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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Officials risk travel ban 

--As Boakai’s Assets Recovery Team embarks on assets retrieval campaign 

Suspicion of corruption among Liberian officials remains high as many of them who once lived in abject poverty suddenly present themselves as wealthy people under questionable circumstances upon assuming top public offices.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, March 22, 2024: President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s Assets Recovery and Properties Retrieval Taskforce has warned that it will place a travel ban and restrictions on former and current officials suspected of alleged financial crimes and corruption.

The chairperson of the Taskforce Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin disclosed the Team’s plan on Thursday, 21 March 2024 at the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism.

The Team is expected to release a shocking listing of former and current government officials who may face travel restrictions for alleged financial crimes and corruption.

Ahead of the release of the list, the task force has given a ten-day grace period commencing March 23-31, 2024, to past government officials to surrender all government properties or risk unspecified legal action.

To restore credibility, accountability, and transparency in the governance process of Liberia, President Joseph Nyumah Boakai issued Executive Order #126 early this month for the retrieval and recovery of national assets.

The order established an Assets Recovery Task Force and an Office under the Minister of State for Special Services.

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It is mandated to put into place the necessary legal framework for the recovery of assets wrongfully acquired by current and former government officials.

President Boakai stated that the order was issued with the intent to retrieve, recover, restore, and reinstate fixed and liquid assets from within and outside Liberia that have been converted to private use by unscrupulous government officials and employees who were placed in positions of trust. 

The decision aims to address the alarming trend of officials converting public assets to private use while in positions of power.

The Task Force is authorized to retrieve wrongfully acquired government assets, identify, and trace all stolen and suspicious assets within and outside Liberia, establish an investigative panel, and constitute an effective legal, research, and investigative team to procure tangible evidence.

It is also required to initiate criminal prosecution and civil litigation on behalf of the Government, return confiscated assets to Liberia upon adjudication, and place travel and other restrictions on all individuals identified as suspects while undergoing investigation for stolen and suspicious assets.

According to Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin, the Team will be issuing a NE Exeat Republica or traveling registration on some individuals.

Regarding assets recovery, he said this portion of their responsibilities go on financial crime and corruption investigation.

He said their financial crime investigation is currently reviewing reports and other information gathered through their intelligence on theft and corruption of government assets.

“In line with our duties and responsibilities, the Taskforce will soon release names of persons of interest that will be placed on Ne Exeat Republica,” said Cllr. Martin. 

“These persons of interest had been captured as our major suspects [for] financial crimes and corruption investigation.”

Ne Exeat Republica refers to a writ that can be issued by a court to stop someone from leaving the jurisdiction of the court or the state. 

This writ is usually used to ensure that a person satisfies a claim against them.

He indicated that the Taskforce is also aware of the illegal movement of liquid assets and is currently working with its intelligence to trace the domestic and international locations of those assets.

Considering the charge as a national responsibility, Cllr. Martin said it is anticipated of them to perform at the aspiration of the Liberian people and that of the government.

“Today, the Assets [Recovery Team] is being fully constituted, commissioned, and charged with the responsibility of discharging its function in line with the rule of law without fear or favor,” said Martin. 

In consonant with the law, he said they would be fearless, robust, drastic, and strong. In the implementation of their duty, Martin assured that no person, whether present or formal official, would be exempted. Martin noted that the law will not be selective.

He called on the Joint Security at Liberia’s various border points to remain watchful. He also called on the citizens in general to help the team with information to prosecute and retrieve government assets.

He said the Team can be reached at liberiaasset@gmail.com. According to Cllr. Martin, the names and identities of those contacting the team will be protected.

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2 Comments

  1. The task force is welcomed!! Liberian so-called government officials have stolen not only assets that belongs to the citizens, but they’ve stolen integrity, respect for human beings, regards, self love, love for family members, humanity as we know it, etc.
    I believe that God left Liberia in 1980!!!
    Everyone goes to church on Sunday 🤔🤔.
    Which God or Jesus????

  2. Good move! But I have questions. First, have all of this Assets Recovery Taskforce members declared their assets?
    Does the team have Persecutorial Powers that enable them to issue Travel Restrictions?
    Do you issue Travel Restrictions without Indictments? What is the “limit” of their Quasi Jurisdiction in dealing with Corruption cases, in the face of the LCC?
    Lastly, Mr President, did you do a due diligence by properly vetting your Taskforce members to ensure integrity and neutrality in their work?

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