Liberia Anti-Corruption Chief Expresses Fear For His Life, Tells VOA

Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin

This Executive Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin says his life has been threatened by unknown individuals since the Legislators decided to dismantle the LACC and create a new one.

Speaking via mobile phone to the Voice of America,  Cllr. Martin expressed fear of his  life, nothing that the move by the Legislators to dismantle the LACC is geared towards underming the fight against corruption.

Since his ascendancy as Chairperson of the Commission, Cllr. Martin has been fearless in the prosecution of government officials who were allegedly linked to corruption, including the Minister of Agriculture.

Speaking further, Cllr. Martin however told the VOA that he will seek legal means to further his case.

The LACC boss is said to be in hiding, this is according to top sources. And when Smart News contacted him by phone this morning for comment, he would not speak, and he would not respond to our text messages.

It appears the scheme to take down the LACC team first showed its head at the recently concluded cabinet retreat in Ganta City; where Edwin Kla Martin was grilled for almost an hour on his activities while other officials were given just five minutes to speak.

The LACC Boss has abhorred the decision to dissolve the commissioners of the institution in a so-called amended act, noting this situation is ‘unjust’.

That was a rare critical rebuke according to the paper after President Weah requested in 2021 that the legislature adopt a minor adjustment to the 2008 LACC Act to give the commission direct power to prosecute.

However, the legislature chose to abolish the statute rather than amend it — even though the move granted the re-established LACC direct and immediate Prosecutorial Power, which it presently has, but with restrictions.

Martin said in the interview: “We are taken aback by the conduct of the Legislature to do a restatement of the law which, in itself, is to dissolve, abrogate and negate the relevant and the adequate effectiveness of the 2008 Act.

“I will challenge the new law in court. You cannot dissolve a tenured position to create another. Their action is not only a violation of the law but it provides a signal for a witch-hunt.”

The paper quoted the LACC boss as stating that the new bill, if signed into law by the President, would never be in the best interests of the country, but only of a small group of people who do not want to see corruption cease or be reduced in Liberia.

He noted that the sole flaw in the LACC Act of 2008 is the absence of prosecutorial authority for the Commission to move to court without the Ministry of Justice’s three-month (90-day) review clause on cases presented by LACC.

“For the Legislature to dissolve the clause that gave us tenure position of five years to say ‘upon the appointment of the new commissioners thorough vetting, the old Commissioners are no more in service,’ leads us to ask the question: why only the LACC’s tenure clause should be tampered with at this time? We will want to know and the court is the right place to deal with this illegal attempt.”

And appears Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin has fallen out with his best friends, said one political observer he claimed Cllr. Martin was actually appointed by the Weah team to do a cover-up at the LACC.

The political observer says because of Cllr. Martin has allegedly chosen ‘good over evil’, he has become a target of his former friends.

He stated that it is now in the court of President Weah to assure Liberians that the LACC boss is safe and would be protected from his alleged hunters.

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