MONROVIA: For the second time in a row, the Liberian Senate has denied confirming members of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) appointed by President Weah on the cusp of the 2023 presidential and general elections. Astonishingly and disappointingly for the nominees, the adjournment of the second constituency break of the 54th Legislature’s 6th and final session saw the Upper House divided to the extent that a group of “like-minded” senators forced the hands of Presiding Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie to call for a one-hour break during yesterday’s adjournment in the hope of using the break to convince other senators to jump aboard the pro-confirmation band and reach the needed quorum.
“The floor suggested that the presiding officer does not have the number. So, he called for a one-hour break, maybe hoping he can do more consultation, or hoping that some of us who are standing up against this would get tired and go home. But like the music writer says: we’re not going anywhere, we’re right here,” Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County told the media during the one-hour break.
According to Dillon, the group of like-minded opposition senators could not sit idly by and allow the constitution to be flouted for the sake of political expediency.
“Today is the final session. We have problems with the LACC confirmation, and I think, the law we passed as an institution, we should respect it. The LACC Act says the LACC will be the new repository of assets declaration. They will hold people accountable, and possibly punish people through the courts if they under-declare, if they falsely declare; and they will compel compliance.
“The new LACC law says people nominated on the LACC should declare their assets before they are confirmed. We have not seen any such asset declaration. That’s Section 6.8 of the LACC Act,” Senator Dillon said emphatically.
The tough-talking senator who has come to be called “the light” with the national legislature noted that Section 6.12 of the LACC Act says that no two commissioners should come from the same county, sitting on the commission at the same time.
“Majority of the nominees come from the same county. It is utterly wrong for us to knowingly confirm these people to the institution that is supposed to be ensuring integrity in the country.
“The sitting commissioner, David Wilson, is from Rivercess County. Dave Wilson has been renominated. The nominated chair, Alexandra Zoe, is from Rivercess. There are other nominees here, more than one, from Montserrado. The law is against that. We who passed this law, for God’s sake, for once, we cannot allow this to happen,” Senator Dillon lamented.
The group of opposition “like-minded” senators who stood in the way of the LACC nominees’ confirmation included the likes of Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Montserrado County Abraham Darius Dillon, Maryland County James Biney, Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay, Rivergee Senator Boye-Charles Sogbie, Senator Conmany Wesseh, and Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo.