The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) said it is deeply concerned that Liberia continues to fail to address the entrenched culture of impunity, or to enforce existing laws and policies against it.
At a press conference yesterday, the Acting Executive Director of CENTAL, Anderson Miamen, said Liberia is ranked globally at 90/176, with a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score of 37.
Mr. Miamen said Liberia’s CPI score has dropped from 41 in 2012 to 37 in 2015 and 2016, outperforming Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Guinea with scores of 34, 30 and 27 respectively.
“Lack of action and delays in the investigation and prosecution of alleged corrupt officials, often due to lack of political will, and appointment of relatives and cronies in key positions of trust are seriously hurting the country and its anti-corruption efforts,” Miamen said.
According to him, in the last few months, CENTAL has read and heard about scandals involving top government officials that have not been dealt with satisfactorily.
He said the increasing number of scandals and corruption cases leaves the public wondering about the safety of public resources and whether government will ever improve their living conditions.
“Recent reports of payment of salaries and benefits to public officials, months after their resignation or dismissal, and alerts from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) about financial improprieties involving highly-placed officials are even more worrisome,” Miamen said.
He said the fight against corruption cannot succeed through lip service and the shielding of officials who are implicated in scandals and misdeeds.
Mr. Miamen called on President Sirleaf to muster the necessary political will and decisively act against alleged corrupt officials and those implicated in corruption scandals, such as alleged in the MFDP report released a few days ago.
He continued: “The Legislature effectively performs its oversight responsibility in ensuring that public officials, including the lawmakers, act with increased levels of integrity and transparency.”
He said the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) and other integrity institutions are fully supported, morally and financially, to enable them to effectively operate.
He also called for the immediate halt to the continuous downplaying of reports and recommendations from integrity institutions if Liberia will win the fight against corruption.
Mr. Miamen wants the international community to exert the necessary pressure on the Liberian Government to do more to address impunity, which is largely responsible for government’s failure in its fight against corruption.