MONROVIA (Reuters) – Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has suspended her son and 45 other government officials for failing to declare their assets to anti-corruption authorities, in her first major step to battle graft in her administration.
Charles Sirleaf, one of three of the president’s sons appointed to government posts, was suspended from his position as Deputy Central Bank Governor.
Corruption is seen as a big obstacle to development in the West African state, which remains one of the world’s poorest countries nearly a decade after the end of a 14-year civil war.
The suspensions come amid growing concern about government graft in Liberia, which is a nascent iron ore producer and has attracted international energy companies such as Chevron, seeking to develop its offshore oil blocks.
“President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has, with immediate effect, suspended 46 government officials,” said the statement, issued by the presidency late on Monday.
The statement said the officials could be reinstated after they declared their assets to the commission.
The other sons of the president in government posts are Robert Sirleaf, senior adviser and chairman of state oil company NOCAL, and Fumba Sirleaf, head of the National Security Agency.
Johnson-Sirleaf, who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for her role in maintaining peace in Liberia after the war, was Africa’s first elected female head of state when she came to office in 2005. She was re-elected for a second term late last year.