Liberia: Anti-Graft Institutions Petition Legislature to “Combat” Corruption

.... The petitioners urged the 54th Legislature to increase budgetary support to public integrity institutions to enable them to function properly and at full capacity

More than eight (8) Civil Society and Community Based Organizations under banner, the Joint Civil Society Anti-Corruption Initiative (JOCSAI), in collaboration with the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) have petitioned the House of Representatives to take concrete steps to tackle corruption.

The anti-corruption institutions, having come together to facilitate and accelerate anti-corruption initiatives under the auspices of the National Integrity Building Anti-corruption (NIBA), called on the House of Representatives to ensure that the necessary and proper mechanisms are in place to successfully tackle the callous vice of corruption.

In their two-page petition, the petitioners urged the 54th Legislature to increase budgetary support to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), General Auditing Commission (GAC), Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and other public integrity institutions to enable them to function properly and at full capacity.

Reading the petition, Madam Monica Cee, member of the JOCSAI Steering Committee, called for the timely action on audit reports submitted by the General Auditing Commission; and for the legislature to lead by example by welcoming and facilitating a financial audit of themselves (the Legislature), covering the last unaudited years.

"Most importantly also, we petition you for the unequivocal and speedy passage into law the following Anti-corruption Instruments before you: a bill to establish a special court to try all corruption related cases and a bill to revise the criminal procedure law — thereby removing the statute of limitations from cases related to corruption."

Others are: “Bill to amend section 10.1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials; the draft revised act of 2008 — Bill to give LACC the power to directly prosecute; the Whistleblower Act — Disclosure and Protection; and Bill to establish a Witness Protection Agency (WPA).”

CENTAL Executive Director, Anderson D. Miamen, told journalists that the fight against corruption in Liberia is challenged and undermined by several factors, including but not limited to low budgetary and logistical support to public integrity institutions, weak enforcement of anti-corruption laws and policies, the absence and limitation of key laws and institutions for dealing with corruption in Liberia, and limited political will to decisively act against public officials and other individuals at the center of grave incidences/allegations of corruption.

He lamented that the Legislature needs to amend the LACC law to open herself to audit and enact a Corruption Court, Court F, to adjudicate corruption cases.

Meanwhile, the petition was received by Rep. Gunpue Kargon, the chairman on the House’s Committee on Claims and Petitions. 

He promised to transmit the petition for legislative action.