Home EconomyCorruption Against Several Top Officials: Salaries Blockade Looms …As LACC Deadline On Assets Declaration Expires Soon

Against Several Top Officials: Salaries Blockade Looms …As LACC Deadline On Assets Declaration Expires Soon

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: Several Government officials who have miserably failed to declare their assets including those who falsely declared or under-declared their assets risk serious punishment, including placing their respective salaries on hold.
The Executive Chairperson of Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Alexandra K. Zoe, has disclosed that July 31, 2024, is the deadline for all government officials to declare their assets.

Cllr. Zoe made the pronouncement on Thursday July 4, 2024, when she spoke on the Super Morning Show on state-owned radio station, Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

Speaking on the Assets Declaration Process and others matters concerning the LACC, Cllr. Zoe emphasized that there would be no extension of the Assets Declaration exercise as of July 31, 2024.

According to the LACC Boss, after July 31, 2024, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission will begin publication of the names or identities of government officials who are not in compliance with the Code of Conduct as it relates to Assets Declaration.
The LACC boss disclosed that the Commission will shortly do a formal communication to various line ministries, agencies and Commissions including President Joseph Nyuma Boakai who are required to withhold salaries to work with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning as spelled out in the Code of Conduct for public officials to ensure punishable measures against officials who are not in compliance.
“Asset declaration should not be seen as something difficult. I don’t see it as a witch hunt, it exhibits integrity, transparency, and accountability to the public. As public officials, it is required of us,” the LACC Boss made it clear.

She highlighted as government officials, the Liberian people want to know what you are coming to public office with. So, when you are leaving, the citizens can compare the assets you are leaving with and the ones you previously declared.
She maintains that such assets declaration is part of the cardinal anticorruption measures put in place and to ensure transparency, accountability and probity in national governance.
“Coming to public office, we are servants of the people, and so, we are required to be transparent in the national governance process,” the LACC Boss emphasized.

Accordingly, Cllr. Zoe encouraged officials who have not declared or hesitant to declare their assets to do so now.

According to her, some of the punishable actions to be taken have to do with suspension, dismissal, withholding of salary, or being fined.

According to the top anti-corruption official, public officials are aware of the disciplinary measures relative to assets declaration.

She highlighted that the issue of asset declaration started since January of this year, and by now, LACC can safely say all public officials are aware.
“If you are not aware, we ask that you read your Code of Conduct and you will be able to abreast yourself with sanctions that are available to you as a public official when you violate the Code of Conduct,” she noted.

Moreover, she stressed that the sanctions are generally for violation of the Code of Conduct in which the issue of assets declaration also exists. So, if any public officials fail to declare their assets, the sanctions are there, and they are clearly spelled out in the Code of Conduct.

She also mentioned in line with its Act, LACC also has authority to generate additional sanctions which will eventually be submitted to the National Legislature for approval, and once the sanctions are approved, LACC will begin to vigorously enforce them.

“We are saying if you are a government official and you fail to declare your assets, you will be denied some basic public immunities. For example, you will not be able to file your tax, obtain passport or renew your passport. This is something we are also studying because, we want to be careful that it doesn’t violate the constitution of Liberia, but we are generating those additional sanctions,” she said.

The LACC Boss maintains that the Commission is determined in enforcing the sanctions and that is why it has been carrying intense public awareness and education on assets declaration.
She continued: “after the assets declaration, the next thing we do is assets verification,” she told LBS.
“If we verify your assets and we establish that you under declared, that is actually a violation which is punishable under our laws, and we will use the necessary laws available to us to punish you. So, when you are declaring your assets, we want you to be transparent and truthful as much as possible because we have begun the process of identifying each individual to verify their assets. And so, we will make example of the first individuals, if your asset declared is accurate, you will be fined but, if we establish that the declaration is false, we will make use of the law that is available to us and bring you to book,” the LACC Boss vowed.
She added “we are in the process of verification, when we verify your assets and establish that you falsely declared, we will use the law and punish you so, this is a process we are doing and once we do that, then we will give specific names of these individuals who falsely declared their assets. I want to assure the public that we are not going to keep anything in secret. If we do our verification and find out that you falsely or under declared, we will publish your name,” she noted. Writes Linda Gbartie.

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