The chairperson of Liberia's
Anti-Corruption Commission says her commission is committed to fighting President Ellen
Johnson Sirleaf's declared war on corruption.
In her inaugural address, President
Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female president made the fight
against corruption a top priority. But
after three years in office, her critics say corruption has instead become
intertwined in the Liberian political fabric as the president finds herself
surrounded by corrupt officials or corruption-related scandals.
are suggesting that unless the president intensifies the fight against
corruption, it could hurt her chances for re-election in 2011.
Anti-Corruption Chairperson Frances Johnson-Morris said her
commission has already begun investigating alleged cases of corruption.
are preparing ourselves, building capacity and in fact we have begun
investigation into some alleged acts corruption that have come to our
attention," she said.
Johnson Morris said some of the cases her
commission is looking into involved some government officials as well as
of the cases is the case involving the Managing Director of the Liberia
Telecommunication Authority (LTA). The managing director of the LTA is being
investigated by us. We are also looking into other cases brought to us by
private individuals about alleged illegal acquisition of property by some very
low-level government functionary," she Johnson Morris said.
would not elaborate further because she said the commission's modus operandi
requires it to keep all investigations confidential until it can establish
prima facie cause to go public.
Morris said her commission and President Ellen Johnson's government have the
political will to carry on the fight against corruption.
believe all Liberians want to fight corruption and they all want to see to it
that corruption is brought to a minimal or eradicated. The fact that the
commission has been established through legislative enactment to me suggests
that there is political will on the part of the government to fight
corruption," Johnson Morris said.
as more and more corruption cases are revealed, critics say corruption has
instead become intertwined in the Liberian political fabric.
Morris said those asking for tangible proof that her commission is serious
about the fight against corruption must first understand its responsibilities.
we have the primary responsibility to investigate acts of corruption which we
have started as I stated earlier, the responsibility to prosecute lies first
and foremost with the ministry of justice. Under the Act, we need to submit our
findings and our report to the ministry of justice and ask them to prosecute.
When and if the ministry fails to prosecute a giving matter submitted to it by
the commission, it is at point only that the commission can go and begin to
prosecute," Johnson Morris said.
said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf''s government has been supporting the
commission in the short time since it was created.
think the government has done well in providing us what we need to commence our
work. I should also say that the commission was established in 2008 August
after the budgetary process had already been concluded. In the interim, the
government has been providing money support as we have requested them to keep
us up until the next fiscal period 2009-2010 which begins July 2009," Johnson
Morris said Liberia's international partners have also been supportive of her
commission by providing technical and logistical support because the partners
consider the fight against corruption paramount.