International and local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in Liberia are not sincere in their financial dealings and there is a strong likelihood that they are involved in high levels of corruption, panelists revealed at an accountability program held in Monrovia yesterday.
The Liberian government has received the heaviest lashes for corrupt practices, but the panelists shed light at the accountability conference on the “unscrupulous activities” of NGOs.
Panelist Al Varney, a journalist from the FrontPage Africa Newspaper revealed that there is a high level of insincerity among the many international and local NGOs operating in the country. Varney is a member of the US run International Research and Exchange (IREX) Ebola Funds Accountability project.
He said several of the major organizations that were involved in the battle against the EVD, were very tight-lipped when asked to give account of how funds provided them by foreign donors were spent.
“I got to know that NGOs operating in Liberia are not sincere when I began to work with the IREX Ebola Funds Accountability Project,” Varney said. “They are not willing to disclose to the public how funds donated to the country through them are spent and this raises eyebrows.”
He said that he had a lot of difficulties with many of the NGOs, that he could not name, but said they were never willing to provide him the information he wanted.
“Most of them do not see the media as their friend because they do not want their misdeeds to be uncovered,” he said.
A similar revelation was also made by Ms. Antoinette Sendolo, who said she got in trouble because of a report she did after officials of NGO decided to remain mute for so long. She reports for the Inquirer Newspaper.
“This was one of my worst experiences I had as a young journalist. The people were saying that I did the report clandestinely because I wanted to achieve certain things or I had an ulterior motive, which was not the case,” she said.
“I visited the headquarters of the organization several times and even called its public relations officer on numerous occasions but they were never willing to provide me the information,” she said.
The public and other foreign nationals have a negative perception of the Liberian government squandering public funds through corrupt practices, but this new revelation will now switch the pendulum as more focus now would be given to NGOs, some that bring millions of donor funds into the country.
There have been complaints that almost all of the donor funds coming to the country are not impacting the lives of the people who still live in abject poverty.
“When the white people send their money they can send a lot of people called experts behind the money to carry it back to their country,” many Liberians have said.