LACC Extends Time to Declare Asset

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has given an additional two month grace period commencing from the first of September to officials of government to step forward and declare their assets to the Commission. The Commission said the extension is due to the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a press conference Monday August 16, 2021 at the headquarters of the LACC, the Executive Chairman of the LACC, Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin said the Commission anticipates that all public officials will adhere to the adjusted period, adding that the total number of asset declarations as of 2021 is 59 representing 16% female and 84% respectively.

The LACC boss thanked the Government of Liberia for its support, and noted that the government has informed the LACC that it believes in the Rule of Law and rights of the accused to speedy investigations and prosecution.

Speaking of support from its international partners, Cllr. Martin averred that the LACC was privileged to have the United States Ambassador Michael McCarthy visit at its offices. He added that during discussion at the meeting, the Ambassador pledged the US Government’s full support to the LACC.

Also, he said, that the LACC was opportune to hold zoom discussions with ECOWAS, and the World Bank that also pledged support to the Commission.

On the status of audit and investigative reports, the Chairperson disclosed that there are 73 cases, including audit reports that are currently before the LACC.

The LACC boss used the occasion to assure the public that all reports will be investigated, and said all those that the reports captured will honor the LACC investigation when called upon.

On current investigations, he said, the enforcement division at the LACC is conducting investigations into the National Transit Authority (NTA), Liberia Water & Sewer Corporation (LWSC), Robert International Airport (RIA) and National Port Authority- Buchanan Port.

According to him, there has been voluntary restitution in the amount of Eighteen Thousand United States Dollars (18,000 USD) being made through the Court regarding the case of Munah Sieh and other defendants involved in the misapplication of funding for Police Uniforms.

“The total judgment sum for the five (5) defendants is One Hundred Ninety-Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred United States Dollars (199, 800 USD). Each defendant is expected to pay Thirty-Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars (39,950 USD)”, he said, adding that the account details for the voluntary restitution are as following: Bank Name: Central Bank of Liberia, Account Title: Asset Recovery Account, Account Types: USDS, Account Number: 160-200-3653.

The Commission announced to the general public, two hotline numbers to report acts of corruption, saying the numbers will aid the LACC to ensure that the society is corruption free and protected: Lonestar- 0555-395-728; toll talk free 4048; toll talk free Cellcom-0775-600-050

He said that the LACC will ensure that under the whistleblowers Act, whistleblowers are fully protected from dismissal, punishment, administrative harassment, violence etc.

Cllr Martin at the same time called on the Press Union of Liberia, civil society organizations and the general public to aid the Commission in driving its mandate through.

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