THE LIBERIA ANTI Corruption Commission (LACC), a body charged with the specific functions to adopt, design and/or implement appropriate administrative and legal measures as well as educational programs aimed at eradicating and preventing acts of corruption,” last week released the second phase of its asset (declaration) verification report.
ACCORDING TO THE LACC, the Assets verification exercise comprehends a random selection of the Asset Declarations of Public officials on the basis of the size of the budget controlled by the said officials. The Commission said during phase II of the process, the Assets Declarations of 77 public officials from 16 ministries, agencies and public corporations were verified. Additionally, the LACC says this process starts with the random selection of G0L Agencies, Ministries and Public Corporation to be considered under the specific phase being implemented.
ON THE METHOD applied in carrying out the exercise, the LACC stated that the Assets Declaration Team interviews the Official, utilizing his/her Assets Declaration Form including supporting documents such as employment contract, official pay schedules, bank statements, mortgages, real estates and evaluation report and for liabilities, the loan agreement and its repayment statement. It said that throughout the process, it issues the official under verification of a regular update of issues arising from his/her verification and allow him/her an opportunity to respond to the issues listed on the update form.
ON THE OTHER hand, the Commission says if there are no issues with the official’s declaration, it issues a clearance, noting that his/her income/assets/liabilities are truly stated, unless a new information surfaces that materially contradicts the existing information, the initial clearance is as good as final.
INDEED, WE ARE disappointed to learn that the asset Declaration exercise which is one of the measures of combating corruption in the public sector is being hampered owing to the lack of cooperation from some of those concerned with the exercise.
IT IS DISGUSTING to note that of the 77 persons, 22 refused to cooperate with the Commission and that 22 other verification processes are incomplete because of outstanding issues. We see this as a disservice to the whole process of accountability, transparency and financial probity.
WHILE EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT over those officials who seemingly are not cooperating with the commission, we hail all those officials, including former Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods for cooperating with the Commission, for which the Commission has now certified them on grounds that their asset declarations were truly stated.
CONSIDERING THE ESSENCE of this exercise, we call on all those concerned to fully cooperate with the Commission in carrying out the asset declaration exercise. Frankly, to exhibit this culture of non-cooperation, is tantamount to being against the efforts to eliminate corrupt practices in the public sector, or that those concerned have some questionable wealth amassed, for which they dare not to be questioned on such wealth.
THE LACC CANNOT survive in its efforts in eliminating corruption if it does not get the cooperation of those concerned. Therefore, we call on those concerned, especially officials of government to fully cooperate with the LACC “to implement appropriate administrative and legal measures as well as educational programs aimed at eradicating and preventing acts of corruption.”