Liberia’s President Suspends Son in Anti-Corruption Push

Aug 22, 2012 1:25pm

Liberia’s president has cracked down on her country’s widespread corruption by suspending her own son from his government job.

Charles Sirleaf, a Central Bank deputy governor, is among 46 government officials suspended by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for not disclosing their assets to an anti-corruption commission .  He is one of three of Johnson-Sirleaf’s sons appointed to government posts.

“Let it be known that the president is very serious, and she is now contemplating on a series of punitive measures that will be ranging from withholding pay, suspension, and probably dismissals for those who do not cooperate,” presidential press secretary Jerolinmick Piah told Liberia’s Daily Observer.

In March, Johnson-Sirleaf, who is the first woman president in Africa as well as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, issued an executive order requiring all presidential appointees to declare their assets to Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission.  According to a statement released to the media Tuesday, Johnson-Sirleaf said the 46 officials she immediately suspended could be reinstated only after she has confirmation from the commission that they have complied.

Analysts say widespread corruption in Liberia is inhibiting the West African country’s development progress, keeping people in poverty despite the country’s rich mineral resources.  Since she was elected president in 2005, Johnson-Sirleaf has repeatedly pledged to take on the deep-seated problem, which the 2010 U.S. government’s Country Report on Human Rights said was prevalent in all levels of society, in public and private sectors.

Johnson-Sirleaf was re-elected to a second term late last year.   She was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring about and maintain peace in the country recovering from a devastating 14-year civil war.

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