The OFAC Goes One Step Beyond The US State Department Annual Human Rights Report

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THE UNITED STATES Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on December 9, 2020, during the observance of International Anti-Corruption Day, imposed economic and financial sanctions on Grand Cape Mount Senator for several reasons: bribery, conflict of interest, routine payment of judges to decide cases in his (Sherman) favor and facilitation of payments to Liberian politicians to support the impeachment of a judge. The OFAC action goes one step further than the US State Department annual human rights report on Liberia, which details the violation of fundamental human rights in the country, covering strategic institutions as the Judiciary; it zeros-in on individuals it believes are involved in serious crimes and institutes the appropriate punitive measure: sanction. Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman is the first high Liberian government official to face the OFAC wrath.

SENATOR CLLR. SHERMAN, as a member of the Liberian Senate who has to interact with the government of the United States of America in protecting the interest of the Liberian people, has however written a communication to the plenary of the Liberian Senate informing the august body of his rejection of the economic and financial sanctions imposed on him by the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“AS YOUR COLLEAGUE and your Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions, I believe that while I pursue whatever remedy is available to me under the United States law to expunge and remove my name from the OFAC sanctions list, I owe to you an explanation,” the communication reads.

SENATOR CLLR. SHERMAN maintained, “I deny ever being the conduit or facilitator for the payment of bribes to Liberian politicians to impeach Justice Kabinah Ja’neh or any other judge from office,” Senator Sherman stated. Senator Sherman wondered why people would select him and not others from the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate. “Who gave me the funds to bribe these politicians? Is it OFAC’s assumption that I used my personal funds to bribe politicians?” he asked.

HE EMPHATICALLY DENIED the accusation of routine payment to judges to decide cases in his favor. He pointed out that this reason given by OFAC for the imposition of the economic and financial sanctions is far from the truth.

“WITHIN THE NEXT week or so I shall separately address the OFAC accusation of bribery of multiple judges associated with my trial for a 2010 bribery scheme and an undisclosed conflict of interest with the judge who ultimately returned a not guilty verdict in July 2019.” According to him, the sanctions imposed on him has tarnished his character as a prominent Liberian lawyer. He vowed to pursue this until his name is removed from the sanctions list of OFAC.

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