In the wake of perceived massive corruption
within government, newly inducted Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) president Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe says all government officials are suspects in the corruption bracket until they demonstrate transparency.
Cllr. Gongloe’s comment during his induction
in Paynesville Friday, 25 January comes amid growing perceived rip of the country’s covers by the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led – government.
The CDC led – government of President George
Manneh Weah has recently indicted some officials from the National Housing Authority (NHA) for allegedly soliciting bribe from a potential investor, but other issues of perceived corruption in some quarters of the regime continue to be speculated by some members
of the public.
Some members of the public are concerned
that findings into investigations surrounding alleged missing 16 billion Liberian Dollars are yet to come out both from local and external investigators, and questions over how portion of US$25 million meant to mop up excess liquidity was distributed are yet
to get clear answers.
During his induction at the Paynesville City
Hall, Cllr. Gongloe argued that Liberians who are outspoken speak about the government here the way they do because of the conduct of past governments and their functionaries.
“Those who lead today must understand that
they are suspect until their records show a positive change in behavior or until their behavior and actions demonstrate transparency, accountability, and putting the security and welfare of the people above their personal interests,” he says.
The former Labor Minister who became very
critical on national issues after falling out with his former boss ex-President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s regime has vowed that the voice of the Bar will be heard loudly on all contentious legal issues here.
Cllr. Gongloe warns that if lawyers fail
to take a professional position on illegal decisions and actions of public officials that have the potential of undermining the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights, they must take the blame for any conflict that results from their silence.
In an effort to reawaken lawyers here to
speak out against ills in society, Cllr. Gongloe recalls a quote from the physicist Albert Einstein that says “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
“Because we lawyers have, largely remained
silent over the years on crucial national issues of governance that have negative legal implications, the general view of the people has been that we are part of the problem that has kept this country behind,” he says.
In response to the current debate here whether
the President of Liberia can appoint an ambassador while the Senate is on recess, Cllr. Gongloe says the “clear legal answer to this simple legal question is NO!”
He argues that no provision of the constitution
for the appointment of an ambassador without the advice and consent of the Liberian Senate under any circumstance.
In the wake of some troubling legal battles
here, Cllr. Gongloe assures that he will start a Bar Journal to serve as an avenue for lawyers to critically examine the opinions of the Supreme Court through scholarly articles.
He assures working on an insurance scheme
for members of the LNBA and to lead the Bar in serving as a general counsel for the Liberian society on all contentious legal issues that have the propensity to lead the country into confusion or chaos and reverse the gains made.
During his predecessor Cllr. Moses Paegar’s
administration, the Bar failed to counter lawmakers’ action to impeach Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh in spite of alleged constitutional violations raised by lawyers fighting for Ja’neh.
Further, majority of the five – member Justices
on the Supreme Court Bench including Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., could not safe Ja’neh while the two females on the bench fruitlessly fight to save him from the hands of the lawmakers.
Ja’neh might stand impeachment trial any
time once Senators invite him on Capitol Hill following the passage and submission of his impeachment bill by the House of Representatives in 2018.
Earlier, the Guest Speaker at the program,
UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Yacoub El Hillo warned that in any country where the rule of law is not effectively administered, injustice, violence against women and girls, corruption and general criminality are more likely to occur.
According to him, it is imperative that Liberians
observe the rule of law.
Mr. Hillo says he considers it an excellent
opportunity to be given the opportunity to add his voice to the conversating taking place on peace consolidation in Liberia.
Mr. Hillo says courageous and upright advocacy
are required in the process, expressing believe that the new LNBA leadership will continue to be very transparent in the discharged of its duties toward this country and its people.
At the event were former Vice President Joseph
Nyumah Boakai, former Governance Commission Chair Dr. Amos Sawyer, Associate Justices Kabineh M. Ja’neh, Jamesetta Howard – Wolokolie, Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh, retired Justice Philip A.Z. Banks and other dignataries, among others.
By Winston W. Parley