News that the Government of Liberia, through the Grand Jury of Montserrado County, has indicted several former and current government officials happens to be one of the most welcome developments in recent times, especially in the wake of the worrisome turn of events surrounding the late Harry Greaves saga.
From the inception of this current regime in 2006 to present, the issue of corruption has always taken center stage, exemplified by the establishment of several anti-graft and transparency institutions over the years. The main problem has however been with government’s seeming lack of will power to prosecute or follow through on prosecuted cases; not the lack or want of transparency institutions. We have the PPCC, we have the LACC, the GAC, and a horde of intra-agency transparency networks established to checkmate government officials keen on using the backdoor to pilfer and steal from the public coffers. Yet and still, the slithery corruption vampire always finds a way to rear its ugly head under the cover of darkness to steal much needed funds that ought to spur national development programs. In any case, the war on corruption now seems to have taken a dramatic turn when Criminal Court C, acting upon complaints filed by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), issued a writ of arrest on Tuesday against former Commerce Minister Miatta Beyslow; Director of Commerce Steve Flahn-Paye, former LPRC boss T. Nelson Williams, Aaron Whiegar, among others, on charges of economic sabotage, and misapplication of entrusted property in the tune of US$13 million. The current case centers on the controversial Japanese Grant Fund which dispensation also left a whirlwind of controversies at the Foreign Ministry, with a Deputy Foreign Minister and an Assistant Foreign Minister being sacked. It is interesting to note that one of the Tuesday indictees fought hard to escape the claws of justice, through the help of some of our honorable lawmakers. It is also interesting to observe that some of those government officials named in the indictment are currently out of the country. Anyhow, Liberians are now obviously concerned whether this government will exert all efforts to extradite those officials, if they decide not to return. For us at the Capitol Times, there is absolutely no better time than now for this government to show its assertiveness in the fight against corruption. We have often criticized the LACC for being a “toothless bulldog” whose bark is more potent than its bite. Well, the LACC is showing us today that it can bark and bite at the same time. It is our hope, however, that the LACC will pursue other cases from previous GAC reports with the same vigor it is doing with the current case. It is also our ardent hope that the LACC will not be selective in its crusade against corruption; that all those fingered and recommended for prosecution will be accorded their day in court, no matter their station or closeness to the epicenter of power. If the war on corruption must be won, all hands must be placed on deck in this courageous fight. And if the chips fall within the lot of any branch of government, let no one continue to pull the veil off the eyes of Mother Justice.