CENTAL: ‘Weah Undermining Fight Against Corruption’

11
1916
Anderson D. Miamen, Executive Director, CENTAL

The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), has called on President George Weah to stop undermining the fight against corruption, indicating that the establishment of the anti-graft institutions created an appreciable foundation and legal framework for a successful anti-corruption regime despite not been fully supported morally, and financially to operate.

CENTAL’s executive director, Anderson Miamen at a recent news conference recounted the country’s fight against corruption experienced sharp decline under former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after failing to address impunity and prosecute her family members and cronies, despite establishing key anti-graft institutions and passing groundbreaking anti-corruption laws and policies.

“With nearly one full year of governance, the signs on the wall are not very encouraging–President Weah has not honored key recommendations nor lived up to commitments made to robustly tackle corruption and create an enabling environment for public integrity institutions to satisfactorily perform,” Miamen said.

According to him, despite few notable positive actions, including timely investigation of the recent corruption scandal involving senior management of the National Housing Authority (NHA), high level of compliance of the Judiciary with the asset declaration requirement (333 out of 370 officials) and withdrawal of the appointment of Cllr. Charles Gibson as Justice Minister, generally, there is extremely limited progress in addressing corruption in the country.

“President Weah and the CDC-led government are ignoring commitments made, before, during and immediately after the 2017 General and Presidential Elections, to address impunity and robustly fight [against] corruption. Instead, several key actions and decisions of government are counterproductive to established good governance efforts and respect for international best practices around nurturing and sustaining an effective anti-corruption regime,” he said.

There are limited efforts, if any exist, to comprehensively audit the past regime and prosecute apparently corrupt officials of the Sirleaf Administration, including those who presided over the bankruptcy of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).

“All of the above, coupled with allegations of public officials acquiring and developing multiple properties, with barely one year in power, seriously undermines and brings into question the transparency credentials of the government, whose pro-poor agenda should be grounded on unprecedented levels of good governance, transparency and integrity,” Mr. Miamen said.

“For example, removing tenure from the LACC, PPCC and other public integrity institutions will not only make them vulnerable to manipulation by the Presidency and other higher-ups in government, but also worsen the country’s disappointing fight against corruption. And this will have serious implications for the country’s reputation and government’s professed commitment to robustly tackle corruption and other financial and economic crimes in the country,” he said.

CENTAL however, recommended the following “that President Weah abandons plans to de-tenure key positions at public integrity institutions and other agencies with extremely critical functions in the governance process. Doing so will undermine the sanctity and independence of these institutions and render them vulnerable to political manipulation,” Miamen said.

“That the President suspends, for time indefinite, all public officials guilty of violating the Code of Conduct, until cleared by the LACC, following declaration of their assets, incomes and liabilities within one week. And that those declaring in this category forfeit one month salary and benefits for knowingly violating the Code of Conduct That the Legislature follows the very good example of the Judiciary in complying with the Code of Conduct for Pubic Officials,” he said.

As direct representatives of the people, it is ironic that the Legislature will violate laws passed by them, when they should be pursuing and leading efforts aimed at helping to safeguard public resources. LACC’s report of zero compliance of the Legislature is extremely worrisome and needs urgent attention That the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission and other relevant agencies of government independently and timely verify and publish assets, incomes and liabilities declared by current government officials.

“Importantly, also, the Commission must verify and publish assets, incomes and liabilities declared by former officials of the Sirleaf-led government, while leaving office,” CENTAL continued. “The law must take its course against former and current officials found in violation of the Code of Conduct. The President should practically lead by example in not only promoting, but also exemplary championing integrity and good governance in Liberia.

Widespread media reports of multiple construction projects by the President must be investigated by the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission and other relevant agencies of government. If established, the sources of funding for these construction projects must be identified and timely reported to the public to allay fears and clarify allegations of abuse of public resources by the Presidency.

CENTAL also recommends that the role of critical voices be respected and protected in fostering a democratic culture highly accountable and welcoming of diverging views and positions on critical national issues. Civil society and the independent media, as well as individual activists must be protected in objectively holding government accountable for its actions and deeds.

The media and civil society must remain constructively engaged and objectively critical of the regime, CENTAL added, “ensuring that government’s activities, including those of the Presidency, Judiciary and Legislature are independently assessed and scrutinized. The democratic culture has to be nurtured and sustained, if Liberia must make meaningful progress in lifting its citizens out of poverty, largely brought upon them by poor decision-making and successive corrupt governments and leaderships.”

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11 COMMENTS

  1. We would guest that you are referring to financial corruption. If so, wait for the President to conclude his compilation of the annual message for 2019 to deliver and after,,you could form your opinion on the portion that deals with corruption now and his future stance on misappropriation of Government funds. Do not reply me. Tell the people.
    See silent majority.

  2. CENTAL’s Executive Director Anderson D. Miamen deserves high praise for the splendid job done here. Perhaps a bit too late, Liberians are now aware that it was a huge mistake to sit by and let Ellen Sirleaf rob their country blind for twelve long years. Even now, that crook still feels the need to continue going abroad buying fake awards to cover her record of incompetence and rampant corruption. Given all the signs that Weah has adopted Sirleaf’s funky playbook, all Liberians should join CENTAL in declaring “Never Again.” This time the churches and mosques must do their part by preaching the gospel of truth to power.

  3. Every two-bit politically-motivated group gives itself a high-sounding name for some sort of self-interest advocacy; what is constitutionally the purpose of our just-ended 2017 elections? For the people, who are “sovereign”, by their votes to change elected and appointed officials of the defeated ruling party, not to impose, by some legal ruse, its appointees on the next government. Only Supreme Court Justices, with good behavior, have tenure positions. Go find out in other countries of ECOWAS whether such heavy-handed nonsense is tolerated. No wonder, then, we’re still fussing among ourselves while others are making rapid progress in the sub-Region: Shameless posturing!

    • If most Liberians had the mindset of Slyvester Moses and Dortu Sieboe, they will encourage Weah to declare himself EMPEROR.Mr. Weah has been in office for almost a year and his government can’t point to single policy intended to improve the wellbeing of ordinary Liberians. Despite the government non achievement, these two Southeasteners continue to support ANYTHING from this MISTAKE called government.

    • Sylvester Moses, people you were once imposed on as their director must be very embarrassed when they read the nonsense you spew here regularly. What makes criticism of a sitting government now “politically motivated?” What was the political motivation in that case, underpinning all your vitriol against the Ellen government? I’m sure you’ve realized by now how meaningless and discreditable the rubbish you post here and based in your vacillating and dishonest nature. Yesterday you were a drum major berating anything GOL, and today, you have become a virtual sentry, slamming and whacking every criticism of this other administration. Just whose side are on? Belly must be the obvious motivation in that regard. What else could it be? And such unprincipled vacillation are some of the causal factors undergirding many of the schism dogging most societies today. Very sad! like Trump would say.

    • Another thing, calling those offices or positions “tenured positions” is not only a farce, but a dishonest invention intended to galvanize support for squashing the concept. That was a slick and sleeky invention of the crafters clamoring for the nullification of those positions and our lazy press just took it and ran with it, which has now become a working vocabulary in Liberia. Instead of “tenured” which would suggest the occupiers of those offices are there permanently, those positions just happened to be “protected!” And “protected” because those who crafted the concept did not want the president to have any sway or influence on the works of those institutions at any given point. Imagine what would be the disposition of an “unprotected” chairperson of the National Election Commission, in an election going contrary to the expectation of the president. Wouldn’t that person be afraid to cross the president because they could be fired and therefore would do everything to please the president thereby ensuring the maintenance of his/her job? Same thing with the director of the General Auditing Commission, and etc. That’s the rationale behind that concept. And by the way, the “protective” status for those offices did not imply the occupants cannot be removed at all. That’s one of the lies those opposing that “protective” status concept have been propagating. The fact of the matter is that any of those officials can be removed from office for a cause, even easier and faster than a justice on the Supreme Court. So the first thing the Liberian press needs to do is to stop calling those positions “Tenured” positions. They are not! Those positions are “Protected” positions and for very cogent reasons.

  4. CENTAL, NAYMOTE and other watchdog organizations have one thing in common:
    They inform, criticize and recommend all kinds of proposals. While it is good for the Liberian people to be fully informed about corrupt practices in the country, it seems that the watchdog organizations go a little too far with their denunciation of Weah. Also, whereas there are other issues of importance in the country, it seems that the concentration focus of Liberia’s watchdog organizations is all about corruption and their vision of how the country ought to be governed. Sadly, there is a conflict of two visions: the vision of the president, Mr. Weah and the vision of all watchdog organizations. The visions are not in sync. But we know that Weah was elected, not the watchdog organizations. So in order for Weah to do his job, the watchdog organizations should seek ways in which they and the president could work cooperatively. It is not impossible!

    Public schools:
    CENTAL, NAYMOTE and others do not bother to talk about the fact that public school students do not have their full set of textbooks neither do teachers have their full set of teacher edition textbooks! Also, during this internet age, our public schools do not have computers. Because of this poor state of affairs, our youth cannot use the internet.

    In the US, Better Government, is an investigative watchdog organization. However, whenever BG concludes its investigation about any specific issue, it does not excoriate or split the spleen of corrupt government officials or corporate heads. Of course, something usually gets done. Sometimes, people who are found to be corrupt are severely punished after the courts have intervened.

    The watchdog organizations in Liberia can certainly learn a lesson from their US counterpart.

  5. Questions:
    1. Where do the paychecks of CENTAL, NAYMOTE and other watchdog organizations come from? From the Treasury of the Republic of Liberia?

    2. How many Liberians are employed by the watchdog organizations and what’s their yearly budget combined?
    How much do they earn per year? Also, their perks!

    3. Do the watchdog organizations have offices in the 15 counties of Liberia? Why not? Are county superintendents free of corruption? So why don’t we hear about corrupt practices in the counties?

    4. What are the names of the International Organizations/countries that urged Liberians to form these troublesome watchdog institutions? Are those foreign organizations or countries free of corruption?

    5. Why on earth did some organizations have to be approved and codified out of Liberia? Some were signed in Ghana.

    6. What’s the length of their tenured positions. In other words, how many years do the tenured employees have to serve?

    7. Why do tenured employees feel that it’s in their best interest to be tenured?

    8. Do tenured employees believe that they are co-equal with an elected president?

    9. Have the tenured employees declared their assets? Why not? If you’re going to buck the trend, you must lead by example. Right?

    10. What qualifies the watchdog employees to be tenured? To be tenured at colleges and universities in America, one must start as an assistant, an associate and then a tenured professor. What are the necessary steps that the tenured employees have climbed before?

  6. Fuck President Weah, send a boat to America and pick me up so I can do a better job than that selfish corrupt degenerate.

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