Friday, August 6, 2010

More Worries For Taylor’s Associates: Obama Extends Assets Freeze

Nat Nyuan Bayjay
Source: FrontPage Africa
Monrovia -

A recent presidential declaration from United States President Barack Obama calling for the extension of former President Charles Taylor’s associates’ assets freeze for another year adds to the already worrisome international restrictions being faced by certain public officials that served under the regime of the former Liberian leader.

In a July 19, 2010 letter being published in the US Federal Register and transmitted to the US Congress titled ‘Continuation Of The National Emergency With Respect To The Former Liberian Regime Of Charles Taylor’, President Obama said his action was in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) to continue the property blocking of the former President’s associates for another year.

Obama said: “I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13348.”

Former US President George W. Bush, Jr, on July 22, 2004, by Executive Order 13348, declared a National Emergency and ordered related measures, including the blocking of the property of certain persons connected to former President Taylor which is said to be in pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706).

Accordingly, former President Bush took the action six years ago as a mean of dealing with what he referred to as the unusual and extraordinary threat to the US’ foreign policy constituted by the actions and policies of the former Liberian leaders and other persons.

The National Emergency stated at the time that the action in particular was intended to what was termed as Taylor and his officials’ unlawful depletion of Liberian resources and their removal from Liberia and secreting of Liberian funds and property, which have undermined Liberia's transition to democracy and the orderly development of its political, administrative, and economic institutions and resources.

Taylor & Others’ Actions ‘Undermine Liberia’s Transformation & Recovery’

The measures against the former Liberian officials, some who still find themselves in the current government, was expected to expire on July 24 but the new man in charge of the world’s most powerful nation thinks the measures should be kept in force because the actions and policies of Taylor and his associates left a legacy of destruction that continues to undermine the post-war country’s recovery process.

Obama: “The actions and policies of Charles Taylor and others have left a legacy of destruction that continues to undermine Liberia's transformation and recovery.”

In his letter, coming from his Press Secretary, Obama said: “Because the actions and policies of these persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States, the National Emergency declared on July 22, 2004, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond July 22, 2010. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13348.”

Bush’s action came a month after the UN the Security Council Committee on June 14 2004, established pursuant to resolution 1521 (2003) concerning Liberia approved a list of individuals and entities subject to the measures contained in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 1532 for the assets freeze catergory.

Paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 1532, adopted on 12 March 2004, reads as follows: 1. Decides that, to prevent former Liberian President Charles Taylor, his immediate family members, in particular Jewell Howard Taylor and Charles Taylor, Jr., senior officials of the former Taylor regime, or other close allies or associates as designated by the Committee established by paragraph 21 of resolution 1521 (2003) (hereinafter, “the Committee”) from using misappropriated funds and property to interfere in the restoration of peace and stability in Liberia and the sub-region, all States in which there are, at the date of adoption of this resolution or at any time thereafter, funds, other financial assets and economic resources owned or controlled directly or indirectly by Charles Taylor, Jewell Howard Taylor, and Charles Taylor, Jr. and/or those other individuals designated by the Committee, including funds, other financial assets and economic resources held by entities owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by any of them or by any persons acting on their behalf or at their direction, as designated by the Committee, shall freeze without delay all such funds, other financial assets and economic resources, and shall ensure that neither these nor any other funds, other financial assets or economic resources are made available, by their nationals or by any persons within their territory, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of such persons;”

Obama’s extension further worsens the woes of Taylor’s associates who have been struggling with no success to have their names removed from a United Nations imposed travel ban.

The travel bans, imposed over five years ago, have been strangulating several associates, key among who are his wife, Bong County Jewel Howard Taylor, and Montserrado County Edwin Snowe, Jr.

Despite the lifting of an arms embargo imposed since 1999 on the post-war country during the regime of Taylor by the UN’s Security Council in the latter part of last year, the travel ban was however extended by another year.

While the UN Council stated it was lifting the embargo based on what it said was due to the country’s sustained progress made by the Government since January 2006 that was being “beneficial to all Liberians with the support of the international community”, it stated that it extended the travel ban by 12 months on the concerned persons it describes as being treat to the country’s peace process.

The latest move by Obama would cause more harm to affected individuals who have political ambition.

For instance, Senator Taylor from whom strong speculations continue to emerge that she wants to seek the vice presidential slot for one of the opposition newly formed coalition, has been vigorously campaigning to have her name removed that late saw an organized group of women in June presenting a three-page petition to the government calling for the lifting of the UN travel ban imposed on female associates of former president Charles Taylor.

In times past, several Liberians and groups have launched several campaigns and sometimes protest to have both the travel ban and assets freeze removed.

In February of 2008, several Liberians and groups launched fresh appeal to the then US President Bush to assist in lifting the travel ban and assets freeze during his visit to Liberia.

Those affected by the extension include Cyril Allen, former Chairman of Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP), Randolph Cooper, former Managing Director of Robertsfield International Airport (RIA), Adolphus Dolo, Senator of Nimba County, George Dweh, former suspended Speaker of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) and Jewel Howard-Taylor, former first lady of Liberia now Senior Senator of Bong County, Charles Bright, Former Minister of Finance, Moussa Cisse, Former Chief of Presidential Protocol, Jenkins Dunbar, Former Minister of Lands, Mines, and Energy, and George Martin, Ambassador of Liberia to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Others include Myrtle Gibson, former senator and Advisor to the former Liberian President, Reginald B. Goodridge Former Minister for Culture, Information and Tourism, Gus Kouwenhoven, owner of Hotel Africa and President of the controversial Oriental Timber Company (OTC), among others.

The UN Security Committee stated that it would continue to update the list on a regular basis.

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Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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