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Dr. Whapoe rejects prosecution power to LACC

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Opposition Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLTP) political leader Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe says recent amendment of the Act creating the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission by the Liberian Senate, granting the LACC prosecutorial power is a replication of negativity and breeding ground to exploit money from corrupt officials for personal gains.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The New Dawn, Dr. Whapoe suggests that the Government of Liberia should fix and empower the justice system by making it independent and vibrant, instead of giving judicial power to an agency established by the Executive branch to prosecute.

Dr. Whapoe

“You see what I am seeing because that is a complete replication of negativity and it does not fix anything. I see the new Act to give LACC prosecution power as a replication of negativity and it’s because separating judicial power given to an agency does not in itself make that agency transparent. It does not also give it that judicial power to litigate those cases”, he argues.

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The VOLT political leader continues that as well as he does not appreciate the way the Government of Liberia is proceeding currently with the handling of corruption cases, which he says is characterized by witch-hunt against the current commissioners of the LACC, it is seriously wrong for the Senate to agree to give the antigraft commission prosecutorial power.

He notes that the current LACC board of commissioners are doing well in the fight against corruption, for which the government is after them, but reiterates that it’s still wrong to grant them judicial power because they will not remain in office forever and even if they were to, the commission would become breeding ground for corruption.

He says if anyone is in doubt, they should watch and see because sooner than later, the system will be manipulated and people will be paying money to get exonerated as it is allegedly with the Ministry of Justice that has prosecutorial power.

“… because people will start paying money now to LACC for them to not be heard and shamed. People will manipulate the system soon”, Dr. Whapoe notes. 

Instead, he says: “What I want is that the justice system should be protected, independent and fixed, void of interference of the Executive and Legislative branches. They should make sure that justice is served. Dividing the power of the justice system is by giving power to an agency established by the Executive, which is room for corruption, and I see no transparency in such.”

“I greatly appreciate all the steps LACC is taking to fight corruption now, but will the commissioners remain forever? No. Now, back to my point; fix the judicial system, make it independent and transparent to give justice to all instead of sharing its power with Executive- established agencies like LACC. The problem is not with LACC but the justice system, because they need to be empowered and independent.”  

He expresses conviction that if this were done, Liberia will achieve much in the fight against corruption because even if LACC investigated and adjudged somebody guilty, it would still have to proceed to court for due process. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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