Liberia: President Weah Submits Bill Expanding LACC’s Scope of Operation to Combat Corruption
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – President George Weah has submitted a bill before the Legislature seeking the establishment of an independent anti-corruption commission with defined duties and responsibilities to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption.
The Liberia Anti-Corruption was established through an act of Legislature on August 21, 2008 and to, among other things, lead the implementation of the Anti-Corruption strategy of Liberia by preventing and investigating corrupt conduct in the public sector.
However, officials have complained that the law did not clearly outline the functions of the LACC in investigating acts of corruption and prosecuting alleged corrupt officials.
Many believed it is against this backdrop that President Weah is requesting the enactment of an act to clearly spell out the functions of the anti-graft institution.
What’s in the proposed Law?
The proposed act is entitled “An Act Restating An Act to Establish the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.” According to the President, it is in line with the government’s anti-corruption policy and contains comprehensive strategy that outlines the preventative, educational and enforcement measures to be taken to combat corruption in Liberia.
In a communication to the House of Representatives, the President said the proposed bill specifically calls for the establishment of an independent anti-corruption commission with defined duties and responsibilities to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption.
Meanwhile, President Weah also submitted additional proposed bills, including an act calling for the amendment of Part X, section 10 of the Code of Conduct of 2014, to grant full authority to Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to compile, verify, maintain and update a comprehensive asset declaration registry for all Government employees. It also includes specific sanctions for non-compliance, according to the President.
The President is also seeking the enactment of a law protecting whistleblower. The proposed act, entitled, “The Whistle Blower Act of 2021”, when enacted, will protect whistleblowers or persons employed in both public and private institutions who disclose information about actions against the public interest or good in any public or private institution, unless otherwise provided by law, to allow such person to seek legal redress.
The President said the protection of whistleblower is essential for the integrity of prosecution and the person making a disclosure.
The President also presented another bill seeking to establish a witness protection unit which shall administer the witness protection program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in three stages: the investigation and prehearing; hearing and post-trail. The bill is entitled, “The Witness Protection Act of 2021”.
Meanwhile, the President’s communication was received by plenary and turned over to the Joint Committee on Judiciary and Good Governance to report within one week.