U.S. Treasury Sanctions Prince Yormie Johnson Under Global Magnitsky Act.

On International Anti-Corruption Day, the U.S. Mission in Liberia stands in
solidarity with all those committed to confronting and ending widespread corruption. This includes
those within the Government of Liberia who stands up against corruption, committed Liberian
citizens and organizations seeking to challenge the impunity of corrupt officials, and international
organizations supporting anti-corruption efforts. Today’s sanctioning of Senator Prince Yormie
Johnson is one small part of that effort.

International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually on December 9 since the United
Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on
October 31, 2003, to raise public awareness for anti-corruption initiatives. There are currently 187
States party to the UNCAC. In addition to sending a message against corrupt behavior, Treasury
uses its tools to increase transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. With these designations,
Treasury encourages all governments to implement anti-corruption reforms to address

Today also marks the official start of the Summit for Democracy, which highlights corruption as one
of the three areas most critical for democracies to address. President Joseph R. Biden said, in his
June 2021 action establishing the fight against corruption as a core national security interest, that
“Corruption corrodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts markets and equitable
access to services; undercuts development efforts; contributes to national fragility, extremism, and
migration; and provides authoritarian leaders a means to undermine democracies worldwide. When
leaders steal from their nations’ citizens or oligarchs flout the rule of law, economic growth slows,
inequality widens, and trust in government plummets.”

The U.S. Mission in Liberia has long reported on the pervasiveness of corruption within the
Government of Liberia, including in the annual Human Rights Report. Organizations such as
Transparency International also scores Liberia very poorly in terms of corruption. But more than
that, Liberian Government officials and citizens themselves regularly report on corrupt government
activities that reach across all sectors of governance and society. No government is free from
corruption, but no government can improve its democracy without simultaneously attacking
corruption, and that effort must start at the very top, both in word and indeed.

On this International Anti-Corruption Day, we call on all three branches of the Government of
Liberia to acknowledge that public officials should not receive financial benefit from their positions
other than their salary and should take all necessary measures to stand up to the corruption that
continues to erode the trust between the government and its people.

Prince Yormie Johnson is a former warlord and current member of the Liberian Senate. He is the
former Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security, Defense, Intelligence, and Veteran
Affairs. In 1990, he was responsible for the murder of former Liberian President Samuel Doe,
and Johnson is named in Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Report as having committed atrocities
during the country’s first civil war.

As a Senator, Johnson has been involved in pay-for-play funding with government ministries and
organizations for personal enrichment. As part of the scheme, upon receiving funding from the
Government of Liberia (GOL), the involved government ministries and organizations launder a
a portion of the funding for the return to the involved participants. The pay-for-play funding scheme
involves millions of U.S. dollars. Additionally, Johnson receives an undeserved salary from the GOL
as a salaried intelligence “source” yet he does not provide any form of intelligence reporting to the
GOL; Johnson is reportedly being paid in order to maintain domestic stability. Johnson has also
offered the sale of votes in multiple Liberian elections in exchange for money

Johnson is designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is current or former
government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or
complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption, including the misappropriation of
state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government
contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here