Liberia: Sheik Kouyateh Calls for Sanctions on Corrupt Government Officials 

MONROVIA – Former Montserrado County Senatorial candidate Shiekh Al-Moustapha Kouyateh has called on the International Community to place sanctions on current officials of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government of President George Manneh Weah who are depleting the country’s coffers for personal gains.

Mr. Kouyateh stated that corruption has become a normal routine in the public sector, with the Liberian leader doing nothing to address the situation.

His comments were contained in a statement released in Monrovia on Monday, April 25.

He claimed that President Weah has less than US$50,000 in his bank account during the 2017 presidential race, but wondered while with such an amount, the President erected multiple duplexes in less than a year after taking office.

Mr. Kouyateh observed that President Weah now “lives and dresses in luxury while the majority of the citizens suffer in abject poverty”.

“Individuals in charge of most government ministries and agencies, including LISGIS, the National Elections Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Port Authority, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, and other ministries and agencies, have been accused of corruption. I am proposing that the Liberian government conduct a full audit of all government ministries and agencies”.

He recalled that Liberia was listed among the worst performing nations in the fight against corruption in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2021.

Mr. Kouyateh emphasized that the post-conflict nation was also placed 136th out of 180 nations, with a score of 29.

 “During President Weah’s inaugural speech, he committed to tackle corruption to the core. President Weah, unfortunately, has become Liberia’s principal architect of corruption. When president Weah was a legislator in Montserrado County and faced a child support issue, he claimed that he could only afford to pay $160 USD since he had two other children to maintain and his salary was not much to sustain him and his family. I urge the international community to sanction President Weah and government officials involved in corruption, human rights violations, and abuse of state power”.

He further requested President Weah to ensure the conduct of an extensive audit of all government ministries and agencies, because “corruption has become the norm”.

Applauding government

Meanwhile, Mr. Kouyateh has applauded the Liberian government for its fight against terrorism, especially the alleged terrorist group known as the Fethullah Gulen Movement, which operates the Liberian-Turkish Light International School in Monrovia.

Last Wednesday, the Liberian government halted activities at the Liberian-Turkish Light International School and deported two of the school executives to Ghana for “Security Reason.”

Mr. Kouyateh urged government to conduct due diligence on the deported Turkish nationals regarding their deportation to Ghana rather than Turkey.

 “I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Liberian government on its efforts to combat terrorism, particularly in the case of an alleged terrorist group known as the Fethullah Gulen Movement, which operates the Turkish Light International School in Monrovia’s Airfield Shortcut”.

He continued: “While I am opposed to terrorism, I hope that the government does not keep silent on this matter and that the deportees are given due consideration under international human rights laws, since it is only an allegation and such an issue has the propensity to scare away investors if not handled appropriately. I am also curious as to why they weren’t deported to Turkey but instead to Ghana”.

What’s the crime?

 Mr. Kouyateh challenged the government to clearly state the alleged crime committed by the Turks, instead of holding the public in suspense.

With the current situation, he recommended that the school be taken over by an independent agency established by the Liberian or Turkish government to allow students to complete their academic year, particularly those in grades 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th who will be taking national exams.

“For that reason, it is imperative to establish an immediate communication channel on the issue with Turkish authorities in order to increase the school’s infrastructure, lower tuition fees, raise the salaries of the staff employed, and facilitate access to higher education studies in Turkey through scholarships”.

Failed to provide security

Despite the commendation on its stance to combat against terrorism, Mr. Kouyateh, however, questioned government’s alleged failure to provide security for its citizens, which has resulted in an alarming number of mysterious deaths, rape, unbelievable autopsy reports, and violence against women and children.

“I want to utilize this platform to confront the government of Liberia about its inability to provide security for its citizens, which has resulted in an alarming number of inexplicable deaths, rape, bizarre autopsy reports, and brutality against women and children”.

“I recall President Weah responding to the waves of instability sweeping the country in November 2020 by urging citizens living on less than $1.00 USD per day, including some who struggle to get food, to purchase CCTV for security purposes. His declaration was an affirmation of the social contract he made with the Liberian people upon his election and subsequent takeover as president to defend the lives and property of all Liberians within Liberia’s geographical frontiers”.

Mr. Kouyateh noted that Liberians remain aware of President Weah government’s inability to provide security for them on a regular basis, something which he claimed led to the mysterious deaths of Emmanuel Barten Nyenswah, Princess Cooper, Albert Peters, Gifty Lamas, Melvin Togba, and others, with investigation results leaving the room for answers.

On rape

“Regrettably, a child is raped in Liberia virtually every day, despite the president declaring rape a national emergency. Following the civil war, Liberia has made significant investments in national healing and peacebuilding. But, behind that arduous trek, there is a deeper issue that current and previous governments have failed to address. According to the Liberia Women Empowerment Network, the number of rape cases has recently risen to frightening levels, with over 600 incidents reported in less than a year”.

Despite the fact that rape has been declared a national emergency, he observed that, women and girls continue to live in terror while politics delay the adoption of measures that would offer some feeling of protection to the most vulnerable.

“A rape epidemic is now raging in Liberia. Liberia presently ranks 177th out of 188 nations on the total metrics used to calculate the gender inequality index on a worldwide basis. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and harmful behaviors have all reached epidemic proportions. The new human rights report from the US Embassy in Monrovia speaks volumes”.

He added that instead of just saying things, the government should do take concrete actions to combat rape and other forms of violence against women and girls.

“The government has not put its words into action to end violence against women, children, and disadvantaged groups, instead of disrupting the country’s peace and security, with increased media attention resulting to citizen demonstrations”.

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