President George Manneh Weah, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 updated the United Nations General Assembly on progress being made by his Government in the fight against corruption and graft.
Acknowledging that corruption constitutes a huge challenge in Liberia, the Liberian Leader told the UNGA via zoom that his administration has made enormous strides in purging the country of corruption. He said his commitment in the fight against corruption remains unwavering, evidenced by several anti-corruption measures instituted since assuming office nearly four years ago.
President Weah told the UNGA that he reconstituted the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in 2019 to assess the framework of Liberia’s fight against corruption, with a mandate to submit proposals to his office that can lead to a more effective national regime.
He reaffirmed his zero tolerance stance on corruption, vowing to ensure transparency and accountability across his administration.
The two-day UNGA Session is being convened to discuss challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation.
Besides reconstituting the anti-corruption commission, the President disclosed that several proposals to reform the inadequate legal framework were submitted to the national legislature in late 2020.
“For example, the national Anti-Corruption Commission does not possess powers to exclusively prosecute acts of corruption, and cannot independently compile and verify assets declared by public officials,” President Weah said, noting that it was against that backdrop bills were submitted to the Legislature to strengthen integrity institutions.
“In response to these severely binding constraints on the fight against corruption, I have recently submitted several legal instruments to the National Legislature, seeking to drastically improve the Anti-Corruption Legal Framework in Liberia,” the President briefed the United Nations General Assembly.
He added: “The passage into law of these proposals will make it easier to prevent acts of corruption, and if corruption is committed, easier to ensure accountability.”
Other legal instruments submitted to the National Legislature, the President said, included Vest Direct Prosecution Powers for Acts of Corruption solely in the LACC, Vest Powers to Compile, Verify and Recommend Sanctions in regards to Assets Declarations by Public Officials solely in the LACC, as well as the passage of a Whistleblower’s Act and Establish a Witness Protection Program, amongst many others.
As part of the government’s anti-graft measures, President Weah said, his government ensured that monies stolen from the national coffers were restituted coupled with the convictions of former high-level government officials for acts of grand corruption while in office.
“Most of these positive strides do not get to make the international media,” President Weah said, assuring the UN that his government will continue to re-intensify support to the major anti-graft institutions and engender increased coordination and collaboration.
He declared: “We will also begin to aggressively court international support and collaboration now that we have set into motion the proper legal framework that can lead to a successful anti-corruption fight.”
The Liberian Leader said he was pleased to participate in the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly by virtual to discuss challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation.
He said since the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUPCC were adopted in 2003, the dangerous effects of corruption have been widely documented in various forms across the globe.
The President acknowledged that it has been proven that corruption can have long-term undermining effects on the vibrancy of governance, the stability of economies, and the primacy of the rule of law.
He used the occasion to thank the US Government for the support provided in investigating allegations of missing 16 billion Liberian dollars which was later found to be untrue.