Campaigners for Change Barks at Gov’t’s Poor Performance

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The Campaigners for Change (CFC), a group advocating civic education and academic excellence, has released its 2014 annual report highlighting government’s poor performance, especially in the security sector. 

This sector, said the report, has performed poorly in monitoring crime scenes in many parts of Liberia.

 Making the disclosure yesterday at Market Place on Carey Street, the national director, Vandalark Patricks, said the poor monitoring of crime scenes and the arresting of criminals and suspects by the Liberia National Police (LNP) were attributed to the lack of logistics, police depots and qualified police officers in the criminal division.

The gruesome murder of a man at the ELWA junction recently, especially when police officers were on guard during the night when the crime took place, was a typical example of police failure to maintain proper security.

 “Another case was in the Borough of New Kru Town, where police reported that a man committed suicide while in their custody. Journalists were also not only brutalized by officers while carrying out their professional duties, but they were also intimidated and prevented from carrying on certain journalistic responsibilities.”

Mr. Patricks alleges that organized crimes were often carried out by police officers due to lack of attractive salaries from the government and lack of the material supplies, including uniforms, badges and motivation from the Police leadership.

“Individuals acted as police officers to extort money from taxi drivers and were never arrested except in extreme cases. We observed consistent police brutality against citizens and harassment of taxi drivers by police officers in Montserrado, Bong, Margibi, Bomi and Bassa, which amounted to 126 cases with 70% in Montserrado County,” he reported.

Though the government system is very weak, according to CFC, director Patricks commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for setting free last December some alleged criminals, including rapists, who had been incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison for months without due process.

Mr. Patricks also applauded President Sirleaf’s government for ensuring that the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) commenced effective operation by transferring the revenue collection function from the Ministry of Finance to that autonomous agency.

Discussing the Judiciary, Mr. Patricks alleged that there remains systemic corruption in the magisterial courts, including the illegal detention of accused citizens without due process in Bong, Margibi, Bassa and Montserrado Counties, simply because there is limited or no defense counsels to represent the legal interests of those in need.

“Lack of legal representation for citizens in courts due to lack of defense counsel from government resulted to most judges serving as legal counsels and judges as well. This clearly undermines the rule of law and the civil liberties of many suspects,” he added.

Turning to the performance the National Legislature, Mr. Patricks said the first branch of government developed a different method of representation known as ‘greedy expediency’, which resulted to representation without constituents’ expressed interests.

He said 90% of the lawmakers in Bong, Margibi, Montserrado and Grand Bassa Counties have abandoned their people or refused to hold consultations with their constituents which resulted in misrepresentation of the real interests of those individuals who elected them.

“We observed that lawmakers in the above mentioned counties had no functional district offices, which has left a vast majority of their constituents angry and frustrated. We observed with dismay the corrupt method employed by members of the 53rd National Legislature in the oil discussion exercise, which they took around the country,” Mr. Patricks charged.

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