– Finda Bondo certain of succeeding at the Supreme Court

Information indicates that former Chief of Protocol Finda Bondofirmly believed she would prevail in the Supreme Court against President Joseph N. Boakai for issuing Executive Order #126, which established the Assets Recovery Team as the task force has had an impact on her company, Gracious Ride. 

There are rumors that the Supreme Court may decide to side with Madam Bondo in the case which is most likely to impede the president’s efforts to combat corruption and recover assets that have been pilfered by public officials. 

The legal establishment currently holds that the public will always doubt the President’s executive authority should the high court reverse Executive Order #126. 

During her tenure in the previous government, Madam Bundoowas charged by the Task Force with obtaining over sixty automobiles through fraudulent means and entrusting them to a private individual to manage. 

On Thursday, July 4, 2024, the Supreme Court declined to rule on the Ministry of Justice’s request for representation because the Ministry had sided with the Task Force. This decision was controversially reserved. 

The problem of competing agencies has been brought up against the Task Force by organizations such as the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, which both look into and prosecute cases involving theft, money laundering, corruption, and economic sabotage, in addition to the General Auditing Commission and the International Audit Agency. 

To improve accountability and openness, the government has established new parallel bodies. 

A similar task force known as the Assets Investigation, Restitution, and Recovery Team was formed in 2019 by Boakai’spredecessor, George Weah, but no assets were recovered. 

While acting as previous president George Weah’s head of protocol, Madam Bundoo, gracious ride owner who is now opposing the task force operation on the grounds of unconstitutionality, said nothing at the time.

Legal minds consider the Assets Recovery and Property Retrieval Taskforce a significant national endeavor to combat wrongdoing or public sector corruption, which has long hampered the nation’s progress and development. 

Since 2018, Liberia has continued retrogressing the Corruption Perception Index score, from 32 in 2018 to 25 points over 100 on the 2023 CPI, according to Transparency International. The country also ranks 145 out of 180 countries and territories around the globe by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. 

While Liberia keeps getting worse, Cote d’Ivoire and other nations are winning the war on corruption. For instance, Cote d’Ivoire, a post-war nation similar to Liberia, placed 87 out of 180 countries with a quick +3 growth from 2022 and scored 40 over 100. Executive Order 126 established the asset recovery task force in March 2024. Its primary duty is to look into and prosecute individuals or groups that have defrauded the state and its citizens of their resources.

Meanwhile, legal minds believe that the president is in no error and has acted in line with Article 5c of the 1986 constitution, and attempting to interfere with the constitutional powers of the Executive will contravene Article 3 of the 1986 constitution of Liberia.

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