21 September 2017

Liberia: Religious Leaders Threaten Tougher Actions Against Corrupt Members

In apparent reaction to widely held claims in many cycles that corruption is not only a governmental menace, but cuts across all sectors of society including churches, homes, schools and other places, Liberia's religious community has threatened tougher actions against members found wanting of decency and integrity.

Leaders of the sacred order including the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL) pledged to lead by example and take responsibility to work to prevent and eradicate corruption, pledging also to take appropriate actions against their members found involved in acts of corruption.

The commitment is contained in a communiqué adopted at the end of a Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and Inter-Religious Council organized two-day workshop.

Held at the Cape Hotel under the theme "the Role of the Religious Community in the Fight Against Corruption," the workshop brought together about seventy five participants comprising senior religious leaders, pastors, Imams, faith-based youth organizations, women and student groups from the Liberia Council of Churches and the National Muslim Council of Liberia.

According to the Communiqué, the workshop aimed to build the capacities of religious community to partner with the LACC in the campaign to prevent and eradicate corruption by engaging state actors, communities, private sectors, schools and families from their pulpits with "spiritual messages embedded in their sermons."

As per the commitment, the religious leaders pledged to work with the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) to reactivate the corruption free school program.

"That we will embark on a vigorous campaign to continue to create awareness and sensitization on corruption," the body said, adding "we will continue to be Prophetic and Proactive at all times without fear or favor and speak, preach and teach against corruption."

The religious leaders said they would enter into a partnership and collaboration with the LACC to carry out activities in the fight against corruption.

In order to achieve the goal, they appeal to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which sponsored the two-day event and other donor partners for support.

At the two-day workshop, special remarks were made by USAID, NMCL, LCC and LACC, while presentations focused on 'the Role of the Religious Community in the Fight Against Corruption, Harmful Effects of Corruption, Anti-Corruption Messages in Religious Sermons, Biblical Teachings that Kick Against Corruption among others.

The leaders recognized the greatest propensity it has to impact the society at all levels of the society and the role it has played over time in the fight against corruption.

As religious leaders, they reckoned the need to strive at "all times to live by example as the Conscience of the Nation and hold our members responsible for acts of corruption."

The LACC is one of the many anti-corruption structures erected by government to aid in the fight of corruption in line with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf vow to make it "public enemy #1" in her 2006 inaugural address.

Since its founding several years ago, the LACC has succeeded in bringing to light acts of improprieties involving some government officials, and even took some perceived corrupt officials to court in keeping with the Act that established it.

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