Liberia: House Seizes Corruption Fight

-As justice requests USD2.1million

The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives has announced the seizure of fight on retrieving monies reportedly belonging to government from individuals with immediate effect.The decision of the committee came following public hearings on Monday, July 15, in the house's conference room on the grounds of the Capitol Building.

Making the disclosure, the committee's Chairman, Cllr. Jonathan FonatiKoffa, of Grand Kru County said that the seizure does not means the house is putting hold on the entire exercise, instead, it indicates that the House of Representatives through the Judiciary Committee is closely monitoring process with keen interest.

Cllr. Koffa pointed out that the committee is paying key attention to the ongoing corruption fight launched by the solicitor general and the Liberian government, but added that the process should be done in lines with the Liberian Constitution.

The Grand Kru County lawmaker noted that he has observed that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and the Justice Ministry are not working together closely as anticipated in the fight against corruption.

He intimated that there's a need for tension that is reportedly blowing between the two institutions to be handled before continuing with the prosecution.

Cllr. Koffa announced that his committee will next week invite officials of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to hear from them about the ongoing exercise and to seek professional opinion on the matter.

Earlier, the Solicitor General at the Justice Ministry told the hearings that the ministry was about to commence retrieving the monies from individuals who reportedly stole from government while serving in government.

Cllr. SyreniusCephus said that the government is working to ensure that stolen monies are retrieved legally, "there is no ocean, mountain, valley, and road that will appear difficult for the government in making sure that the nation's wealth are returned. The fight starts today, after the closed of this hearing," he said.

Cllr. Cephus further stated that there are billions of United States dollars in individuals' pockets that belong to the government and President George Manneh Weah and his team are relentlessly going after those individuals with consistent with the Liberian laws and statue.

Cllr. Cephus noted that the exercise under the banner of 'Assets Investigation, Recovering and Restitution Team comprising of the Justice Ministry and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is prepared to reaching every loom and corner in collecting funds intended for the state and its people.

The Liberian solicitor general said that his office has received 256 audit reports from the General Auditing Commission, of that figure; government had lost about US$4.6 billion to individual pockets through scandalous means according to the reports.

According to him, 15 of the audit reports are being reviewed by his office and other integral government institutions and that the 15 audit reports indicate that government lost about US$400 million.

He added in order for his office and the entire prosecutorial arm of government to adequately perform in discharging its duties, US$2.1 million is budgetary allotment needed for such task.

On June 18, 2019, Solicitor General Cephus made specific request for audit reports on the Executive Mansion Renovation; the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Sale of Oil Block 13 to ExxonMobile, the collapse of the National Oil Company of Liberia, the NASSCORP, and the Central Bank of Liberia Construction.

"As part of the mandate given us to practice and prosecute cases on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, our attention is drawn to the wave of rampant corruption and misuse of public monies and assets by some government officials and private citizens aiding them," he asserted.

"In an effort to curb this economic epidemic, we have taken into consideration the need to review all GAC Audit Reports submitted to your august body for consideration," he stated in his communication.

The Assets Investigation, Recovering and Restitution Team comprising of the Justice Ministry and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission is continuation of the solicitor general quest of battling corruption.

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