Liberia: Ministry of Justice, Partners Re-establish Civilian Complaints Board for Police and Immigration Officers
Monrovia – The boards of the policy management and the civilian complaints review of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia immigration service (LIS) have been re-established to ensure professionalism within the two security institutions.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]
Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean said the board will provide greater accountability and transparency within the two institutions.
He said boards will also help professionalize the institutions and improve relations between the police and the communities.
According to the Attorney General, the board will help to reduce the tension and violent encounter that sometimes erupt between the police and the communities over minor incidents if the boards are functional and operational.
“Additionally, it will help build confidence and bridge the gaps that now exist between the police and the communities in which they serve,” he said Friday, January 11 when the boards were reconsituted.
The boards were constituted in 2017 but were not made functional due to circumstances surrounding the 2017 elections.
The Justice Minister noted that in order to give effect to the LNP and LIS Acts, and the Administrative Regulations accompanying them, it is “extremely important” that the boards are established and made fully functional.
There were also amendments done to the law creating LNP and LIS – formerly called the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN). The laws were amended in 2016.
The amendments, according to Cllr. Dean, is aimed at ensuring a professional Police and Immigration Services, through the adherence to the principles of meritocracy, creating non-political and career-oriented institutions with adequate gender representations.
“The establishment of hierarchical ranking, equitable recruitment and promotional criteria, better cooperation between these institutions and the communities and the people they serve,” he said.
He said it will also safeguard effective oversight of these institutions to improve their management, provide greater transparency, accountability, respect for the rule of law and human rights, and ensuring geographical and ethnic balances.
Minister Dean cited sections 22.84 and 22.122 of the LNP and LIS Acts, respectively, which call for the establishment of the Policy Management Boards. The board provide regulations and administrative instructions for proper, effective and efficient training, management and operation of these institutions.
The section also proposes or recommend appointments and promotions to ranks in the category of Commissioned Officers to Inspector General of Police and Commissioner-General of Immigration for endorsement and onward submission to the Minister of Justice for approval, and subsequent appointment and commissioning by the President etc.
In addition, sections 22.85 and 22.123 of the LNP and LIS Acts call for the establishment of the Civilian Complaints and Review Boards, which promulgate rules of procedure for the manner in which complaints are received and processed, and feedbacks relayed to the complainants; and
Saah N’tow, Program Lead of Carter Center, underscored the need for transparency and accountability in the board.
According to him, security officers should also be commended when they exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties and at the same time should be reprimanded when they are unprofessional.
At the same time, Sadatu Reeves, LNP Deputy Inspector General; Walter Wray, Commissioner for operation at LNP and Isatu Bah-Kenneth have been inducted as officers of the board. The board is headed by Cllr. Moses Paegar.