James Verdier Says Removing Tenure Protection for LACC will Weaken Its Authority

BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The executive chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, James Verdier is calling on the government to review the bill seeking to remove the security of tenure from the commission and other integrity institutions.

Speaking on International Anti-Corruption Day in Buchanan, Verdier said removing the protection of tenure from integrity institutions, especially the LACC, will undermine their independence.

“Trying to remove security of tenure from LACC and other integrity institutions is not strengthening the institutions,” he said.

A bill is currently before the Liberia Senate seeking to repeal tenured positions in the executive branch. The bill was submitted to the legislature by President George Weah and has been passed by the House of Representatives.

Currently, the heads of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, the Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Liberia Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative cannot be arbitrarily dismissed by the president. Dismissals must be for specific causes relating to their ability to perform their duties or failure to adhere to specific ethical guidelines and must be approved by the Senate.

Weah had told the lawmakers that the tenured positions are impeding his development agenda. He added that the bill would allow him to exercise all powers necessary and convenient for the effective administration of the executive branch of government.

However, the House of Representatives amended the bill Weah had submitted to exclude the Central Bank of Liberia, the National Elections Commission, and the General Auditing Commission.

Verdier said he is hoping that the Senate will further review the bill in the best interest of the country. If passed, he said the bill will hamper the operations of LACC.

“A non-independent LACC will be useless,” he also said in an interview with The Bush Chicken.

The celebration of International Anti-Corruption Day in Buchanan. Photo: Sampson David

He said the LACC was particularly established to prevent, address, and reduce corruption in the public sector in order to promote good governance, integrity, and the rule of law.

“We also need the government to demonstrate its commitment in fighting corruption by supporting these integrity institutions rather than trying to reduce their strength,” he noted.

Under his watch as head of the LACC, Verdier said the commission has increased its awareness and prosecution of cases as well as trained more investigators.

December 9 each year is observed as International Anti-Corruption Day to create awareness on the danger and effect of corruption.

This year’s celebration brought together several youths and students in Buchanan, Grand Bassa.

Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah

Sampson David

Sampson G. David is a journalist with over eight years of experience. He is a deputy manager at the Diahn-Blae Community Radio Station, a correspondent of the Liberia Broadcasting System, and a sophomore student at Starz College of Science and Technology, studying Management Information Systems.

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