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Ensuing Prosecution Of Past ‘Corrupt’ Officials A Warning To Current

MONROVIA, June 25 (LINA) – The Office of President George Weah says the raging war against corruption as amplified by the moves to probe Sirleaf-era officials named in authorized audit reports is a clear warning to those in the current Administration that: “What goes around comes around.”

In recent weeks, President Weah commissioned a special prosecuting body dubbed the “Assets Recovery Team” (ART), headed by solicitor general designate Syrenius Cephus, to review findings of previous audits conducted of various government institutions and officials by the General Auditing Commission (GAC).

ART, in consultations with the Ministry of Justice, is expected to take prosecutorial actions where it finds it legally prudent having satisfy all the preliminary formalities.

President Weah, it can be recalled, emphasized in a meeting with some citizens on Unification Day at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he had consulted with the Liberian Senate and there was a possibility to review and institute subsequent legal actions in cases of alleged financial improprieties dating back to ten years.

Up to a total of US$500 million, an equivalence of the country’s national budget was estimated to have been siphoned allegedly by some officials and institution of the previous government.

Speaking to Executive Mansion reporters Tuesday, Deputy Press Secretary Smith Toby said that the President continues to lead the charge against corruption as he (Weah) has since promised on the day he took office.

Toby said while current government officials are not immune to prosecution where a palpable cause has been determined by prosecutors or an integrity body, “The President is not going to act simply based on rumors or perceived corruption.”

He said: “President Weah’s quest is to fight corruption head-on, therefore the leader has warned people working in his Administration that they will not be spared if caught in the act.”

The reason for that warning is because the President is upbeat about the stemming public sector corruption but that will be based on investigation and culpability, he emphasized.

With a seemingly politically polarized society, the corruption perception amongst the population is broadly high, as people in street corners, entertainment centers, and on commercial vehicles would often be locked in assumptions that government officials are (automatically) corrupt or dishonest.

Given the gullible nature of a considerable portion the country’s population, widespread illiteracy as well as the lack of proper personal investigation, analysts say the government should now do all in its reach to win the war against corruption, if it must restore increased public confidence in officials and the workings of institutions.