By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah
MONROVIA: The Nation’s premiere anti-corruption institution, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), is expected to descend on outgoing officials of government who may fail to meet the deadline set for Exit Asset Declaration.
LACC Executive Chairperson, Cllr. Alexandra Zoe, disclosed that outgoing officials have up to Tuesday, December 12, 2023 to declare their Exit Assets.
According to her, failure on the part of any outgoing government official to make known his/her assets will amount to violation of the National Code of Conduct (CoC) and that such failure warrants serious penalty.
The current Liberian administration, headed by incumbent President George Manneh Weah, is expected to hand over political power to former Vice President, and now President-elect, Joseph Boakai on January 22, 2024.
Incumbent President Weah lost to Boakai with 1.28 % margin in the November 14, 2023 Presidential Runoff election.
The LACC had earlier announced that it will take punitive actions against any officials of the outgoing administration who failed to declare their exit assets in keeping with the National Code of Conduct Act and the LACC law.
Speaking to scores of Journalists at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), regular Press briefing, the LACC boss noted the anti- graft institution’s readiness to investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals and institutions involved in any acts of corruption.
She added that the probe will be done within the scope of LACC’s mandate as captured in the Act creating the LACC.
Section 5.1 of the LACC Act states: “The Commission shall have the broad mandate and functions to implement appropriate measures and undertake programs geared toward investigating, prosecuting, and preventing acts of corruption, including educating the public about ills of corruption and the benefits of its eradication”.
The LACC Executive Chairperson noted that the institution will execute its mandate and power free from interference as an independent body.
Cllr. Zoe: ‘’We want to assure the new government that we are ready to work with you, just fund the institution because most of the anti-graft institutions are underfunded to enhance our work.”
According to the LACC boss, the exercise to compel outgoing officials to declare their Exit assets is not to witch-hunt the government or individuals.
She added that the move is intended to ensure that the right things are done in keeping with the law.
She stressed that the December 12, 2023 deadline to declare exit assets remains unchanged.
She stressed: “December 12, 2023, is the deadline for declaration and there will be no extension”.
Meanwhile, LACC Executive Chairperson has disclosed that seven of the Commissioners have declared their assets even before their confirmation by the Liberian Senate.
She explained that as head of the LACC, she has mandated or instructed in line with the law all staffers within the LACC are required to declare their assets or risk administrative actions.
The Legal Framework and Declaration Timeframe
Part 10.1 of the National Code of Conduct for all Public Officials and Employees of the Government of the Republic of Liberia captioned: Declaration of Assets and Performance Bonds provides that “Every Public Official and Employee of Government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types shall sign performance or financial bonds and shall in addition declare his/her income, assets, and liabilities before to taking office and thereafter.
Cllr. Zoe stated that assets declared or information provided will be confidential as provided under the new LACC Act of 2022 and will be verified to ensure accuracy and legal requirements.