President-elect Weah, Your Compliance with LACC Means a Lot

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The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has challenged President-elect George Weah to take the lead in declaring his assets as he takes over the country next Monday.

Our Reporter Alvin Worzi, in the Jan. 17th edition of this newspaper, quoted Acting Chairman Augustus Toe of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) emphasizing that it is important that the President-elect tells the Liberian people his financial worth upon taking office.

Chairman Toe added that President-elect Weah’s declaration will encourage other officials to follow suit, and the ordinary people will believe that he truly stands for fighting corruption.

Weah’s compliance with the LACC’s mandate will also import other values that will get him to be respected more by the Liberian people.

For example, by complying, Mr. Weah will be building trust in ordinary Liberians who hold him in the highest esteem and demonstrated it by their overwhelming voting on December 26, 2017.

Voters in the 2017 election rejected Joseph N. Boakai of the Unity Party not because he was physically or morally incompetent to serve as President of Liberia, but because they were no more interested in a Unity Party (UP) leadership, due to the rampant corruption reflected in the UP government’s performance under the stewardship of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Liberians are, therefore, yearning to see who takes power to fight corruption effectively and efficiently in all forms to set the moral and legal precedents that will guide everyone.

Additionally, President-elect Weah’s adherence to the mandate will dispel opposition opinion that the promise to fight corruption was just a mere campaign statement.

Even though he worked as Senator in the UP-led Government, Senator Weah and his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), during the campaign period, heavily criticized the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration for corruption, saying they planned to fight it. It will therefore be a confidence building step for the President-elect to take the first step in complying with the mandate of that integrity institution.

The great teacher and founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, told His disciples that spreading the good news must begin in Jerusalem and go onward to Samaria, Judea and throughout the world. To ensure that the CDC-led government will be committed to its promise to fight corruption, declaration of assets by the President and fellow partisans in power, is the preliminary step.

Furthermore, Weah’s public declaration of assets will prove him right that he is capable of doing what his predecessor could not do.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her quest to fight corruption, pledged that she would forward those involved to the Justice Ministry for prosecution. By extension, the LACC was also mandated to request all officials of government, including the President, to declare their assets upon taking office.

Sadly, the President could not adhere to her own law, policy, and principle laid down in 2006, but made a cosmetic declaration in June 2017 at the time her tenure was about to expire. As she failed to comply with her own mandate, so did her ministers, deputy ministers, leaders of parastatals, directors and members of the legislature.

Consequently, the work of the LACC turned so lukewarm that it could not establish any case in the overwhelming corruption vampire the country found itself in for 12 years after war.

Realizing the scars of corruption on the country, Liberians have for the past days followed you, Mr. President-elect, declaring that there will be no room for corrupt officials in your government. You also assured Liberians that you came from the lowest level of society to ascend to the top, and therefore will do whatever you can to meet the needs and aspirations of the Liberian people at all levels.

While it may be true that people are highly expecting from you employment and other opportunities, remember that corruption is the main cancer in the society that every patriotic Liberian will want to see a leader eradicate.

Though it may appear intimidating that the LACC is calling on you to declare your assets when you have not yet even taken the oath of office, it is a worthwhile decision to comply with this legally structured mandate to set a legacy that history will remember you by.

The Daily Observer, therefore, calls on you not to see the demand for declaration of assets as an intimidation or witch-hunt; rather as an initiative to help you take seriously the promise you have made and the challenges ahead of you.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

  2. The incoming George Weah – Jewel Taylor administration shouldn’t be greeted with disingenuous editorializing for partisan purposes. It needs the goodwill of all Liberians so that together we can reach for the dreams of our forefathers and founding fathers: Faith in God, peace, and prosperity for all. For heaven’s sake, this isn’t a military takeover; the duo is coming in through the ballot box, not by the barrel of guns – no justification or excuse for animus.

    We shouldn’t forget how prejudice and hate drove some print and broadcast Rwandan journalists to stir up sectarian genocide in that country. Let our well-meaning members of the Fourth Estate be fair by curbing temptations to obstruct the new governance on the get-go.

    We’re saying Amen to that this Sunday, January 21, in the Year of our Lord, 2018. Sometimes, it is better to speak in tongues like the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece.

  3. P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. January 21, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Declaration of assets is a legal requirement for all officials of Government.
    The President-Elect should not start out with bad start. Declaration of his
    assets will add a flying color to the seating of his Government.

    To Hon. Sylvester G. Moses, Liberians will be happy if the President-Elect
    and the Vice President declare their assets. If they do, It will tells Liberians
    that their Government is on a good starting. I mean, people must think of
    making the difference- difference that eluded the country all along.

  4. P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. January 21, 2018 at 1:36 am

    P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. January 21, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Declaration of assets is a legal requirement for all officials of Government.
    The President-Elect should not start out with bad start. Declaration of his
    assets will add a flying color to the seating of his Government.

    To Hon. Sylvester G. Moses, Liberians will be happy if the President-Elect
    and the Vice President declare their assets. If they do, It will tells Liberians
    that their Government is on a good starting. I mean, people must think of
    making the difference- difference that eluded the country all along.

    President-Elect George Weah’s predecessor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf did not
    declare her assets; perhaps, because she was not qualified to become
    President of the country in keeping with the TRC’s Findings. She used trick
    to climb to the Executive Mansion. So she felt that she was not amenable
    to the Liberian people. But, we want to start new thing now! Let us look
    at it that way. Let us encourage to do the highly desired difference.

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