President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has charged the Ministry of Justice to continue the campaign to make Liberia a corruption-free society. Addressing heads of Liberia’s security sector when she paid an early morning visit to the Ministry of Justice on Thursday, President Sirleaf said corruption is still a cancer in Liberia and that the Ministry of Justice should stand firm to help weed out this menace from the Liberian society.
“We can’t build the roads and improve the schools and improve the salaries and do all of that if there is continued leakage into private purposes,” President Sirleaf stressed.
The Liberian leader challenged every Liberian to be involved in the ongoing fight against corruption that has witnessed the creation of institutions such as the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the Internal Audit Secretariat, and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC).
“It is a challenge for all of us. It’s a challenge for almost every Liberian who wants to see public resources used for the betterment of the lives of Liberian people. We can’t have it both ways”, the President added.
The President emphasized that in spite of numerous anti-graft legislations, policies, various accountability and integrity institutions, the battle against corruption cannot be won without implementation.
Speaking directly to officials of the government’s leading prosecutorial agency, the President Sirleaf directed the Ministry of Justice to step up efforts in prosecuting alleged corrupt officials.
The President said, “Unless you can punish a few people – unless you can show that dishonesty does not pay – all of the [anti-graft] efforts amount to nothing.”
President Sirleaf called on the officials of the Justice Ministry to remain in the forefront of the battle against corruption and urged Min. Benedict Sannoh to strengthen the effectiveness of the prosecution arm of the Justice Ministry to enable it to take concrete actions against those involved in corrupt practices.
Upon taking office in 2005, President Sirleaf declared corruption as a major public enemy, which she vowed to stamp out of the Liberian society.
MoJ to Execute New Security Council Resolution
Newly-inducted Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh has told President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the Ministry plans to operationalize the UN Security Council Resolution 2190. The UNSC Resolution calls on Liberia to take full charge of security within its borders by 2016.
According to the Justice Minister, the operational plan will commence within the next three weeks and will be implemented in close collaboration with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
Responding, President Sirleaf instructed the Justice Ministry to ensure that the security transition plan is time-bound with clear benchmarks to ensure that the process is smooth and gradual.
President Sirleaf Impressed with New Police Image
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says she is impressed with the improving image of the Liberian National Police and the growing sense of public acceptance of the force.
The Liberian leader lauded the police for rebuilding its image and challenged them to invest more into community policing.
“I commend you for the changing perception of the police in the improving conduct of the officers for which we are seeing better public acceptance of the police and its protection of the people. This is a change which must continue with increased respect for rights as well as disciplined and professional care in the exercise of your duty", the President concluded.
STEP UP OR STEP OUT
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on public officials to step up or step out. The Liberian leader made the call when she paid an early morning visit to the Justice Ministry on Thursday.
"We have a lot of work to do in our post – Ebola recovery, and will need to be focused and dedicated with each doing their very best to achieve the best for our people", the Liberian leader said.
She added that she will not hesitate to wield the administrative axe as needed whenever weak links to progress are identified.
Meanwhile the President has asked members of the Executive Branch to think outside the box and explore new ways to get the job done, adding "we must get the development agenda back on track as soon as possible."
The Liberian cabinet met over a two-day period this week to agree on a road map for the next three years of the administration. The venue was Jalijuah, in Bomi County.
Under the direction of the President, the Cabinet assessed the national development agenda and agreed upon a plan which is time-bond and realistic.
In recent meetings with the Chief Justice and the Speaker as well as at the Justice Ministry, the President called on public officials to be focused and dedicated to their duties and functions so as to achieve the best for the Liberian people.