Looting of Public Offices Worrisome

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The entrenched but unethical tradition of government officials packing up (looting) almost everything in their various offices when an administration comes to an end has always hurt the country and will even be worse if proper measures are not put into place to abate this unwholesome act when the UP government relinquishes power to a newly elected government in January 2018.

The Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC), Dr. Amos C. Sawyer is worried and does not want to see a recurrence of these acts in the ensuing transitions as it would be a huge setback to the forward march of the country. “These are some of the loopholes in transitions that set the country on a backward trend. We must be able to address these very quickly,” he said.

If this happens in 2018, a visibly worried Sawyer said, “It would tarnish all the frantic efforts the government has been making to ensure the transformation it has been striving for.” He spoke at the GC’s Open House and Resource Mobilization Event on Friday.

It is an open secret that some unscrupulous government officials would sweep their offices and would leave the officials of the next administration with absolutely nothing to work with.

“This must change or else new administrations will suffer the consequences and at the end Liberia will continue to be backward. This handicaps the next administration,” Dr. Sawyer said.

“We are, however, endeavoring to ensure that we set the right policies and framework to stop this,” he said, adding that as much as the election is critical, a smooth transitional process is equally critical. The GC is working with GSA to draft a framework that will ensure stock is taken of all public assets.

“We need to start working with the GSA to take full inventory of government’s assets so that when we are turning over power, we will be turning over everything that we have under our control,” he said, adding, “Since this is the first real democratic transition in 62 years, we must ensure that the incoming administration will not have to struggle to get started as has usually been in the past.”

The GC is, however, harboring the thought of a legislation that will bring punishment against those that would be involved in such an act in the future. “We need to make policies and framework that will bring people to book,” he said.

The act of looting offices has been worst in Liberia, especially during the years of anarchy in the country. Another person who had a strong feeling about this was Grand Bassa County Senator, Jonathan L. Kaipay.

“It has beset administration upon administration and this (the upcoming transition process) would be of no exception if the necessary measures are not put in place to curtail this act,” he said. The act, which he referred to as “pack and go,” robs the country of thousands, if not millions of dollars, every time a transition takes place.

“I faced similar problems when I got elected. We must try to desist from these acts if we want to develop our country,” he said.

Dr. Sawyer had already indicated that next year will be a very critical time for Liberia as a result of “Triple Transitions,” that the country will be undergoing. “Liberia is in the midst of triple transitions,” he said, including security, political and economic.

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