New U.S. sanctions target Liberian leader
Politicians and business leaders from three African nations face new sanctions imposed by the United States on the basis of alleged involvement in corruption and other activities.
Among them is Liberia’s Prince Yormie Johnson, a member of the West African nation’s senate who is implicated in the 1990 death of Samuel Doe, the former Liberian president. He also stands accused of atrocities during the country’s first civil war.
The U.S. Department of Treasury said Johnson will now face the sanctions because of his financial dealings.
“As a Senator, Johnson has been involved in pay-for-play funding with government ministries and organizations for personal enrichment,” the department said in a statement. “As part of the scheme, upon receiving funding from the Government of Liberia (GOL), the involved government ministries and organizations launder a portion of the funding for return to the involved participants.
“The pay-for-play funding scheme involves millions of U.S. dollars.”
The U.S. said Johnson has been involved in schemes to buy votes, and also is paid to provide intelligence services for “ghost” work that he never actually performs.
Other sanctions have now been imposed on citizens of Angola and South Sudan as well.
Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento and Manuel Helder Vieira Dias Junior are former government officials accused of embezzling billions of dollars from the Angolan government.
The U.S. said the two “are also suspected of siphoning off millions of dollars from Angolan infrastructure projects and then using their positions in the Angolan economy to protect themselves from the possibility of criminal charges.”
Also affected are ARC Resources and Winners in South Sudan, two companies linked to the previously sanctioned Benjamin Bol Mel. The U.S. says that both companies have been used to evade sanctions and travel restrictions.
Image: U.S. Dept. of Treasury file