Weah Blamed for Liberia’s ‘Failed’ Corruption Fight
— CENTAL Says the President is the main reason public sector corruption is on the rise
The Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has said that President George Weah has failed in his commitments to fight corruption in the country and that it is high time that he wakes up to make some meaningful strides against the menace.
CENTAL Executive Director, Anderson Miamen, said via his social media handle it is so sad that the system keeps letting Liberians down despite numerous cries for “true accountability” for corruption and many excesses committed by unscrupulous individuals and groups in the past and now.
“The government needs to wake up and do far more. Liberia and Liberians are yearning for true accountability for corruption. The Government must answer to their cry, sooner rather than later,” the head of CENTAL, which is the local chapter of Transparency International (TI), said. “President Weah needs to shake up in dealing with impunity for corruption, as he has so far failed in this Commitment.”
Miamen accused the President of shielding corrupt officials while going after people who are pushing for reforms in the country.
Though he failed to pinpoint a specific instance or anyone that is being shielded by President Weah, the head of the corruption watchdog noted that the presidency is not leading by example on corruption.
“President Weah is the main reason why the County is doing very poorly in the fight against Corruption, thus leading to negative public perception about the government’s commitment to the process,” he asserted.
While a few good things might be happening in the fight, Miamen noted that they are negligible and not good enough, given the scale of the problem at hand and the efforts and commitment needed to holistically and genuinely deal with corruption.
Liberians, he added, cannot continue to see more sugar-coated words and speeches from President Weah than real actions in dealing with Corruption. “He is the main reason why public sector corruption is on the rise in Liberia. He is the main reason why citizens believe that the government is doing very little to tackle corruption.
Liberia is currently ranked at 29 on Transparency international's Corruption Perception Index, though the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government has slightly improved the score from 32 in 2018 when it came to power.
Additionally, CENTAL's last two State of Corruption Reports show that 90% of Liberians believe Corruption is very high in Liberia. Besides, the latest (2022 edition of the state of corruption report) shows that 26% of citizens now have confidence in the Executive to fight against corruption compared to 30% in the immediate past report.
So far, CENTAL said, the President has failed in his anti-corruption commitment to the Liberian People. He has passed a few more laws but lacks the willpower to implement them in addition to the ones he met on the books.
The President is often accused of coming in defense of his officials when they are accused and are being investigated for corruption.
What the country currently needs the most, according to Miamen, is to deal with the culture of impunity for corruption, using administrative and other sanctions. Sadly, the President is not looking in this direction.
Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Index (CPI) has ranked Liberia among the poor-performing countries in the fight against corruption. Out of 180 countries captured, Liberia ranked 136, with a score of 29, climbing just one step above the 2020 ranking of 28.
The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Liberia ranks 136/180 and remains further down the table, joining the list of countries significantly declining on the CPI. With the exception of Saint Lucia which has 15 points and Syria, 13 points globally, only Liberia has fallen 12 points since 2012, the report indicated.
The country attained its highest score of 41 in 2012 but has since failed to perform any better — an indication that Liberia’s improved performance then was largely due to the passage of key laws and the establishment of public integrity institutions.
However, it pointed out that the Country has since failed to make these institutions and laws work, as the laws are not enforced and public integrity institutions are not fully supported morally and financially to satisfactorily deliver.