By Morrison O.G. Sayon
The Managing Editor of The INQUIRER Newspaper, Philip N. Wesseh has said that lack of coordination amongst agencies undermines the fight against corruption in the country.
In brief remarks when the Chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Frances Johnson-Allison paid a courtesy call on him and staff of The INQUIRER yesterday, Mr. Wesseh, alias PNW called for team work and coordinated efforts between the Ministry of Justice, the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) to coordinate their activities if government is to succeed in the fight against corruption.
He said the Ministry of Justice, LACC and the PPCC are in the same struggle and therefore, must work together as a team if the fight against corruption is to succeed in the country. Mr. Wesseh reasoned that the fight against especially the prosecution part is a difficult task but this can successfully be achieved if the parties involved in this endeavors work collaboratively.
He then recommended to the LACC boss to hold quarterly dialogue with the media for the purpose of educating and informing the public on the operation of the Commission’s work. “Be focused and committed; don’t be discouraged; you have a crack-team made of professionals but you need to coordinate your activities to succeed because without coordination the process will be a mockery,” PNW said.
Earlier, the Chairperson of the LACC, Frances Johnson-Allison outlined the commission’s achievements since she took over nearly five years ago. Cllr. Allison’s tenure as Chairperson ends next month. She disclosed that in 2008 upon her appointment the Commission was nowhere and that there was no place to host the LACC.
“I’ve created somewhere that did not exist; the LACC was mandated to fight, investigation and educate the public on corruption and that’s what we have been doing but the act of prosecution has been difficult as there has been no coordination,” Cllr. Allison averred.
She added that the Commission has investigated dozens of corruption cases and sent them to the Justice Ministry but only one was prosecuted. People have confidence in our work, that’s why they are bringing complaints and reports to us but sometimes we send cases to the Ministry of Justice only to find out that some of the accused are given clearances,” the LACC boss disclosed.
Cllr. Allison said that the issues of Asset Declaration and Verification have in recent times caused problems for the Commission with people not wanting to cooperate while others have taken the LACC to task for the work the Commission is doing.
“When we got to the issue of asset declaration people began to break us down accusing us of violating the PPCC law and other vices and some of them even questioned our authority, but we maintained that this is a good exercise because if we tell the public that we will do this they want to see action,” she said.
She said Liberia is a signatory to a treaty to establish an Anti Corruption Agency, an international body with a technical working group. Cllr. Allison said the LACC’s work will be reviewed by Benin and South Africa.
She then called for a partnership and support from the media to enable the LACC effectively carry out its responsibilities. “Not all that happened at the LACC are negative because we have people of integrity on the Commission. We have lawyers, former Chief Justice, former Associate Justice and other professionals with moral standings but there are people who want to tear us down,” Cllr. Allison intimated.
Among other things, she said the work of the LACC is very important to the fight against corruption and then reiterated her call for coordination and support in order to help the Commission succeed.