US Lawmaker: ‘Weah Gov’t Corrupt from Day 1’

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U.S. Congressman, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

— Calls for more sanctions

The Representative of the state of New Jersey’s 44th District at the United States Congress, Chris Smith, has accused President George Weah of running a kleptocratic government that is milking the coffers of the country to the ground.

Congressman Smith who is a Republican and a Senior Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations blamed President Weah for the high rate of poverty in the country by using his political power to appropriate the wealth of the county through embezzling or misappropriating government funds at the expense of the wider population.

“In Africa, we have a special relationship with Liberia which was founded by freed American slaves. Unfortunately, President George Weah leads a Kleptocratic government that is engaged in political corruption from the day he assumed office by depleting the government’s coffers for personal use while the people of Liberia suffer,” Smith added.

The New Jersey Congressman at the end of his presentation on Liberia made mention of the then Trump administration’s sanction of Senator Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County as a positive example of fighting graft and corruption in Liberia.

“Liberian Senator, Varney Sherman, was sanctioned by the Trump administration for corruption, which is positive though; but more needs to be done, “Congressman Chris added.

The U.S. Congressman spoke on Wednesday through a live-streamed panel discussion on the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability act around the World, with Liberia and Nigeria the only African countries highlighted in his presentation.

It is not clear whether the outcome of Congressman Smith’s suggestion for more action on President Weah in the same vein as of Sen. Sherman—but he is known for his role in pressuring former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to turn over then exiled President Charles Taylor to Liberia to face trial for war crimes in Sierra Leone.

The panel discussion brought together some strong members of Congress and powerful witnesses speaking of specific instances of global human rights violations and institutional corruption. They have also provided interesting data on the number of individuals who have been sanctioned through the GMHRAA and differentiated the individual sanctions from national sanctions/country level sanctions.

The U.S. lawmaker has been in the US congress since 1980, serves residents of the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey, and is the Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Ranking member on Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Congressman Smith, who has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses, was among several who signed a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2003 urging the White House to push for the turnover of former President Charles Taylor.

In April 2012, Rep. Smith hailed the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in The Hague for rendering what he described as a “clear and just verdict” in the case of notorious human rights offender, Charles Taylor. “After a trial lasting five years, the Court found former warlord and Liberian President Charles Taylor guilty of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, ranging from terrorist acts to rape to enslavement to murder,” Rep. Smith wrote.

Congressman Smith’s remark on Wednesday came barely a week after Representative Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District 10 wrote the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia complaining the Weah led government of alleged massive corruption, a communication to which he received a reply the following day.

Rep. Kolubah’s communication to the U.S. Embassy was dated March 17, 2021.

In response, the U.S. Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Michael McCarthy thanked the lawmaker for his letter and concern about corruption within the Government of Liberia.

“Like many other Liberians and those who care about the future of this country, I share your concern,” Amb. Michael McCarthy said. “That is why the U.S. Mission to Liberia has invested heavily to implement increased transparency in Liberia’s budget tracking system, professionalize criminal justice operations and build the capacity of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and other integrity institutions.”

McCarthy added: “It is my hope and expectation that these institutions and the good people of Liberia will continue the noble and necessary fight against corruption.”

Meanwhile, Congressman Smith’s latest statement is one of several he had made in the past about the political situation in Liberia. In December of 2019, Congressman Smith issued a scathing rebuke of the Weah administration, expressing concerns regarding to deteriorating and worsening political conditions in Liberia.

“Human rights advocates are increasingly alarmed by the deterioration of civil and political rights and the corruption that is occurring in Liberia under President George Weah. I am especially concerned by allegations surrounding Monrovia Mayor, Jefferson Koijee and the thuggish behavior of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) security force he heads,” he said in 2019.

He added: “Especially in the light of our historic ties to Liberia, the United States Congress will be closely monitoring the mass public demonstration that is scheduled to occur on December 30 in Monrovia, and I call upon the government of Liberia to respect the free speech assembly rights of Liberian citizens. Anyone who suppresses these fundamental rights, or engages in ongoing corrupt acts, may very well become subject to targeted Global Magnitsky sanctions.”

But the Weah Administration at the time, in response to Congressman Smith’s rebuke, extended an open invitation to him and other members of the U.S. Congress who are long-time friends and advocates of Liberia to visit the country and ascertain for themselves the real situation on the ground “instead of the fictitious report from critics”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information has said it reserves comments for the appropriate time, and when necessary.

28 COMMENTS

  1. The US Rep, Smith, is in error! Where’s the evidence to prove that this CDC government headed by president Gmw is corrupt? Hon. Rep, please don’t listen to falsehood and lies about this CDC government.

    • From where did GMW get the money to break down all his houses to be rebuilt in one year upon taking office?
      Why were the 4 auditors killed in cold blood?
      Why did the European Union and other diplomatic missions frowned and ordered the GMW government to replace their money misappropriated, from which the new “dig hole close hole” accounting principle was developed? Etc.

      You guys must be careful in countering a US Representative’s comments. Everyone has seen how corrupt your buffoon GMW is, and he will reimburse every penny stolen from Liberia in due time.

      Just watch and see!

    • Chris Smith, AFTER BEEN A PART OF A CORRUPT AND CRIMINAL ACT, AND SUPPORTING HIGH CRIMES (TREASON, SEDITION, ETC.) AS INSURRECTION UPON HIS OWN COUNTRY AS EVIDENT IN THE NEWS BELOW, should be ashamed of himself to rant such rubbish about a revolutionary and transformational president who has been declared by Transparency International as A PRESIDENT WHO HAS FAR FAR FAR LESS CORRUPTION THAN ANY OF HIS PREDECESSORS IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY AND BY ALL IMPLICATIONS, ON THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA AND BEYOND.

      2nd Trump Impeachment: How Rep. Chris Smith Of NJ Voted January 13, 2021

      Rep. Chris Smith was one of the 197 “no” votes as the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday.

      MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Rep. Chris Smith was one of the 197 “no” votes as the House of Representatives passed a majority vote to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

      The President was impeached on a charge that he incited the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. The House voted 232 in favor, 197 opposed to the impeachment, making Trump the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

      Smith, a Republican who represents New Jersey District 4 in Washington, voted against impeaching the president. He and South Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew are New Jersey’s sole two Republican Congress reps, and they both voted against the impeachment.

      “Today’s snap impeachment vote alleging President Trump’s ‘incitement of insurrection’ lacks an objective and thorough investigation of the facts,” said Rep. Smith in his remarks Wednesday on the House floor. “Astonishingly, there have been no congressional hearings on H. Res. 24, the impeachment resolution, which was only introduced two days ago on January 11.”

      Similarly, both Smith and Van Drew voted against the first Democrat-led impeachment of Trump a year ago, and that impeachment actually led to Van Drew leaving the Democratic party to become a Republican. Trump threw a rally in Wildwood a few months after that, in part to thank Van Drew.

    • @# A. Solomon; you bet! If such a high ranking U.S’ Official as a Congressman, Representative Chris Smith is openly talking about Liberia, he must have some levels of intelligence at his disposal. The U.S is not your ordinary-average nation. Hey! Pal. They have satellites 📡🛰️ hovering 250 miles above planet earth 🌎; eyes and ears in the sky. If they choose, they can see and hear from any part of the world 🌍. Needless to say, Liberia.

  2. The Game of Acquiescence

    Here goes the DOG WHISTLE BLOWER. U S congress man telling Liberian their government is corrupt from day 1. Which Liberian Government had clean hand? Or maybe GMW is not paying frequent visits at 2600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Well, maybe EJS regime had the cleanest hand: 16 billion donors’ dollars in 144 months, no road, no quality education, no quality health care, no infrastructure development. When Pontius Pilate could not go to Rome, Judaea was still under the Roman Empire. Whilst he washed his hand from Jesus’s Death, loyalty to Rome was question. Liberian and African need to blow their own whistle, or else, we will forever be trying to catch our own tails like dogs.
    So, when the whistle is blown from across the Atlantic, all Liberian acquiesce. This is where we get NAILED and begin to catch fire on ourselves. As Liberian, let’s not catch fire on ourselves because someone from afar does not like the town chief.

    Been there done that. The results are not always good for us except those who blew the whistle.

    Mamadu Bah (N/P) Adelaide, Australia

    • @# M. Bah; You are looking at the surface. You need to look deeper. Where in the world do you think, the current Liberian Administration got all that money to construct new HIGHWAYS in Liberia? Have the present administration succeeded in aquiring any new fundings for a major project in Liberia? Bet You! The answers is NO. President Weah is [ONLY]; continuing from where EJS ended before she left office. All current-major construction projects began under the E.J.Sirleaf’s Administration. Get real! Give credits where due. Lady Sirleaf acquired the financings and she signed the [CONTRACTS].

      • Henry Freeman, what logic is that? An administration stayed in power for twelve long years ”acquired the financings and she signed the [CONTRACTS],” AND DID NOT IMPLEMENT A SINGLE CONTRACT EVEN IN HER OWN HOME TOWN??

        Henry, it is you who should get real and not M.Bah who is been absolutely reasonable, logical, and realistic!

        You sound like those who when Tolbert started constructing paved roads to Bomi, Bong, Nimba, Capemount, etc. etc. some just as you had the audacity to make similar assertions that it is Tubmans plan been implemented by Tolbert, EVEN AFTER tUBMAN HAD SATYED IN POWER FOR 27 YEARS IN A BOOMING ECONOMY, AND CARRIED OUT NO SUCH DEVELOPMENT!

        • Mr. K.Z.Zoejallah; development projects do not happen the way most people imagine. It takes a lot of time; before a project begins. You don’t just become president today; then have the capability, on your own, to build a major Highway tomorrow; especially so if/when you need international financing. Why don’t you visit Liberia’s Ministry Of Finance And Planning and ask to review certain government documents, to convince yourself? It’s all public-records. Ask, who made the negotiations and who signed certain contracts… Once a contract have been signed and financing is approved, it’s binding; under international agreements. No matter who’s the next Chief-Exec. From beginning to start, a new project may take as long as it takes. Have President Weah succeeded at acquiring any money💰 for a major new infrastructure project in Liberia? You tell me. By the way, when will President Weah begin The Southeastern Road Project? Even if G.W were to acquire any fundings for the Southeastern Road Project, it would probably begin, during the terms of another President or GW made get started but not complete a project. If another President comes along and completes that project, Does it mean that GW shouldn’t get any credit? Now! Let’s get real. *U.S’ President D.D. Eisenhower started the Inter-State Highway program. However, it was not-all build during The Eisenhower Administration. Yet, D.D.Eisenhower gots his due [CREDIT] as the father of America’s Interstate Highway System. Hey Pal; GOOD NIGHT!

    • Mamadu Bah is actually on point!
      The dogs blow the whistles and Liberians fall for it!

      What’s the comparison of 12 years USD$16 Billion Dollars with no roads, infrastructures, no electricity, no running water, no schools, etc, to 3 years of non- support?
      How much money has America given Luberia since Mr. Weah became president? Let them tell us as former US president Ronald Regain would tell he gave the Doe administration $500 million dollars?
      Representative Chris Smith believes Liberia belongs to a special class of people who when not in leadership the country can’t be anything good!
      What’s a shameless Yankee as Chris Smith!
      What happened to the Ellen corrupt machinery of 12 years? Was Chris Smith around then?
      Probably he was bribed to keep silent!

  3. Really, did Rep. Smith make that resounding accusation – “Weah govt. corrupt from Day 1” – without providing an iota of evidence? Oh well, who would blame such damning statement about a country whose political leaders perennially spend money like drunken sailors, and, then, celebrate the crumbs given them by other countries. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, they actually outsourced homeland security management to foreign aggression covert agents

    As an advocate for stability, let this government be advised that the last time economic sanction threats were heard (late 1984), regime change plans were afoot to bring civil strife to our long suffering people. Needless to say dependency has a price. When you expect others to feed your family and guard your home at night (while you snore noisily), don’t be surprised when others say you ‘live on borrowed times’.

  4. Thank you Mr. Bai Best for the explanation. I would rather go without food the whole day than miss contributing to national security and public safety-related stories on the most trusted media platform at home.

  5. The alarm bell is being sounded. The government of George Manneh Oppong Weah is inveterately corrupt and is drowning in the sea of mistrust and malfeasance in the eyes of the international community.

    If Clare Weah were smart enough, this would be the time to exit from that marriage of convenience to salvage the roots garnered in the course of her husband’s 3-year stay in power. If she fails to heeds to the warning, she and her so-called husband will risk losing all of the roots they have amassed abroad.

    I once heard the Kru people were atoned to academic learning and were also purveyors of Americo-Liberians lifestyles, but George Weah epitomizes the opposite and the worst that can come out of any Kru man. He is not only dimwitted but utterly foolish in his pursuit for personal wealth using public funds. No wonder US congress man Smith refers to his government as a bunch of Kleptomanias bent on stealing public funds at the expense of the poor people.

    Weah will wound up down the road of his predecessors–Charles Taylor and Samuel Doe. According to him whatever he is doing is a copycat from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose son, Robert Sirleaf, was the chief architect of stealing under his mother’s auspice. So, everything Weah does now a day, he simply uses Ellen as a paragon for his wrongdoings.

    His excuse is that Ellen did it and nothing came out of it so why must he not! And shame on Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for allowing George Weah to use her failures and foibles as examples for his own incorrigible behavior.

    I have never been a supporter of Ellen. What I know is that Ellen knows how to speak well; perhaps, her mother being an Elementary English teacher imparted some of those traits in her during her formative years, but she is not academically intelligent and erudite. If she were, she would have set the pace for successive governments. Now, Weah uses her bad examples as excuses for his bad behaviors. Isn’t that weird?

    Here is my advice to Weah and his bunch of insipid followers: Ellen got away with it but you might be too fortunate to escape the wrath of global prosecution. You can not not continue to say that your friend stole with impunity; so you, too, must steal. It is silly to keeping thinking that way. The dragnet is coming–watch out—-you might be so lucky to escape!

    • You posing as Miatta Sando Momoh, let people hear their ear. You stayed twelve years with Ellen and were only used to give bad or Machiavellian advices such as the killing of Shaki Kamara, the killing of CDC protesters, the killing of whistleblowers, the jailing of journalists for exposing corruption, the police brutalization of students and police jumping through the windows of students to brutalize them.

      You better go and clear your name for the people children who died at Pademba Rpad Prison for your rebel group which was driven out of Lybia.

      You are the only one who pretending not to know that if there was never a Pres Tolbert, Dr. Weah would be the only president known in Liberian history as the only TRANSFORMATIONAL LIBERIAN PRESIDENT. Stop pretending that you do not know that President Weah tenure ends at none other time but in 2029 after his two set terms as President.

      • Kandajaba Zoebohn Zoedjallah and other lackeys of George Opong Weah and his CDC, here’s an admonition for you: If you see a deer running down hill, don’t waste your time and gunshot, for the deer is running down to break its own neck. Let’s wait and see. You know how Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor ended. The same fate awaits George Opong Weah. The fullness of time will reveal.

        • Momo S. Kiadii, in your ”track thinking”, and ”tunnel vision”, continue to live in antiquity with your ”deer theory”, while society, having long passed through modernity, lives in post modernity.

  6. Well children by and by when the morning comes
    All the saints of God together they come
    We will tell the story how the Lord will come
    And we’ll understand him better by and by
    Trials dark on every hand and we cannot understand
    All the ways God will lead us
    To the blessed promised land
    He will guide us with his eye
    And we’ll follow till we die
    And we’ll understand him better by and by
    Well children by and by when the morning comes
    All the saints of God together they come
    We will tell the story how the Lord will come
    And we’ll understand him better by and by
    Temptation’s hidden snares often take the sun away
    And our hearts are made to bleed
    For some thoughtless word or deed
    And we wonder…

  7. Most governments of the world are not perfect. In fact, I am not aware of a government that (was, is) perfect or one that is or has been corruption free. The outgoing government of Trump was negligent and irresponsible in many ways. Example, the January 6, 2021 “attempted takeover” of the US government, was carried out by some of Trump’s staunchest supporters.

    As matters relate to Weah, there may have been scandals initially (although I am not aware of any), but on the whole, most of what we hear comes from Weah’s hardcore critics. I do not support wrongdoing. If Weah is wrong, he’s wrong. But many a time, Weah’s hardcore critics have gone over the pale of decency in order to manufacture falsehoods.

    As an American, Congressman Smith believes in free expression. I do too! But, if Congressman Smith has any evidence of egregiousness and corruption within Weah’s government, it would be welcome news if the information is made public.

  8. Liberia: Liberia Less Corrupt Under Weah-led Government August 25, 2020

    FrontpageAfricaOnline Lennart Dodoo

    The comparison concluded 14 percent of respondents in 2019 held the belief that corruption has decreased compared to 6 percent in 2015. The corruption perception index among officials of government stood at 70 percent in 2015 but dropped to 49 percent in 2019.

    MONROVIA – The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has drawn up a comparison from data attained from Transparency International’s 10th Global Corruption Barometer capturing the corruption index of 2019 which shows that corruption in Liberia was minimized in 2019 compared to its soaring heights in 2015 when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was President.

    overall bribery rate under the Sirleaf’s regime was at 69 percent compared to 53 percent under George Weah’s leadership.

    Has corruption increased rate under the CDC-led government in 2019 was at 47 percent compared to the 73 percent in 2015 under the Unity Party.

    Transparency International further concluded that only 6 percent of respondents in 2015 believed that corruption had decreased while 14 percent of respondents in 2019 held the belief that corruption has decreased.

    The corruption perception index among officials of government stood at 70 percent in 2015 but dropped to 49 percent in 2019.

    In the Legislature, corruption perception was at 68 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2019.

    According to the international corruption watchdog, the police has also recorded a decrease in corruption under the Weah-led government, especially in 2019 when the corruption perception in the police was 62 percent compared to the 77 percent in 2015.

    Corruption in public schools between 2015 and 2019 experienced only a five percent improvement. In 2015, it stood at 45% and in 2019, 40%.

    Public clinics and public health centers experienced a minimal improvement of in the corruption reception in 2019’s 43 percent compared to 52 percent in 2015.

    Transparency International is a global movement working in over 100 countries to end the injustice of corruption.

    The watchdog group focuses on issues with the greatest impact on people’s lives and hold the powerful to account for the common good. Through advocacy, campaigning and research, we work to expose the systems and networks that enable corruption to thrive, demanding greater transparency and integrity in all areas of public life.

    During his inaugural speech in 2018, President Weah said, “I further believe that the overwhelming mandate I received from the Liberian people is a mandate to end corruption in public service. I promise to deliver on this mandate. Page 4 As officials of Government, it is time to put the interest of our people above our own selfish interests. It is time to be honest with our people. Though corruption is a habit amongst our people, we must end it. We must pay civil servants a living wage, so that corruption is not an excuse for taking what is not theirs. Those who do not refrain from enriching themselves at the expense of the people – the law will take its course. I say today that you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

  9. “This is a sick country,(but maybe someday)it might get well.” John Gunther, I̲n̲s̲i̲d̲e̲ ̲A̲f̲r̲i̲c̲a̲.

    The Republic of Liberia is a sick country. There is no question about that. After more than 73 years since the above statement was made, that sick country is still too far from being well.
    The American Senator says it all. We know that truth hurts. But it is more gentlemanly to tell the Town Chief(President George Weah) that there is “pupu” (faeces) on his gown than to allow him to parade the town because of fear of recriminations. Weah built 45 mansions in Monrovia since his incumbency as President. During his presidency, 16 billion Liberian dollars brought into the country disappeared at the Freeport of Monrovia. It is alleged that the containers of money were taken to his house. In the mopping up exercise conducted by his Finance Minister Stephen Tweah, another 25 million USD of the public funds again disappeared and is yet to be accounted for. The whole of Weah’s government is nothing more but a kleptocracy. They steal everything that come their way. Import duties collected at Ports of entry are taken to the Executive Mansion to be distributed with Weah and top government officials. There is no accountability. Four Auditors who uncovered their corrupt deals through a forensic audit were summarily executed mafia style. The government itself has a dismal human rights record. The evidence is quite glaring. The people are suffering and only a few top government officials are enjoying life. The city itself is very dirty. The stench from various garbage dump sites permeate the air and has become a health hazard in the city. The banks are empty, depositors cannot easily get their money from banks. The soldiers and police have not been paid for months, driving in the city is a serious risk as there are no driving rules set in place, the president himself hardly goes to work, he has no set plans in running the country, he sleeps drunk and has turn himself into a band boy, and preacher selling “Holy Water” for 75 USD a bottle at his Church.
    U.S. Congressman Smith, is 100 percent correct when he says that President Weah’s government is a “Kleptocracy.” To safe Liberia from economic decay and Human rights abuse, the Weah’s government needs to be given the boot through economic sanctions. The government cannot be entrusted with anything tangible. They steal everything that come their way. They are like rats just waiting for a piece of cheese to drop their way and in no time it is gone. The Town Chief(President Weah) has “Pupu” (faeces) on his gown. He should be given the boot.

  10. Rep. Smith, thank you ever so much for speaking out the truth about our dear country Liberia. Indeed corruption is walking in flash and blood in Liberia. Those government officials who are corrupting state funds needs to seriously be punish and we need the USA government to help us speedily.

  11. Old Man Momo, Robertsport, Grand Cape County, you have got no right to call Mr. George Manneh Weah the President and official of the Government of Liberia “RATS that steal and eat everything that comes their way. As we all know, President Weah and his CDC-led Government are the best that Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by God’s Grace has given to Liberia and so, you have not earned the right to designate and call Mr. Weah and officials of his Government, the Liberian Government, RATS. I am not from South-Eastern Liberia, but I will not sit here and allow you to call our President and officials of our Government, RATS, ready to steal and eat everything that comes their way. As we all know, GOVERNMENT is next to GOD, and so they deserve our respect, whether acting nationally or internationally. MOVE or be REMOVED.

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