Liberia: Cllr. Gongloe Wants Impeachable Offense For Presidential Tempering of Legal Cases

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MONROVIA – Presidential aspirant Counselor Tiawon Gongloe has vowed to ensure that the tempering or influencing of court cases or police investigations by a sitting Liberian leader becomes an impeachable offense when elected as President of Liberia in the pending 2023 general and presidential elections.

Cllr. Gongloe is the immediate past President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA).

He accepted a petition in Nimba County over the week end to contest the presidency on the ticket of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP).

Cllr. Gongloe observed that most often the rules of law in Liberia, including some court decisions, are influenced by the President or other higher-ups in government.

He made these comments when he appeared as guest on the OK Morning Rush Show on OK FM in Monrovia.

Cllr. Gongloe added that Liberia continues to retrogress due to the lack of respect for the rule of law in the post conflict nation.

He maintained that the application of the law has been “selective” for a prolong period of time.

He said Article 11 (c) of the 1986 constitution has been grossly violated, making it difficult for citizens of low class to have access to justice as compare to Representatives, Senators or other high-class citizens or public officials.

The constitution is the organic law of the land.

Article 11 ( c) of the constitution states that: “All persons are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to the equal protection of the law”.

Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that he will submit a bill to the National Legislature to make sure that even a sitting President will loss his or her job when it has been established with facts that he or she tempers with or influence a court decision or police investigation.

“In two or three months (of my leadership) we will submit a bill to the legislature that will make these matters a matter of law to the extent that if even the President of Liberia influences the court’s decisions by making telephone calls or having meetings and the content of the meetings is to influence the judgment of the court or police action-that should be an impeachable offense”.

Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that in the first 100 days of his administration, an executive order will also be issued to ensure that any official of government or higher authority, who violates, undermines, influence, or bribes police action will be dismissed immediately and turned over for investigation based on facts.

 “I have also said that the police will be vigorously monitored. I will promote and protect the usage of cameras to monitor police and law enforcement so that there will be transparency and credibility of the police because without the police, we will have a lawless country. We need the police”.

He emphasized that any official of a Gongloe led-government who obstructs the enforcement of judgment or court orders, undermines the judicial in any manner, or try to bribe or influence judicial officials to promote injustices to party litigants will also be dismissed and prosecuted.

He disclosed that the National Security Agency (NSA) will be used to collect intelligence to effectuate this action.

 “I know that the lack of respect for the rule of law undermines democracy in the first place; it undermines development and breach peace and security of any country”.

He stated that Liberia should see respect for the rule of law as the best way to move forward as a country.

Corruption

Speaking further, Cllr. Gongloe blamed the growing wave of acts of corruption in the public sector to the lack of political will from those steering the affairs of the country.

He said there will be no exception for any public official caught in acts of corruption under his leadership.

Cllr. Gongloe stated that Liberia cannot continue to rely on situations to promote the culture of impunity in the post-conflict nation.

“I will leave no stone unturned and there will be no exceptions. It’s a lack of political will (to fight corruption in this country). One lawmaker in the CDC believes in me so much. He said to me Cllr. Gongloe ‘redemption or positive change will not come from the two branches of government. He said you see the Temple of Justice and Capitol Building by each other; they are so weak and if you people want to change this country, it must come from the Executive Mansion because the Executive Mansion influences these two houses”.

Promises

Cllr. Gongloe observed that for too long Liberian politicians have made barrage of promises to the electorates.

He noted that these promises are most often made in the wake of the lack of revenue to ensure that these promises come to fruition.

“Every aspirant or politician normally come and tell the people I will build you roads, clinics, hospitals, I will protect Liberia; I will seek your welfare. But they speak based upon what government raises as revenue and the challenge has been in Liberia is to have the revenue to implement these projects. For more than 100 years Liberia’s revenue or treasury has been like a basket and as far as I know, basket cannot hold water”.

Cllr. Gongloe pointed out that with a high degree of credibility; he intends to “seal” the country’s treasury in the form of an “iron tub” to safeguard the country’s wealth and resources for the benefit of the citizenry.

Credibility

Cllr. Gongloe previously served as Solicitor General, and Minister of Labour under the Unity Party led government of ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

It can be recalled that in 2010, Madam Sirleaf dismissed her entire cabinet on grounds that she was carrying on a reshuffle and it was prudent to review the workings of each member of her cabinet.

Following the revision, Madam Sirleaf commenced the reappointment and transfer of her government officials from one position to another.

But Cllr. Gongloe is the only public official on record for openly rejecting a position after he was nominated by Madam Sirleaf to serve as Minister at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

Cllr. Gongloe rejected the nomination on grounds that he has no knowledge or understanding about the new portfolio.

He pointed out that the former Liberian leader at the time heaped praises on him for keeping a clean record of her government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and staying clear off corruption.

He disclosed that when asked by Madam Sirleaf to what has been noticed of her, he mustered the courage to have her inform that she talked “a little bit too much” when she used a press conference to announce a reshuffle of her government.

Cllr. Gongloe added that the notice given by the President at the time was not the one needed to be heard by members of her Cabinet.

“I serve in government and my name has never appeared in any audit report. I used to pray every morning when going to work-‘Lord give me the strength and courage not to cross the line that I shout at other people for”.

He furthered that he reminded Madam Sirleaf that announcing a reshuffle of her cabinet at news conferences, will encourage corrupt ministers to communicate with her sister to buy time to steal more of public funds, while others planning to do businesses with other government ministries and agencies will remain skeptical to do so.

Cllr. Gongloe indicated that he informed Madam Sirleaf in a bold-faced manner that people didn’t believe in her anti-corruption campaign, especially her zero tolerance for corruption.

He maintained that he made specific reference to some family members of the ex-Liberian leader who were “very corrupt”, while she only targeted Assistant Ministers, including Theirry Genesis, for allegedly selling electricity to locals without reporting and putting funds received into government coffers.

Cllr. Gongloe observed that madam Sirleaf did not keep secrets as a President, especially when hiring and firing her officials.

He, however, pointed out that his decision to contest the highest seat in the country comes in the wake of numerous consultations held with citizens, particularly the elders in Bong and Nimba counties respectively. His both parents hailed from there.

He said citizens of other counties, including South-eastern, northern, and western Liberia have also pledged their support to his ambition.

He expressed high level of trust and confidence over the multiple assurances given him by the elders across the country.

Like-minded

“The only coalition that has proven to be successful in this country is the one the Standard Bearer says come join me and the Standard Bearer position is not negotiable. Liberian political parties, especially on the opposition side-have no history of coming together to win”.

He recalled that both the Unity Party (UP) and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) requested for a merger with other political parties, but clearly specified that the positions of standard bearers were not negotiable.

He promised to remain open to work with politicians from other like-minded political parties that are willing to open all positions, including that of the standard bearer for a grab, instead of securing the post for a particular person.

“In order for the dreams I am looking at to be concretize, we will talk to people who share our dreams because, you can’t mix gasoline and water together”.

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