The United States government has frozen the bank accounts of the Liberian embassy in Washington DC along with forty-nine embassies, 30 from Africa and 20 coming from outside of Africa.
Speaking recently in an interview with this entity, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Liberian Embassy in Washington DC, Edwin Sele, confirmed his country and forty-nine other foreign embassies bank accounts have been frozen by the United States government.
The Deputy Chief of Mission said the embassy was astounded when they received a letter from the United States Department of State informing the embassy that his country and 49 other embassies bank accounts have been frozen by the United States government with no explanation given for the reason behind the freezing of his country’s embassy account.
The freezing of the Liberian embassy’s bank account is not only unique to Liberia, the Liberian diplomat said; it is a broader action taken by the United States government against countries with huge influx of money into their embassies account with excessive expenditure which the United States government cannot track; how and for what money expended for and who receiving it.
When the Deputy Chief of mission was asked to what extend and scope was his country’s expenditure and financial activities in the United States such that his country is among forty-nine other countries whose bank accounts have been frozen, he said the embassy was surprise by the decision and still wonders why his country was among embassies accounts frozen. “As far as we are concerned, our books are opened and we have nothing to hide. The embassy does not expend huge amounts of money, nor do we pay any body or entity”, the Liberian envoy said. “The only funds we expend is funds for the operation of the embassy, we do not even pay employees because their pay comes straightly from the Liberian government in Liberia and the visa fees we collect go directly into the Liberian government’s coffers in Liberia”, the Deputy Chief of Mission lamented.
The Liberian diplomat said, the United States government froze the accounts of some fifty embassies for corruption, money laundering, and new terrorism laws but he believe the United States government only included his country as a broader precaution but he is confident that after all is settled, his country will come up clean.
The freezing of the accounts of foreign missions by the United States government is the second in two years but the first by the United States government, the first was in 2010 when Bank of America froze the accounts of the Angola embassy in Washington and twenty-nine other embassies on grounds that they were under pressure from the United States Congress regarding new legislation which was putting burden on banks to streamline countries that funnel huge amount of money from their countries into their embassies’ accounts depleting their countries coffers while their countries remain desolated.
Angola’s case became a grave concern to United State authorities after it was noticed that the new oil nation was funneling huge amount of money from the country into the oil money while its people and country left uncared for. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the Djibouti Ambassador to the United States, Roble Olhaye and Dean of the Diplomatic Corp had to scrambled to find solution to unfreeze the embassies accounts.
The freezing of the embassies accounts means that the Liberian embassies and all others under this penalty are without operational budget and how those embassies are being run hang in the balance.