LACC Commissioners in war of words
The chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. James N. Verdier, denying charges that he engaged in a reckless or clandestine mismanagement of the Commission’s finances, or that he manipulated its administrative processes as claimed by fellow Commissioner Augustine Toe, has let the public wondering just who is telling the truth.
The accusation was made by his Vice Chairperson Cllr. Augustine Toe. Toe, in his accusation, did not mention how much money is reported to have been withdrawn allegedly by Cllr. James Verdier.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Monrovia, Verdier said LACC’s business process has always been open to the public. “We have been submitting quarterly and annual financial reports in conformity with the Public Financial Management Law,” he said.
Verdier noted: “We confirm that such exchange took place and I invited Cllr. Toe as well as the comptroller of LACC to a meeting so as to afford him (Toe) make available documentation and evidence. After a meeting with me in which we strongly rejected, refuted and denied his claims, we agreed that we should continue to work as a team and as an institution to deliver on our mandate.”
He told journalists that the Commission has been audited by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) for a three year period and the Financial System of the LACC was assessed by Moore Stevens. “Again, we are open and ready for an audit of our financial records. That is why, we have invited the GAC to conduct an Audit of our Financial Records and we believe that this Audit should be well underway,” he stated.
Verdier also rejected claims by Cllr. Augustine Toe, for ‘disrespecting his peers and taking them for fools,’ and also rejected his claim of withdrawals of the operating funds of the Commission.
Observers say though Cllr. Toe may have felt speaking his mind was the right thing to do so that posterity would not judge him harshly, in his email of Jan. 6, 2018, he appears to have contradicted himself, when he noted “I am expected to return just before the Inauguration of January 22, after which I suggest we meet on these matters. Until then, my trust and confidence in your ability to steer the state of affairs of the LACC is unflinching.” How could Cllr. Toe have ‘trust’ and ‘unflinching’ confidence in someone he had described as ‘heartless’ is puzzling.
Cllr. Toe’s take on the matter is indeed puzzling since he had claimed that Cllr. Verdier was involved in withdrawing funds from the LACC and also ‘disrespecting his peers and taking them for fools.” Though the issue he raised is yet to be settled, yet his confidence in Cllr. Verdier’s ability to lead the LACC is ‘unflinching’ as suggested by his comments.
So the big question is: Who is telling the truth? However, by implication, while Cllr. Toe appears to have reached the end of the rope and was prepared to tell it all, information in his email is scanty.
At one point he asked Cllr. Verdier in his email: “What have we done to you to be so heartless to us?” But heartless about what, remained unanswered. Cllr. Toe further lamented: “Most disrespectfully, after receiving said operation funds, what you told the comptroller to do for Commissioners was to give us few gallons of fuel each as though we are living with you.”
It appears, though, the real issues are being papered over but, further probing by the GAC could reveal the basis for the current string of accusations and denials. However, so far, no paper trail has been uncovered revealing the details of the alleged transactions.