27 February 2014

Liberia: UP Lawmaker Wants Same Sex Blacklisted in Code of Conduct

Photo: The New Dawn
Senator Prince Johnson.

Monrovia — Representatives Henry Fahnbulleh (UP-District #4, Montserrado County) has stressed the need for homosexuality to be listed as a deviant behavior in the draft code of conduct bill before the House of Representatives.

Representative Fahnbulleh said there is a need for the Legislature to be clear on which areas deviant behavior would be placed in the draft code of conduct bill.

Fahnbulleh said: "In the execution of government's policies, especially those who are public officials, including the legislature; we need to be clear on which category we are going to place deviant behavior."

" If corruption is a deviant behavior we need to state it; if abuse of public office is a deviant behavior, let's say that clearly and if sexual misconduct which include homosexuality, there is a need we state that clearly by determining the parameter under which we can levy the necessary punishment."

The Montserrado County lawmaker raised the concern at the recent public hearing held on the code of conduct bill, held on Monday in the joint chambers of the Capitol building.

Fahnbulleh stressed the need for the legislature to pass laws that quantify Liberian values because according to him there is a need for the Governance Commission to proffer a way forward for dealing with issues of homosexuality.

"I will be one of those to insist on the presenters to give us their stance on some of those moral issues because these are moral judgment that we are taking and bringing into the public space so we need to be careful on how we regulate the behavior of people in the public sector," he said.

"While we are attempting to legislate decency, to do that we need to quantify Liberian values so we need to be clear in the definition of Liberian value by knowing whether we equate Liberian values to African values as well as European values."

Section 1.3.2 of the draft bill, which speaks about bribery, prohibits public employee from taking reward or inducement for doing or forbearing to do anything in respect of any matter or transaction within the scope of their official duties.

Section 1.3.10 of the bill also speaks against casual gifts: "Any present or gift, unsolicited and or a modest scale giving to a public official or employee of government, which is not connected to their official duties or giving during seasonal celebrations which does not exceed US$ 200.00 in value.

Continued Fahnbulleh: "This provision shall not apply to gifts given during the cultural and customary celebration."

The crafting of the code of conduct is in keeping with article 90 of the Liberian 1986 constitution, which prevents individuals severing in public offices from engaging in any other activities, which shall be against public, or constitute a conflict of interest.

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