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Friday, July 19, 2024

Liberia: The Proposed Liberia Economic Crime Court: A Potential Tool for Justice or a Political Farce?

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By: Austin S. Fallah, and Isaac T. Settro of the United States of America.

They Are Two True and Great Sons of Liberia Who Believe in the Social and Economic Justice of Every Liberian and Humanity in General:

It is an age-old argument, as timely as it is timeless, that the rule of law is a fundamental determinant in the sustenance of any functional democracy; it is critical in ensuring order and justice within society.

Is it a viable mechanism for ensuring accountability in the realm of economic crime?

As the political drama unfolds in Liberia, the proposed establishment of the Liberia Economic Crime Court brings this debate into sharp focus.

The central questions underlying this debate:

Could this court effectively clamp down on the alleged economic crimes orchestrated by government officials?

Or will it just be another political farce?

he magnitude of economic crime, often synonymous with corruption, in Liberia, is disturbingly high, especially within the government corridors.

Therefore, several pacts pose the rationale for the need to form a court specifically targeting such severe economic crimes.

The goal seeks not only to try the alleged perpetrators but also ideally, to serve as a deterrent from future felonious exploits.

This arises from a moral premise that those bestowed the honor to serve should do so with utmost integrity, truthfulness, and transparency.

More specifically, the focus seems firmly fixed on top echelons, the 55th Legislature, President Boakai, and Vice President Koung.

For the proposed Liberia Economic Crime Court to serve its intended purpose, its bureaucracy must stringently adhere to the principles of due process.

We believe that officials who have been accused in the TRC Report and other Audit Reoorts, and officials who may be accused very soon via Audit Reports of alleged economic crimes must be accorded fair, impartial, and speedy trials, and the innocent should be shielded from unjust sentencing. In contrast, the guilty should be held accountable for their actions, irrespective of their political or social standing.

However, in a brutal reality check, the effectiveness of the Liberia Economic Crime Court might not be as definitive as it has appeared in newspapers or the news.

Though essential theoretically, the jury is still out regarding its practical impact.

Liberians have seen and know that impunity among high-ranking government officials and potential undue political interferences have historically undercut Liberia’s justice system.

Whether this court can isolate itself from these systemic issues to a significant extent, will determine its effectiveness.

It is imperative that the Liberian populace trust the court proceedings and not perceive them as mere political circuses cashing in on the anti-corruption rhetoric.

If President Boakai and Vice President Koung, Speaker Koffa, Protemp Lawrence, and members of the 55th Legislature genuinely have nothing to hide, particularly in the Commercial Banking in Liberia, they should unequivocally support this initiative, subject their actions to scrutiny, and not seek sanctuary under immunity clauses.

They ought to demonstrate their commitment to fighting corruption through their actions rather than public pronouncements.

As Liberians, we say that, If the Court can impartially dispense justice and foster a culture of accountability and good governance within Liberia’s upper echelons, then the country stands a chance at turning around its corruption woes.

It also signifies the bigger picture, that the judiciary can assert its independence even amidst overwhelming political pressures, hence reinstating its legitimacy.

We believe that a properly structured and fairly administered Liberia Economic Crime Court could potentially be a powerful mechanism for fighting economic crimes and reigniting faith in judicial processes.

We see stiff resistance, political interferences, and systemic issues remain challenges to be overcome for the Court to function as the beacon of justice it is intended to become.

We believe that, nevertheless, Liberians can continue to hope for justice while remaining vigilant on this vital democratic journey.


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