Lofa County lawmaker Clarence Massaquoi has called the attention of the House plenary to look into the situation of the Presidential Task Force for assuming the authority to clear audit inductees without notifying the relevant institutions. The Special Presidential Taskforce was set up by President Sirleaf to investigate former and current government officials indicted for bribery and corruption in the country by the GAC and PAC.
It is against this backdrop, in 2014 to 2015 the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) conducted Public hearing and submitted two reports to the president for implementation. The president forwarded these reports to the task force to advise her. The task force in its initial publication released a list of people and firms and ordered those concerned to restitute amount as indicated by the PAC recommendation within thirty days (October 17-November 16), a report says. Surprisingly, Rep. Massaquoi said, in its second publication the Presidential Task Force recently cleared some individuals who were indicted by the GAC and PAC from the audit report without any reference to the Legislature and GAC. He made the statement in a communication sent to the House on Thursday July 13, expressing that it is even more troubling to know that the clearing of people from the audit reports was not acted upon by the Public Accounts Committee. “Reports in this category include the Community Infrastructure Development (CIAD) under the Ministry of Public Works and the Micro Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) of the Minister of Commerce. I see this as a gross affront to the Legislature, and an act to undermine the fight against corruption in the country”, he added. The head of the Special Presidential Task Force, Fonati Koffa, on an assignment to probe the Global Witness report disclosed that more people will be prosecuted as the Task Force gets set to review audit reports from the General Auditing Commission of Liberia. "It is time for the Ministry of State to take its usually supporting role because it has become active prosecutor of persons who have been indicted, and I expect by next week, more people will be indicted. We must now turn that role over to the agency statutorily responsible for prosecution, which is the Ministry of Justice", Cllr Fonati Koffa said. Speaking during a press conference held at the Ministry of Information, the Presidential Task Force head noted that the Task Force will give needed assistance to the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission in compiling pieces of evidence gathered that will enable prosecutors obtain a verdict favorable to the state. He said it is impossible for one agency of government to probe corruption cases, thus the need to set up a body like the Special Presidential Task Force cannot be underrated, calling for the support of everyone in curtailing the menace. "The President has been concerned about the mounting GAC Reports simply because the Ministry of Justice is actively involved in prosecution while the LACC is focused on investigating matters it receives on a daily basis", he mentioned. He added that old reports from the GAC that have not been investigated or prosecuted will be looked through for compliance screening measure. Meanwhile the plenary of the lower House has order its Chief Clerk to communicate the decision of the House to the Executive for the appearance of the head of the task force to answer questions relating to the action of his Committee.