Corruption Greatest Threat to Liberia’s Future

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Mr. Kingsley addresses the gathering

– LACC official at Corruption Free Schools Campaign Launch; says schools not hideouts for criminals

The menace of corruption has not only devastated and destroyed Liberia’s past and present, it is also the greatest threat to the country’s future as it has overwhelmed every structure of the society, an official of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission has said.

James Kingsley, LACC Program Manager for Education and Prevention, said the menace is even more pervasive leading to the collapse of fabrics of the society, but the most worrisome aspect is how it continues to hold very firm major sectors (education, health and public service) upon which the country’s future hinges.

Kingsley spoke at the program marking the official launch of Corruption Free School Campaign, an initiative of Faith and Justice Network, held over the weekend at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sinkor with several high schools in attendance.

Corruption, said Mr. Kingsley, who proxied for LACC chairman Cllr. James Verdier, is a threat to the shared prosperity and sustainable existence of Liberia.

He, however, informed his audience that corruption is not only practiced by those in offices of public trust, “but is practiced at all levels of society and affects all irrespective of class, culture and religion as well as the poor in agonizing proportion.”

Kingsley’s comments come at a time when many believe that the new administration is proceeding wrongly by indulging into financial transactions that are in clear violation of traditionally established financial management protocols that are meant to ensure transparency and accountability.

Considering the severe impacts the menace has had on the country, the LACC official, in a rallying call, noted that the most important segment of the society to protect from corruption is the next generation of leaders.

The vulnerability of kids to corruption is prevalent, especially in the rural parts of the country where students are required to work on the farms of teachers and school administrators.

He described corruption as the worst form of child rights violation “because it deprives one of basic social services, including pipe-borne water, electricity, roads and healthcare.”

“As a result of corruption, you as students don’t play much, eat much, sleep too little and are deprived of a shelter or in short, you live in deplorable houses around the country,” Kingsley said.

“I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s quote that ‘the Negroes live on a lonely island of poverty in a vast ocean of material prosperity,’ and so like the Negroes, Liberians are fast becoming spectators to the good things of life to the extent that students are still studying with candle lights, while others sit under the light ray emitting from the fences of the privileged few,” he noted.

A section of the students at the campaign launch

“There are several indications that the upcoming generation of Liberians are at risk of corruption,” he said.

Kingsley said a research conducted by the LACC in 2013 revealed that students paid too much bribe to their teachers and school administrators. The report, he said, indicated that 90 percent of all the students we talked to said they paid bribes to obtain a desire grade point.

The report quotes students that they pay bribes in the form of sex for grades, money for grades, and in some instances engage in physical labor for the teachers and school administrators.

“The research was quite shocking, especially with students openly confessing to paying bribes in their schools,”he said. The report, besides bribery in the schools, painted a grim picture of the country’s educational system.

Mr. Kingsley also made reference to the high level of teachers’ absenteeism and other educational malpractices in schools as captured in the 2013 LACC report. “It is now the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that our schools do not become hideouts for breeding criminals instead of serving as centers for the development of future leaders,” he said.

He, however, noted that the students’ presence at the launch indicated that they technically agreed to distinguish themselves from bad followers. “This campaign is not for students who only score A+ in class,” he said. “It is an establishment of disciplined, well-behaved and paramount of all, students with exceptional integrity.”

The campaign is in sync with the work that the LACC does, and as such, he pledged the commitment of the anti-graft body to this initiative. He lauded the FJN family for the initiative.

FJN Executive Director, Rev. Jallah speaking at the ceremony

The establishment of the FJN, he said, is a strong testimony of how people of faith can merge their efforts with national institutions to defeat societal ills. “I must indicate here that it is possible for the Church and the society to work together to change and or manage the situation in our society,” he said.

FJN Executive Director, Thomas Tolbert Jallah said there should be a war against corruption in the country’s school system.

3 COMMENTS

  1. As it relates to widespread corruption in Liberia, I totally agree with Kingsley. Corruption in Liberia runs amonk. Corruption in Liberia is so bad that its tentacles are spread all over the country. Sadly, the real children of God are suffering. But devil’s demons in Liberia are enjoying themselves with their big butts and guts.

    According to a Greek adage, a fish rots from the head. There are doubts about adages. But the foregoing adage is hard to ignore. It’s being reported on almost a weekly basis that a high-level official is engaged in malfeasance. Well if that is true, what is expected of people who are not high-class officials? Theft! Highway robbery!

    There is a mystery somewhere in Liberia.The mystery is unconscionable. Liberia declared itself an independent nation almost 171 years ago. Up to date, Liberia is a begger, dependent and weak nation. Example, the country is short of teachers. In order to quickly solve the short-term problem of teacher-shortage, Weah the president, went to Nigeria to negotiate or beg for teachers for Liberian schools. Of course, Liberia’s population has doubled. The question is this: why didn’t Johnson-Sirleaf and her Education experts at the Ministry of Education do something about building a teacher training college? Also, now that the teacher short-term problem has been wisely taken care of, what’s the long-term solution?

    Housing in Liberia or specifically in Montserrado county is becoming a drag. The situation of affordable housing is quickly getting out of hand. What could be done in order to constructively deal with the housing problem is to look at Gbarpolu and Margibi counties. The counties are closer to Monrovia. If affordable housing units are built in the nearby counties, three things or more will definitely happen. First, the city of Monrovia will depopulate by a few, because those who will be able to afford living in Kakata will relocate there and commute to Monrovia everyday. Commuting from Kakata to Monrovia is not a big deal! Second, if the Housing Ministry constructs affordable housing in the nearby counties, jobs will definitely be created. It’s an irrefutable fact that chronic unemployment exists in Liberia. That would be a good way to create jobs. Lastly, if affordable housing units are constructed in the nearby counties, the local economies of those counties will experience an economic boom. The spending power of the new arrivals will boost the sagging economies even if not by much.
    The best way to fight corruption is to hire the best of the best. The best of the best are the most experienced Liberians who will not hesitate to put forth their innovative 21st century ideas for national development. By doing so, the reprobates of Liberia will think twice before cajoling the children of God. The inexperienced high-class people are clueless and blind. Their inability to perform hurts us.
    Corruption in Liberia must burn in hell! We need a sense of awakening.

  2. Government corruption is THE greatest threat to Liberia’s future. We hire these government employees to SERVE the public, they demand bribes and sex to do their jobs. They squandered our country’s meager resources on themselves and their families. And they steal (eat government money) our tax dollars!, but nothing happen to them when they get caught!!!

    How long are we going to put up with such nonsense??

    Look. It’s time to STOP giving these born rogues our hard earned money (tax dollars). We should start by cutting taxes (keeping more money in our pockets), cutting the size of our government (abolishing the Ministry of Education (MOE), LACC, PPCC, GAC) and making our lawmakers part-time employees!

  3. Unless President Weah has plans to take his anti- corruption game to a higher level,it doesn’t seem like he does, Liberia is doomed.He is followed by Ellen everywhere he goes.Is he making decisions without Ellen or What? Who is the president of Liberia, George Weah or George Weah and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf? She could not be advising him positively because she didn’t help Liberia at all,honestly.Lord please help Liberia!

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