By Grace Q. Bryant
The keynote speaker at the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) convention has classified corruption as an illegal, unethical and unauthorized exploitation of one’s political or official position for personal advantage.
Speaking on the theme ‘Corruption: A Threat to Peace and Rule of Law,’ the Lutheran Church prelate in Ganta, Nimba County, Rev. Lewis G. Mccay defined political corruption as when people are appointed into constitutional offices in total disregard of constitutional provisions.
“When political aspirants financially or otherwise induce voters to vote for them, that is an act of political corruption,” the Lutheran pastor maintained.
He added that when a high court or a lower court judge perverts the wheels of justice in favor of a litigant who offers a bribe, is also political corruption.
Rev. Mccay further explained that it compromises the correct functioning of the state; having a negative influence on the relationship between those who govern and the governed, adding that it causes a growing distrust with respect to public institutions, brings about a progressive disaffection among the citizens with regards to politics and its representatives with a result thereby weakening institutions.
He continued that political corruption is the commercialization of the electoral process and it includes the purchase of votes with money, promises of office or special factors, coercion, intimidation, and interference with freedom of election.
“Votes are bought, people are killed or maimed in the name of election; losers end up as the winners in elections and votes turn up in areas where votes were not cast,” he revealed.
According to Rev. Mccay, electoral corruption involves sale of legislative votes, administrative, or judicial decisions, or governmental appointments as well as disguised payment in the form of gifts, legal fees, employment, favors to relatives, social influence, or any relationship that sacrifices the public interest and welfare, with or without the implied payment of money and these tendencies threaten the rule of law.
He noted that when the rule of law is threatened, “We need to return to its history. As a vast expanse of the glory and struggle of a people, including personalities, events and dates, history is critical to informing us of how far we have come, our successes and failures, avoiding past mistakes and charting a new way forward.”
He narrated that in a democratic society, the government is the agent of the state through which the people exercise their power noting that the people have all the power therefore, “The rule of law protects citizen’s rights from individuals in high positions who think that the law does not apply to them and commit all manners of authorities.”
Rev. Mccay said that the rule of law is a strong pillar a democratic nation stands on therefore when it falls on account of corruption, lack of access to justice, the Judiciary will have itself to blame.
He maintained that when the judiciary falls prey to protecting the elite in power, it serves a political purpose of an inferior servant and is no longer an equal partner, adding that it becomes a servant of corruption and obviously, a threat to peace and the rule of law.
“Corruption is an intentional action of breaking, destroying or disturbing what is key and central to life,” he added.
According to him, “Corruption is rooted in ‘jahilliyah’ or divine ignorance; it is a threat to peace, and rule of law because it eats the wealth of people, and hinders investment and weakens the rule of law, leading to the unlawful enrichment of individuals, thereby causing tensions in the society and providing fertile ground for organized crime.”
“I call this new moral law, the Law of Deceptive Reciprocity. Since politicians do not deliver on their campaign promises, voters receive funds from political parties and candidates with a knowledge of the end of paying back Deception for Deception; hence the Politics of Deception,” he concluded.
Bar Convention Speaker Defines Corruption
By Grace Q. Bryant