Liberia: ‘You Will Go to Jail if You Steal in My Gov’t’
— Dr. Clarence Moniba says as discusses his political agenda
Presidential aspirant, Dr. Clarence Moniba, has promised to prosecute corrupt officials if elected president comes October 10 poll.
Moniba, who is contesting on the ticket of Liberia National Union (LINU), says that his presidency would ensure that corrupt officials go to jail and be made to restitute whatever amount of monies they have stolen once they are found guilty.
“The reason why corruption is rampant in Liberia is because nobody goes to jail. Nobody is held accountable,” says Moniba, a son of former Liberia Vice President Dr. Harry Moniba. “Under the Moniba administration, you will go to jail if you steal and are found guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction.”
Moniba, like many presidential candidates, including President George Weah and his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, have all highlighted the fight against corruption as a key campaign promise but not much has or was done by those leaders to reduce the high level of corruption in the country.
Weah in 2017 promised that his administration could have ended or minimized corruption. He assured Liberians that his government was going to take strong action against corruption but the promise has not been kept as the menace continues to ravage the fabric of the Liberian state.
In fact, no sooner had he taken office, he ignored all calls to make public his asset declaration and did not compel his cabinet officials to even declare their assets.
It is not clear if Moniba has all it takes to win election for the presidency in October this year but he has repeatedly stated in remarks at occasions that he would endeavor to end corruption, ensuring that no one robs the country further once he becomes President.
The main contenders for the October poll are former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) Alexander Cummings of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) and Weah, who is seeking re-election.
According to Moniba, prosecuting and jailing corrupt officials is the only way through which corruption can be minimized in Liberia, which in return will create a prosperous Liberia.
“When somebody steals money or other things, we say Liberia is elephant meat. People say that the person who has stolen is a big person in government and so there is no need to shame him or her,” he says. “They say it is his or her time to enjoy themselves. That will stop. When I become President, every Presidential appointee must do asset declaration before he or she receives keys to the office he or she will occupy.”
“We can no longer continue to watch our leaders not telling us what they have. You must be able to tell us what you have in terms of properties and bank accounts. You can’t be an assistant Minister and be buying three or four cars. Where are you getting the money from? We must know,” he emphasized.
Moniba says he intends to fight corruption via the establishment of a special court that will exclusively deal with corruption cases.
He added that whistle blowers will be given maximum protection and rewarded for exposing corruption at all levels of government.
“The second thing we will do is to set up a special court only for corruption cases. We will have a hotline where people will be calling to report corruption cases. Anyone who is found guilty will serve a minimum jail term and pay back every dollar he or she has stolen or misappropriated or misused.”
“You will be in jail and pay that money back. We will sell your property or homes. We have good laws. They are some of the best in the sub-region but we need real people at the top of leadership,” Moniba says. “