The leadership of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), has ended a one-day citizens’ engagement on Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) 2019 report with focus on Liberia.
The forum, according to CENTAL, is aimed at making citizens to understand the GCB report, which Transparency International released on July 11, 2019. The one-day engagement was held on Saturday, July 20 at the Concerned Intellectual Association in the Sinkor community in Old Road.
CENTAL executive director, Anderson D. Miamen, said the engagement is also intended to popularize the report with the citizens, which focuses on Liberia in terms of country’s experience on corruption, and look at efforts in the fight against corruption by the Liberian government and the citizenry.
“It is important for the citizens to know about the GCB, because access to information is cardinal. Without information, people will not be able to make informed decisions; give relevant information to the public so that it helps them to make decisions for the country,” Mr. Miamen said.
He then described corruption as a menace that has a devastating impact on the Liberian society, and has contributed to making Liberian poor.
“Corruption has contributed to the country’s underdevelopment. For citizens to contribute meaningfully to discussion in the fight against corruption, report corruption, hold their leaders accountable and ask the head questions to their government, they have to request for information. This is the information CENTAL has come to provide, especially on the GCB,” Mr. Miamen said.
He recalled how CENTAL has previously engaged New Kru Town residents on the Bushrod Island, which brought together at least 70 persons.
“Today, we have 60 people all around the Old Road community participating in the exercise,” Miamen added.
“Our people are more interested on how we deal with corruption, because they have realized that corruption is the leading cause of the country’s underdevelopment leaving many of other ordinary citizens poor. This is responsible for most of the problems in Liberia, including poor quality of services,” he said.
Liberians, he said are concerned, believing that something must be done, which they demonstrated during the forum.
Mr. Miamen recounted recommendation from one of the participants that “Liberia needs to set the example at the highest level so if ministers or heads of public corporation engage into act of corruption, the law should be blind in dealing with such a person(s) allegedly linked to corruption.”
He said that impartiality in the fight against corruption, which also existed in previous governments will continue to hamper Liberia if not addressed.
He said Liberia continues to make strides in the fight against corruption, which is demonstrated through the establishment of frameworks, including Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) Internal Audit Agency (IAA) and Public Procurement Concessions Commission (PPCC).
“With these institutions, CENTAL’s ultimate objective is to reduce the incidences of corruption, once we do not achieve that, it would mean Liberia is going nowhere. CENTAL wants actual reduction in corruption, which means addressing impunity, because for too long, people have reportedly stolen from the country, and have gone free,” Mr. Miamen said.
Fatu Massaquoi, a member of the Concerned Intellectual Association (CIA), and a participant, expressed gratitude for being part of the awareness, and also being informed on the role of citizens in the fight against corruption.
“I hope that this corruption issue will end, because it is in the homes, business places and communities,” Mrs. Massaquoi said.
She said it was unfortunate for certain group of people to continuously misappropriate public funds, while majority of the population suffered.
The participants have therefore committed themselves to report any act of corruption in their respective communities.