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Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf suspends Son, 45 Others for Failure to Declare Assets

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In a major step to battle corruption in her administration, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has suspended 46 government officials, including her son, for failing to declare their assets to anti-corruption authorities.

Her son, Charles Sirleaf, one of three of the president’s sons appointed to government posts, was suspended from his position as Deputy Central Bank Governor.

The list also includes several deputy ministers and provincial superintendents.

AFP reports that a press release by the Presidency says their suspension would take immediate effect and would remain in force until they have met the assests declaration requirements.

“President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has, with immediate effect, suspended 46 government officials for failing to declare their assets to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission. The suspension will remain in force until President Sirleaf receives confirmation from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission that they have met the assets declaration requirements.”

Before being reinstated, the suspended officials will have to pay the government an amount representing the value of their salaries and allowances for the period of suspension, it said.

Sirleaf is Africa’s first elected female president. She won a second term in 2011 elections and tackling corruption is still one the most pressing issues in the country. Corruption is seen as a big obstacle to development in Liberia which remains one of the world’s poorest countries nearly a decade after the end of a devastating 14-year civil war.

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The issue of public declaration of assets is one that has been severally resisted by top Nigerian leaders including the President, Goodluck Jonathan. However, the actions of Liberia’s President brings its importance again to the fore.

Do you think it is important for public office holders to declare their assets? Does this help in fighting corruption?

Also, Sirleaf’s act of not sparing her son from the suspension is one that has been lauded by leaders across the world. Political office holders in high positions are known to give favour to their family members, often overlooking their wrongdoings.

What do you think about the her act of suspending her son? Do you think Nigerian leaders should borrow a leaf from her actions?

Please share your thoughts.

Photo Credit: The News Tribe

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

34 Comments

  1. Lulu

    August 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Now that good governance….hope Nigerian Leaders are reading??

  2. Naveah

    August 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Una dey spoke igbo for dat Bellanaija office? Why are you asking a question to which you already know the answer? Nigerian leaders are not borrowing a quarter leaf or full leaf from the honorable President Sirleaf’s play book today, tomorrow or in the future, full stop no comma! Assuming a truthful, fair, intelligent, educated young person rose up to be Nigeria’s next president (when hell freezes over), and if said person began to dig up the economic backgrounds of senators/govts etc…do you know how many people would end up in jail? The president would be a sitting target because Nigerian leaders will dispose of him immediately because they LOVE where the country is because it benefits them and their families! Nigerians don’t want change! If Nigeria people wanted change, they would rise up like the Arabs and the South Africans. Nigeria leaders don’t want change because where else would they get their reaches from if not off of the backs of the Nigerian people! Wetin dem dey do no dey pain Naija people, abeg because if it did, dem for fight…e no do dem.

    • BABA T aka The ORIGINATOR!!!

      August 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Well said my friend.

  3. Naveah

    August 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    *riches*

  4. Ayo Pearson

    August 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Wow, I think I just found a new role model. Right or wrong, she sure is taking visible steps to help get rid of the deep well of a monster called corruption.

  5. Love

    August 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Nigerian leaders should not only borrow the leaf from her action, but should eat the leaf too and let it digest well! Corruption and insecurity are Nigeria’s main problems. To effectively deal with corruption, one must start from the head. If the president is corrupt, then (s)he lacks the integrity to champion a moral crusade! If Jonathan wants to fight corruption, let him start with himself, Patience, and Diezani. As for security, Nigeria needs to invest in CCTV and put it everywhere. The government should bug the offices, official phones, and official cars of government officials, and also hire private investigators to monitor top government officials. Maybe if they know they’re being bugged and watched, these people would be more responsible.

  6. 12TwentySix

    August 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Now that’s what I’m talking about!!! Accountability! 🙂 Do I think Nigerian leaders should borrow a leaf from her actions? Yes. Do I think they will? -___-

  7. @ajiriavae

    August 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    The first female African President showing the men how to do things. She is more of a man than most men.
    http://ajiristyle.blogspot.com/

    • Annyaya

      August 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      She is more of a man for appointing her own son to government position, abi? Nonsense. Nepotism at its finest.

    • Beatrice

      August 22, 2012 at 4:42 am

      It is a shame that people cannot commend the positive effort of others, rather they seek to point fingers even when their accusations hold no weight. NEPOTISM??? Please…tell me one country in the entire world where some political appointments are not made based on personal relations. This is EXTREMELY common in the USA and sadly it has been abused in Nigeria-Talk about your former President travelling wiith his children who by the way receive estacode, well there goes Nigeria’s money. So what is your point again??? She appointed her son as deputy Central Bank Governor…big deal…what you should be concerned about is the fact that she is not excluding him from the law that applies to all other officials OR exonerating all other officials from the law with the primary aim of exempting her son from his obligations to the nation of Liberia. I love Lady Sirleaf.

    • Ginika

      August 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

      So if a person is qualified to do the job and happens to also be your child, shey it is now your fault that your child is qualidfied enough for it? Sweety she had got three sons abi children and one of them is in politics, if indeed all she wanted to do was empower her family she would have given them all a post in government whether they qualify or not.

    • omidan

      May 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      What Nepotism are you even talking about? If your mother becomes successful, does that mean he shouldnt be too? Should she not appoint her son if he has the necessary credentials abi what nonsense are you even talking about? So it is a crime to have a powerful mother? Who will ever employ him again once his mother leaves? Her successors may say: “even your own mother didnt consider you worthy”
      Is this a new thing? How did George Bush, and JFK get to where they are? They get support from their families, but they also stood on their own feet. The question should be was he qualified? I am almost certain she wont put her son there if his qualifications werent up to par

  8. faith

    August 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I don’t see d present Nigeria goVt following Sirleaf’s foot step$..

  9. anonyyy

    August 21, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Is it okay that three of her sons were appointed to government positions in the first place?

    • Mafia

      August 22, 2012 at 4:37 am

      Its NOT okay, but when building a country that has been in war for as long as Liberia has, do you think qualified ppl for those positions were just sitting around waiting for the war to end? NOPE. They LEFT and built lives elsewhere. And when the war was over, only a small percentage were willing to put aside the new lives they’d built, and come back to a country and start from scratch, Again. Do you think the ppl who were unable to leave are educated enough to do the job? How could they be when schools were not always in session, or the lessons were decades old?? No, I don’t think its okay that she appointed her sons, but when the qualified ppl who Are willing to do the job are few, you’ve gotta use what you’ve got. At least as her sons, there is some hope that she can control them to some degree (as seen here… you dont mess w/ Mothers!!).
      The problem she is also facing is that as younger, foreign educated Ex-Pats return to Liberia, there will be a lot of anger that they’re coming to take over the jobs of the ppl who worked hard to maintain the stability (that conflict is inevitable). But for the country to progress, they are just going to Have to let that happen. She’s taking steps to make things better, and is doing a better job at it than most men would; despite the obstacles we know she faces, by simply being a Woman. Many people want her to fail. I pray that she doesn’t.

    • Bianca

      August 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      A brilliant question,you just spoke my mind.Are her boys the only ones in the entire country with the capacity to do these jobs?I have taken into account the war and it possible constrains, am certain the government still could find people that would fit in.It would have been a better idea if her sons were’t involved in her government.She could recommend them for any job when out of office.Now one can completely tell if this move is a way of putting her in good light to the world,by telling her son don’t declare, you and others will be suspended,this will be good for my career.People do unimaginable and funny things just to get ahead in their career.

    • Mafia

      August 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      I believe that at the time of the appointment, the answer to your question is a resounding YES.
      Is she supposed to hire someone less qualified simply because she does not want to employ her child? That is unfair to him. Young Ex-Pats who want to, aspire to go back to their home country and build it up. In his case, Look who he has as a role model?!!!!
      Instead of focusing on the fact that she hired her son, You should be focusing on the fact that she is trying to get rid of corruption, even at the expense of causing a family rift. If instead of failing to comply to the law, her child was Excelling at the job, NO ONE would be praising him for it; they’ll take his success for-granted. So lets focus on the positives here.

  10. habba!

    August 21, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    nigerian leaders would never do this! instead they wud use the money to fund their child’s music career!

  11. Gold

    August 22, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Thaïs what i call “governance by example

  12. vivi

    August 22, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Nigerian government should borrow a tree or maybe a whole darn forest !

  13. NNENNE

    August 22, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Nepotism?? If the sons qualified and met all the conditions of employment,why not? They should not be denied employment simply because their mom is a president.

    I applaud her for not sparing her son. A good leader should lead by example.
    Yes BN , everyone in public office, not just politicians, should be made to declare their asset before resuming the office.

  14. Chiko

    August 22, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I dont care who is appointed to lead, as long as they are qualified and they do the right job well!!!! So who cares if her sons were appointed? We all know this would NEVER happen in naija, even LGA chairman’s son would never be suspended, let alone governor, let alone house member, let alone senate member, let alone GEJ’s son! No one is saying that she’s a saint, but she is sure thinking alright, to make this move. She prob warned her sons multiple times, and they decided to do like others, and not declare, thinking mommy had their back.

  15. James

    August 22, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Why are black countries always mired in corruption? Most countries run by black folks are corrupt.

  16. peaches

    August 22, 2012 at 8:46 am

    oh pls mr James dats not the topic here moreover let me ask u where did africans learn corruption from??? not a racist but if u ask me the “oyibos’ re more corrupt than africans infact they re d father of corruption……..its just that they do it better high tech and all without being caught most of the time so pls dont make dis topic abt blacks or whites!

  17. hedrene enow

    August 22, 2012 at 10:35 am

    GOOD STEP TO FELLOW, ALL OTHER AFRICAN LEADERS SHOULD FELLOW SUITE, BRAVOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! HER EXCELLENCY

  18. Naveah

    August 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @ James – my guy, take it easy dere joh! Nobody is denying that African countries have issues with corruption but do does Asian countries (ever heard of India and China) and other countries including the almighty United States! Please educate yourself and click on the link below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_scandals_in_the_United_States

    And in case you don’t here is an example of a few of the leaders in the United States who have gotten their fingers caught in the till:

    John Albaugh (R), former chief of staff to Ernest Istook (R-OK), pled guilty to accepting bribes connected to the Federal Highway Bill. (2008)

    G. Thomas Porteous The Federal Judge for Eastern Louisiana was unanimously impeached by the US House of Representatives on charges of corruption and perjury in March 2010. He was convicted by the US Senate and removed from office.

    Ted Stevens Senator (R-AK) convicted on seven counts of bribery and tax evasion October 27, 2008 just prior to the election. He continued his run for re-election, but lost. IN NIGERIA, HE WOULD HAVE WON!

    William J. Jefferson (D-LA) in August 2005 the FBI seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson’s home freezer. He was re-elected anyway, but lost in 2008. Jefferson was convicted of 11 counts of bribery and sentenced to 13 years on November 13, 2009, and his chief of staff Brett Pfeffer was sentenced to 84 months in a related case.

    Walter R. Tucker III (D-CA) resigned from the House before conviction on charges of extortion and income tax fraud while he was Mayor of Compton, California. Sentenced to 27 months in prison.(1996)

    Catalina Vasquez Villalpando, (R) Treasurer of the United States. Pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and tax evasion. The only US Treasurer ever sent to prison.

    IN 1831, Samuel Swartwout was appointed by President Andrew Jackson to the New York City Collector’s Office. At the end of his term he had embezzled $1.225 million in customs receipts and used the money to purchase land. He fled to Europe to avoid prosecution.[339]

  19. konnie

    August 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    good for you girl…Good example

  20. NNENNE

    August 23, 2012 at 1:33 am

    @James… The only difference between African countries and the west is that the west has a rule of law.They enforce their rules and we don’t.

  21. Toyin

    August 23, 2012 at 3:26 am

    @ Naveah
    Let’s be honest and truthful here, the problem is not whether African countries are the only corrupted countries or other countries are corrupted too. The problem is, all of African countries, Nigeria are doing NOTHING to develop themselves. Please, USA is the most powerful nation, no country is perfect but they are sure developed and progressing. India and China, say whatever you want to say about them, they are fast growing and CANNOT be compared to Nigeria. They are WAY AHEAD OF US.
    Black people are the least developed group of people in the world because Africa refuses to develop, they will rather hold on to power, steal money and enjoy for themselves and families. There’s no form of ACCOUNTABILITY, LAW AND ORDER, ACTION AND CONSEQUENCE.
    What makes Nigeria sad is the fact that 95% of the people in government are corrupted, heartless, greedy, selfish fools. Then, you have people who are BOOK SMART but lack COMMON SENSE. How can there be 47 countries in Africa, the second largest continent and there’s not one that is close to been called a DEVELOPED COUNTRY. South Africa, that is a little bit close is run by Europeans again. Africa is a shame, Nigeria is a shame, there’s NOTHING TO DEFEND HERE, LET’S STOP IN A STATE OF DENIAL AND FACE REALITY.

    • jamica

      April 11, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Asia is the most corrupt countary, Indian is doing corruption on every institution.

  22. Naveah

    August 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    @ Toyin – I’m on your side of the argument; however, my point about the corruption that is rife in the US was to James who made a facetious comment about Nigeria/African countries and corruption as if it only plagued us.

  23. Toyin

    August 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    There’s nothing facetious about James comment, it’s a good question to ask, why are Black countries mired in corruption? Well, like someone said, they refuse to enforce the laws because they want it to only benefit them. And, what the west believe is Africans are just not capable, competent enough to do it themselves, maybe that’s where having the lowest IQ come into the picture. The level of corruption going on in Nigeria is mind boggling, and African countries are some of the corrupted in the world. If some type of development was going on, maybe the corruption won’t be emphasized on this much. But then, you have corruption and the least developed country and continent. It’s a shame. I can’t be looking at other countries and say they are corrupted too, when they are progressing and developing as a country.

    There was an article some weeks ago here, if you find out your dad is a corrupt leader, will you disown him? That’s very personal, and I don’t think anybody will want to disown their parent no matter what they do. however, what I find disturbing is how many of the comments were in support of what their dad does, and don’t find anything wrong with it. That’s problematic, so this is continuation of a distorted mindset of even the younger generation.

    • Win

      February 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      I commend her effort but it doesnt sit well with me that she has three of her sons in her cabinet or whatever they call it. I am sure there are thousands of qualified Liberians that can manage those positions very well too

  24. jamica

    April 11, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    every set a wondeful rules as president, no one is sake his son for not declaring his assets, but mr Ellen Johnson set a wounderful example for others, in Africa poverty is on peak, and the main reason is corruption of their leaders, they doing corruption and investing their wealth in the western countaries, this is a delima for the world, and hope it will stop in the future , if they world have leaders like Mr ellen

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