The acting executive chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala, has reemphasized that President George Weah possesses the immense political will to fight corruption.
According to an LACC release, Cllr. Gbala spoke during a meeting with the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Liberia, Niels Scott, at the Pan African Plaza in Sinkor on 18 March 2021. Cllr. Gbala pointed out that funding provided by the Weah-led government last year during the National Anti-Corruption Conference spawned a number of actions within the governance framework that are key indicators of the government’s political will.
Cllr. Gbala also highlighted the recent convictions of former high-level government officials by the Supreme Court and the huge support emanating from the presidency for legal reforms such as the establishment of a fast-track corruption court, the removal of statute of limitations on acts of corruption, as well as the proposal for a permanent whistleblower act as other indicators of political will.
He also shared the LACC’s plan with the Resident Coordinator to decentralize its operations beyond Monrovia and to robustly engage and collaborate with civil society organizations in the execution of its mandate.
In response, Mr. Scott thanked Cllr. Gbala for the meeting and revealed that
the UN country program is concerned with governance and corruption as fundamental thematic areas, and was quite interested in working in those areas.
Mr. Scott, who is the highest United Nations official in Liberia, promised to remain engaged with the work of the LACC.
A brief profile of the LACC
The LACC was established by an act of the legislature and signed into law by then President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on 21 August 2008.
It has a broad mandate and function to implement appropriate measures and undertake programs geared toward investigating, prosecuting and preventing acts of corruption, including educating the public about ills of corruption and the benefits of its eradication.
It shall also have the following specific functions in accordance with law: (a) to investigate all acts of corruption discovered or reported to have occurred in the public, private, and civil society sectors subsequent to the passage of the act with the aim of identifying the person(s) and the extent of the loss of or damage to any public and/or private property as a result of the subject act of corruption and to investigate the conduct of any person, irrespective of office or status, natural or otherwise, if the conduct of the person(s) constitute corruption.
The LACC shall cause the arrest and detention of any person or persons in pursuant of its function; provided that any such arrest or detention shall be based on probable cause and upon a prior warrant issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
It shall also cause the freezing of assets of person or persons being investigated or prosecuted for alleged act or acts of corruption; provided the freezing of asset or assets of any accused person or persons is, at all times, authorized by a prior order or warrant issued by a Court of competent jurisdiction.