George Weah during Inauguration (New York Time Photo)

In a March 21, 2024, Spoon FM show, Cllr. Kla Martin, the head of the assets recovery team, stated that he has no record of former President George Weah filing for assets.

Cllr. Martin served the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) in 2021 but was removed after a new act of the LACC was signed into law.

 However, he challenged the removal at the Supreme Court, which was upheld by the court.

Cllr. Martin on the show said, “When I took over in July 2021, there was no record that ex-president Weah did declare his assets.”

The claim on the show is also heard around here at four hours, thirty-eight minutes, and forty-six seconds.

Weah served the country for six years, from 2018 to 2023 when current President Joseph Boakai defeated him.

Provisions on the declaration of assets by all public officers in Liberia are entrenched in the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, which is contained in Chapter 11, Article 90 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, and Section 10.1 of Liberia’s 2014 Code of Conduct, as amended.

Additionally, in Part 5, Section 5.2 (1) of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Act of 2008,  it is an “obligation to file asset declaration statements” by officials of government. Part 3 of the LACC Final Regulation deems that it is an infringement for any official to refuse to submit an asset declaration.

Public officials affected by the Code include the President, Vice President, Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, and members of the legislature, among others. The code was introduced to the Constitution in 1986, mainly to prevent corruption and abuse of public office, and to ensure transparency among public officers.

For the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary branches of government, one major reason many Liberians are interested in their asset declaration is that these three separate branches of government hold significant power over the allocation of resources in the country, and the citizens who hired them, and who in effect pay their salaries through their tax contributions, want their asset declaration open to public scrutiny to ensure they do not abuse their power for personal gain. 

As such, it is believed that by declaring their assets correctly, they will put to rest many insinuations that give verve to policies the government may adopt to fight corruption.

Verification: The Stage Media contacted Cllr. Martin, but he has yet to respond. When he does, we will update this article.

Research shows that  President George W. Bush declared on July 25, 2018, by providing sketchy details of his assets and liabilities.

After six months, the former president released the details of his asset declarations to the General Auditing Commission (GAC), but his declaration was never made known to the public.

Weah’s assets were confirmed by the GAC, which received the declaration of personal interests, income, assets, and liabilities forms from President George M. Weah on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at 6:05 PM.

The Stage Media emailed the LACC to determine if the former President filed his exit declaration, still, the commission has yet to respond, even though its website has the third batch of exit declarations.

Why did Weah file with the GAC?

The LACC and GAC signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, October 16, 2016, to collaborate in the handling of asset declaration documents submitted by public officials of the Executive Branch of Government required to declare assets.

The MOU was signed by Cllr. James N. Verdier, Jr. and Madam Yusador S. Gaye, then heads of the LACC and GAC, pledged their commitment to the full implementation of the Memorandum. They expressed optimism for similar collaboration with other institutions in the fight against corruption.

Former LACC chair James Verdier said that despite signing the MOU in 2016 and Weah’s inauguration in 2018, he was misdirected to file at the GAC instead of the LACC.

He claimed that the Legislature under Weah, specifically the House of Representatives, was unwilling to have Coalition for Democratic Change officials declare their assets to a LACC led by him. “I was seen as an enemy and opposition to Weah.”

According to Cllr. Verdier, unlike what was stated in the Executive Order first establishing the Code of Conduct by former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the Legislature enacted a National Code of Conduct designating the Executive to declare to GAC, the Legislature to declare to their Chief Clerk and then secretary of the Senate, and the Judiciary to declare to the Clerk of the Supreme Court. 

“GAC complained that it wanted nothing to do with asset declaration. That was the LACC’s legislative duty. So the LACC and GAC signed an MOU in 2016 requiring the GAC to immediately forward, copy, or present to the LACC any asset declarations made to the GAC,” he explained.

Cllr. Verdier continues. “GAC announced that it received the asset declaration document from former President Weah on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, at 6:05 p.m. The GAC proceeded to forward the declaration to LACC in line with the Oct. 16, 2016 MoU between the two institutions. 

The former LACC chairperson stated that the LACC received former President Weah’s asset declaration, which was marked and stamped on August 15, 2018, and became part of the LACC asset declaration records and database.

Conclusion: The allegation that former President George W. Bush did not declare his assets is misleading. He did report his assets to the GAC. However, the law does not require public officials to publish declared assets, so Liberians do not have access to what is filed by elected and appointed government officials.


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