Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Rep. Acarous Moses Gray says Liberia Anti – Corruption Commission (LACC) Chair Cllr. James Verdier’s statement that no member of the Legislature has ever declared their assets to the commission is “totally out of order” and needs to be revisited.
Rep. Gray told a press conference in Monrovia Friday, 6 July that Chairman verdier recently said the refusal of government officials to declare their assets was a violation of the Code of Conduct.
He recalls that Cllr. Verdier complained that since the inception of the Weah-Taylor administration, the LACC does not have a considerable number of public officials who have declared their assets.
Section 10.1 of the National Code of Conduct mandates every public official or employee involved in making decisions affecting contracting; tendering or procurement and issuance of licenses of various types to sign performance or financial bonds.
It says they shall in addition, declare their income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter.Cllr. Verdier further said the country’s asset declaration laws are not strong enough because the failure to declare asset is not criminalized.
According to him, the mandate to enforce the Code of Conduct is in the purview of heads of the various branches of government, and not the LACC.He says the reported gross refusal to declare their respective assets is in violation of the Code of Conduct and the acct that creates the LACC.
But Rep. Gray maintains that members of the Liberian Senate cannot declare their assets to the Commission. Instead, he says members of the House of Representatives declare their assets to the Chief Clark, Madam Mildred Sayon while members of the Liberian Senate declare theirs to the Secretary of the Senate Mr. Nanbolor Singbe, respectively.
Rep. Gray also argues that the officials of the Executive Branch of Government by law declare their assets to the General Auditing Commission.He notes that if the LACC needs information about officials, the Commission should follow the channel.
“We members of the Legislature cannot go declaring our assets to the LACC instead the Chief Clark or the Secretary of the Senate. He does not understand what he’s talking. Apparently, he’s not familiar with the Act that established the LACC,” Rep. Gray argues.
He says he was very engaged with the passage of the bill and they made the addition and subtraction to the bill that today, is called the Act of the LACC. Commenting on calls for President George Manneh Weah to comply with the asset declaration clause of the Code of Conduct, Rep. Gray says there are many opposition leaders in government that have failed to declare their assets including the Chairman emeritus of the former ruling Unity Party, Sen. Varney Sherman.
Rep. Gray further names the wife of Sen. Sherman, Madam Joyce Sherman, Unity Party Spokesman Mo Ali, the National Secretary of opposition Liberty Party Gabriel Smith, a consultant of Internal Affairs Ministry, and Mr. Alexander Cummings of the Alternative National Congress who served as the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Booker Washington Institute, among others.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley