Liberia: ‘Make Corruption A Standalone Crime’ – Suggests Former LACC Boss
Monrovia – Former chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Cllr. James Verdier says the government must consider renewed measures in order to tackle corruption.
Report by Asata Dukuly / [email protected]
“We forward advised to the president to propose a bill to the Legislature to revise our criminal statute to make corruption a standalone crime and to repeal and outlaw the anti-statute of limitations to exempt acts of corruptions and economic crimes,” Cllr. Verdier said.
He added that the government should review its funding to integrity institutions particularly the LACC in the national budget.
He also called on President Weah to act on the draft proposed Bill sent to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, granting direct prosecutorial powers to the LACC, establishment of a temporary specialized circuit court dedicated to corruption and economic crimes.
He was speaking Friday, March 1 during a ceremony to turnover his authority as Chairman of the anti-graft body.
He turned over authority to the commission’s caretaker Atty. Charles Gibson, who is preferred by President George Weah to head the commission.
The former LACC boss said while steering the affairs of the commission, 164 corruption cases were recieved, out of which 59 were assessed, investigated and completed for prosecution.
He stated that 47 cases were submitted to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution and 12 cases closed due to the lack of evidence.
He called on Liberians to join integrity institutions in demanding relevance and support, noting that integrity institutions are “sine qua non” (second to none) for good and open governance.
At the same time, he also called on the President to reconsider his proposed bill, which calls for the removal of tenure from integrity institutions. He also urged the Senate to maintain the tenure on integrity institutions.
Also speaking. Cllr Charles J. L Gibson, Officer in charge of the LACC, appreciated President Weah for giving him the opportunity to serve the institution.
He acknowledged that working for an institution like the LACC is not meant to “make friends” but rather “as a result of your job, you will lose friends”.
He noted that the challenges will not deter him from doing the job that is required of him as the head of the entity. “LACC has been, it is and will always be a beacon of integrity, transparency and accountability in this country and I intend whatever time that I will spend here be it one day, one month or a year, I will make it second to non-integrity institutions in Liberia,” he concluded.