Grand Cape Mount County Senator Harry Varney Sherman has been hooked by the United States Department of Treasury over an alleged bribery scheme commissioned in 2010.
Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman (Sherman), now a prominent lawyer and Chair of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee said to have offered bribes to multiple judges associated with his trial in a 2010 bribery scheme, that led to an undisclosed conflict of interest with the judge who ultimately returned a not guilty verdict in July 2019.
Sherman, according to a released by the U.S. Treasury has routinely paid judges to decide cases in his favor, and has allegedly facilitated payments to Liberian politicians to support impeachment of a judge who has ruled against him.
The action was taken today, December 9, 2020 on International Anti-Corruption Day, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is said to be targeting corrupt actors and their networks across several countries in Africa and Asia, as the Treasury remains fully committed to imposing costs on those who facilitate corruption at the expense of the people,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.
To raise public awareness for anti-corruption initiatives, 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. There are currently 187 States parties to the UNCAC.
In the 2010 scheme that led to this trial, “Sherman was hired by a British mining company in an effort to obtain one of Liberia’s last remaining mining assets, the Wologizi iron ore concession. Sherman advised the company that, in order to obtain the contract, they first had to get Liberia’s procurement and concessions law changed by bribing senior officials”, the release said.
“In 2016, Sherman was indicted by the Liberian government, along with several other government officials, for their involvement in a USD 950,000 bribery scheme”, the release continued.
Fast forward in 2019, the presiding judge acquitted all individuals accused of being involved in the bribery scheme.
The U.S release furthered that Sherman’s acts of bribery demonstrate a larger pattern of behavior to exercise influence over the Liberian judiciary and the Ministry of Justice.
Sherman is designated for being a foreign person who is a current or former government official responsible for or complicit, 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.
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-money laundering reforms to address corruption.