... “Indeed, not only does the Ambassador’s statement reflect courage, it transcends any actual or perceived diplomatic boundaries for the good of the Liberian people. We see that the disservice meted out against the Liberian people by their own leaders is so great that it cannot be overlooked by our international partners, Ambassador McCarthy in this instant case,” CENTAL Executive Director, Anderson Miamen said.
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia has claimed that the assertion by US Ambassador, Michael McCarthy that the national budget is being manipulated to serve the interests of those who control power is true.
“CENTAL is deeply concerned about the perennially mind-boggling neglect of the citizens by their elected and appointed national leaders,” CENTAL Executive Director, Anderson Miamen said.
“This extremely unfortunate development has to stop if the people must truly and measurably benefit from the resources and other assets of the country.”
He said there can be no better affirmation of recent reports issued by CENTAL detailing how the national budget is being used as a tool for corruption and how decentralization has been reduced to a political token rather than a deliberate effort to devolve power and resources from the central level in Monrovia to counties and communities on the periphery.
“Indeed, not only does the Ambassador’s statement reflect courage, it transcends any actual or perceived diplomatic boundaries for the good of the Liberian people. We see that the disservice meted out against the Liberian people by their own leaders is so great that it cannot be overlooked by our international partners, Ambassador McCarthy in this instant case,” he said.
Meanwhile, Miamen has called on the President and Lawmakers to place citizens at the center of their engagements and decisions and not otherwise.
“National leaders should make the national budget Work for the people by adequately funding educational, medical, agricultural, and other agencies and institutions directly serving the needs of the public,” Miamen said.
Miamen said the Liberian Government should reduce funding to the President, Vice President, Speaker, and other high political offices and redirect those resources to activities and programs in health, education, and other sectors that will directly benefit citizens.
“The Liberian Legislature should be robust in performing its duties. Although highly disappointing in its performance, the Legislature still remains the Agency of Government responsible to provide the necessary oversight in safeguarding public resources and assets. It should do so if it must be regarded as truly representing the people and not itself,” Miamen said.
He lauded development partners for their tireless support in strengthening democracy and accountability cultures in Liberia and urged them to continue doing so, at an even greater scale.
“A blended support and engagement that sees development partners not only providing financial and technical support to civil society, government, and other institutions but also openly commending and criticizing major developments in Liberia is welcomed and or should be pursued,” Miamen said.
Commenting on corruption, Miamen said for instance, the E&J Hospital in Ganta, Nimba County was built and owned by Senator Jeremiah Koung, who claimed that the facility has been turned over to the government, but no documents have been disclosed in this regard.
According to him, a private business, E&J received close to US$1 million through the national budget and the African Dream Clinic, owned by Representative Samuel Enders has benefitted US$95,000 from the national budget through subsidy.
He added the fact that a lawmaker’s clinic is included in the national budget, in the midst of limited support to government-owned hospitals and clinics speaks volumes.