War Begins On Corruption Now
-Solicitor-General Designate Declares
Liberia’s uncompromising Solicitor-General Designate, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus has assured Liberians that the mandate given to him by President George Manneh Weah will definitely be implemented to its full strength.
“Today, we have come at the threshold of that promise, and without any stupor, wish to reiterate and declare that the war on corruption begins not later, not hereafter, not tomorrow but now.”“Immediately upon receipt of the Letter of Patent as ADDITIONAL COUNSEL in the face of our pending confirmation as Solicitor General of the Republic of Liberia, we have commenced the following actions:
“A critical and comprehensive review of all reports that were submitted by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission against individuals on allegation of corruption and mismanagement of public funds for personal gains in which no action has been taken, has begun, and all those whose names and titles have decorated all of the audit reports will be invited by a team of well-trained criminal investigators and seasoned State Prosecutors to determine two basic priority questions, namely (1) restitutions and possible prosecution where the evidence is compelling and incontrovertible; and (2) further investigation only when necessary,” Cllr. Cephus said.
Addressing a press conference in Monrovia at the Ministry of Information Thursday, the revolutionary criminal lawyer said, all those whose names are spread out in the GAC audit reports, LACC investigation, including but not limited to the Executive Mansion Renovation Project and NOCAL will be formally invited and their names will be published in the media as a form of notice, and in the event of noncompliance on the part of any invitee, viewed as egregious purposely to undermine the war on corruption, abuse and mismanagement in public places, appropriate legal actions leading to the drawing up of indictments and possible arrest and prosecution will be taken.
He clarified that based on the amounts involved, accused persons will have the opportunity to make restitution to avoid going through long litigation that could cause more than the amount sued for, and perhaps, more embarrassment for the would-be accused.
As if well determined to fight corruption in the country, the newly designated Solicitor-General declared that because of the seriousness government attaches to the fight against corruption, the prosecution will make full use, without fear and favor, the Provisional Remedy Law passed by the National Legislature in 2013, which gives “us the power to apply to the courts of Liberia to seize and freeze all suspected assists of those found culpable”.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, we have instructed that consistent with the principles of due process, all reports that have already been reviewed and in which draft indictments have been drawn and finalized for onward submission to the Grand Jury, should be tabled for now until all those name therein are invited and given the progressive offer of making restitution”.
According to him, any arrest and prosecution of any auditee will be based on the choice of the auditee meaning, she/he will decide whether to go court and face public disgrace or quietly make restitution and walk away in peace.
“For example, if an auditee decides to go to court which is his/her right, we will turn that person over to the police to be processed (finger printed, photographed, charged) and then sent to court where a formal writ of arrest will be issued , served and returned and then the auditee will be sent to the Monrovia Central Prison where he/she will remain until the appropriate criminal appearance bond is filed, excepted to, argued before that person can be released.”
Cllr. Cephus added that during the inaugural address of President George Manneh Weah on January 22, 2018, the President emphasized his government’s willingness to fight corruption in public places, and promised that anyone caught in corrupt acts will face the full weight of the law.
“Thousands of Liberians at that historic ceremony cheered him on, so too was other Liberians all around the world. But those who are quite knowledgeable about Liberia and its history of abuses, waste and rampant corruption in its governance system decided to adopt a play-wait and see posture whether in avowed commitment of the fullness of time, the regime will be able to match its avowed commitment to fight corruption in public places with action.”
“Today, we have come at the threshold of that promise, and without any stupor, wish to reiterate and declare that the war on corruption begins not later, not hereafter, not tomorrow but now.”