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Friday, June 14, 2024

LIBERIAN LAWMAKERS’ DECISION TO PARDON MINISTER ROLAND GIDDINGS: A SHOCKING BETRAYAL OF PUBLIC TRUST

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MONROVIA, LIBERIA – In a shocking display of incompetence and a blatant disregard for the rule of law, Liberian lawmakers have once again demonstrated their lack of interest in fighting corruption and waste. The recent decision to pardon Public Works Minister Roland Giddings for his mishandling of $22 million intended for road rehabilitation is not only embarrassing but also a clear betrayal of the trust placed in them by the Liberian people.

By unilaterally using taxpayers’ funds for President Joseph Nyumah Boakai’s 100-Day deliverable program, Giddings violated the law and committed a brazen act of fraud against the masses. Instead of holding him accountable, the Senators chose to forgive him, effectively silencing any efforts to combat corruption.

The Ministry of Public Works itself admitted to procedural errors and missteps in the implementation of the road works project. The joint senate committees’ report revealed that essential steps mandated for contract awards were bypassed. However, rather than ensuring accountability, Giddings sought forgiveness with the support of some lawmakers.

The Senate’s acceptance of Giddings’ apology and their characterization of his actions as inadvertent missteps in the national interest raise serious questions about the legal authority of senators to pardon public officials who break the law. Unlike in the United States, where senators lack the power to forgive such offenses, Liberian lawmakers have chosen to relinquish their responsibility for holding public officials accountable.

It is crucial to emphasize that senators, as members of the legislative branch, have the power to pass laws and, when necessary, hold public officials accountable through the impeachment process. By pardoning Giddings and issuing a mere warning letter, the Liberian Senators have shown a shocking disregard for the law and the well-being of the people they are meant to serve.

This decision not only undermines the fight against corruption but also undermines efforts to promote transparency and accountability in public office. It is imperative that the Liberian Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and civil society organizations step up to hold Giddings accountable for his fraudulent handling of taxpayers’ funds. The actions of the Senators must not go unchecked, and the Liberian people must demand better from their elected representatives.

The forgiveness of Roland Giddings by the Liberian Senators showcases a failure to prioritize the fight against corruption and waste. This embarrassing action brings shame and embarrassment to the nation and highlights the urgent need for accountability and transparency in public office.

Socrates Smythe Saywon
Socrates Smythe Saywon is a Liberian journalist. You can contact me at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or reach out via email at saywonsocrates@smartnewsliberia.com or saywonsocrates3@gmail.com.

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