RECENTLY, THE LIBERIA Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) released its first Assets Declaration Verification report verifying the assets disclosures of 63 officials from seven government institutions.
AT A NEWS conference recently, LACC boss, Frances Johnson-Allison said the report covers the Ministries of Finance, Public Works, Health & Social Welfare, Internal Affairs, National Port Authority (NPA), Liberia Maritime Authority, and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.
THE REPORT BOOKED Madam Oretha Zeon, Operation Manager of the Port of Buchanan for intentional and material misrepresentation and unexplained wealth accumulation. The Commission also booked NPA boss, Matilda Parker for intentional misrepresentation, intentional and material misrepresentation and unexplained wealth accumulation, Charles Gono of the Liberia Maritime Authority for unexplained wealth accumulation and Blayon Brown Sarlee, Comptroller at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
CLLR. ALLISON THEN identified officials who deliberately refused to cooperate with the Commission’s team as Deputy Financial Minister, Sabastian Muah, Christian G. Herbert Deputy Minister of Public Works, Etweda Cooper Superintendent of Grand Bassa County, among others.
WHILE THE LACC boss identified officials whose AD were verified and certified as truthfully declared as Z. Adonie Greaves, Asst. Supt. For Development, Binyan Kessely, Commissioner Maritime Authority, Desire S. Satia Financial Director, Maritime Authority; Alexander Mitchell, Procurement Manager, LiMA; Christiana K. Pawlay, Comptroller NPA, among others.
CLLR. ALLISON THEN described the Assets Declaration exercise as one of the most important tools in the fight against corruption. Madam Allison said the LACC takes this aspect of its mandate very seriously and will continue to superintend the process of collection, storage, administration and verification.
SHE SAID THE verification process is necessary followed by sanctions for persons who choose to misinform the LACC and lied under oath and for those caught with unexplained wealth.
IN ALL FAIRNESS, we support the due process meaning that those booked by the LACC for intentional and material misrepresentation and unexplained wealth accumulation be brought to justice to tell the Liberian people how they accumulated their wealth considering the period of times some of them have stayed in government.
THIS IS THE time that those who work in government and in the private sector be accountable to their employers (the public) because what we have observed over the years is that individuals who are fortunate to get in government enrich themselves in a short period of time at the expense of ordinary Liberians.
THAT IS WHY we support the LACC boss’ statement that assets declaration is one of the most important tools in the fight against corruption. Let it be made clear here that it is incumbent upon those who are to declare their assets to do so as misrepresentation and concealment and perjury are all counter-productive to this good exercise.
CONSIDERING THE PERCEPTION of Liberians against public officials, we think it is in the interest of those who fall in such category to do so because people will think that some of them go into government to “steal’ and that everything they required were ill-gotten through dishonest and dubious means.
WE ALSO CALL on those who are refusing to cooperate with the LACC to be responsible officials by declaring their assets to the LACC because the public needs to know about how they are accumulating their wealth. Sincerely, some of these individuals are acquiring their properties through hard work and that is why they must be flexible enough to ensure that the public be convinced about their activities.
ON THE OTHER hand, to do anything otherwise would only suggest the issue of a ‘hidden agenda’, meaning that those who are not cooperating amassed wealth through dishonest or questionable means.
AS WE CONCLUDE, we again call on authorities responsible for the justice system to ensure that the law takes its course in bringing those alleged to have accumulated unexplained wealth to justice. Frankly, we are in no way saying that they are guilty of accumulating unexplained wealth but to certain extent they should exonerate themselves.