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Three Liberian government officials sanctioned by US for alleged corruption

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Three senior officials of the Liberian government have been sanctioned by the United States over their involvement in ongoing public corruption, the US Department of the Treasury, announced on Monday.

The three officials are Nathaniel McGill, who is Liberia’s Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah; Sayma Syrenius Cephus, Liberia’s current solicitor general and Chief Prosecutor and Bill Twehway who is the current managing director of the National Port Authority (NPA).

They were all indicted for allegedly “engaging in corruption, misappropriation of state assets, expropriation of private assets for personal gain and corruption related to the extraction of natural resources.

“Through their corruption these officials have undermined democracy in Liberia for their own personal benefit,” the Under-Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E Nelson, said in a statement.

“Treasury’s designations today demonstrate that the United States remains committed to holding corrupt actors accountable and to the continued support of the Liberian people,” Nelson added.

The US Treasury Department added that following the sanctions, “all property and interests in property of the three individuals that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).”

“In addition, persons who engage in certain transactions with the designed individuals risk also being exposed to sanctions or subject to enforcement action,” the Treasury said.

In the indictment, McGill was alleged to have “bribed business owners, received bribes from potential investors, and accepted kickbacks for steering contracts to companies in which he has an interest.”

Cephus was said to have received bribes from people in exchange for having their court cases dropped and also shielded money launderers and helped clear them through the court system, while Twehway allegedly orchestrated the diversion of $1.5m in vessel storage fee funds from the NPA into a private account and formed a private company to which he later unilaterally awarded a contract for loading and unloading cargo at the Port of Buchanan

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Another Ugandan health worker dies from Ebola Virus

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Another health worker in Uganda has died due to complications from the Ebola Virus Disease, making it the fourth recorded death of an official since the outbreak of the Sudan-strain of the virus in last August, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng, who announced the death of the health worker, said the victim identified as Ms Margaret Nabisubi, an anaesthetic officer, died at about 4.33am after battling the infection for 17 days.

“The 58-year-old succumbed to Ebola at 4.33am this morning at Fort Portal Hospital (JMedic) after battling the disease for 17 days,” Dr Aceng said in a tweet.

“The late Margaret is the 4th health worker we have lost in the current Ebola outbreak after the probable case of a midwife, Dr Mohammed Ali and the health assistant in Kagadi District. May their souls rest in eternal peace,” Aceng added.

She added that President Yoweri Museveni was very concerned about the situation and has mandated the Ministry to do everything possible to contain the spread.

The country’s disease control agency, in a statement said so far, the confirmed cases of the virus infection have increased to 43 and the deaths have also increased to 13 as of Tuesday.

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ECOWAS mediator, Mohamadou Issoufou, meets Burkina Faso new ruler, Captain Ibrahim Traore

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The delegates of regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States have concluded mediation for Burkina Faso after recent unrest surrounding a military coup that ousted Lieutenant colonel Damiba last Friday.

The Friday coup was led by one of his trusted allies, Captain Ibrahim Traore, eight months after Damiba had overthrown the democratically elected President Roch Kabore in January and there has fear of a counter coup as shootings eusued at the capital on Saturday.

The mediator team led by Mahamadou Issoufou on Wednesday met with the country’s new ruler Captain Traoré who promised to keep the commitments made in July by the previous leadership regarding the organisation of elections and a return of civilians to power by July 2024 at the latest.

While briefing newsmen after the meeting, the mediator reaffirmed his commitment to the Burkinabe people.

“We will report on our mission to the current president of ECOWAS and to the heads of state. But I can already assure you that ECOWAS will remain at the side of the Burkinabe people.

“We will continue to accompany the Burkinabe people in this very difficult ordeal they are going through”, said Mahamadou Issoufou, ECOWAS mediator for Burkina Faso.

The West Africa sub-region has witnessed a series of military coups in recent years. In MaliGuinea, and Burkina Faso since August 2020.

 

 

 

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