MONROVIA: In line with its mandate given to outgoing officials of government to declare their assets and other financial information, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has said it is receiving cooperation from the officials to the effect that as at December 12, 2023, which was the deadline set for full compliance, close to 100 declarations from officials across Ministries, agencies and commissions have submitted their respective declarations.
Addressing a press conference at the Headquarters of LACC in Sinkor yesterday, Thursday, December 14, 2023, the Executive Vice Chairperson and Acting Vice Chairperson Ernest Hughes said that though deadline for government officials to declare assets and other financial information expired on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, the commission was aware that several government officials are currently away from the country on official business and have been unable to declare their assets or other financial information.
“Given that Liberia’s current declaration system does not support remote declarations, i.e. a declarant must come in person to our offices, we encourage those officials away on official duties to come to LACC and comply immediately on their return. This is not an extension of the deadline, rather an opportunity to provide those government officials an opportunity to comply”, he said.
Vice Chairman Hughes said the next steps the commission is currently occupied with right now is compiling a list of compliant and non-compliant government officials, adding that beginning next week, the LACC will publish listings of compliant and non-compliant government officials. He maintained that LACC will follow a stagger approach and will publish the listing as follows: Ministries, Autonomous Agencies and Commissions, then Judiciary and Legislature branches, and finally the Executive branch of government.
“The LACC applauds all government officials complying with this mandate. We encourage government officials that have not done so to file a financial asset disclosure as soon as possible”, he said.
Responding to a question what the commission was going with respect to the sanctions placed on some government officials recently, Mr. Hughes said they have gotten in contact the US Embassy near Monrovia with the view of understanding the issues and making a determination what next to do “using our internal processes and will get back to you on the next decision to be taken”.
He told the officials who intend to declare their assets to kindly visit the LACC office in Congo Town to pick up the forms or visit the LACC website at www.lacc.gov.lr to download a form as well as contacting Patricia Barnaby at email@example.com or at 0886498725 to collect forms or obtain more information on the declaration process.
With reference to the concerns being raised on why assets are not publicly declare, Hughes cited Section 5.2 (iii) of the 2022 Amended Act of the LACC, thus, “allow or deny access to such declarations upon application to the Commission, subject to the condition that the commission shall make disclosure of a person’s declaration only where the Commission is satisfied that such disclosure is in the interest of the general public or where such disclosure is mandated/required by a court order.