5 December 2012

Liberia: LACC Boss - Liberians Not Serious to Fight Corruption

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) through its Chairperson, Cllr. Frances Johnson-Allison, has declared that Liberians are not serious to fight corruption. The LACC was established in August 2008 to directly investigate, recommend for prosecution all acts of corruption in all sectors of government including the private sector and to institute measures aimed at eradicating corrupt practices and the impact of corruption on the country.

Under the 2008 Anti-Corruption Commission Act, the LACC has the specific functions, among others, to: Investigate all acts of corruption discovered or reported to have occurred in the public, private and civil society sectors of Liberia. The Commission is an autonomous and independent agency, which has five Commissioners. The LACC chairperson stated that one will know that Liberians are serious for the fight against corruption by the way they [Liberians] will support the effort of the LACC in the fight against corruption, adding that, "when you don't support the effort, then you can't be serious."

She indicated that Liberians are not supportive of her Commission's effort in the fight against corruption, stating that even on the part of the Government of Liberia (GoL), the LACC since its establishment has not been able to get at least US$2 Million from the GoL to fight corruption. The LACC boss, who made these assertions Monday, 3 December 2012, when she was responding to the Truth Breakfast Show host's inquiry regarding the LACC's biggest constraint, averred: "I don't think the Liberian people are ready to fight corruption."

She indicated that she believes Liberians are not ready to fight corruption "because people [Liberians] take this whole corruption thing to be a joke," adding that corruption appears to be a part of the Liberian culture. She stated that those who are fighting corruption in the country by pursuing court action against corrupt individuals often get backlash from others in the society, adding that "people criticize you; they'll say that you are witching hunting somebody; so I say what do they want? What do the people [Liberians] want, do they want to fight corruption?"

However, the LACC chairperson fell short of disclosing the names of individuals in the Liberian society who are not serious to fight corruption, but she is on record to have expressed the hope that public officials serving in the Legislature and the Judiciary "can come to a point where they will see the need that this fight [against corruption] is not just the Executive's fight," indicating that: "this fight against corruption is everybody's fight, including the three branches of government.

Earlier this year, the anti-graft commission chairperson also accused members of the Legislative and Judiciary Branches of the Government of Liberia of being 'recalcitrant' over the issue of asset declaration for all public officials. At the time, she accentuated that it is imperative that members of the Legislative and Judiciary Branches declare their assets "because they are paid and supported by public funds; so the public has a right to know what their earnings are and what their properties are."

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