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Friday, July 19, 2024

Liberia: Hunt for Stolen State Assets

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Liberian President Joseph Boakai on Wednesday issued an executive order to identify and recover stolen state assets and prosecute complicit current and former officials under a crackdown on graft launched since his January inauguration.

The order will establish a task force that will have the legal mandate and state funding to investigate and retrieve wrongfully acquired government assets and seek the extradition of suspects involved, the presidency said in a statement.

It did not name any suspects or estimate the losses to the state, but cited a need to “curtail this alarming menace that has engulfed our country and address the situation of converting public … assets to private use by officials placed in positions of trust.”

Boakai, who defeated his predecessor George Weah in November elections, won on the promise to tackle endemic corruption and improve livelihoods in the West African nation, where over half of its 5.5 million people live in poverty.

In February, Boakai commissioned an audit of three government institutions, including the central bank. Focussed on the period from 2018 to 2023, the investigation is due to report its findings within three months.

In January, anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) noted positive reforms introduced by Weah’s administration in 2022-2023, but said impunity for corruption remained high as these reforms had yet to be fully realised.


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