United States Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Deborah Malac, said corruption remains a serious problem in Liberia.
Ambassador Malac made the statement when she served as keynote speaker at a program marking the official opening ceremony of the G-16 Inter High School Accountability and Transparency Forum held in the Conference Hall of the YMCA on Broad Street.
The program, which brought together students, youth groups, government officials, civil society organizations and dignitaries, was organized by the Mano River Youth Parliament Liberia Chapter, and launched under the theme: “Tackling Corruption and Promoting Accountability and Transparency in Liberia.”
The Ambassador said corruption undermines transparency, accountability, and people’s confidence in government institutions.
She further stated that it (corruption) adds unnecessary costs to products and services that are already difficult for many Liberians to afford.
We applaud the good work of Liberia’s Government, civil society organizations and members of the press for shedding light on corruption and holding people accountable—a key aspect of a well-functioning democracy. We also support the work of the General Auditing Commission, (GAC) the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, (LACC) the Internal Audit Agency, (IAA) and the Liberia Extractive Industries, (LEITI) while recognizing the capacity constraints the Government of Liberia faces,” she said.
The Ambassador said that the U.S Government applauds other measures the Executive Branch has taken, including requiring government officials to follow a code of conduct and to submit and verify annual asset declarations and urges the Legislature and Judicial Branches to implement similar measures.
She told students at the program that all citizens must play their part in combating corruption, including refusing to pay bribes and reporting dishonest authorities who solicit or accept them.
“We must all join the fight to defeat this menace if we are to make Liberia a better place for everyone. Corruption not only affects government and the private sector, it has also affected the schools,” she said.
For his part, Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Youth and Sports, said the lack of accountability and transparency hold back development and progress.
He said since there is so much corruption in Liberia, it is important that all Liberians set in place a system to fight it and eventually get rid of it.
“If we can ensure that the fight for accountability and transparency continues, then we are headed down the right path. The fight against corruption is not for the government alone,” he concluded.