The Executive Director of one of Liberia’s integrity institutions, the Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTAL), Anderson Miamen has explained the reason why Liberia continues to struggle in addressing the culture of impunity is due to limited political will, weak implementation of laws, and policies, and poorly funded government integrity institutions legislated to lead the fight against corruption.
He added that Weah’s administration is fallen short to fully fund the country’s integrity institutions based on what he mentioned (limited political will, weak implementation of laws, and policies…). CENTAL boss named the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), General Auditing Commission (GAC), Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), and Liberia Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) are government’s integrity institutions that receive limited funding…
Speaking on Monday, July 12, in observance of ‘African Anti-Corruption Day’ in Monrovia, Miamen said the African Union Commission is not mistaken in its decision, as corruption remains the major hurdle to poverty reduction, sustainable and inclusive economic development, as well as peace and stability on the continent, especially in poor countries such as Liberia.
He reiterated that Liberia signed and adopted the African Union Convention Against Corruption. Liberia ratified the Convention in 2007 and has since been an integral part of legal frameworks for fighting against corruption in the country, in addition to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), Economic Community of West African States Protocol on Corruption, and Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 16.5.
Miamen disclosed that for some time now, the Transparency International movement has consistently reminded the AU Commission and her members’ states, the Liberian Government included, about their obligations and commitments to fostering a robust, inclusive, and dynamic fight against corruption – a fight that does not protect confidantes and cronies of the powers-that-be, but impartially and timely investigates and prosecutes all corruption cases.
CENTAL boss stressed: “We have been urging African governments to move away from rhetoric to more tangible and impactful actions, including but not limited to strengthening anti-corruption legal frameworks, providing adequate financial and moral support to public integrity institutions, as well as increasing efforts to address immunity, ensuring that there are no untouchable individuals and groups in the fight against corruption.”
It can be recalled, CENTAL in January 2021, recommended to the Weah’s administration recommendations CENTAL believes strongly can help the Weah’s administration to have a successful fight against corruption.
In the recommendations, CENAL said the CDC-led government should lead by example and pursue a sincere and holistic fight against Corruption that does not protect certain individuals and groups accused of corruption, especially high-ups in the government and their relatives, friends, and partners.
The recommendations further indicated that Weah’s administration should provide adequate funding and the required independence and latitude to anti-corruption institutions to effectively perform. And that, continuous limited funding and declining budgets of Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, General Auditing Commission, Public Procurement and Concession Commission, and other public integrity institutions do not show political will and commitment to the fight against Corruption in the country.
CENTAL also said the government should fully implement the Code of Conduct for public officials, Freedom of Information, and other existing laws and policies governing the fight against corruption in Liberia.
And that Weah’s administration should prioritize passage of Whistle Blower Protection, Illicit Enrichment, Witness Protection, and other key laws to aid in the fight against Corruption.
The recommendations indicated further that the government should timely establish and fully capacitate a dedicated or specialized court to deal with corruption and financial crimes in the country.
Also protect free speech and freedom of expression, in practice and not words.
CENTAL further stressed in the recommendations also that the Weah-led government should timely conclude and fully implement recommendations of audit reports and investigations into major corruption issues and scandals.
And foster strong partnership and collaboration with civil society, media, private sector, and other critical stakeholders in the fight against corruption.
Meanwhile, CENTAL applauds the African Union (AU) for earmarking 11 July as African Anti-Corruption Day and welcomes this year’s theme: “Regional Economic Communities: Critical Actors in Implementing the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption. And commend the 44 Member States of the African Union that have ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption and implore the remaining 11 Member States to take measures to ratify this important Convention.