Author: Daniel D. Boakai

LACC CONDUCTS WORKSHOP IN COUNTIES

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) will this weekend begin an intensive and strategic anti-corruption training exercise for local Government authorities across the Country.

The training will focus on corruption and the budget process of the country, Assets Declaration, Conflict of Interest and Civil Society role in the fight against corruption.

The Commission hopes the training will serve as additional safeguards for new local government officials to ring-fence against acts of corruption in their different areas of work.

County Health teams, County Education Team, Police and Immigration authorities from Gbarpolu, Bomi, Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties will gather in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County beginning Thursday, November 1, for the exercise.

A similar group from Bong, Lofa, Nimba and Margibi are also expected to gather in Gbarnga next Monday for a related training.

The training which is under the support of the African Development Bank through the Public Financial Management Reforms Program is part of initiatives to strengthen the Commission’s Prevention of corruption activities with the hope of bringing greater understanding to public officials implementing a corruption free budget.

The LACC’s Executive Chairperson, Cllr. James Verdier, AfDB Country Representative Dr. Orison Amu and Grand Bassa County Superintendent Janjay Biakpeh are expected to give opening remarks at the program.

LACC Takes lead on Presidential Investigation Team

October 4, 2018: The Technical Committee of the Presidential Investigation Team held its first press conference today at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).

In his introductory statement, Hon. Charles J. L. Gibson, III, Oversight Commissioner for the Investigation & Enforcement Division at the LACC and head of the Technical Committee of the PIT, indicated that the Technical Committee officially started work on the 1st of October.

He urged Liberians to be patient as the Committee is carefully proceeding with the investigation.

He then turned over to Hon. Alex Cuffy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Financial Intelligence UNIT (FIU) and Coordinator of the PIT/TC who gave a chronology of events from August to September 2018, which included the receiving of reports from a “Whistle Blower” concerning suspicious activities on the importation of currency banknotes to the constitution of the PIT.

He explained that all but two of the organizations invited to participate on the PIT, the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the National Muslim Council declined participation. The LCC asked to be withdrawn because it wishes to remain neutral, while the National Muslim Council did not honor the invitation to be part of the committee.

The Coordinator of the PIT Technical Committee noted among other things that the TOR of the Committee included but not limited to the review of authorization to print and order currency banknotes; full accountability for Liberian Dollar banknotes; foreign currency banknotes, legacy and mutilated banknotes, foreign currency auction/exchange; and infusion of the $25 million in the economy as well as interview persons of interest.

Hon. Cuffy assured the public that the Committee has the capacity, integrity and tenacity to conduct and conclude the investigation and called on the government for the needed funds to support the investigation, and considers this a “PATRIOT CALL TO DUTY”

He called on the public and members of the press to report any information that will assist the ongoing investigation and guaranteed their privacy and full protection under the law.

Meanwhile, the PIT advised all members of the Legislature and Executive branches of government to refrain from issuing press releases, making press statements and utterances in the public especially without consulting the PIT; as it has the propensity to prejudize the ongoing investigation.

Hon. Cuffy says that the PIT estimates a final report earliest in six weeks.
During the question and answer period, the PIT noted that even with the press statement coming from the CBL indicating that no money is missing; the committee will continue its investigation, and asserted that the CBL could have come out with the information a long time ago.

On the inclusion of the FBI, IMF and other international partners on the PIT, the Committee reiterated that the Presidential Investigation Team has the capacity to conduct the probe and expects to work with its international partners whenever they come to Liberia.

Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) “Anti-Corruption Emphasis Month” Launching in Churches and Mosques in Monrovia, Montserrado County

June 26, 2018
Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) “Anti-Corruption Emphasis Month” Launching in Churches and Mosques in Monrovia, Montserrado County

At the end of a two- day workshop organized by LACC in collaboration with the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia in September, 2017 on “The Role of Religious Community in the Fight Against Corruption, the religious leaders resolved among other recommendations through the Cape Communiqué that Religious Leaders will embark on a vigorous campaign to continue to create awareness and sensitization on corruption in Churches & Mosques.
The first phase of the consultations known as “Religious Engagement” was through consultations with leaders of Churches and Mosques in seeking their buy-in into the recommendations from the workshop”. The first phase of the consultation was completed with more than 20 church leaders and 8 leaders from Mosques within Montserrado County.
The next phase of the consultations is the “Religious Emphasis Month”. The objective is to mitigate the corruption in the Religious Community by leaders of Churches and Mosques sensitizing Christians and Muslims using their pulpits to preach on the negative effect of corruption in the Liberian Society. The awareness can also be done at Bible study, Men, Women, Youth & Children department Meetings.
The formal launching of the “Anti-Corruption Emphasis Month” within 3 churches in Cluster 1 took place on Sunday, June 24, 2018. The team from the Education & Prevention (E &P) Division comprising Mr. James K. Kingsley, Program Manager, E & P; Kayibanda Doe, Prevention Officer, E & P; Trokon Wheayou, Data Analyst clerk, E & P and Bill J. Harris, Driver, E & P visited three (3) Churches (Providence Baptist Church, Restoration Baptist Church and the St. Peter Lutheran Church) and spoke to the congregation about the objective of the Religious Emphasis Month, which is primarily geared towards religious leaders using their pulpits to sensitize their congregation about the danger of corruption in our society while at the same time preaching on a corruption related topics ( Fraud, Embezzlement, Collusion, Facilitation Fees Payment etc. as well as other topics in Ethics & Integrity. During the few minutes discussion, LACC Team told the congregation that Liberia is all we have so there was a dire need for leaders of Churches and Mosques to educate their congregation about the ills of corruption and the benefits of its eradication from our society. They also mentioned that the youthful population in the churches and Mosques should be educated on being ethical with high moral integrity, which they mentioned as the passport to their future and the building of a corruption free Liberia. At the end of each presentation, the Religious Emphasis Month was formally launched by the team from LACC.

LACC STAFFS BENEFIT FROM LOCAL, FOREIGN TRAINING

June 25, 2018: Two staffs of the LACC are currently benefiting from international training programs while another staff is expected to leave the country shortly for training. In addition, managers and heads of sections of the Commission benefitted from training programs on Conflict of Interest. The foreign training program is being sponsored by the African Development Bank (AFDB) through the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MODP) of Liberia. The local training program was conducted and sponsored by the Legal Professional Development and Anti-Corruption Project (LPAC). The LPAC training program was held in two phases with the first one taking place from June 11-13 and the other from June 18-20, 2018.

1. Mrs. Frances M. Fleming, Human Resource Assistant within the Administration Division is undergoing two weeks training in HR Practices and Strategies in International Management Training Consortium (IMTC) in Accra, Ghana;

2. Mr. Robert W. Jarwleh, Program Officer for Research within the Education & Prevention Division is benefiting from a Qualitative Data Analysis Ӏ & II training at the IPSA-NUS Methods School, National University of Singapore from June 25-July 6, 2018; while

3. Mr. Moses V. Kowo, Program Officer for Community Outreach is expected to attend a two-week Twinning Tour at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Mauritius.

Staff that benefited from the LPAC training program comprises Jeanet Sonpon Sarsih, James K. Kingsley, Robert W. Jarwleh, Kayibanda Doe, Zobon Kolenky, Moses Kowo, Wade M. Neufville, Rebecca Kiawon and Baba Borkai.

LIBERIA EXPRESSES COMMITMENT TO FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF UNCAC’S PROVISIONS

June 26, 2018: Liberia has expressed its commitment to the full implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

Representing the Government of Liberia at the Ninth Resumed Session of the Implementation Review Group (IRG) of UNCAC held in Vienna, Austria, the Executive Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. James N. Verdier, Jr. said prior to the political transition in Liberia, the Government undertook several activities to support and strengthen the LACC to perform its mandate and assured the Conference of Government’s support and participation in all Review Cycles both as a Reviewing and Reviewed State Party.

Cllr. Verdier intimated that towards this end, the Government has also embarked on the process of proposing newer anti-corruption legislations and/or revising existing ones and noted that Liberia has put in place mandatory provisions requiring a defined category of public officials to declare their assets prior to assuming, and during public service, as contained in the ‘National Code of Conduct for Public Officials’.

During the Conference, States parties including Liberia emphasized the need for continued technical assistance in order to undergo review and be reviewed during this second cycle. In the country review of Liberia, Mali requested a deferment as a reviewing state party for Liberia. A lot was drawn and Liberia will now be reviewed in the second review cycle by Seychelles and Botswana.

The ninth session of the IRG of UNCAC focused on analyzing the successes, good practices, challenges, observations and technical assistance needs emanating from the country reviews of chapter v regarding asset recovery of the Convention. The Conference was held from June 4-6, 2018.