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.