Assets Recovery & Retrieval Task Force Set For Legal Argument By: Julius Konton

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Asset Recovery Team headed by Cllr. Edwin Kla Martin is expected to make legal argument before the Supreme Court on Thursday, July 4, 2024. It can be recalled that the Task Force workings were hit hard with multiple writs filed before various courts from different individuals. The move among other things, was meant to protect the linked parties and individuals from  their alleged corrupt properties and finances acquired while serving in public offices.  According to sources, one of the writs before the Supreme Court questioned the legitimacy of the Asset Recovery Team and filed a petition to the high court to dissolve the Task Force from operating.  Reports also have it that the multiple writs to stop the working of Task Force is based on information that the team has gone 98 percent in the preparation of indictments of individuals who acquired wealth at the expense of the government, which will also be followed by a writ of Ne Exeat Republica.  As the legal battles unfold, the asset recovery in their returns, has asked the Supreme Court to strike out the petitioner’s petition from the court docket based on their inability to cite constitutional provisions that render the act of the President to issue Executive Order No. 126 that created the task force illegal. They further argued that the issuance of an executive order is a quasi-legislative and judicial lawmaking authority and power granted to the President of Liberia by the 1986 Constitution, chapters four and five, to eliminate the misuse of government resources and other corrupt practices.  As a means of fighting corruption and holding duty bearers accountable for their action,  President Joseph Nyuma Boakai on March 5, 2024, officially set up the Special Presidential Assets Recovery and Retrieval Task Force  through Executive Order No. 126. The mandate of the Task Force was to among other things search, seize, and investigate government assets that were obtained illegally by past officials of government and other persons of interest.  Following the setting up of such body by the Liberian leader, mixed views characterized the debate on the political and social corridors of the Country with some in support in the fight against corruption while others described it as a witch hunt.  With few days to the legal deliberations , all eyes are now focused on the Supreme Court to see and follow through how the proceedings will unfold as the government maintains that it remains committed in its resolve to fight corruption and to ensure that transparency and accountability in the public space can be implemented to the core.

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