Within just 42 days of sitting of the 54th Legislature and, amid sentiments expressed by some law makers echoing President Weah’s declared “broken economy and broke government”, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has disclosed that the Legislature would request for an audit to probe the causes of the “broke government” after 12-years of the Ellen Johnson Sirelaf Presidency.
President George M. Weah, the 54th Legislature inherited a broke government, of which the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has admittedly said as of January 22, 2018, it has as balance in the national coffers, US$5,637,941 and L$534,146,445 respectively.
In a rather strident tone, House’s Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers told journalists on Friday, March 2, that the “audit” would be like taking stock or an inventory of what happened that led to the “money problem” as well as to take corrective measures.
“Basically we have to be able to take stock (audit); it’s something that is genuinely realistic. We are going to do proper due diligence so as so to make the people have appreciation of the state of the country economy,” Dr. Chambers said.
“It’s not witch-hunting, but it is just fair that accountability must be carried out and that’s the hallmark to make sure [of] things that occurred; and we will be able to know how those areas can be cleaned-up and how they can be corrected and we want the people to know that the Liberian people’s money is intended for the Liberian people.”
“And that is what we will do relentlessly,” Dr. Chambers indicated.
The Speaker’s statement followed an executive meeting with the CBL and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning on the state of the country’s economy in which huge debts have been inherited, including civil servants salaries, the AFL pensions and widows, domestic debts and amongst others, are in the tone of over US$90m.
However, it’s expected that a formal communication will be written and discussed in the House’s Chambers where votes will be taken for the General Auditing Commission (GAC) or any anti-graft institutions to be mandated to audit the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, from 2005- 2017.
Meanwhile, Transparency International, through the Center for Transparency and Accountability of Liberia (CENTAL) has urged President Weah to prosecute past officials alleged to be corrupt.
Transparency International is a worldwide organization that aims to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.
Also, The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has told President Weah to not allow officials of government who have caused serious financial loss and perpetuated economic crimes against the state to go with impunity.
IREDD Executive Director, Harold M. Aidoo, said the desperation and expectations of many Liberians are improved health care, quality education, access to basic social services for all, as well as the institution of social justice and rooting out corruption.
He added: “The President, His Excellency George M. Weah must demonstrate his commitment and seriousness to fight against corruption by setting up a Fast Track Economic Crimes Court to put on trial officials of government and all individuals who have embezzled state funds, committed economic crimes and caused financial loss to the state of Liberia.”