LACC Wants Weah Declare Assets

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President-elect George Manneh Weah and the majority of the Legislature have yet to declare their assets as required under the Code of Conduct, says Cllr. Augustine Toe, acting chair of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), who has called on Weah to take the lead.

On the Prime Morning Drive show (Prime Communications Network or Prime FM) on Tuesday, Toe said it is important that President-elect Weah tells the Liberian people his financial worth when he takes office.

When Weah declares his assets, he will send a strong message to the Liberian people that he is committed to fighting corruption, Cllr. Toe stated.

Section 10.2 of the Code of Conduct states that every public official in the three branches of government must declare their assets. Unfortunately, most public officials ignore the law.

“We call on the president-elect and the incoming government to show their commitment to this fight by declaring their assets.’’ Toe said.

Weah indicated during the campaign and after he won the run-off election in December that he is committed to fighting corruption. Now, he must demonstrate that by declaring his assets and insisting that all government officials do the same.

Cllr. Augustine Toe, Acting Chair, LACC

“I want to encourage Weah to take the lead by declaring his asset and then make it mandatory for every official coming into government to declare their asset,’’ Toe said. “This will send a clear signal across the country that Weah has taken the lead.’’

President-elect Weah is willing to comply with the law, said Janga Kowo, deputy national secretary general of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and head of the Coalition’s transition secretariat.

“We will work within the frame of the law,” he said. “The President-elect will declare his assets as soon as he takes office because that’s what the law provides.”

When asked why Weah did not comply as senator, and why should people trust him now to declaring his asset, Mr. Kowo said, “As President-elect, it is important for us to allow him to first be inaugurated and start to take action. This is the President, who has overwhelming support from the people of Liberia and he is committed to working in the interest of Liberia.”

Cllr. Toe urged President-elect Weah to issue a directive to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and all those leaving government to declare their assets or else they won’t receive their January salaries. Holding public officials’ salaries on the condition that they declare their asset will force people to comply, he said.

Asset declaration, Cllr. Toe added, is a major tool in the fight against corruption because it tracks what people brought into government and what they acquired during their public service. The law requires that people declare assets when they are leaving government, a process that will be monitored by an Ombudsman.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf issued an Executive Order requiring that public officials declare their assets when they enter government and when they are leaving to the LACC.

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission was established in 2008 by an Act of the National Legislature with a broad mandate and functions to implement appropriate measures and undertake programs geared toward investigating, prosecuting and preventing acts of corruption, including educating the public about the ills of corruption and the benefits of its eradication.

In 2012, the Executive Order on Asset Declaration was imposed as a requirement for all officials of the Executive Branch of Government. In June 2014 the Legislature extended this requirement for all three Branches of Government, thereby demanding accountability from all those managing or benefiting from public resources through the Code of Conduct (COC).

The LACC is limited in enforcing the asset declaration law because it lacks prosecutorial powers, as is the case in other countries, he said.

The LACC, he said, has made some progress in the fight against corruption. Today, there is more awareness about corruption. In addition, the LACC has retrieved two million Liberian dollars and $11,500 among others.

“For the first time, a sitting speaker, J. Alex Tyler was indicted and managing director Matilda Parker is being taken to court among others,” he said.

It can be recalled that the LACC issued a report alleging that Parker and her comptroller, Christina Paeley, made a payment of over US$800,000 to a purported company, thereby landing them in court.

Following weeks of legal wrangling between those accused in a Global Witness Report, the Government of Liberia indicated the Speaker Alex Tyler and others for allegedly committing multiple criminal offenses, including bribery, economic sabotage, criminal conspiracy and facilitation.

The LACC will soon notify the Judiciary as well as the incoming and departing legislatures that they need to declare their assets sooner than later.

According to sources, former Representative for Montserrado County District #1, Josephine George Francis, is the only member of the 53rd Legislature to declare her assets.

“I’m worth more than one million United States dollars,’’ said Francis, a member of the Unity Party. She lost her seat to Lawrence Morris in the just ended elections.

Representative Melvin Cole of Bong County District 3, said he has vowed to respect the law and will comply.

“I am waiting for the communication to come,’’ he said. I am willing to obey the law.”

Authors

11 COMMENTS

  1. Officials of Government presently serving as along side the incumbent should see the divide that normally exist with appointed and confirmed, appointed but not necessary to senatorial confirmation, and elected positions by the power of the Liberian majority. For example, the President of the Republic of Liberia is an elected position. The lawmakers should be elected by their various counties. The Ministers of the Presidential cabinet are appointed and foreign affairs positions, some confirmed by the Senate as may be. The Budgetary position may not be confirmed but appointed amongst autonomous bureaus and chaired occupations, positions as Board of Directors and/or members. The silent majority will not allow this elected President to get involved in this incumbents activities unrelated to the festivities of the inauguration. If you are interested in any such appointed position related to calculations or statistics related to 2017-18 budgetary allotments that should have been encumbered during 2017, you will need to make such reference to the few hours left to the administration of this incumbent and her activities in platform. The President elect, the First lady of the Liberian nation must sit in peace first. The next administration after the inauguration ceremonies will see in place all corrective adjustments of the Liberian Government in separate functions of the 54th Legislature, the Judiciary and its own Executive after the smooth peaceful transition at the end of January, 2018. You may not know who will and will not be part of this process until after the inauguration. The Silent majority still in control of Presidential affairs suggest that trouble makers stay out of trouble to avoid stirring up unfounded problems to see what it means to have a democratic process in play. Remember all three branches of the Liberian Government will always be involved in the inauguration and its transformation. May this land be long ours under God’s command. Do not reply my box. Say all you can to the Liberian people.
    Gone to silence.

  2. It is a good thing for the president elect and all other incoming officials of government to declare their assets immediately upon taking public office. Also, all outgoing officials of the current regime need to declare their assets so that we can began to compare beginning asset declaration and ending asset declaration. This will enable investigators to investigate and began asking the relevant questions where applicable.
    We all need to be smart in the fight against corruption and this could be one good way to do so.

  3. Just because the law requires government officials to declare their asset doesn’t mean Weah will do so. As Chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission, Weah did not declare his asset nor did he gave an accounting of how the US$7 million, allocated to the commission, was spent. So what make you think that Weah will declare his assets?

  4. it is good if the governments of this world to live and judge the way god want them to help the people and to stop the people form killing and stealing and sining if the government do this this is god government

  5. Of course, that is legal and ;proper. The one who will be sending nominees to
    the Legislature to declare their assets must be the first to declare his assets.
    Let the President-Elect and his Vice go to the Legislature to declare their assets.
    Simple!

  6. Apostle Saide,
    I stand to be forgiven if I am deviating from the topic of asset declaration of Weah and others. But I hope this is not a terrible deviation.

    Apostle Saide, why do you write God’s name in lower case letters always? As a man of God, you should know that the G in God must and should be written in upper case letters.
    Please take a note. Spell God’s name with a capital G. Thank you Apostle.

    • yo learn something from me today it hard to see people like you that don,t know anything and that why i am here to teach you let me tell you when i was in lib i own jobs and people work for me and those people you will never believe it so don,t go there with me i am not the last man here ask my people in bomi county.leave it with jesus christ he the one you should look up to ok thanks

  7. thanks honorable man for your good massage across the country, let people know that this country is not elephant meat, asset declaration is very important to the citizen of Liberian so that they can know their leader asset. THANKS AGAIN HONORABLE MAN

  8. Chapter 11, Article 90 (c) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia says, “The Legislature shall, in pursuance of the above provision, prescribe a Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees; stipulating the acts which constitute conflict of interest or are against public policy, and the penalties for violation thereof”.

    Not suprisingly, the CoC didn’t specify “penalties for violation”, so “Daily Observer” encouraged LP leader Counselor Brumskine to test at our Supreme Court the two year ban on political participation for presidential appointees, which resulted in making the law a toothless bull dog. Now we have an official of LACC playing to the gallery by appealing to the conscience of President – elect George Weah to kick – off Asset Declaration.

    The question becomes, what about the “rule of law”, ” due process”, and so on which had such noisy traction during the electoral uproar?

    For if I remember correctly, the Office of Ombudsman ought to be “responsible for the enforcement, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the adherence to the Code of Conduct”. And the “Office shall receive and investigate all complaints, in respect to the adherenc thee to the Code of Conduct. In the case where there is a determination of guilt and violation of the code by private and Public Officials and Employees of Government, said violation shall be submitted by the Ombudsman to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) or other relevant Agencies of Government”.

    From the above, LACC doesn’t have sole control, or power vis-a-vis compliance or enforcement of the CoC, and any such authority is incidental. Corruption is a virulent cancer, asset declaration happens to be critical, but let’s stick to the law instead of appealing to the goodwill of officials. For instance, in 2016, Candidate Donald Trump refused to reveal his tax returns – practice of past US presidential nominees in a long time – because the law doesn’t require it.

    Let’s stick to the letter of the law as such matters may end up in court.

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