The stage is now set for a possible legal challenge to the controversial Code of Conduct, which bars several past and present government officials here from participating in the upcoming October 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections.
This comes as the National Elections Commission or NEC announced Thursday March 23, that it will definitely uphold the controversial law.At present the electoral body has made the law one of its key cardinal prerequisites for qualifying would be contestants.
Several former government officials among them former Central Bank Executive Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones and several other sitting ministers and deputies are being hook by the new law.
Addressing a news conference here Thursday, NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Kokorya said while it is true that the Commission does not possess such jurisdiction to establish who is affected or not, it will quiz aspirants on whether or not they have worked for the government and if so when did they resign.
He said based on the responses and background checking, that person maybe accepted or rejected if the aspirant does not live within the conferment of the Code of Conduct.
A National Code of Conduct which surfaced from the Executive Branch and later passed by the Legislature in 2014 dictates that “all Officials appointed by the president” shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices or serve on a campaign team of any political party or for independent candidate.
Wherein the appointed official like minister, deputy minister, director-general, managing director and superintendent that area appointed by the president, and a managing director that is appointed by a board of directors, the Code of Conduct says such official shall resign the post at least two years prior to the date of public elections for the new job they may be pursuing.
According to him, as in the case of tax Clarence where the commission request all contestants to submit their tax Clarence, failure of that aspirant to provide such document the commission will delay but reject that aspirant.
He noted that the government is trying to establish the office of anombudsman for hearing of such matters. He recounted that NEC has added that Code of Conduct as one of the requirements for qualifications for participants and the electoral house will remain firm on adhering to the matter.
The Ombudsman is a group of persons appointed or authorized by the President a Republic and confirmed by the Senate to enforce, oversee, monitor and evaluate adherence to the Code of Conduct. Such individual or group of persons shall receive and investigate complaints against public officials, employees of government and national institutions.
In the case where there is a determination of guilt and violation of the code by private and Public Officials and Employees of Government, said violation shall be submitted by the Ombudsman to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) or other relevant Agencies of Government.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Othello B. Garblah