Thursday, November 22, 2018: The Executive Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. James N. Verdier, Jr. calls on His Excellency, the President of Liberia and the Legislature to ensure that laws granting security of tenure to integrity institutions remain undisturbed in so far as it grants security and tenure to all members of the commissions and not only the heads and deputy heads.
The LACC Boss further said, with two very important bills granting protection to witnesses and protecting reporting persons/whistle blower continuing to languish and decay in the legislature since they were presented in 2017, we observe with interest the pace at which several bills presented to the legislature are being expeditiously passed into law by both houses since the sitting of the 54th legislature as a serious concern.
He also said the lack of strong complimentary and supporting legislations, logistical and financial resources; coupled with either a “Non-existing” or “Luke Warm” political will within the three branches of government continue to undermine the capacity and professionalism of the LACC in delivering its herculean mandate according to part V.5:1 of the act which gave the commission appropriate authority for implementing investigation and prosecution, as well as preventing of acts of corruption through public awareness.
In addition, he said, an institution and group of officials and staff who are charged with the responsibilities of investigating every individual in the length and breadth of Liberia, excluding the president must not be left to run after the Ministry of Finance on a monthly basis for its budgetary allocation, noting LACC’s allocation, including salaries and operational funds should be disbursed on a quarterly basis in keeping with the financial autonomy of the Commission. Anything to the contrary exposes the institution to scorn and reduces its esteem.
Cllr. Verdier emphasized that every public official and employee of government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types, shall sign performance or financial bond and in addition declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office, as there were misinformation and misinterpretation of the laws and regulations surrounding asset declarations.
According to the 2018 Asset Declaration Report, ninety two (92) public officials from the Executive Branch declared out of an expected Four Hundred sixty two (462), representing 20%; Three Hundred Thirty Three (333) officials from the Judiciary Branch declared, representing 83%; and none from Legislative Branch comprising the House of Representative and Senate declared, representing 0%.