Of LACC and Cry Baby Symptom – A Lost Opportunity


WHEN CLLR. JAMES VERDIER was appointed by Madam President in 2013 to head the LACC, hopes were then risen early as the morning dew as finally it seemed the knight in shining armor had arrived to salvage Liberia from a losing battle of graft.

AS HE HAD COME FROM a background of activism and the championing of rights, so high were the expectations from the public, believing he would have performed exceedingly well like his brother, Cllr. Jerome Verdier, chairman of the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But that was just a wishful thinking.

MANY CASES THEN ON THE dockets had not yet reached its period of statute of limitation, as prescribed under the law. That was when the vigor was expected to be brought in by Cllr. Verdier to tackle it head on.

OH HOW HE WOULD HAVE been hailed by all and sundry as the modern reincarnate of Robin Hood who had come on the scene to take back what was stolen from the people by those who were entrusted steer the affairs of the country. The opportunity was missed.

INSTEAD, HE, TOO, SOON became entrapped by the perks of his office and began to indulge himself in the very thing he was tasked for. When a memo floated around the office for every staff to mandatorily contribute to his golden jubilee birth anniversary, he remained mum and impervious on the issue, even when employees as low as janitors were complaining and concerns were raised by radio talk show hosts, Cllr. Verdier remained aloof.

THEREAFTER, HE AND HIS executive assistant was involved in an imbroglio of the dispensing of US$12k to “enhance” his “personal security” and blah, blah, blah. We could go on and on about how many opportunities to stand out in the crowd were missed.

AN NOW, IN AN APPARENT sign of defeat and wanting to draw sympathy to his and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC’s) failed fight to combat corruption, Cllr. James Verdier, chairman of the commission, has now cast the blame on the Judiciary for his apparent failure to prosecute those whose hands were caught in the cookie jar.

“THERE IS NO FLAW ON OUR PART, it is the court which must have greater responsibility. There is always a judge who is not progressive in his act, these things are happening because all sectors of our country is tainted and the court is no exception.”

GOING FURTHER, CLLR. VERDIER LAMENTED: “We are having problem with the court—the form in which they interpret the law based on their own interest and those kinds of thing, so the court carries the greater responsibility in the fight against corruption.”

REALLY? WHERE WAS THE LACC when some the cases had not reached statute of limitation? For eg, the alleged NOCAL bribery case involving Clemenceau Urey and others still had some life when James took over and all it needed was resuscitation but instead the LACC waited for it to pass the statute of limitation before they went to court and of course they were kicked out, squealing like a dog whose tail had just been cut by the carver’s knife.

IN THE RECENT CASE AT BAR involving T. Nelson Williams and others, when the Ministry of Justice put a posture of non interest as the individuals who were being prosecuted had connections in high places which by extension had the case(s) being flung out, why did the LACC remain reticent on this matter?—only commenting when it had become spilled milk.

AND NOW WHEN IT HAS TAKEN an appeal to the Supreme Court against the lower court’s decision to fling the case out for lack of “sufficient evidence,” the chairman has launched an outburst of tirade, reminiscent of what former Attorney general, T. Abayomi Cassell, did at a conference in Nigeria sometimes during the sixties.

AS LUDICROUS AS IT SOUNDS, we begged to ask: is Cllr. Verdier throwing in the towel as a sign of surrender that he has lost the fight for which he was pumped with a high dosage of adrenaline from the beginning?