— CENTAL urges
Anderson Miamen, Executive Director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), has called on President George Weah to be practical and impartial in dealing with corruption if the government must succeed in cleaning corruption as he promised during his state of the nation address.
Miamen said CENTAL’s attention has been drawn to numerous developments in the country, which have the propensity to undermine the integrity and accountability credentials of the government.
He added, “We are deeply concerned about the authentication of communication circulating on social media, published in local dailies, as well as the statement from development partners and public integrity institutions pointing to deception, alleged corruption and abuse of public trust and resources by government officials.”
These, according to Mr. Miamen, include, but not limited to communications from key embassies and missions cautioning government against misused of donors’ funds, and recent statement from the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) highlighting discrepancies in assets, incomes, and liabilities declared by some public officials in compliance with the national code of conduct for public officials,” Mr. Miamen said.
He recalled the missing L$16 billion saga; the National Housing Authority (NHA) corruption scandal, and other occurrences of the past; these recent developments place further dent on the country’s image, and the government‘s fight against corruption, which have been underwhelming since President Weah took office in 2018.
According to Miamen, CENTAL believes that not much has happened to decisively deal with corruption, including a comprehensive audit of the past administration, and prosecution of those who abused public assets and resources, including officials that presided over bankruptcy of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL).
He said also, delay in completing an investigation into grave matters, such as the US$25 million so-called mop-up exercise when substantial work had already been carried out by the Presidential Investigation Team, “do not speak to the practicality and robustness in dealing with corruption.”
CENTAL, meanwhile strongly encourages President Weah to be practical and impartial in dealing with corruption, making good on earlier promise made to clean his government of corruption.
As parts of the cleaning up exercises, CENTAL recommended, “timely and impartial implementation of outcomes of ongoing investigation into the US$25 million mop-up exercise, expected to be completed within two weeks.
CENTAL also recommended that President Weah and the CDC-led Government timely act on grave concerns being raised by donors/development partners, as not doing so may limit their confidence in the government, and have serious implications for future funding and support to Liberia.
The local transparency watchdog organization also suggests that the legislature be more proactive in playing its roles, extremely important to enhancing governance process, and addressing the current harsh economic realities; that the LACC, General Auditing Commission, Public Procurement Concession Commission, and other public integrity institutions be given the necessary resources and space to operate in keeping with their mandates to remain constructively engaged with the government in demanding accountability and quality service delivery.