In an effort to magnify the fight against corruption in the country through encrypted messages on a designed web, the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Integrity Watch- Liberia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU is aimed at strengthening citizen’s participation in the fight against corruption through mobile technology.
According to Integrity Watch- Liberia (IW-L) Executive Harold Aidoo, formerly the Executive Director of the Institute of Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), the partnership seeks to help bridge the gap between citizens and government with respect to their participation in the fight against corruption.
“In the absence of real civil society and citizens participation in fighting the menace corruption, the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission cannot do all,” the Integrity Watch- Liberia boss stated.
Mr. Aidoo indicated that in the MOU, citizens will utilize data from the web portal to report incidences of corruption and investigate where possible, and take necessary remedial action to address them. He added that the partnership with Integrity Watch Liberia will enable both institutions where possible, to source funding on projects mutually identified to implement those projects.
Mr. Aidoo furthered that the partnership will create an online platform that ensures anonymity functionality of citizens reporting incidences of corruption using mobile technology either through video clips, documents, photos, etc. onto an uploaded web platform.
According to both the LACC and Integrity Watch Liberia, the MOU will be for a period of 3 years commencing April 1, 2021.
“It is herein understood by the parties that either party may terminate this agreement by giving two weeks notice to the other party of its intention. However, both parties have agreed to act in good faith subject to yearly review.,” the MOU says.
Signing on behalf of the LACC, its Acting Chairman, Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala welcomed the engagement, noting that said partnership will support efforts to ensure multiplying effects in fighting graft in the country. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Cllr. Gbala said additional investigations will be conducted to ascertain more facts from data to be collected.
The LACC Acting Chairman noted that in the MOU, the Government of Liberia through the anti-graft institution recognizes that public participation is very cardinal to the fight against corruption and that national efforts to promote transparency and accountability within the public and private sphere is a process that must be owned by ordinary citizens.
“The Government being cognizant that citizens have both rights and responsibility to contribute to decision-making processes that affect their wellbeing is fundamental to the fight against corruption,” Cllr. Bai Gbala noted.
He said the engagement also recognizes that partnering with Civil Society Organizations with capacity to innovate and develop pioneering tools using information and communication technology could go a long way in accelerating citizens’ participation in the fight against corruption.
Commenting on issues that could arise from the data collection, the LACC and Integrity Watch Liberia assured that the Government of Liberia recognizes that opportunities for public participation in the fight against corruption especially through reporting have been weak and largely absent due to fear of reprisals and absence of strong legal safeguards and implementation frameworks to protect whistleblowers.
This MoU shall remain in force until such time as it is terminated by the agreement of the parties. Amendments to this MoU may be proposed by any one of the parties by giving notice in writing to the other party and shall only be brought in force by agreement of the parties.
The parties further agreed that any proposed amendment shall not suspend the operations of this MoU until it is implemented or otherwise.