Weah’s ‘Assets Declaration’ Spells Moment of Truth

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President George M. Weah

The General Auditing Commission (GAC) said on Wednesday, July 25, at 6:05 p.m., it received the declaration of personal interests, income, assets and liabilities from President George M. Weah, a GAC release said.

Although THE GAC did not provide insight as to what the President declared, the release said the submission of the personal interests, income, assets and liabilities from President Weah is in fulfillment of Section 10.2 of the Code of Conduct, which calls on public officials of the Executive Branch of Government to declare their personal interests, income, assets and liabilities to the General Auditing Commission. And this has to be made public simply because such  individuals will be acting in the public interest.

In line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the GAC and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), signed on October 6, 2016, the GAC will forward to the LACC the President’s Declaration, and all other declarations submitted to the GAC.

The GAC calls on all cabinet ministers, public officials and employees of government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types to declare their income, assets and liabilities.

The declaration of personal interests, income, assets and liabilities by public officials is intended to enhance accountability and transparency, curtail corruption and acquisition of illicit wealth and to increase public confidence and trust in our governance system.

The release, signed by George K. Barpeen, Jr., GAC’s Chief Communications Officer, did not give details about President Weah’s assets or state if or when when the assets declaration would be made public.

The GAC confirmation comes against the backdrop of immense pressure which the Student Unification Party (SUP) a University of Liberia campus-based student political party has mounted on the President by staging a series of demonstration demanding President Weah to declare his assets.

The student protests was backed by two Legislators, representing Margibi District#1 and Montserrado District#10, who enjoined to the students’ action when they boycotted the official program marking the country’s 171st Independence anniversary unless.

Both legislators said they were taking the action to ensure that the President declare his assets.

Representative Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County District#10, claims to have written the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, informing him about his decision to stay away from official functions presided over by President Weah, “because the President has failed to declare his assets as provided for by law, but was instead moving on with multiple private projects, including the demolition and reconstruction of his property on 9th Street in just five months of his Presidency.

“Until the President can stop building his houses and establishing other private businesses, I will not attend any event he is a part of. In fact, if only I get the support, I will stand firm to ensure that he is impeached. He has to be impeached unless he declares his assets,” Kolubah said.

Also, Margibi District #1 Representative Tibelrosa Tarponweh, said “due to the enormous challenges facing the nation, the pomp and pageantry usually attending such ceremonies are worthless, and are of no real value to the Liberian people.”

“I have nothing against President Weah or anyone else, but I think it will not be right for me to go out for an elaborate event when my people are suffering as they are. Those who have been driven out from their homes by the flood the other time are yet to receive care from government,” he said.

According to the CDC Lawmaker, “inasmuch that government is seriously challenged with the lack of money to implement most of its programs, it is still undeniable that there is so much wasteful spending in government”, he concluded.

But observers here say they are troubled by what virtually amounts to an eleventh hour decision by President Weah to declare his assets. A prominent rights activist (name withheld) commenting on the President’s latest move said it is unfortunate that President Weah would declare his assets at so late a time when he should have done so even before his official assumption of office.

She said the whole world is waiting and watching to see if President Weah’s asset declaration would tell a different story from that given to Court officials in the United States in a child support case involving Ms. Meapeh Gono and her daughter who she claims was fathered by President George Weah. Weah is said at the time to have told Court officials that he, as Senator was earning a mere 1,000 US dollars monthly as salary payment and therefore could not afford to honor child support demands from the mother of the child.

It can be recalled that Weah’s denial about his fatherhood of Ms. Gono’s daughter prompted the Court to order DNA testing in order to establish the true paternity of the child and according to reports the DNA results indisputably confirmed Weah as the father of the child. It now remains to be seen what the legal implications will be, if any, for President Weah in the wake of his asset declaration which may tend to impeach sworn statements made in a US Court in a paternity and child support lawsuit.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. It is better late than never. Has any president of Liberia ever declared their asset? If no, then this latest event is unprecedented and provides a new direction. Is there an argument that the asset declaration be made public? I’m asking because the writer of this article purported that, ”The G A C did not provide insight as to what the president declared.” What I know is done in other West African countries for instance in Ghana is that, after declaration of asset is made to the authorized institution, it is held in trust by the institution until the official completes the term of service, where he/she will be expected to do another asset declaration. I am becoming extremely worried about how some media men present their stories in manners which appear like they are being used as P R officers for some members of the Liberian society and, by doing so they tend to move away from their subject matter. For instance, in the case of the president’s declaration of his assets, how does it relate to the issue of an alleged court proceedings against the president, about his denial of fatherhood and D N A test results in the United States Of America? This attempt by the writer to mix apples with oranges has caused him to finish his article poorly. Let me recapture his last sentence and, you will be amazed that it makes absolutely no sense; he says, ” It now remains to be seen what the legal implications will be, if any, for president Weah in the wake of his asset declaration which may tend to ‘ impeach sworn ‘ statements made in a US Court in a paternity and child support lawsuit. ” #?? Hard work produces rewards while shoddy work exposes incompetence. Where are the editors or are you also in the same game of running him down. Posterity will judge, guys! Wake up!

    • Mr. Wah,
      President. Weah’s affidavit of financial support is a sworn paperwork therefore if he did that under prejury then that becomes a problem provided the applicant of the support order decides to get a modification of support.
      I need no lectures on the above stated matter because I’m privy to the facts.secondly, Our dear President holds Resident/citizenship based on which information you will like to believe therefore the laws do apply to him on this end of the Atlantic.
      In regards to his declaration, it’s better late than never as you stated but doing so early would have set the precedent for his administration.
      Just my one cent .

  2. This declaration of assets should be published/made public ASAP without any unnecessary bureaucratic delay! The media , the mouthpiece of the citizens should follow up as well!

  3. That’s not enough. The honorable man should be taking some of his fat salary to help some of his constituents (who were displaced by the floods) to get food and other basic necessities.

    • Out of his own pocket? I think not. It is the government’s responsibility to help people in times of flooding, fire and famine… not the president’s personal financial responsibility.

  4. PART X: DECLARATION AND REGISTRATION OF PERSONAL INTERESTS, ASSETS AND
    PERFORMANCE/FINANCIAL BONDS
    10.1
    Declaration of Assets and Performance Bonds
    Every Public Official and Employee of Government involved in making decisions affecting
    contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types shall sign
    performance or financial bonds and shall in addition declare his or her income, assets and
    liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter:
    a. at the end of every
    three years;
    b. on promotion or progression from one level to another;
    c. upon transfer to another public office; and
    d. upon retirement or resignation.
    10.2
    Repository and contents of Declaration
    The declaration of personal interest, income, as
    sets, liabilities and the performance bond as may
    be required, shall be lodged with:
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    • In the Legislative Branch, with the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House of
    Representatives;
    • In the Executive Branch, with the General Auditing
    Commission; and
    • In the Judicial Branch with the Clerk of Supreme Court; and in each event such receipt shall be
    notified to the Liberia Anti

    Corruption Commission (LACC).
    All such declarations shall be accessible to both the public employer and the g
    eneral public upon
    a court order; as well as to the Liberia Anti

    Corruption Commission (LACC) and the General
    Auditing Commission (GAC) for investigative purposes. The declaration shall be promptly
    updated by Public Officials and Employees of Government up
    on subsequent changes in his or
    her interest and/or assets. Each declaration along with the updates thereto shall include
    disclosure of income, assets, liabilities, net worth, financial and family interests held by the
    official.
    10.3
    Sanctions for False
    Declaration
    Every Public Official and Employee of Government shall declare and affirm that his or her
    declaration is accurate to the best of his or her knowledge. Any statement in such declaration
    found to be false upon verification shall lead to
    summary dismissal and other measures provided
    by law.

  5. Liberia has a trust deficit. The asset declaration needs to be made public. Submitting it to corrupt entities is not the way to go for a people’s president.

  6. There is an old saying. “No matter how fast you run, you can never run from your shadow.”

    President Weah is between the rock and hard place when it comes to declaring his assets. President Weah did the right thing as president of Liberia (be it through public pressure or not) to declare his assets.

    However, President Weah is very cognizant of the fact. Before he became president of Liberia, under oath in U.S. Court in the case involving Ms. Meapeh Gono he allegedly declared on his financial statement his total income and expenses to meet his child support legal obligations.

    Therefore, whatever financial information President Weah secretly declared on his assets forms to fulfill the legal code of conduct requirements cannot contradict his previous U.S.financial statement: income and expenses he declared under oath in the U.S. Court of law to meet his child support obligations.

    If President Weah’s assets declaration is revealed to the Liberian public and if some financial discrepancies are found, President Weah could be held liable for perjury in the U.S. COURT that handled his child support case.

    Therefore, it seems the president legal team is protecting the president from future embarrassment or future legal humiliation: by keeping his assets declaration a secret in Liberia. His financial secrets (assets declaration secrets) could potentially help prevent reopening of the president’s child support case in the U.S. just in case if any income and expense discrepancy is found in President Weah’s Liberia and his U.S financial declaration statements he made in U.S.Court.

    President Weah legal team could view keeping his assets declaration secret as protecting the President’s Privacy for following reasons:

    1. Attorney-client privilege
    2. Unwarranted invasion of the president’s personal privacy.
    3. Public Disclosure which could potentially endanger the safety of the president or his close associates
    4. Public Disclosure could reveal the identity of his confidants (financiers).

    No matter President Weah’s good intentions for his country, his past mama-drama is like his own shadow that he can never run away from.

    Let the development of Liberia speak for you!!!!!

  7. Folks, The Financial Disclosure Affidavit (FDA) alleged to have been filed by Mr. Weah in an alleged Child Support case has no bearing on his required disclosure form. Note, the FDA looked at his income from prior year, pay stub and certain other income and assets at the time of the FDA submission. I don’t know when that was filed. Note also, that every asset and income he may have earned in the U.S are discoverable, so he had to have provided the correct information. The U.S. court simply does not have jurisdiction over what he owns in Liberia since he’s not a U.S citizen. There are just too many guessing game on why the delay or refusal to make it public. The question I have is this: does the law require the disclosure to be made public? For example, in the U.S., the form is actually called Public Financial Disclosure Form, which is intended to identify any conflict of interest arrangement the President may have. It’s not a witch hunt form. I can’t tell by this story whether this is required to be disclosed publicly. Even if it makes sense to have it made public, if the law does not require it, then it should not be made public. If people have a beef with it, request a change in the statute.

  8. The Assets declaration issue relative to the Liberian President should be made clear, genuine and public. There should be no delay because it is more than being overdue. I hope his advisers are guiding him to make sure that those houses of his that he demolished cannot be included as assets because they are no longer existing, as such no more values, no more houses but empty lands.
    Just a hint, I mean no harm.

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