The General Overseer of the Restoration Baptist Ministries, Rev. Gardea Johnson says “the fight against corruption had never been and is presently not an honest and sincere fight,” while calling for the resignation and investigation of the head of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr James Verdier.
The call for the resignation and probe of the LACC’s boss follows a number of audit reports and other reports of financial and administrative scams at the country’s anti-graft agency in recent times.
Some of the revelations were made by the Deputy Chairman of the LACC, Cllr Augustine Toe himself.
Rev. Johnson has spoken of the need for the LACC, the Government and all Liberians to together be more serious and honest about the fight against corruption.
“We believe that the fight against corruption had never been and is presently not an honest and sincere fight!!! Most of the major players involved in leading the fight against corruption are dishonest individuals and this will bring no results in the fight against corruption,” Pastor Johnson said.
The outspoken Baptist cleric has cited the failure of public officials in the current CDC led government to declare their assets six months after taking office as an example of the dishonesty and insincerity about the fight against corruption.
Despite repeated criticisms, President Weah and his officials have failed to declare their assets since taking office on January 22 this year in violation of the National Code of Conduct.
According to Article 10.1 of the Code of Conduct:
“Every Public Official and Employee of Government involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types shall sign performance or financial bonds and shall, in addition, declare his or her income, assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter: a. at the end of every three years; b. on promotion or progression from one level to another; c. upon transfer to another public office; and d. upon retirement or resignation.”
In a press statement issued on Monday, The Restoration Baptist Ministries – RBM through the General Overseer, Pastor Johnson said he believes that if the LACC and the Government are to succeed in the fight against corruption, the following actions must be considered now:
1. The head of the LACC must resign and be investigated for corruption. It has reached our knowledge, that which is an open secret, the head of the LACC is accused by his fellow commissioners for stealing and misappropriation. We believe if the head of the fight against corruption is accused of stealing it is very serious and must be investigated and investigated now! Our nation can’t be fighting corruption with an alleged corrupt head leading the fight. We think that this is one of the many reasons the LACC is refusing to take corrupt cases to court because they don’t have the moral ground to do so even though the laws permit them to do so.
2. Public Officials should and must declare their assets. We emphatically encourage the declaration of assets of all required public officials. For it is a giant step toward the fight against corruption. Public officials in the Restoration Baptist Ministries – RBM congregation are ready to declare their assets and we promised that the church will ensure that they do so. The church understands that assets declaration is not an optional thing in the fight against corruption but a matter of must!
3. The LACC should work with the National Election Commission to ensure that individuals who are being investigated for corruption or linked with a corruption scandal must be investigated and proven not guilty before participating in any electoral process; those guilty of corruption should not participate in any electoral process. Criminals and alleged criminals names or images must not be printed on any bullet paper! No one succeeds in the fight against corruption with corrupt people. We as a church also advised that the recommendations from the Special Presidential Committee on the Global Witness report be implemented to set the basis for accountability and the fight against corruption. We at RBM promised where it is possible, the church will help.
4. This Government and future governments must not appoint, select, recommend and re-appoint any individual who is guilty of corruption or any individual who has not been investigated of allegations of corruption.
The four-man delegation from the LACC, which was headed by Rev. James K. Kingsley, called on religious institutions all around the country to help fight this disease that is killing our country.
Rev. Kingsley explained that the religious institutions can be great and powerful partners in the fight against corruption.
He promised that LACC is willing at all times to work with religious leaders and institutions to fight corruption.
Rev. James K. Kingsley also explained that the Restoration Baptist Ministries was among three churches visited on Sunday to create the awareness and lunch the anti-corruption month. The other churches according to him were the St. Peter Lutheran Church on 14th Street Sinkor and the Providence Baptist Church on Broad and Ashmun Streets.