The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) seems to be violating various provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 in the ongoing corruption fight against the National Elections Commission, including its chairperson Madam Davidetta Browne Lansanah.
Section 11.1 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 states that the prosecution of corruption cases shall be carried out by the Ministry of Justice in coordination with the LACC, but in the current case involving the NEC, the Justice Ministry is being relegated, as the Anti-Corruption Commission has gone to court on its own.
According to Section 11.2 of the 2008 Act, in the event that an investigation reported by the Commission: (a) finds that there is substantial evidence of corruption, and (b) recommends that the person(s) or entity (ies) involved being formally charged and prosecuted; the matter and records thereof shall be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice along with a written request signed by the LACC Chairperson requesting that the case be prosecuted.
But this seems not to be the case with the National Elections Commission, as the NEC was never given an opportunity before the Justice Ministry to exonerate itself from all charges.
As if that was not enough the LACC has refused to furnish the NEC with the outcome of its investigation. Rather it has gone on what appears to be a selective hunt coupled with a PR stunt.
“The Ministry of Justice may decline to prosecute a case of corruption recommended for prosecution if it determines that the evidence adduced by the Commission is manifestly inadequate or illegally acquired. In such case, the Commission shall be given the opportunity to augment the evidence or to show that the evidence is in fact adequate and properly acquired”, says Section 11.3 of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008.
Notwithstanding, Section 11.4 of the Act says the Commission may directly prosecute acts or cases of corruption through the courts if: (a) the Ministry of Justice, for whatever reason(s), does not take action to prosecute a case of corruption forwarded to it by the Commission within three (3) calendar months of the receipt of the request to prosecute, which did not happen in the current case with the National Elections Commission.
The LACC, in keeping with the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, cannot immediately move for and obtain an indictment against an accused, such as the NEC. Rather, the Commission is first required under the law to recommend prosecution to the Ministry of Justice and only act further if the Ministry does not do so within the period of three months of receiving the request from LACC.
In the case with the NEC, the LACC on December 15, 2021 announced that it had completed investigation of the NEC’s procurement of Goods and Services from Tuma Enterprises; and concluded in a press conference that an indictment would be drawn against the National Elections Commission.
Two days subsequently on December 17, 2021, the NEC wrote the LACC, requesting findings from its investigation, as is necessary. A week later, report had it that the LACC has obtained an indictment against NEC Chairperson Madam Browne Lansanah, in what is being described by many as 4G or the fastest corruption case to enter court for prosecution in the history of the LACC. It remains to be seen if such 4G approach has been applied in a conflict of interest case involving one of the LACC’s own commissioners in the person of Kanio Gba-Gbala.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/in-nec-conflict-of-interest-case-lacc-proceeding-wrongly/