Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Calls on Presidential Appointees to Declare Assets, Recommends Punitive Measures
Monrovia– Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governor Nathaniel Patray, Gender Minister Williametta Saydee Tarr, National Port Authority (NPA) Bill Tweahway are among 460 public officials who risk one- month suspension without pay for failure to declare their assets.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
92 public officials declared their assests, which constitutes 20% of 460 public officials who have not declared their assets.
The LACC Thursday in its report revealed the result of the 2018 asset declaration cycle which should have ended on the last Friday of July 2018 (27th) but was extended to the end of October 2018 to allow all designated public officials comply with this law.
The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) recommended to President George Weah that all officials of the executive branch who are required to file asset declarations but have failed to do so should be reprimanded and suspended for one month without pay.
LACC Chair Cllr. James Verdier said the suspension should remain until an evidence is shown that they have complied with the law.
“That those who fail to comply in two weeks (14 days) face dismissal from office; that those who complied with the asset declaration provisions be commended,” he said.
The code of conduct requires in part 10.1 states “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”
The asset declaration regulations require that all officials of government who are re-declaring their assets should do so before or by the last Friday in July of each year. the regulations include a list/category of public officials who are required to file income and assets declaration in keeping with the law.
Cllr. Verdier said the recommendation is in part 15.1 “Sanctions for Infringement of the National Code of Conduct (NCOC) which provides: “Sanctions for any breach of this code of conduct shall be those prescribed by the standing orders of the civil service or any other laws governing the public service. Notwithstanding, depending on the gravity of the offense or misconduct, one or more of the following penalties may apply:
A. dismissal, b) removal from office in public interest, c) reprimand, d) fine or making good loss or damage of public property/assets; e) demotion (reduction in rank); f) seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired from abuse of office; and g) interdiction/suspension from duty with half pay.
According to him, part 15.1 a, b, c, & g of the NCOC is applicable in this case.
Cllr. Verdier says the verification exercises of asset declared will commence shortly a multi-institutions-team which included Liberia Revenue Authority, Financial intelligence unit, General Auditing Commission, Internal Audit Agency, and LACC has been organized to include various experts to undertake the task.
Out of four hundred, 333 officials of the Judiciary filed while no member of the Legislature declared their assets.
Cllr. Verdier states: ”The security of tenure for certain targeted governance institutions are not only dictated by domestic legislations, they are also required by international conventions that Liberia has signed and acceded to.
“We therefore use this occasion to call on his excellency, the president of Liberia and the legislature to ensure that laws granting security of tenure to integrity institutions remain undisturbed in so far as it grants security of tenure to all members of the commissions and not only the heads and deputy heads.
The LACC has Ali’s reviewed with interest, the pace at which several bills presented to the legislature are being expeditiously passed into law by both houses since the sitting of the 54th legislature.