23 May 2013

Liberia: Several Top Govt Officials Snub LACC's Assets Verification Exercise

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has disclosed that several top officials of the Government of Liberia (GOL) have "deliberately refused to cooperate" with its Assets Verification Exercise.

The LACC has the broad mandate to investigate, prosecute and prevent acts of corruption amongst other things (LACC Act of August 2008). Included in this mandate also is the mandate of LACC to lead the anti-corruption strategy of the Republic of Liberia, of which the Assets Declarations (AD) by public officials is an integral part. This Strategy, one of which is AD, is very crucial in the prevention and minimization of corruption.

Cllr. Johnson-Allison made the disclosure on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 when she addressed a news conference to release the first phase of the Assets Declaration Verification Report of public officials.

The Assets Declaration Verification Exercise by the LACC is intended to ascertain the integrity and credibility of public officials.

According to Cllr. Johnson-Allison, 18 government officials failed to cooperate with the LACC, despite receiving "multiple notices" from the Commission, while three (3) others sent in written excuses.

She named the officials that failed to cooperate as: Mr. Sebastian Muah, Deputy Minister for Budget (Ministry of Finance), Mr. Christian G. Herbert, Deputy Minister for Administration (Ministry of Public Works), Madam Etweda Cooper, Superintendent Grand Bassa County, Mr. Victor Boye Smith, Deputy Minister (Ministry of Public Works), Mr. Abraham B. Samukai, Comptroller (Ministry of Public Works), Mr. Toagoe Karzon, Comptroller (Ministry of Health) and Mr. Ernest Z. Coleman, Finance Officer (Ganta Hospital).

Others include: Margaret Ansumana, Deputy Commissioner (Liberia Maritime Authority), Mr. Emmanuel N. Reeves, Deputy Commissioner (Liberia Maritime Authority), Mr. Jefferson E. S. Witherspoon, Account Payable Manager (Liberia Maritime Authority), Mr. J. Tiah Nagbe, Deputy Minister (Minister of Internal Affairs), Mr. Ernest Gray Davis, Assistant Superintendent for Development, Bomi County, Mr. John Z. Buway, Superintendent of Margibi County, and Mr. Enson J. Amara, Accountant (Liberia Maritime Authority).

Cllr. Allison named the rest as: Madam Florence Dukuly, Deputy Minister (Ministry of Internal Affairs), Madam Victoria W. Duncan, Assistant Superintendent for Development, Margibi County, Mr. Nathaniel Gbaba, Deputy Managing Director National Port Authority (NPA), and Mr. Ernest Omaboe, Director of Security (Liberia Maritime Authority).

Speaking further, the LACC boss also named Finance Minister Mr. Amara Konneh, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister, Mr. Rennie Jackson and the Financial Manager of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Neneh Kroyahn as public officials that sent in written excuses based upon their own "individual peculiar circumstance."

Out of the 729 public officials that declared their assets, LACC boss pointed out, only 63 have gone through the first phase verification exercise.

She disclosed that the exercise, which was done "randomly," targeted the first batch of government officials managing "big spending GOL ministries, agencies and corporations."

She added that government officials "managing top revenue generating ministries and agencies and officials ranking high on the LACC's corruption perception index" also participated in the first phase Asset Declaration Verification Exercise of the LACC.

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