Senate Amends Code of Conduct

MONROVIA – Apparently learning some lessons from the lacuna in the Code of Conduct which was highlighted in the Supreme Court ruling cleared some officials to contest the 2017 elections, the Senate on Thursday, June 30, 2022 voted to amend Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct for public officials and employees of government relative to contesting elective positions in the country and has been forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

According to a press statement from the upper chambers of the National Legislature, the Amendment seeks to impose upon certain appointed officials of the Government of Liberia and certain officials of corporations owned by the Government of Liberia and certain officials of entities established by the Legislature to resign their employment with the Government of Liberia, its corporations and entities at least (1) year before the date of any election for which any such official intends to contest.

The release stated that the Amendment, when passed into law, will reduce the resignation period from two (2) years for officials appointed at the pleasure of the President and three (3) years for officials with tenure to one (1) year.

 “Also contained in the amendment is that there shall be absolute compliance on the part of any person in the aforementioned category, as substantial compliance will not be allowed as was in the case of some officials in 2017, who benefited from the Supreme Court ruling of being in substantial compliance, even though they did not resign in time as stated in the 2014 Code of Conduct.

“The Amendment also empowers any person or organization to challenge before the National Elections Commission the eligibility of a person described in Section 2 of the law, who has not timely resigned his/her position in order to be eligible for an elective office and the burden shall be on the person who intends to contest for the elective office to prove that he/she has timely resigned.

The release from the upper house further said that in keeping with the Amendment, the National Elections Commission shall, on its own and not necessarily on the application of any other person or organization, reject the application of any person who falls in violation, and the burden shall be on the person to prove otherwise to the National Elections Commission.

The decision of the Senate was said to be predicated on a report submitted by its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims & Petitions headed by Grand Cape Mount County Senator, Cllr. Varney Sherman.

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