MONROVIA-The Liberia Cso’s Anti-Corruption has welcomed recent comprehensive reports released by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC)
According to the group’s head James Koryor the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission’s report was comprehensive, unbiased, professional and met best practice and standard; and that findings contained in those reports are evidence-based and sufficient enough to be used for prosecution by the Ministry of Justice.
“Our attention has been drawn to key national issues with specifics focusing on the integrity and Anti-Corruption sector of the country as we want urgent decisions taken in said regard “, he added.
The investigation James told reporters covers, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC), Liberia Institute for Statistics & Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) and Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL) respectively.
According to Koryor, the report shows and convinces them that massive corruption had been carried out mainly those captured government’s entities and or institutions including gross violation of our Anti-corruption and integrity laws; PPCC Law, Public Financial Management Law, Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest, amongst other.
Under the report, the Minister of Agriculture, Madam Jeannie M. Cooper, knowingly and consciously awarded a contract of US$180,000.00 to a company that she owned; what was her intent, James questioned.
The Termination of a professional service consultancy without a justifiable reason against the advice of donor partners and grossly violating the PPCC law to appoint a confidant and relative, the report added, was not an acceptable best practice.
Additionally, the Minister of Agriculture Cooper, allegedly opened a separate bank account and made her cronies and confidants co-signatories and mislead the LACC investigators about the actual intent of the bank account; we strongly believe and it is evident that she was stealing; the Cso group noted.
As for LISGIS, he pointed out that they raised the alarm in June of last year and they are grateful that the LACC have now booked senior officials of that institution for massive corruption; including the head of LISGIS Mr. Francis Wreh and his Deputies;
“On the part of the LWCS, We look forward to a speedy prosecution and dismissal of the staff involved in the US$6,000 corruption saga”, he pointed out.
On the other hand, James told reporters at a news conference that there has been massive level of conflict of interest that the LACC investigation has uncovered at the PPCC.
“We at the Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition believe that it is time we all support the LACC in discharge of its statutory functions and responsibilities in fighting corruption especially in the public sector in Liberia”, James disclosed.
The Cso group calls on individuals and institutions whether in government or Civil Society who is not knowledgeable about working, processes and procedures of the LACC investigation and prosecutions mechanism, to immediately desist from making unfounded and unprofessional comments and statements about the LACC.
“We see these statements and unwarranted attack on the LACC’s report as a ploy and calculated attempt to undermine the fight against corruption in Liberia”, he noted.
The Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition also called on all those named in the report to immediately recue themselves of all official duties of the entity they represent, to submit to the Ministry of Justice and clear their names in the court of competent jurisdiction.
The Coalition, he stressed will also initiate an effective tracking and monitoring of the process by the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary.
“We also want to sound this as a caveat, and let it grip the attention of the Minister and officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Director General and Officials of LISGIS, and others named in the LACC corruption investigative report; That the Coalition will initiate massive advocacy campaign utilizing people’s power approaches, mass citizens action and social media campaign to ensure that officials of government implicated or accused of corruption, should not be in office while going through prosecution, he emphasized.
In other development, the coalition is expected to release and publish a list of public officials that continue to violate the Asset Declaration Law by not declaring their asset prior to taking office and up to now.
Koryor said as the Coalition continues to work in promoting transparency and accountability in Liberia, they are also are calling for the passage of the following investigation to include: Direct Prosecutorial powers, Specialize Court for Corruption, Witness Protection, Whistleblower Act
and Complete eradication of the Statute of limitation.
Others are: an amendment to section 10.2 of the Code of Conduct to allow the LACC to be the sole repository of all Assets declared.
Liberia Anti-Corruption Coalition is a conglomeration of eight registered civil Society organizations aimed at promoting fiscal transparency, grass-root advocacy, Public Contract Monitoring, Transparency in Natural Resource Governance, and accountability in local government administration, integrity building and strengthening organizations and anti-corruption activists’ engagement in the fight against corruption in Liberia.
It was officially launched in 2019 with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Legal Professional Development & Anti-Corruption Program (LPAC).