Home Governance Laughable!!! ..Gov’t Hits Back At Former LACC Boss

Laughable!!! ..Gov’t Hits Back At Former LACC Boss

by News Manager

By: Varney Dukuly

MONROVIA: The Government of Liberia, (GOL), through Information Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie, has described as “laughable” claims by the former Chairman of Liberia Anti-Corruption (LACC), Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin, that he was illegally removed from his post by President George Manneh Weah and that the President’s action was a violation of the Liberian constitution.

Minister Rennie said for Counselor Martin to reference
Article 20(a) of the constitution as his legal reliance is “even more comical” given that the former LACC Chairman is a Counselor-at-law.

Cllr. Martin’s removal comes on the heels of an Ad-hoc-Committee’s recommendation following the government’s decision to overhaul the LACC, the country’s independent corruption watchdog.

Minister Rennie wondered: “How the appointment of a new LACC Chairperson a violation of Article 20(a) that has affected him?”

The LACC was established in 2008 by then President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the recommendation of a taskforce.

About 14 years since then, the Commission has had some major wins and challenges.

Its recommendations contributed to the indictments of former Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai, relative to the AFL pension money, and former police boss, Munah Sieh, among many others on corruption related charges.

Key to the Commissions’ success was its independence. Commissioners were appointed for five-year terms and could not be fired in line with statutory provisions, then.

But after passage of the new LACC act, the Information Minister said President Weah has violated no law in appointing a new slate of Commissioners for the reformed LACC.
He stressed that the Liberian leader is simply acting in line with the amended Act of the LACC duly passed and signed into law.
He reminded the LACC former Boss of the ruling of the Supreme Court sitting in its October 2022 term of court when he (Cllr Martin) had sought through the Supreme Court to stop the Legislature from amending the LACC Act.

“In its ruling, the High Court expressly stated that given the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is a creature Legislature, it has the unquestionable power to amend, modify, or even abolish the LACC as deemed expedient in the interest of the state, and its action cannot be said to violate the constitution,” Rennie added.

He said this legislative action that revised and amended the LACC Act mandates for a new slate of commissioners to be appointed by the President.

Rennie: “President Weah has therefore, in consonance with the law, acted to appoint the new team of commissioners with a new legal mandate to perform their duties in keeping with the amended act. How then is it a violation of the constitution?”

Minister Rennie contended that Cllr Martin’s clinch to Article 20(a) as his reliance for a legal redress can best be described as “flirting with the law, while trying to garner public sympathy.”

The MICAT Boss indicated that the government, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), stands ready to engage with the LACC former Boss regarding payment for his remaining months of his tenure as soon as he presents such claims through the appropriate channels at the MFDP.

This comes as some officials of the Liberian government have been accused of involvement in acts of corruption, prompting the United States (US) Treasury Department to sanction three of President Weah’s top officials who were later suspended by the President but also resigned from government.

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