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With Kiano Gbala’s appointment at LACC, Weah has no intention of fighting Corruption in Liberia

By Socrates Saywon

The Liberian President George Weah’s appointment of Kiano Gbala to the LACC has met criticisms in several quarters amidst corruption allegations of the nominee. Weah is being criticized by civil society organizations including the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia [CENTAL], and political observers for the recent allegations of sleaze allegedly committed by the Commission’s Vice Chairman, Kiano Bai Gbala, who has been named as the acting Director of the integrity organization.

Gbala, who replaced Ndubuisi Nwabudike last week as Chairman have been in news for double dipping, receiving two salaries from the United Nations Development Program or UNDP and the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, observer had thought Weah, given these severe allegations would have deferred appointing Gbala and reasons enough not to have nominated him in the first place, or if possibly, removed him from the integrity institution, “Weah’s latest actions shows he has no intention to fight corruption,” says a pundit.

According to reports, the Executive Director of the LACC, Mr. Mohammed Fahnbulleh had accused Gbala a fortnight ago before his appointment as head of the LACC of damning corruption allegations, in relation to the act of “double dipping” which is against Liberian laws.

Gbala was appointed to the LACC by President George Weah in October 2019. Upon or before his appointment, Gbala had informed the Board of the LACC at the time that he had quitted his job at the UNDP and had tendered in his resignation letter, which recent reports suggest was not the case. He was immediately given a government official vehicle intended for the deputy chairperson and was also included on the LACC payroll, while still getting paid by the United Nations.

Article 90(b) of the Constitution of Liberia states “No person holding a public office shall demand or receive any other prerequisites, emoluments or benefits, directly or indirectly on account of any duty required by the government”.

The corruption saga and the open knowledge of his disregard for the constitution regarding his double dipping has prompted outcries amongst Liberians and also caught the attention of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Liberia’s foremost advocacy group.

In a press statement issued no Thursday, March 4, 2021, the body said: it expresses grave concern over recent allegations of corruption involving the Vice-Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala and Executive Director, Mohammed E. Fahnbulleh. CENTAL noted that such allegations are extremely troubling and damaging to the image of an institution of government leading the fight against corruption in Liberia – and if the LACC must maintain its credibility as an entity of government-mandated to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption, as well as educate the public about the ills of corruption and the benefits of its eradication, the Commission and the Government of Liberia must do everything to ensure that the allegations are timely investigated to establish the truthfulness or falsity of the matter.

Main Photo: Kiano Gbala /Smart News

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