LIBERIA: ANTI-CORRUPTION EDUCATION IS VITAL TO THE CAUSE
The Executive Director of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission(LACC), Cllr. Alexandra K. Zoe, has said the LACC under her leadership will continue to build synergies with both local and international institutions to reduce the space and opportunity for the illicit flow of stolen assets.
Making remarks at the opening of a four-day training on Financial Crimes Investigation and Case Monitoring at Carona Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, Clltr. Zoe, on behalf of the LACC and Board of Commissioners, extended their sincere thanks and appreciation to the leadership of the International Criminal Policing Organization-INTERPOL for accepting to share their expertise with key stakeholders in the financial architecture of the country.
“We are also exceedingly proud that INTERPOL has deployed significant amount of resources in this process as demonstrated by the presence of our brothers Richard Evino Engolo and Ogundele Adewaye who have travelled from far away Lyon to support a global effort to reduce financial crimes worldwide,’’ Cllr. Zoe stated.
According to Cllr. Zoe, this is yet another example of the determination of INTERPOL to continue to police the world and reduce incidents of illicit financial flows and to create a borderless world in the fight against crimes.
The LACC new boss pointed out that this exercise today shows how they can build stronger collaboration at every level of the Liberian society and beyond their borders to reduce incidents of fraud, waste and illicit financial flows that threaten the stability of countries and endanger the lives of millions around the world.
“ I am exceedingly happy also that we have key institutions here today that are extremely significant to the fight against illicit financial flows,’’ he asserted.
“We have strong collaborations with these institutions especially the Financial Intelligence Agency, which has helped us to speed our investigations and quickly identify suspicious transactions,’’ he further asserted.
Cllr. Zoe urged all parties to work together through similar energies to reduce illicit financial flows and enhance their criminal investigations processes.
‘‘With the deliberate efforts of this government through the passage of the new LACC Act, which gives the Commission direct prosecutor power and enhances the police powers of our enforcement and Monitoring officers, the Commission is now fully enabled to move to court fast, consolidate our collaboration easily and forge more partners in the direction of fighting crimes,’’ she said.
‘‘You may also be aware that all assets of public officials are now directly the responsibility of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission(LACC),’’ she averred.
Cllr. Zoe intimidated that with a functioning assets declaration and verification system, they can better share information, recover stolen assets and reduce the territory of irresponsible members of the society.
She said the current legal framework of the LACC looks pretty good against what they have has in the past.
‘‘Today, we have capable whistle blower and witness protection law. This will allow the Commission to compensate whistleblower and reduce the risk associated with blowing whistle where there was no incentive. We can also protect witnesses that testify in cases of serious fraud. All of these efforts can lead to a strengthened regional, continental and global approach to fighting corruption,’’ she continued.
The LACC new boss intoned that she is also glad that INTERPOL working along with their technical team has drawn out a complete package of program that will be delivered here, which is a collection of a regional and global approach.
She noted that she is also grateful that her colleague Mr. Abdulkarim Chukkol, the Acting Head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria has accepted to take time off his busy schedule to deliver paper at this important forum.
“Through this partnership, we forge greater ties, break barriers and enhance our strategic approach to the fight against corruption. As head of the New Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and with Liberia holding the Vice Presidency of the Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities of West Africa(NACIWA), I am anxious to meet my Nigerian colleague, Mr. Chukkol to further consolidate gains of the past,’’ she uttered.
“ I am encouraged by the level of support from the AFDB and other multilateral partners including the World Bank, IMF and the UNDP towards a strong and competent anti-corruption office. We will also work with civil society organizations and the media to support corruption prevention efforts and public awareness about corruption and illicit financial flows. Anti-corruption Education and Prevention are vital tools in the fight against corruption,’’ Cllr. Zoe accentuated.
‘‘The LACC will place emphasis on corruption prevention and education. Obviously, we will never recover even half of all the funds that lost to corruption globally. Moreover, I am convinced that a vigorous strategy on corruption education and prevention will be critical to the fight against abuse. Again, thank you for organizing these trainings and I hope we can garner the best and give value for money to the LACC, INTERPOL and of course the Liberian People,’’ Cllr. Zoe added.