For Non-Compliance to Assets Declaration, CSO Calls Out Pres. Boakai and Cabinet Ministers

By: Laymah Kollie

Monrovia-May 13,2024-: The alleged deliberate actions of new appointees of government to fully declare assets have raise concerns, as Civil Society Organizations are echoing calls to President Joseph Boakai and Cabinet members to fully adhere to the rule of Law.

InfoQuest Liberia, a localCivil Society Organization) on Friday May 10,2024 urged President Boakai to enforce the assets declaration Law by fufilling his campaign promise of publishing his assets.

Recently, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) revealed that only 75 out of 500 presidential appointees have filed their asset declarations.

The National Code of Conduct, enacted by the Legislature on March 31, 2014, is unambiguous in its provisions. Section 10.1 explicitly states that “Every Public Official and Employee of Government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types shall sign performance or financial bonds and shall in addition declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter.”

The Code further mandates in Section 10.2 that these declarations shall be lodged with the respective authorities in the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches, and critically, “such declarations shall be accessible to both the public employer and the general public upon a court order; as well as to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the General Auditing Commission (GAC) for investigative purposes.”

According to Mr. Matthias Yeanay, Executive Director of InfoQuest attributed the action of the government to a flagrant disregard for the National Code of Conduct and a clear violation of the law.

Stressing, that this dereliction of duty by the President’s own appointees undermines the very principles of transparency and accountability that his administration vowed to uphold.

“However, we are deeply troubled that the President has not yet published the details of this asset declaration, despite his campaign promises of promoting openness and public scrutiny in government affairs” he said.

Meanwhile, the CSO then recommended the following to President Joseph Boakai.
“That President Boakai publicly release the complete details of his personal asset declaration, setting an example of true transparency and accountability that he promised the Liberian people, issue a clear and unequivocal directive to all his appointees, mandating them to file their asset declarations within a specified timeframe, even though it is long overdue. Failure to comply should result in swift and appropriate disciplinary action, including suspension and dismissal, if necessary, as a demonstration of the President’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and ethical conduct in public service”.

Infoquest also recommended that the government ensure the LACC and other relevant agencies are empowered and supported to enforce the provisions of the National Code of Conduct without fear or favor, including the authority to investigate and prosecute violators, regardless of their position or political affiliation.

At the same time Initiating a comprehensive review of the asset declaration process and implementing measures to strengthen its effectiveness, transparency, and public accountability, such as regular audits, public reporting requirements, and mechanisms for citizen oversight and participation.

The Organization believes that President Boakai’s inaction on this matter is a grave disservice to the principles of good governance and undermines the public’s trust in his administration’s commitment to ethical leadership and accountability.

“It is time for the President to walk the talk on transparency and accountability, upholding the rule of law and setting a positive example for all public officials and employees across the three branches of government” Matthias said.

He further call on the LACC to publish the names of those in violation of the code of conduct as prescribed in Section 10.1 as naming and shaming is an integral part of fighting corruption and fully implement the sanctions or penalties on violators of the Assets declaration. “We will further like to remind the LACC of its prosecutorial power”

InfoQuest Liberia is a policy research, evidence-based advocacy, social impact and governance Civil Society Organization championing the voices of ordinary citizens of Liberia for good democratic governance under the rule of law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *