During the close of the 53rd Session of the 53rd Legislature on Thursday, October 15, 2015, one of the issues that may have attracted public attention was the warning to anti-graft institutions in the country by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Alex Tyler.
He strongly warned integrity and anti-graft institutions against what he referred to as politicking and focus on their work, stressing that these institutions must remain within the framework of the law. Though Speaker Tyler mentioned no names, among the major integrity and anti-graft institutions in Liberia are the General Auditing Commission or GAC and Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC.
“The integrity institutions were established to accomplish certain objectives for the country and citizens, void of political coloring, social mechanism or ethnic power play. In other words, that job is to be done for the Liberian people and must be void of prejudice,” said the Speaker, encouraging them to preserve probity and not deviate from their statutory mandates.
Reading between the lines, the Speaker warning and justification may suggest that something is wrong somewhere, i.e., these anti-graft institutions may be involved with politics, seeking the court of public opinions, soliciting ‘street jurors’ and atyee shop pundits, especially in the execution of their duties.
While the Speaker’s warning may be something to share, it may also be against the backdrop of perceived threats from these institutions mandated by the law to ensure accountability and transparency in the utilization of public resources.
Whether or not the warning is impregnated with uneasiness and fear over an investigation into a US$25,000- scandal linking some Members of the House of Representatives, including Tyler himself, insinuating that Liberian integrity and anti-graft institutions were “out of order” from their mandate was unfair and inimical to fighting waste and abuse of public resources.
In pursuance of their goals and objectives, it is no secret that these institutions have and continue to exhibit the highest degree professionalism and nationalism. Speaker Alex Tyler and others should even be extending gratitude to these institutions, as well as augmenting their annual budgets to fast-track the works, other than attempting to publicly denigrate them.
In Tyler’s right mind, no Liberian integrity and anti-graft institution has ever side-step or over-step its mandate; but again, his October 15-warning must be understood as an attempt to discourage these institutions from constructively engaging him and others in the fight against corruption.
But the LACC, GAC and others must never despair, but continue to persevere in consonance with their duties and responsibilities as assigned by the law.