The Center of Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL), one of Liberia’s leading integrity institutions, has urged the President George Manneh Weah – led government to fully comply with the Code of Conduct in the wake of the pending senatorial election.
“CENTAL strongly encourages the Government of Liberia and other actors to fully comply with the Code of Conduct and other related laws, especially as we proceed with these elections,” the group said at a press conference Tuesday, 27 October.
CENTAL Executive Directive Mr. Anderson Miamee encourages President Weah to make a timely appointment to the Office of Ombudsman so that the body is fully constituted to effectively operate.
He says Ombudsman, an independent body provided for in Chapter 12 of the Code of the Conduct, is responsible for enforcement, oversight, monitoring and evaluation of adherence to the law.
Miamee explains that the appointment to the Office of the Ombudsman will be a bold step in the right direction and key effort in the fight against corruption.
“We strongly encourage full compliance with the Code of Conduct by the Government of Liberia by requiring appointed officials to decline their nominations to serve on CDC’s [Coalition for Democratic Change] campaign team, or committee,” Miamee continues.
The ruling CDC recently appointed several high-ranking government officials to the party’s campaign team ahead of the 8 December senatorial election.
But the CENTAL Executive Director frowns on the decision, saying the ruling party violates Chapter 5 of the Code of Conduct which among other things requires that officials appointed by the President shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices.
He notes that the provision forbids appointed officials from serving on the campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate.
According to him, officials appointed by the Party have not declined their appointments, nor has the presidency enforced the law by requiring them to act appropriately.
“If the fight against corruption must succeed and public resources and assets safeguarded, anti-corruption and other related laws and policies must be fully implemented at all times,” Miamee continues.
Miamee suggests when the ruling party does this, it will send a very strong message to citizens, development partners and other stakeholders that the government, the country’s leadership is committed to implementing existing laws and policies.
According to him, the Code of Conduct for public officials is one of the laws passed to help guide against arbitrary actions and unbecoming conducts of public officials, noting that the law provides safeguards for properly allocating and managing public resources, including but not limited to clear guidelines around what public officials can and cannot do.
Additionally, Miamee indicates that Chapter 18 of the Law provides for rewards for good behaviors exhibited by public officials, including but not limited to open praise, commendation, certificate of merit, job upgrade and cash bonuses.
But the CENTAL Executive Director observes that the law has been grossly ignored and violated, saying the Asset Declaration Regime has been very ineffective.
By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley