LACC New Look: An opinion by Herbert G. Johnson

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) might have changed course under the leadership of Chairman James Verdier but the trend has not affected the agency from robustly carrying out its mandate. The LACC was quite a noisy environment during the reign of Frances Johnson-Allison. People embroiled in corruption allegations had accused the former leadership of witch-hunt, a situation which witnessed the Commission locked up in multiple corruption cases in endless fashions.

Comparatively however; the appointment of Verdier to head the LACC has not only changed the usual confrontational approach, it has reinforced the mandate in assisting the regime in the fight against corruption. Whether this fight is yielding any fruition remains a solemn question as officials of Government continue to cruise in expensive vehicles while majority of Liberians continue to dwell under harsh conditions.

The Commission mandate has not changed though but the adopted approach in enhancing the fight is noteworthy indeed. LACC however does not venture out looking for cases except they are reported.

In past, and with accompanying publicity spree; those accused of corruption were quickly arranged for prosecution without an unregulated in-house inquest. Consequence of this trend witnessed waste of public resources due to prolonged court trails that resulted into the Commission’s failure to provide compelling evidence.

Under the Verdier administration, there has been many cases of corruption forwarded the LACC.  Rather than engaging in publicity stunt over these reported cases, the ant-graft institution has chosen to invite those implicated through written communications as a way of getting an initial insight.

A case in point of the Verdier administration’s excellent display of authority surrounds a recent case involving three senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who were suspended in July of this year by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and turned over to the LACC for prosecution.

Those turned over include Deputy Minister Una Kumba Thompson, Consul General William Greaves, and Comptroller James Quiqui. The three were reportedly suspended for financial transactions that run unfavourable to the Public Financial Management Laws of Liberia.

In exhibiting efficiency the Commission immediately communicated separately with the accused, inviting them for hearing at its head offices on Gurley Street.

Following weeks of cross-examination the anti-graft agency came out with findings, accompanying by recommendations. Key among these recommendations, according to our understanding includes the reinstatement of the Comptroller.

As an astute bureaucrat, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Augustine Nganfua  did not hesitate in reinstating James Quiqui to his position, thereby restoring his rights and privileges.

This particular saga sends a great message to those Liberians who hastily vilify others the moment allegations of corruption and other mal practises have been levied.

The only agency responsible by statute to probe corruption allegations is the LACC.  Liberians must give chance to the anti-graft agency to freely exercise this statutory mandate.  Contrary to this would only undermine the good work embarked upon by the Verdier-led LACC.

The Liberia Ant

Mr. James Quiqui, Comptroller at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was suspended by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for financial misappropriation along with two other senior officials of the ministry has started work following his re-instatement by Foreign minister Augustine Nganfua.

Mr. Quiqui’s re-instatement followed outcome of an investigation conducted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

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