MONROVIA, Montserrado – The executive chairman of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, James Verdier, says there is no record on President George Weah’s assets from when he served as senator.
Verdier made the disclosure on Wednesday, July 4 on OK FM.
“Since the inception of the Weah administration, the LACC does not have a considerable number of public officials who have declared their assets,” he said.
According to him, the refusal of government officials to declare their assets is a violation of the Code of Conduct.
Section 10. 1 of the law mandates every public official and employees involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement and issuance of licenses of various types to declare their income, assets, and liabilities prior to taking office.
But the LACC executive chairman noted that the law has been violated by government officials. He also said the commission “does not also have record on any member of the 53rd legislature who has declared their assets including Weah, who was the then-senator for Montserrado.”
He added: “The LACC has experienced serious non-compliance of assets declaration from officials of the executive, legislature, and judiciary.”
But while Verdier recognized that the law was being broken, he said his agency did not have the power to enforce the Code of Conduct.
“The mandate to enforce the Code of Conduct is in the purview of heads of various branches of government and not the LACC,” Verdier said.
The Code of Conduct is meant to be enforced by the Office of the Obudsman, however, Weah has not appointed any officials to head the commission.
Verdier clarified a common public misconception that the law sets the last Friday of July each year as a deadline for assets declaration. That deadline, he said, is for public officials who might be re-declaring their assets and not for those declaring theirs for the first time. According to the law, officials are also required to declare their assets again at the moment they are promoted to another office.
Since assuming office on January 22, there have been numerous calls from civil society for Weah to not only declare his assets but to also require his appointees to do so. However, the president has taken no actions in that direction.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah