BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission has concluded a regional consultative meeting in Buchanan, ahead of a National Anti-Corruption Conference slated for September 15-16.
LACC is one of the agencies responsible for leading the implementation of Liberia’s anti-corruption strategy, including investigating and prosecuting corrupt officials in the public sector and preventing and educating the citizens and public sector about corruption and its effects.
Participants at the Sept. 3 meeting were drawn from five counties, including Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, and River Cess.
LACC’s controversial chair, Ndubusi Nwabudike, addressed the program. Speaking at the program in Buchanan, Nwabudike said the purpose of the consultative meeting was to solicit the views of the citizens on the issue of corruption.
“Our focus in integrity institutions is to look at the way we perceive corruption and then to look at new strategies for fighting corruption,” he said.
He noted that the manner and form in which corruption is being discussed across the country shows that citizens see corruption to be rampant in the society, but the question remains as to what factor leads to the perception of corruption.
“It is important because perception is feeling,” he said. “It is important that we assure that when we say there is corruption, the information that guides us to make that conclusion is correct and accurate; otherwise, our perceptions will be wronged.”
Nwabudike told the gathering that the LACC wants citizens to identify corruption, report it, and help design new strategies that will be used to fight corruption in the interest of the country.
The participants were drilled through modules that focused on improving the legal framework in the fight against corruption, enhancing citizens’ confidence and participation in the fight against corruption, and the impact of political will in the fight against corruption.
Delegates proffered several recommendations at the end of the conference, including:
- The establishment of special courts in each county to try corrupt officials and individuals
- Greater punishment for corrupt public officials
- The need for LACC to ensure that all public officials (appointed and elected) declare their assets before taking offices
- Passing a law to ensure that corruption charges are non-bailable
- Speedy passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act
- Allowing assets of corrupt officials to be seized by law
- Banning corrupt officials from public offices
- A stronger political will in fighting corruption that translates to fully supporting anti-corruption institutions.
Meanwhile, Nwabudike’s continual role as head of the LACC has irked civil society leaders and lawmakers. Many, like Montserrado’s Sen. Darius Dillon, have called on Pres. George Weah to dismiss Nwabudike after the Liberia National Bar Association expelled him for his failure to prove his Liberian citizenship, a requirement for practicing law in Liberia.
Prior to the LNBA’s action, Weah had withdrawn Nwabudike’s nomination to chair the National Elections commission after he could not convince senators about his Liberian citizenship during his confirmation hearing.
Sen. Dillon has pointed out that the act creating the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission requires citizenship to serve on the commission.
Featured photo by Sampson David