8 August 2018

Liberia: VP, Defense Minister, Others 'Declare Assets'

Photo: Liberian Observer
Vice-President Jewel Howard-Taylor, left, Minister Daniel Dee Ziankahn and other government officials in Liberia have declared their assets to anti-graft institutions.

VP Howard-Taylor, Minister Ziankahn and few other government officials have declared their assets to anti-graft institutions.

Amid controversies surrounding the prolonged delay by government officials in declaring their assets, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and other senior government officials, including the Minister of National Defense, Daniel Dee Ziankahn and Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Managing Director Nyemadi Pearson have declared their assets.

The Vice President's declaration comes a week after President George Weah filed a similar declaration with the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

Other officials who have reportedly declared their assets are Deputy Information Minister Boakai Fofana and Patience Kollie-Lawson, Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) issued the Declaration of Income, Assets and Liability Acknowledgment instrument, officially confirming that it received the declaration of personal financial interests, income, assets and liabilities from Vice President Howard-Taylor on Monday, August 6, 2018.

The submission of the assets declaration statement by VP Taylor, is in adherence to Section 10.2 of the Code of Conduct, which calls on public officials of the Executive Branch of Government to declare their personal assets and submit same to the LACC.

The LACC Acknowledgement reads, "Her Excellency, Vice President of Liberia has filed her 2018 exit assets declaration with the LACC, and the same is stored within the assets declaration and Verification Unit of the anti graft commission."

The assets declaration by public officials is intended to enhance accountability and transparency, curtail corruption and the acquisition of illicit wealth as well as to increase public confidence and trust in the governance system.

It can be recalled that the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) recently called on the Vice President, members of the Senate and House of Representatives, Justices of the Supreme Court and other officials of government to declare their assets.

CENTAL said, "This is one of several steps that demonstrate concrete commitment, and political will to set the necessary condition for a successful fight against corruption in the country."

CENTAL noted that continuous violation of the Code of Conduct does not augur well for the reputation of the government, and its professed desire to address graft, arguably the biggest impediment to the success of the pro-poor agenda.

Meanwhile, CENTAL has called on LACC's authorities to timely and independently verify and publish all declared assets, income and liabilities, including those of President George Weah.

In a statement issued on last Monday, CENTAL said it is glad to acknowledge receipt of reports of declaration of assets, income, and liabilities by the President, which the GAC has confirmed.

Although it is belated, CENTAL lauded President Weah for declaring his assets in compliance with chapter 10 of the 2014 Code of Conduct for Public officials that requires all public officials to declare their assets.

"We maintain that former officials accused of corrupt acts, especially those of the immediate past regime, must be investigated and if found guilty prosecuted in keeping with relevant Liberian Laws," CENTAL said.

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