WASHINGTON – Liberia’s Maritime, along with its shipping registry, LISCR, is spending $45,000 per month on lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Department of Justice website and confirmed by Liberia’s Ministry of Finance.
While Globe Afrique suspects a large portion of this money is being laundered under the pretext of foreign lobbying, it seems that the foreign lobbyists are lively participants in the fleecing of Liberia.
In April 2021, Eugene Nagbe, who heads Liberia’s Maritime, signed a $25,000 per month contract with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP. The agreement states that the lobbying firm will “…enhance the image of the Liberia registry and the Liberian maritime program….”
In June 2022, Eugene Nagbe signed a contract with Ellen’s former lobbyist Riva Levinson (KRL), at a monthly fee of $20,000. The scope is to: “assist LiMA in achieving full certification with the International Maritime Organization (IMO); to build and consolidate relationships for LiMA in training, capacity building, governance, and maritime security; to expand the reach and programming of Liberia Maritime Training Institute, etc.….”
These contracts, at $45,000 per month, are in addition to LISCR’s lobbying contract with David Peyman of DLA Piper LLP, who charges $990 per hour for services to Liberia maritime.
Globe Afrique’s reader Emmanuel Saygbe asks, what does Riva Levinson know about maritime, and why does Eugene Nagbe need Ms. Levinson to lobby on behalf of Liberia’s Maritime to achieve certification with the IMO? Isn’t that the same reason the Liberian government is paying LISCR? Isn’t that Mr. Nagbe’s job?
Weah of Liberia Begs for a Meeting with Vice President Kamala D. Harris
Despite paying $45,000 per month to KRL and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, plus an additional $990 per hour to DLA Piper, under the facade of lobbying for Liberia’s maritime, Globe Afrique was duly surprised to learn that Brownstein Hyatt Farber’s only achievement is to is begging for President Weah to meet U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris during the African summit.
The Letter submitted by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP on behalf of Weah reads, “While in the nation’s capital, President Weah would like to meet with Hon. Kamala D. Harris, Vice President of the United States. The meeting will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the strong and vital relationship between the United States and Liberia.”
Weah Repeats Mistakes by Jailed Dictator Charles Taylor
After fleecing Liberia of roughly $3,300,000 per year on lobbying efforts, President Weah of Liberia remains the first post-war president of Liberia to have never received a formal invitation to visit a U.S. President.
Three of George Weah’s government officials, including the Minister of State, landed on the U.S. Specially Designated Sanctions List for massive corruption and unrepentant looting. Therefore, being added to the Global Magnitsky sanctions list does not say much about the success of Weah’s purported lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C.
Before being booted out of Liberia, jailed Liberia dictator Charles Taylor was asked the following question by a Newsweek reporter,
“What soured your relations with Washington?”
Taylor responded: “I don’t know. I beat some of Washington’s strongest friends when I won election fairly and squarely. The wrong man won. I fought the Marxist-Leninist leadership in Liberia and I will continue to fight them. We did receive assistance from Libya, but the CIA knows that Libya has no influence on me. I hold my own water on this African continent.
The reporter pressed on –
“What would you do differently today?”
I don’t know. Because I have done everything that one was supposed to do. After the election, [former] president Jimmy Carter sat with me and said, “President Taylor, congratulations. There are several things that you have to do. If you do that, you will get assistance from the United States.” I’ve done them. He said it was very important to establish a government of national unity … They asked me to burn all the arms to put the war behind us … under the auspices of the United Nations. Repressive laws: I cleaned the Liberian books of all of these laws. I have done everything. We started a human-rights commission. They never listened to me: the first American-educated [Liberian] president. I don’t know, maybe I should have put more money into public relations in America. Nobody, nobody understands Charles Taylor. I don’t know why.
Charles Taylor’s admission that ‘maybe [he] should have [pump] more money into public relations in America – is proof that no amount of money pumped into foreign lobbying by a kleptocratic government will influence any aspect of U.S. foreign policy in Liberia.
It’s believed that the mop-up exercise conducted by Liberia’s finance minister, Tweah – using Liberia’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is one of the most audacious and outlandish money laundering scams to wash part of the missing banknotes.
Charles Taylor’s eventual removal from power and his eventual sentence to prison in England show how foreign lobbyists have consistently fleeced Liberia by duping its leaders into believing that lobbyists can mask human rights violations and massive public corruption.