LIBERIA: CENTAL Says Weah’s Gov’t Performs Poorly On Key Governance Indicators…

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Mr. Anderson Miamen, the Executive Director of one of Liberia’s integrity institutions Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) has disclosed his institution is deeply concerned about the President’s limited commitment and attention to the fight against Corruption, which according to him, is an even bigger and greater issue that has implications for achieving success at all levels and in all sectors and institutions in Liberia.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, January 13, at CENTAL’s headquarters in Monrovia, he averred that commitment to the fight against corruption by the President has been/is limited, thus leading to the Country’s poor performance on key governance indicators, especially the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International. CPI rates Countries according to how Clean or Corrupt their public sectors are.

Since 2018, Miamen disclosed that Liberia declined by four (4) points from a score of 32 to 28, for which he said is an indication of less attention to anti-corruption and integrity building efforts by Weah’s administration, which also corroborated by CENTAL’s State of Corruption Report published recently, in which 9 out of every 10 Liberians surveyed said Corruption is a major issue in Liberia.

CENTAL’S executive director stressed, “While integrity institutions have been maintained, they have not been given the required attention and support to satisfactorily deliver on their mandates and functions. There are many indications. Nearly all public integrity institutions are without fully constituted leaderships at the moment.”

He disclosed that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, Internal Audit Agency, Financial Intelligence Unit, Governance Commission, and other critical governance and anti-corruption bodies do not have the required number of appointed, confirmed, and tenured officials, saying, “This has been lingering for two years and even more for some institutions, especially the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission that leads the Country and Government’s fight against Corruption.”

According to him, the anti-corruption bodies do not have the required number of appointed officials undermines mandates, job security, and motivation, which he said is affecting anti-corruption bodies’ productivity levels and performance. He added also, public integrity institutions are grossly underfunded, despite playing key roles in giving the Government and Country the required reputation, credibility, and systems and controls needed to safeguard public resources and assets as well as mobilize the required domestic and external resources to fund key activities and processes. “For over four years, the Office of the Ombudsman has not been established to oversee implementation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials, as provided for in the 2014 Code of Conduct for Public Officials.”

Additionally, Miamen said allegations of corruption involving top officials of government have not been given the required attention, one being the head of special projects in the office of President who was accused of soliciting bribe from an investor – since an internal investigation was launched, for nearly half-year, there has been no update to the public about the status of such grave matter bordering on the credibility of the President’s office.

CENTAL boss further informed journalists while the President’s quest for infrastructure development is welcoming, equal, and perhaps greater attention should be given to the fight against Corruption and efforts to entrench integrity values at all levels of society.

“In fact, it is the sincerity, robustness, and impartialness of the fight against Corruption that gives a country the standing, reputation, and credibility needed to win stakeholders’ trust and confidence as well as raise much-needed domestic and external resources to fund infrastructure and other projects critical to meeting the needs of the people.

“It is a strong focus on the fight against Corruption and building of a strong deterrent regime that helps the government to prevent corruption in procurement (contract award) and implementation processes, thereby ensuring that roads, markets, and other projects executed are of the required quality,” he said.

He maintained without a robust and impartial fight against Corruption, the Government won’t succeed in delivering on its promises, especially deliverables and targets contained in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, adding while bills submitted to the Legislature to improve the legal framework for dealing with corruption are welcoming, entities that will preside over enforcement of these laws must be adequately funded, their leaderships fully constituted, and other well-meaning actions are taken if Government’s fight against Corruption must be taken seriously by citizens and development partners.

Miamen said CENTAL strongly believes that the President and his government will only manifest the professed commitment and will to the fight against corruption by ensuring the followings:

  1. Maintaining a conducive environment for anti-corruption and integrity building efforts by government, civil society, media and other players;
  1. Impartially and timely investigating and prosecuting those accused of corruption and leaving out no untouchables;
  1. Taking of administrative actions against those accused of corruption, including but not limited to indefinite suspension and dismissal;
  1. Fully implementing recommendations of audits and other investigative reports;
  2. Timely filling long-standing vacancies at public integrity institutions with individuals with the required credibility and track records of accountability and transparency in their dealings and actions; and
  3. Providing adequate and timely funding to public integrity institutions to deliver on their mandates.

He, however, concluded that his institution is glad to be partnering with the public integrity institutions, citizens, and other players to sustain the fight against Corruption in Liberia.

Miamen said, “Particularly, we are also glad that the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission appears to be on the right trajectory in playing her role as the lead anti-corruption institution in the country, despite facing major challenges.

He also said of lately the Commission has been in the media for the right reasons, with the only major exception being the conflict of interest saga involving its Vice-Chairperson, Cllr. Kanio Gbala, which is being investigated, but has lasted longer than expected.”

“We wish to thank President George Manneh Weah for his incessant quest to construct and rehabilitate roads, build housing units, construct markets, and address other infrastructure deficits of the Country. These and many more projects are needed to address the transportation, housing, and other immediate needs of citizens,” he said.

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