEE POOR AS LIB MAN BECOME MILLIONAIRE OVERNIGHT!? THAT DAMN ASS GOING TO BELLEH YALLAH! LINE ALL OF CHARLES TAYLOR ROGUES UP FOR BELLEH YALLAH! THINK WE JOKING? TWT!

  7. Yes, inquiring minds want to know, Mr. I will put money in your pocket. Your true colors are coming to bite you . YOu should be next to Taylor, in prison. You better shut up and stop talking nonsense.

  8. Owning a House in America doesn’t means you have to be Rich or be a MILLIONAIRE,All you have to proved, you are a Legal Resident or US Citizen, Income in the Bank, Job, inside the United States or Outside the United States, references, and few dollars for closing.
    Most Liberians owned homes in the United States, so asking Mr Urey about his home in the States is not a Matter of this Election, the Most important things in this Election are, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, JOBS, ROADS, NATIONAL SECURITY, let us focused on those issues, and let get away from these small minded Political foolishness.
    FOR THE RECORD, I AM NOT A FAN EITHER A SUPPORT OF UREY, BUT LET IT BE FAIR TO HIM.

  9. This is no time to squash bugle. This is not the time to commit any crime. Not appropriate at this election season to kill yourself. Not even time to reborize or affiliate with rebel activities. Do not even attempt to use money to win votes. The young these days will eat your money and vote you out if you try finance. Present the right platform and say the truth if you need abstinence or votes. Conscience votes will not accept favors for votes neither will you be able to force votes, as was done during the war when only part of the nation without road connections were involved in wins. The silent majority is now in control in the interest of the Liberian nation and its people. All county connections are made and ready by land, rivers, and air. No one human being knows who the winner will be until sent to be announced. Ask God.
    Gone in silence.

  10. All you need to purchase a home in the US is a good credit and few cash; normally 3.5% down payment on a FHA 30 years fix rate loan. So anybody can own a 300,000 bucks home. That house is about average in Gaithersburg. Nothing extra. So all you jealous people need to keep quiet.

    • “That house is about average in Gaithersburg.”
      Nonsense, it’s over 4000 square feet of floor space on 2 acres of lawns, definitely up-market and well above the average in Gaithersburg.

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