It is sad to note that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC, an integrity institution that is charged with the responsibility of investigating improprieties at various public institutions, is having its own integrity being dragged in the mud over alleged “disrespect, heartlessness and financial improprieties” from within.
LACC principal deputy, Cllr. J. Augustine Toe, accuses his immediate boss, Executive Chairperson Cllr. James Verdier of the above vices, which he also describes as “greatly disappointing and unfortunate.”
Details of these allegations are already in the press, particularly after Executive Chairperson Cllr. Toe, who was out of Liberia when the can of worms was opened, hurriedly returned home and recently hosted a press conference in Monrovia, denying the charges and calling for an immediate audit of the institution.
When an institution that should come with clean hands in investigation improprieties wherever they might be suspected, has both hands dragged in the mud as it is, there should be serious concern, particularly when the new government headed by President George Manneh Weah has vowed to fight corruption and graft in the public sector.
Corruption has become so systemic and endemic in Liberia so much so that it seems to have become a way of life in our society. But when the LACC, that we all look up to for investigation and prosecution has its hands in the cookie jar, the nation could be heading for nowhere.
We believe these allegations should be treated with serious attention, because they are coming from within; not only that, they question the creditability of the LACC as an integrity institution that should be trusted.
This should not in any suggest that we are passing judgment against Executive Chairperson Cllr. Verdier or the entire entity. However, the sooner a comprehensive probe is conducted, the better it would be.
We believe in the LACC for the excellent jobs it has done over years, unearthing improprieties at various government ministries and agencies, but when its own integrity is brought to the public glare, it leaves room for concern.
Commissioners of the LACC concede the institution is plagued with challenges, including administrative differences, but they maintain that should be handled in-house rather than in the public.
Notwithstanding, now that they have be brought to the public, we urge the Cllr. James Verdier-led administration to do everything expeditiously necessary to probe these allegations and brought out the facts for the sake of public confidence.