LIBERIA: Lower House, Senate Concur On Code of Conduct

The House of Representatives Thursday concurred with the Liberian Senate on the passage the Code of Conduct Act, with adjustments.

The Representatives made the concurrence after the Joint Committees on Governance and Government Reform submitted their report on the Code of Conduct Bill to Plenary.

According to the Liberia News Agency (LINA), after period of argument, 36 voted in favor of passage of the bill, while one voted against.

There were 36 absentees, but the rules of the House state that 30 members form a quorum to do business.

In the report, the Joint Committees on Governance and Government Reform, however, passed the bill with some adjustments.

The adjustments include the establishment of an Ombudsman with responsibility for oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the Code of Conduct, and also to receive complaints on public officials and employees of government who violate the Code.

The Ombudsman will also submit the names of violators to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Ministry of Justice or any other relevant agency of government.

The President of Liberia shall appoint the Ombudsman, who will then be confirmed by the Liberia Senate.

Another adjustment made in the Bill states that all appointed government officials wanting to contest for elected positions in government must resign at least three years prior to the date of the election.

In the case of vacancy for an elected official, any appointee of government that offers to take up such elected position must resign three months prior to the date of the by-election.

They further indicated that assets declared to the relevant authorities within the three branches of government must be made accessible to both public employers and the general public, in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act or a court order.  

The Bill, which was submitted to the National Legislature in 2009 by the Executive Branch of government, was passed by the Liberian Senate last year and sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.

The Code of Conduct is intended to guide the activities of government officials as a way of ensuring check and balance.

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