(LINA) – The Liberian Senate, the upper house of the National Legislature, has voted to maintain nine tenure positions for integrity institutions in government.
The institutions are the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, National Elections Commission (NEC), Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Internal Audit Agency, Liberian Human Rights Commission, Central Bank of Liberia and Civil Service Commission.
The Senators voted Tuesday in Plenary in the Senate’s Chamber on Capitol Hill to keep the positions.
Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie, has setup an Ad-Hoe Committee to further investigate relevant tenure positions and report to Plenary in one week.
According to Pro-Tempore Chie, all nominations to tenure positions will be halted until the Act to repeal all laws creating tenure positions in the Executive Branch of government are passed.
The House of Representatives repealed the Act creating tenure positions with ten integrity institutions to serve for three years rather than five years, including the Liberia Revenue Authority.
Pro-Tempore Chie stated that the committee’s report in one week will provide further understanding to determine if the Liberian Senate will concur with the House of Representatives.
It can recalled that the House of Representatives passed an Act scraping tenure positions within the Executive Branch of government, retaining that of the General Auditing Commission (GAC), Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the National Elections Commission (NEC).
This move by the House appears to validate President George Manneh Weah’s unease at working with officials holding tenure positions at other integrity institutions like the Liberia Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC) and Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) that were established in previous administrations to help strengthen governance and fight corruption.
After losing some legal challenges at the Supreme Court for appointing people to tenured positions that are still being occupied by officials appointed by his predecessor, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Mr. Weah submitted a bill to the Legislature in October calling for the cancellation of tenure positions within the Executive Branch.
The Act passed at the House of Representatives cancels all other tenure positions as requested, except that it exempts those at GAC, NEC and CBL, and wants positions at the PPCC and LACC to be reviewed.
The Good Governance Reform and Judiciary, a joint committee to whom the Act was assigned on November 6, 2018, says the purpose of the bill is to correct the inadequate and inconsistent manner in which the Legislature awarded tenure to government institutions in the past.
The committee states that it conducted a hearing on 14 November for the purpose of inquiry as to why the House of Representatives should pass the Act prohibiting the tenure of public officials within the Executive Branch of government.
During the hearing, the committee says some stakeholders were invited, following which the committee recommended that the bill be renamed ‘Tenure in Government Act.
‘The report recommends that the last sentence of the bill should read: ‘that the following institutions are exempted from Section 1 of this Act and their tenure remain in force as per statue; General Auditing Commission, National Elections Commission and Executive Governor, Deputy Governor and members of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia.”
It says the tenure for all integrity institutions, including Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and Public Procurement and Concessions Commission should be revisited in separate legislations in accordance with Article 35 of the Constitution, to the extent that international protocols or conventions to which Liberia has acceded call for such tenure.