11 January 2018

Liberia: Give No Second Chance for 'Corrupt Officials' in New Govt

Photo: FrontPage Africa
President-elect George Weah

A Civil Society Organization (CSO) has warned President-elect George M. Weah to not give second chances to former or current officials or any Liberians, who have been indicted, convicted or are perceived to be corrupt.

The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) said those who betrayed the people's trust by using their offices in criminal ways, placing personal gain above the public interest, must not be re-appointed to serve.

IREDD executive director, Harold M. Aidoo, speaking in Monrovia yesterday said the expectations of many Liberians are improved health care, quality education, access to basic social services for all as well as the institution of social justice and rooting out corruption.

"As your government prepares to take over after January 22, 2018, the IREDD wishes to draw your attention to a number of key policy issues, ... including to not allow officials of government who have caused significant financial loss and perpetuated economic crimes against the state to go with impunity," Mr. Aidoo said.

He added, "The President (Weah) must demonstrate his commitment and seriousness to fight against corruption by setting up a fast track economic crimes court to try officials of government and all individuals who have allegedly embezzled state funds, committed economic crimes and caused financial loss to the state of Liberia."

President and Vice President elect George M. Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor pledging and preparing to take tough decisions and meet high expectations

Mr. Aidoo further said that IREDD will be tracking the first 100 days deliverables of the new government and indeed looking forward to working with the officials of the new government.

Though the IREDD boss did not name those who should not be given second chances in the new CDC-led Government, there is speculation that former House Speaker Alex Tyler could be one of those unnamed officials. Tyler's Liberia People's Democratic Party is however, a member of the Coalition that provided crucial support to clinch victory for the CDC.

In a related development, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Legislature has also submitted its findings to the President on the prosecution of several officials and over 50 names have been released by the Special Presidential Task Force.

Meanwhile, IREDD has frowned on outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for recalling members of the 53rd Legislature to work on bills which she has submitted for passage, noting that the time allotted is much too short for lawmakers to do sufficient due diligence to pass such bills.

"We, unequivocally wish to state that this move is hasty, does not afford members of the Legislature ample time to review these pieces of legislation to ensure due diligence, and there is absolutely no rush for members of the Legislature to pass them before the expiration of the tenure of the President and her administration," Mr. Aidoo said.

"In that vein, IREDD calls on all members of the 53rd Legislature not to rush with the passage of these legislative instruments, adding that our country is not going to come to a halt if you do not pass these pieces of legislation," he added.

"Please take your time," IREDD cautioned.

With four days to the elections of the Speaker and Pro Tempore, IREDD has urged members of the House of Representatives to elect leaders with integrity, fortitude, strong character and above all, individuals who can make independent judgment and stand up for the rights of Liberians.

"We also wish to urge particularly the leadership of the House of Representatives to review and reform its Standing Rules to conform to Open Parliamentary Principles of Transparency and Accountability," Aidoo said.

IREDD has also disclosed that it will be working with the National Democratic Institute on orientation of new members and will continue its Legislative Monitoring Initiative.


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