One of the surest ways to deal with the “vampire” is through the courts by prosecuting those accused.
Under the Liberian jurisprudence, the Attorney General of Liberia who is also the Minister of Justice is clothed with the statutory responsibility to execute this function but in consultation with the office of the President.
This aspect of the legal process that requires presidential approval to prosecute has consistently undermined the work of the Attorney General especially so, when cronies of the president are on the hook.
Hence, the Political Leader of the opposition Liberty Party, Cllr. Charles Walker, is mulling over the prospect of making the Attorney General and Minister of Justice an independent post in order to avoid influence from the appointing power.
The LP flag bearer spoke when he appeared on the maiden edition of Capitol Breakfast talkshow on Capitol FM, Monday, January 11, 2016 in Monrovia.
According to the learned lawyer, by doing this, the Attorney General shall be empowered to execute his duties as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.
“Corruption is an inborn tendency but we must do everything within our power to deal with it,” he said.
Cllr. Brumskine believes that this will set the basis for the Chief Prosecutor of the government to handle these matters with utmost professionalism and due diligence without fear of receiving a call from a higher-up who has the authority to decide the Attorney General’s fate.
Recently, the Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. James Verdier, told newsmen at the Ministry of Information regular press briefing that he usually receives calls from “above” whenever he wants to prosecute people accused of corruption.
“I wanted to prosecute a certain individual but there was a call to hold on. This is embarrassing,” the LACC boss said. He however did not say which case.
He averred such interference from “above” always puts the graft watchdog in a tight position to fight malpractices in government.
Legal minds have opined that Cllr. Brumskine’s statement is the right step in the right direction.
Globally, in Israel, for example, the Attorney General post is an independent appointed position which is one of the most important and influential in the Israeli democracy, and a central institution in the framework of the Israeli legal system.
The Liberty Party political leader’s statement comes at a time when the LACC is biting tooth and nail to get exclusive prosecutorial power in order to enhance its work.
As president, Cllr. Brumskine said he would not entertain his justice minister seeking his approval to indict or prosecute people close to the presidency who corrupt the system.
He affirmed that unless the attorney general is an independent advisor to the president, there will always be problem for the government. He did not however say how he intends to make this happen.
The opposition politician says his party has developed the framework to even bring his presidency under scrutiny.