Liberia: Senate Amends Code of Conduct

Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie.  

The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has voted to amend Section 5.2 of the National Code of Conduct for public officials and employees of government. 

The amendment seeks to impose upon certain appointed officials of the Government of Liberia and certain officials of corporations owned by the Government of Liberia and certain officials of entities established by the Legislature to resign their employment with the Government of Liberia, its corporations and entities at least (1) year before the date of any election for which any such official intends to contest. 

The amendment, when passed into law, will reduce the resignation period from two (2) years for officials appointed at the pleasure of the President and three (3) years for officials with tenure to one (1) year. 

Also contained in the amendment is that there shall be absolute compliance on the part of any person in the aforementioned category, as substantial compliance will not be allowed as was in the case of some officials in 2017, who benefited from the Supreme Court ruling of being in substantial compliance, even though they did not resign in time as stated in the 2014 Code of Conduct.

The amendment also empowers any person or organization to challenge before the National Elections Commission the eligibility of a person described in Section 2 of the law, who has not timely resigned his/her position in order to be eligible for an elective office and the burden shall be on the person who intends to contest for the elective office to prove that he/she has timely resigned.

In keeping with the amendment, the National Elections Commission shall, on its own and not necessarily on the application of any other person or organization, reject the application of any person who falls in violation, and the burden shall be on the person to prove otherwise to the National Elections Commission. 

The Senate took the decision to amend 5.2 of the Code of Conduct as a result of a report submitted by its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims & Petitions headed by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman. The bill was introduced by Montserrado County Senator Darius Dillon. 

The amendment has been forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.