CENTAL Wants President Weah’s Assets, Others Published

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CENTAL program manager, Gerald D. Yeakula.

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has called on the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to timely and independently verify and publish all declared assets, income and liabilities, including those of President George M. Weah.

In a statement issued on Monday, CENTAL said it is glad to acknowledge receipt of reports of declaration of assets, income, and liabilities by President George Manneh Weah, which the General Auditing Commission (GAC) has confirmed.

Although it is belated, CENTAL lauded President Weah for declaring his assets in compliance with chapter 10 of the 2014 Code of Conduct for Public officials that requires all public officials to declare their assets.

“This is one of several steps that demonstrate concrete commitment and political will to set the necessary condition for a successful fight against corruption in Liberia,” the statement said.

CENTAL has also called on the Vice President, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Justices of the Supreme Court and other officials of government to do likewise.

“We maintain that former officials accused of corrupt acts, especially those of the immediate past regime, must be investigated and if found guilty prosecuted in keeping with relevant Liberian Laws,” CENTAL said.

CENTAL said former officials who refused to declare their assets while leaving power/government, should be compelled to do so or prosecuted, in keeping with relevant provisions of the Code of Conduct.

Finally, “we would like to admonish President Weah against repeating mistakes of former President Sirleaf, when she, among other things, shielded her officials; ignored recommendations from independent committees established to probe corruption scandals as well as appointed persons with tainted records in key government positions.”

Any anti-corruption effort that is not built on a strong prosecution and deterrent regime is bound to fail; this is the weak link in Liberia’s current anti-graft efforts, which must be addressed to decisively tackle corruption and bad governance in the country, the statement maintained.

The statement further noted that continuous violation of the Code of Conduct does not augur well for the reputation of the government and its professed desire to address graft, arguably the biggest impediment to the success of the pro-poor agenda.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I say merci to the president of Liberia for taking such step. He has obey the law by declaring his assets to the relevant institution as stipulated by law whether belated or timely according to the critics. One must understand that the law says declaration of asset to the Liberia Anti Corruption commission, not asset publication as demanded by CENTAL. It is not inimical by CENTAL to call on the rest of the government instruments to declare their asset. The asset declaration law is a transparent and deterrent to corruption for our democracy. However, it needs to be restructured to ‘Asset declaration must be published upon declaration by Liberian and made public by LACC’ if it is not in the constitution. Every political aspirant, and presidential appointees must declare his or her asset before contesting or taking up any post in government. Failure on the part of any appointee or political aspirant will lead to dismissal of application or denial of presidential appointment in compliance with the law. This will me more fair and balance for everyone. This could subsequently dismiss the political witch hunt of the president as it has been carried on by some clueless elements within the opposition block.

  2. What’s good for the goose must be good for the gander!

    If it was good for Weah’s assets and liabilities to be published, it’s equally good for the assets of the legislators as well as the members of the judiciary, to publish their assets and liabilities. With all the noise and threats that were being made about why Weah had not publish his assets, I had an inkling that Weah would publish his assets sooner or later. Thanks be to God he did disclose his assets. Among those who threatened a civil protest if Weah did not disclose his assets is a flamboyant lawmaker named Kolubah. Kolubah is a Margibi county Lower House member. For now, the ball is spinning in the courts of the Judiciary and both Houses of the Liberian legislature.
    The curiosity issue is whether Kolubah and others will comply with CENTAL’s demand in terms of releasing their assets.

    The lawmakers of both Upper and Lower Houses don’t seem to get it. Just recently, it was announced that the Liberian electorate became uninterested in participating in the senatorial elections. For sure, one does not need to be an Oxbridge scholar in order to determine the reason. Simply put, the average Liberian voter is fed up with the legislators and
    here is why:

    (1) Excluding Weah the president, the Liberian legislators are the highest paid civil servants in the country. In addition to their high incomes, the legislators are issued automobiles that are paid for by the poor taxpayers of Liberia.

    (2) The Liberian legislators are self-centered. As long as they get paid in USD, it doesn’t matter to them that the Liberian dollar is becoming useless and worthless.

    (3) The Liberian legislators have placed the interest of the country on the back burner. As a consequence of this negative behavior, the market houses of Monrovia and elsewhere in the country are stench-filled. Also because of the legislators’ inability to recognize that the country’s interest is priority number one, students do not have their full set of textbooks.

    The net result of the legislators’ negative behavior is that CENTAL will hold their feet to the fire until their yearly incomes and assets are disclosed publicly.

  3. It is a big disappointment to me, for CENTRAL to request that public officials’ assets declared be published. I will be very surprised if that’s what the 2014 Code of Conduct for public official of Liberia says. I think civil society groups like CENTRAL are better placed to educate the public on rules, laws and policies documents of State. What does chapter 10 of the 2014 Code of Conduct for public officials say should be done to the declarations made by public officials, of their assets? In other jurisdictions for example Ghana and other West African countries, after declaration, a copy of the declaration is lodged with the requisite body or institution, required by law to hold in trust the said document, until such a time when it is due for review by the appropriate authority required by law to do so. This is normally done at the end of the tenure of office of the public officer, who then is required to submit a second declaration of asset upon leaving public office, in some instance. These mandatory clauses are embedded into the Act, thereby leaving no room for individuals or civil society groups like CENTRAL to make irrelevant demands outside the Act establishing the particular law ( in this case, the code of conduct). It would be highly unfortunate, if these ingredients are not provided in this Code of Conduct and, I strongly want to believe that they do exist but, CENTRAL is trying to play a mischief, by playing on the emotional keyboards of the public; and if that is the case, it doesn’t augur well for the well being of Liberia’s young democracy.

  4. Comrade Yoblo Wah,
    I completely agree that laws must be obeyed and guidelines should be followed. I agree with you from east to west. My point is this: There shouldn’t be any hesitation on the part of government officials or the lawmakers to disclose their assets if their assets have been properly obtained. There shouldn’t be anything to be afraid of at all. My second point may not be acceptable upon first blush. But without doubt, it’s something to ponder. It is this….Times change. As times change, people’s attitudes change.

    Recently, Speaker Chambers introduced a legislation that calls for investigating former government officials of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf. In my view, Speaker Chambers is 100% right. Chambers did precisely what CENTAL is calling for. I may not always agree with CENTAL. As you rightly suggested, maybe it’s being done by CENTAL for purposes of mischief. However, if that’s dirty a game that they’re involved with, I will withdraw my endorsement immediately.

    In the US as you know, the assets of government officials and those of all Congressman are out there for anyone’s viewership. Also in the US, the endowments of colleges and universities are publicly disclosed. Example, Harvard University tops the list followed by Yale and Stanford Universities. In terms of states with the largest number of billionaires, California registers 124 billionaires and New York follows with 85.

    I guess at this point the question is whether I am comparing Liberia with the US. Well, not really. But if I did, I wouldn’t be notoriously wrong. It’s time to change and let’s forget Ghana and others while we change. Mired in the 3rd world for so long, it’s about time that we had done something radically different.

    Your name sounds Marylandish! Lol. If so, greetings.

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