International

Treasury sanctions Liberia’s ex-warlord, current senator Prince Johnson

Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., seen on June 3
Greg Nash

The Treasury Department on Thursday announced that it was sanctioning a former warlord and current Liberian Sen. Prince Yormie Johnson for alleged involvement in a “pay-for-play funding” scheme with the nation’s government.

The Treasury Department alleged in a statement that Johnson was involved in the scheme for personal financial gains, which “involves millions of U.S. dollars.”

“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 department said.

The Treasury Department also alleges that he offered to sell election votes in multiple elections for financial gains and that he was being given an “undeserved” salary by the Liberian government to be an intelligence “source.”

Johnson was responsible for the killing of former Liberian President Samuel Doe. During a 14-year civil war in Liberia, Johnson’s forces captured Doe in 1990, and he was subsequently tortured and killed. 

Johnson told The Associated Press that he wanted more information regarding the Treasury’s statement and claimed the statement was “vague.”

“You can accuse people, but the evidence is what is important,” Johnson told the news outlet. “Coming from Uncle Sam’s website — obviously the most powerful nation on earth whose footprint we follow democratically — so you don’t just destroy people’s name by accusing them without facts.”

Johnson is among a group of 15 people and organizations whom the Treasury Department issued sanctions for on Thursday in recognition of International Anti-Corruption Day. 

The department also issued sanctions to former Ukrainian presidential administration deputy head Andriy Portnov for alleged corruption efforts in Ukraine’s courts and Guatemalan Ministry of Public Health official Manuel Victor Martinez Olivet for alleged fraud, misappropriation and abuse of authority, among others. 

“Corrupt acts take resources from citizens, undermine public trust, and threaten the progress of those who fight for democracy,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement. “Treasury is committed to countering those who seek personal enrichment at the expense of the people who trust them to serve — especially in the middle of a global pandemic. We are taking these actions today to expose and hold corrupt leaders accountable.”

Tags Janet Yellen Janet Yellen Liberia Liberia Treasury
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